blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sapper Day

You died
And spring became winter
A March snowstorm
Blanking the muddy Earth
Like the years blank memory
You were a man of the First Great War
A sapper
You ran tunnels
Beneath the heaving battlefields
So when your time came
You were no stranger to mud
Or to Gaia


You are typed words
In an archived file
Odessa, Russia, 1892
Crystal Beach, Ontario 1917
Complexion dark, eyes brown, hair black
5 feet 5½ inches
Hearing O.K. Nose & throat O.K.
You had a beer in '57
At a Kitchener Legion Hall
With your great-nephew after he joined the Navy Reserve
You enjoyed showing him off in his uniform


There is a cross on your grave
Just like all the others
In your army-neat row
Opposite an old stump
At the cemetery
George Day
March 9, 1959
At first when we went looking
We thought Sapper was your middle name
For we are children
Of a later but less immediate age


Behind your stone
The imprint of a workboot
Pressed deep in the concrete
Evidence of the human need
To keep you upright
of a coarse respect
We take digital photos
For your great-nephew
Whose memory is not blanked by snow
And I stretch on your grave to honour Gaia,
Who holds you curled in Her quiet fist

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