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Wib Dawson


London, ON, CA

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Wib Dawson


I know what they say about you
when the failing edge of evening light
stumbles into nothing
and the horned owl gives voice
from the spruce on the ridge.

I know what they say about you
when shadows thicken into clumps
covering the tall grass
blending with the loquacious voice
of crickets intoning vespers.

I know what they say about you
when you merge with moonlight
cutting thick pirouettes
from the whole cloth of chill night air
with the grace of practiced millenniums.

I know what they say about you
when maimed and blamed with names
Angel of Death, Devil
shunning the goodness of day
while embracing evil's darkness.

I know what they say about you
when they with blindness fail to see
your rythmetic perfection
your agility and timbre
developed in delicate balance.

I know what they say about you
when they are without minds to remember
your prison of black brews
long ruled by the coarse ruffians
of ignorance and fear.

For an instant I know your part
with hands like angel wings
gifted guide and guardian
of the Garden's ancient Tree
uncommon creature not God forgotten.

The Way


Wib Dawson

In the bee-quiet of a summer trance
a biting and barking wind came clawing
at the garden gate blowing piety
while rubbing raw by decrees my propriety.
With vociferous voice and lightless eyes
fisting his book of life with knuckles white
he queried me on my soul's blackened state
and whether I knew or not my determined fate.

I replied the promise that God imparts
is to have merits understood not black faults found
and he with ears blocked by quarrelsome truth
swept his storm unerringly to my neighbour's youth.
Piecing together the shattered reaches of my mind
I longed for God's gentler zephyers of humankind.



Wib Dawson

The old barn
sides weathered and splintered
floats atop a pile of sun-washed stones
bending and writhing
in the shimmering heat of an afternoon
much like a ship
foundering in shoal waters
with the jagged waves of years
washing around her.

The prodigal visitor
approaches from the leeside
across the field to the gangway
barricaded by broad-leaved mulleins and tall burdock
chorusing their displeasure at his intrusion.

Pushing aside their opposition
the visitor enters the past
through a toothless boarded door grinning dismay.
The chipping voices of swallows
swooping through shafts of filtered sunlight
announce annoyance
amidst the dusty aroma
of ancient alfalfa and timothy
stimulating textured senses of sound and smell.

As eyes close
remembrances flood in
splashing over and around yearning years
drowning out the slow drumbeat of marching thunder.

Lost in shadow
far back in the mow
an old man
face as weathered as the barn boards
rests stubbled chin on pitch fork

On a wagon
piled high with fragrant harvest
a boy, not more than twelve
struggles to unhook rope and pulley from the pronged fork
driving its dual claws,
sharp and retracted
deep into the soft yielding flesh of newly gathered hay.

A team of horses
old as the stones
slackly stand swatting flies with metronome tails
eyes half-closed
ears half-waiting
for the word to stumble forward
rope straining, pulleys creaking
tearing free an unshapely clump
tentacles tangling
twisting and turning
ascending through choking heat
to the click of carriage
and the blurred rush past decades
and the screams of swallows
to the old man patiently

Adolescent voices
tinged with taunting
echo against the tin roof
as he edges along the beam
high above the barn floor.
He had never been to this height before.
Almost to his goal with victory in sight
he raises his hand to a supporting beam
only to clasp a thick wriggling monster
thrashing and wrapping his arm
as he slips to the floor
an eternity below.

The cymbal crash of thunder
awaken the visitor from his travels.
On the tin roof--far above
the punctuated patter of raindrops
soothe his aching spirit--as it once did
while washing the draining life of a young boy
dripping death on the floor.

Rain mixing with tears
gutter down his cheeks
abluent water streams from his fingertips
loosening chains long-shackled to a distant memory
long held a prisoner of his mind.

The rain, the rain, the rain
music of forgiveness
sings absolution, beautiful long-awaited absolution
washing clean with high clear notes
the pain that kept family asunder.

Leaving the way he came
the visitor--burden free
could not see
the old man and the young boy