Friday, January 21, 2011


Your hand is gnarled by its timeless
grip on the weathered fence post,
that last frail marker of where we end

and the next begins. Between your roots,

we dig rough graves in thin rocky soil
and mark them lovingly
with found-stone cairns. They sing

in scattered rows, measuring time
imperfectly through their slow tumble,
frost-heave, and lichen’s patient growth.

Rachel Westfall
January 21, 2011


Elisabeth said...

A stunning poem here, Rachel. It sent shivers through me. Thoughts of ageing and death, life and death, and the utter beauty in the shape and choice of your words.

Miss Sadie said...

The sentinels remain —
upright, sturdy, weathered —
marking our place
with fervent certainty.

Thus far, and no further.

The rocky soil,
hard to till,
with an uncertain growing season.
Reminders that
Canada's most westerly farm
is in the Yukon.

RachelW said...

Elisabeth, thank you.
Miss Sadie, now you write poetry too, like bear. Keep bear safe. I think he will be waking soon.

christopher said...

Rachel, I've had to think for a while on this one to come up with a companion for your poem. I agree with Elisabeth...this one is stunning. I looked deep and then came out again to the top of the permafrost to be sure.


Do I have to tell
all, reveal every crack
in the cosmic egg?
Do we not find peace
in between the toes of stones
laid to rest askew?

I would scratch your itch
if you would tell me the truth
of your wind blown hair.
I would sing with you
as we traverse the rubble,
the rough ice bound ground.

RachelW said...

Beautiful, Christopher! Too bad the permafrost is disappearing.

Miss Sadie said...

Even "down south," in Central Saskatchewan, we have heard about the melting of the permafrost. There was a report from someone who has been studying it, and has decades worth of records, and can clearly identify what has been lost. Primarily, the loss has been pools of water, which have disappeared as the ground surrounding them melts.

Not a good sign.