Leaving the Okanagan in spring
I peopled your walks in my middle years
but leave to make an end.
I won’t be afoot in your hills in a year’s turning
in a tear’s yearning,
though Ponderosa was a word warm on my lips as mother’s milk.
I’ll not mis-hear again the speech of mountains,
Balsam root flowers that message the haste of spring and
the teaching of rabbit brush lecturing the hurry of fall.
I cannot forget what I never grasped.
I’m seeing absences –
The unanswered rings where fish ducks dove,
and ghosts of the kids who filled my life.
they would call me back
to the Okanagan.
I forget with casual ease more beauty than wealth can buy.
It’s the privilege of an old man to cherish
and let slip, to forget and slip away.
I’ve a message for the spring screes, butter-cupped and
pierced with shooting star:
Remember me, a drunk who forgets his limit!
A man should make a poem to die.