He was born crying and he died laughing.
And in-between? Some smiles
given mostly to the old,
the young, women. And he wept
at the still swings in schoolyards
knowing the god had risen
from the stirrups of a dead mount.
Grass on the one cheek
grave-dirt on the other
it was never clear to us
why he turned the grass to the rain
the dirt to the sun
but the breath was sweet
that commissioned the words.
I say this for him
who would have said it better:
the growl in a dog
the blood in a kildeer
the bullet hole on each side
of the salmon’s grace
became the rope of seeing
from which his body hangs
white as the sheet of the world
the parents sleep on, nightmared,
caging the human cries in bone.
Published online November 27 2013.
Tim Bowling’s work in poetry, fiction and non-fiction has earned him two Governor General’s Award nominations, a Canadian Authors Association Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Writers’ Trust of Canada nominations, and five Alberta Book Awards. His Selected Poems, drawing on ten full-length collections, has just appeared through Nightwood Editions.