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                      Since 1996 Volume XXI


                                      
Glen Sorestad



Glen Sorestad is a nationally recognized poet who has published twenty books of poetry. His work has been recognized in Europe and the United States where throughout the years he has been invited to universities and writing festivals to present it. His work with the Saskatchewan Writers Guild earned him the Guild’s Founders’ Award in 1990. In subsequent years he was recognized by the Writers Union of Canada and in 1998 the League of Canadian Poets honoured him with Life Member status. In 2000 he was appointed the first Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan, a post that he served until 2004, and in 2010 he was appointed to the Order of Canada.



 

Out of the Sun

The tiny woman who leads us – a motley group

of tourists, supplemented with a family

visiting from distant Mexico City – around

 

the rooms of this 1902 Montes Montoya mansion,

can no doubt trace her own Yucatan blood lines

back much further than this

 

architectural remnant of henequen-fueled wealth

from an historic era when Merida

became an opulent city gem of the Americas.

 

This splendid home is now a museum

and our tour guide may very well be imagining

at this very moment the mansion is her own,

 

knowing it as well as she does, leading small groups

like ours daily, room to room, ushering them,

as she does us, into a romantic past,

 

a different way of life. At times, she seems

just a trifle impatient, edgy, as if perhaps we

have become an unwanted intrusion in her day, 

 

an impediment that diminishes the time she has

left with her house, time that cannot be measured

in agave plantations, henequen, or sisal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Companions

 

The woman with one leg lame

always greets us as old friends

when we meet on morning walks --

and I suppose we are -- though we

haven’t exchanged names,

despite swapping greetings

many mornings now the past five,

or even ten years. She’s always

a cheerful, outgoing person,

always walking with a small dog

and always more than willing

to stop awhile just to chat a while.

She lives alone, no doubt, but for

the little companion with which

she shares her morning stroll.

 

Over the years, I have noted,

her dogs have been different,

it seems every two or three years,

which seems odd, to say the least,

but I suspect she gets her dogs

from the SPCA animal shelter,

dogs that have been abandoned,

or given up on by owners who

are not prepared to tolerate

the inevitable problems of aging.

I imagine the lame woman

as last home for failing dogs.

She is delighted to have their

companionship and for the daily

motivation to greet each new day

with a stroll through a summer park

teeming with every delicious scent

an old dog could possibly desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inarticulate

 

 

Sometimes there are no words. Nada. Rien. Nil.

Nothing comes to the tongue easily when circumstances

would demand the right thing should be said.

 

But what is that right thing and do we always recognize it?

What words need saying? Perhaps there are good reasons

when words do not come and the tongue is a mute lump.

 

Better no words than words that do no good, or words

that wound, hurtful words that cannot be called back.

 

Silence is often a wise friend. Silence can be a balm.

Some never learn that not every silence need be filled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hair Perspectives

 

 

This morning, brushing my hair,

it occurred to me, as I parted

the sparse silver strands,

that what I see in the mirror

is not the same picture at all

as that of the woman who cuts my hair

and does her best to convince me

I should keep returning monthly

to accord my waning locks their due.

 

I sit in the salon chair and she stands

alongside me or behind as she cuts,

so she sees my diminishing hair

from a vantage point I never get

standing before the bathroom mirror

and no artful brushing or combing

on my part can disguise the fact that

my hair is in all-out retreat.

 

She’s used to this, of course -- 

how men will do everything

within their power to delay the inevitable,

combing lengthy strands of hair,

everything that grows on one side,

upwards and across the gleaming scalp

to nestle gently on the other side

like a coverlet spread across the bed.

She’s seen this subterfuge

so often now she no longer needs

to stifle a snicker, but lets them

cling to their Samson illusions

and says nothing, just busies herself

with her buzzing clippers, looking for

undetected strands or tufts

she may have missed.

 

I could ask her what she sees

from aloft as she looks down

upon my disappearing strands,

poised with her long black comb

in one hand and her buzzing

electric clippers in the other.

But I need no confirmation of loss

and I’d rather not encourage

her to resort to a bald-faced lie.

We all live with the illusions

we have created and while

it might be titillating to know hers,

I’d rather not. Even perspectives

have their own limitations.

 

 

 

 

 

A Luddite Confesses

 

 

I do not consider myself an ignorant man.

 

I make this disclaimer because, once again,

I have somehow booked online a hotel room,

assuming I was booking with the hotel itself,

only to discover when I’d completed the deal,

I had transacted this reservation with one

of many invasive online booking websites

and not with the hotel property at all.

 

I have done this before. Several times.

And now I feel like a complete ignoramus.

Whatever happened to Once bitten, twice shy?

I feel both stupid and angry, with myself, of course.

The first time it should have been

a learning experience. But it seems I failed

to learn my lesson at all because a year or so later,

here I am, slapping my own face again

like one of the Stooges over having repeated

the same goof with a website I had no intention

of using, nor had any idea actually existed.

 

Now, I really need to come completely clean

in my confession of this sorry affair

and disclose that I am a senior as well -- 

just to give you pause to recognize that

the problem I’m laying bare for you

is quite clearly not the only one I have.

You might deem it least of my worries.

 

Am I alone in this self-recrimination?

 

Perhaps there are people booking rooms

online right now who could care less

about which website they are using,

as long as they get a deal on the proper hotel

and the correct dates. But I always prefer

my booking to be with the actual hotel –

after all, they are the people who will

attend to all my needs – not some predator

that wants to charge my credit card upfront

and has penalties for cancellations.

 

Caveat emptor -- this should be the caution

guiding every attempt to book hotels

on the internet. So, for the next while,

sour with self-admonishment,

I will slowly recoup my diminished sense

of self-worth, perhaps to the degree of again

believing myself to be reasonably intelligent.

But I have committed this same faux pas

three times now, so whatever smugness

I may once have harbored has been

pummeled out of me online.









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