beside V. Sackville-West
The first flowers to appear are very small.
father, son and daughter embark from their cottage blue sky morning groomed
trails sleds cross frozen waters to the lake’s east side on their return surrounded
by blizzard family lose the trail one wonders why this should be on the ice dad
no pulse. the children leave him drive blind is it because some curious
provision of Nature teaches them to crouch low glimpse for sun through snow
to guide them to shore, to the ground less exposed to the blasts and gales they may
expect ten minutes later they find the shore and drive along it even as the high
alpines flatten themselves in the turf of the windy pasture the sled pitches over
a ridge in cushions against the boulders on to a drift skis point to sky
Think how small they are.
the children call 911 the children’s cell reaches RCMP the first thing we hope
to see: the snowdrops the trees at the shore are at their back when they look
north the wind at their face the snowflakes, the aconites, the scilla there are
several creeks along the shore retreat to brush and birch
It is perhaps understandable that they should be small.
but how flexible bending instead of breaking under the rough breath of a gale
or beneath the weight of snow three hours pass dad is still out in the storm
at nine o’clock find his sled drifted over with snow
Copyright © Janice Colbert. Originally published in Prairie Fire (33.2, 2012), selected as the second place winner of the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award Contest.
Janice Colbert is a Toronto based poet and professional artist. After a career as a fashion designer she completed a BFA at OCADU. Her experience in the visual informs her poetry. Awards include the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, University of Toronto Marina Nemat Award for Poetry, Random House Award in Writing, Ontario Arts Council Grants for her painting and semi-finalist for the RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Her poetry is published in Fresh Voices (LCP 2018), her chapbook Rose and Brine (Frog Hollow Press 2017), Literary Review of Canada and Prairie Fire. Janice completed an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC.