Before I read this first poem I should tell you that my paternal grandfather had a gold pocket watch with a lid over the watch’s face. In his later years he could not remember how to raise the lid so he’d simply take the watch out of his vest pocket, look at the gold lid, then put the watch back into his vest pocket and say, “It’s time was going.” Then he would sit down at the supper table. What I’m suggesting is, he was a kind of a poet.

I got the idea for this second poem when I happened to recall listening to my grandmother read “The Cremation of Sam McGee” from an old book that she hid on a top shelf in her pantry. Now and then, while reading, she would glance lovingly at her husband. One day I climbed up the pantry shelves and peeked into the hidden book. It wasn’t a book of poems; it was a book of recipes. What I’m suggesting is, my grandmother was a kind of a poet.

I should mention that this third and last poem is about poetry, though poetry is nowhere mentioned in the poem. Prairie graveyards are marked by an obvious sense of line and stress and line ending. What is surprising is the custom of inserting new granite blocks, along with unverified information, into spaces in lines that appear to be complete. I feel this surprise especially when I see my own name on a pair of weathered stones.

THEWALRUS.CA IS FREE. If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation to the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation. Learn More »

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER. Get the weekly roundup from The Walrus, a collection of our best stories, delivered to your inbox. Learn More »

Elsewhere on