WHAT YOU MISSED BY NOT GOING TO A ONE ROOM SCHOOL

WHAT YOU MISSED BY NOT GOING
TO A ONE ROOM SCHOOL

Your dad’s initials
jackknifed deep in a desk now yours

The worst teacher in the world
all day every long day for three years
The best teacher in the world
all day every short day for the next one

Watching other kids get the strap
being watched by them when you got it
Beating the big kids in the spelling bee
taking a beating at recess for your trouble

Melting crayons on the tin protector
three feet from the coal stove burn
Home-grown tomatoes sogging
through home-baked bread

Clapping blackboard brushes
upwind of the cough-filled cloud
Green Dust-Bane and a barn broom
pushed across an oiled wood floor

All your enemies, all your friends
no more than twenty feet away

SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE

SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE

The farmer prays for rain
and goes right back to work

he seeds the seeds
and he weeds the weeds
and oats his horse if he has one

but as summer goes by
he may scan the sky
with the boils and the patience of Job

and mutter
as Job might have muttered
while trying to set a good example for God

HORIZONS AREN’T EQUAL OUT HERE

HORIZONS AREN’T EQUAL OUT HERE

The East is fine
for color on the way to the barn
but by the time the chores are done it’s gone

The rest of the day we watch the West

That’s where the weather comes from

That’s the direction the grandfathers faced
when they got this far and found
what they were looking for
or gave up
unhitched the horses
and sat down to watch the sun set

GOOD ADVICE

GOOD ADVICE

Whenever anything got broke or lost
Kim’s mother would always say
Don’t cry over anything that can’t cry over you

Which is a good thing to remember
when your life becomes a country song
and your dog
and your wife and your truck are gone

Your dog will miss you right away
and cry with the coyotes all the night
your wife will miss you later – maybe
and cry for all the coulda’s that might

but you’re sadly mistaken
if you think that old C-10 Chevy
following the repo truck down the lane
is going to miss you half as much as you miss it

THE TURKEY SHOOT

THE TURKEY SHOOT

Small town Saskatchewan
raising money for the curling rink

Targets fifty feet away
and old bent-sight 22’s to shoot

The trick to bringing a turkey home
was not how well at the bullseye shot
but how fast you learned that life
is sometimes

three inches down

and two to the left of where you aim

THE FARM, THE RANCH AND THE SWEEPING SCYTHE

THE FARM, THE RANCH
AND THE SWEEPING SCYTHE

Sunrise can be brilly bright
and all day long
everything out to get you

The horse can kick or fall
the bull has horns of steel

Every machine is grinding its teeth
in wait for a chance to bite

and every snowstorm
eager to find you
too far from the barn
and stiffen you like the manure-pile cat

The sunsets worth surviving for