Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dartmouth Gothic

Dartmouth Gothic

Across Portland Street, one block away,
They are flashing the church tower
and caulking windows. Someone dangles against the siding
over there from a nylon apparatus,
poking and prodding the long-gone Scottish masons'
monument to Providence and economy.

Man-sized dentures tremble
from the passing buses. Tim Hortons teems
with humanity, And Value Village
touts its bargain prices and quality used goods.

That picture is incomplete, part left out
that might alter the whole Dartmouth landscape:
The canal that lies buried beneath pavement, empty lots,
and condos. The Irish shantytown disassembled
or rotted away a hundred years before:
The factory where the first Modern Skate was born,
old blockhouses and Mi'kmaq encampments,
Duc D'Anville's failed expedition
sails limply in to the harbour, and the sound of wooden pegs
being pounded into obsolete wooden schooners.

Do the men work for those people long gone?
Or for the man in holey jogging pants, thinning hair in disarray,
who waits for the 58 bus, for the youths who show up
for their weekly bagpipe session
or the women dropping by Antoine's for their weekly
set and curl.
Something is about to happen. Plastic bags lie still.
One block away, a man hammering in the sky.

Yeah, so I totally spoofed Al Purdy's Wilderness Gothic. It's killer! One of my favourite poems. I just thought it suited this Dartmouth take on the image.

Feels like...

I puttered around the yard yesterday, belatedly covering over and mulching some plants. The sun was shining and the temperature was about 8 degrees Celsius. It felt like this: