21 June 2015

Road Trip, Southern Ontario, 1999

Father's Day, and 14 years since my father, Sydney Ross, died. Dave Keon was number 14 for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I don't like sports much, but I used to watch hockey with my dad and my brothers, all of whom were big sports fans. I liked Dave Keon, because he seemed like a nice guy. Like my dad.

I've written a lot of poems about my dad. One of them appears in the current issue of Taddle Creek, a Toronto-based literary magazine. Others have appeared in various books of mine. All my "Razovsky" poems are about my dad, to some degree. Razovsky was the name he was born with.

The poem below appeared in my 2003 book, Hey, Crumbling Balcony! (ECW Press). Ben Walker also turned it into a beautiful song for his CD An Orphan's Song. You can hear a snippet of it right here.
It's about the only road trip my dad and I took alone together, four years after my mom died, a year before my brother Owen died. I am so glad this trip happened.


We drive and drive until
we hit a lake.
At the edge of the lake
is a cairn.
The plaque reads,
“They drove and drove
until they hit a lake.”
My father and I
trade glances.
A cold breeze ruffles
his thin grey hair.
Behind us,
the car idles,
the doors hanging open.
I shiver. He locks my head
in the crook of his arm.
I place my feet on his,
and he walks, giant-like,
towards the water,
carrying me with him.
“Take me to your planet,”
I say.

In the car again,
we are silent. The
sports announcer
says something about
sports. If we had been
born a century earlier,
and in Paris,
perhaps my father
and I would be walking
our turtles along the
boulevard, being silent
in French.

In two years,
my father will be dead.
The car will be mine.
Children will crack
the windshield. My feet
will touch the ground.
Oh, also, I’ll have
one brother fewer. I’ll have
one brother.
When the snow falls,
I will catch it
and put it back.

Over and out.


At June 21, 2015 11:48 am , Blogger Wally Keeler said...

A wonderful tribute, not just the poem, but the whole post.

At June 24, 2015 9:21 am , Blogger Susan Walker said...

Brilliant, Stuart. Brings a smile and a tear.


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