Delta Dreaming

for Frank Ladiseur

Dimmed lights and evening stillness
settle me on warm hardwoods,
each board so uniformly cut
and fitted
yet containing an intricate story
written in swirling fibres
rippled forms that carry
into the memory of a river’s destiny
my last days on the lower Athabasca.
You were woven
into the living fabric
of torpid marsh and restless channel,
warm bannock and bitter coffee at daybreak,
cheap whiskey and fiddle tunes
with evening’s crimson sky.
Everything in the delta
will be washed away,
even the blood of belonging–
why you built your cabin
on the fringe, above rocky shores
in a sanctuary of jack pines
–a final effort to defend
habits of the bushman’s heart.

~ Richard C. Gorecki

Richard C. Gorecki is a professional geographer, children’s storyteller and writer. His poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications including My Most Memorable Teacher and Poetry in Motion. Richard is a native Albertan currently living in Calgary with his wife and two children.

“The writing process for me typically begins with a memory that ignites – one that calls out to be celebrated, explored and extended into the hearts of others.”

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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