No Services

it’s nice to see the horses down
in this place they call Palliser’s Triangle
where I stand still at a hundred and ten
watch the sky pull away from me
the road is iron flat and rolls like a tune
through land where nothing cooperates
or eventually disappears
an act of mercy some might say

the jesus trees are all a-sighing
arms outstretched in pity
for this undulating pain of empty
the careless wire binds their shadows
creeping away from the setting sun
I want to ask forgiveness as I pass

the naked hills are caught in a tidal wash of green
a spill of sensuous swells and dips
who will deliver this traveler sinner
slave in the blue car? next stop Youngstown
the sun begins to sink beneath a double chin of hills
the horses poised and flawless disregard me
in one flash the chain of crucifixes catches fire
as the sun drops then all the skeletons are grey
ahead the road emaciates into a strangle
I rage toward the vanishing point

~ Bruce Strand

“I grew up on a farm in the Peace River country where I developed a strong attachment to the land and the outdoors in general. Besides writing poetry, I enjoy cross-country skiing, canoeing, and photography. I teach in an Alternative High School in Red Deer. I have had some poetry published in journals and broadcast on CBC Radio.

Home is filled with the voices and noises of the people I love, who share the same space and put up with the noises I make. Home is the emotion I attach to places where I feel comfortable and free, places that I know well or that have become familiar. Home is built on layers of memories and lined with the old skins I have shed.”

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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