My Country is the Wind

before the snow melt
before the maples sprout their buds
cauldrons of hot maple syrup
ladled onto snow laden makeshift tables
scraped off, taffy on a stick
chased down with hot spiced wine
plume of wood smoke billows
foot stomping, accordion bellows
fill cabane a sucre
they sing, “mon pays c’est l’hiver”.

here, on the eastern slopes, my country is the wind
as it devours the snow
thrashes anything that isn’t nailed down
giant blades of turbines cut the air
chain of sentinels superimposed on craggy horizon
hover over village of Cowley
across from railway tracks
old West storefronts immortalized
on Hollywood silver screen
sagebrush pummelled, desiccated prairie
uprooted cowboy

~ Barbara Janusz

Barbara Janusz is a lawyer, educator, poet and freelance writer residing in the Crowsnest Pass. A contributing writer for EnviroLine, the Business Publication for the Environmental Industry, she has published poetry, short stories, editorials and essays in the Wild Lands Advocate, Inner Voice, Fast Forward, Synchronicity Magazine, Our Times, Forum Magazine, West Word, Carte Blanche, Prairie Journal, blood ink, Tower Poetry Society Press and various anthologies.

“‘loose change’ reflects a contrast between urban living and ife in a small town. I’m very superstitious and won’t pass by a coin lying on the street without picking it up ‘for good luck.’ After moving to Crowsnest Pass from Calgary in 2005, I noticed that there was a lot less spare change lying around on the street than in the city, but when I started to write a poem about spare change and my superstitions, I realized the irony. Where there’s more spare change, there’s more homelessness too. If someone doesn’t have a home they’re deprived of comfort, a refuge, sanctuary, a place to secure and maintain their sanity.”

Read more of Barbara Janusz’s poetry:
on the brink of the slide
Upper Kananaskis Lake
Jet Lag
Black Hole 1
Black Hole 2

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.

Leave a Reply