Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, Canada.

Since today is Thanksgiving in Canada, I'd like to honor George Johnston, a Canadian poet I love. If he's still alive, he's about 96. Following are a couple of my favorites:

Mr. Murple's got a dog that's long
And underslung and sort of pointed wrong;
When daylight fades and evening lights come out
He takes him round the neighbor lawns about
To ease himself and leak against the trees,
The which he does in drops and by degrees
Leaving his hoarded fluid only where
Three-legged ceremonious hairy care
Has been before and made a solemn sign.
Mythology, inscrutable, canine,
Makes his noctambulation eloquent
And gives a power of meaning to his scent
That all who come and sniff and add thereto
And scratch the turf, may know they have to do
With Mr. Murple's underslung long dog,
His mark, his manifesto and his log.

Here is how I eat a fish
--Boiled, baked or fried--
Separate him in the dish,
Put his bones aside.

Lemon juice and chive enough
Just to give him grace,
Make of his peculiar stuff
My peculiar race.

Through the Travelers' Hotel
From the sizzling pan
Comes the ancient fishy smell
Permeating man.

May he be a cannier chap
Altered into me,
Eye the squirming hook, and trap,
Choose the squirming sea.

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