Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time Change Keeping Me Awake



I hesitated putting something churchy on my site, I'm not curchy, but I love the way the story is told and how the images and the rythm play together.

GRANDFATHER
By George Bowering

Grandfather
....................Jabez Harry Bowering
strode across the Canadian prairie
hacking down trees
.................................and building churches
delivering personal baptist sermons in them
leading Holy holy holy lord god almighty songs in them
red haired man squared off in the pulpit
reading Saul on the road to Damascus at them

Left home
................big walled Bristol town
at age eight
..................to make a living
buried his stubby fingers in root snarled earth
for a suit of clothes and seven hundred gruelly meals a year
taking an anabaptist cane across the back every day
for four years till he was whipped out of England

Twelve years old
...........................and across the ocean alone
to apocalyptic Canada
.....................................Ontario of bone bending child labour
six years on the road to Damascus till his eyes were blinded
with the blast of Christ and he wandered west
to Brandon among wheat kings and heathen Saturday nights
young red haired Bristol boy shoveling coal
in the basement of Brandon college five in the morning

Then built his first wooden church and married
a sick girl who bore two live children and died
leaving several pitiful letters and the Manitoba night

He moved west with another wife and built children and churches
Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Holy holy holy
lord god almighty
...........................struck his laboured bones with pain
and left him a postmaster prodding grandchildren with crutches
another dead wife and a glass bowl of photographs
and holy books unopened save the bible by the bed

Till he died the day before his eighty-fifth birthday
in a Catholic hospital of sheets white as his hair

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