Three Good Things



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This post is a small tribute to my partner of fifty-five years, Penny.  Most of you will have a mental  picture as she is today, trim, active, very much alive. The drawings bookending the trio of poems are from my sketchbooks of 1979 and 1980 when I was developing my drawing skills at the Dundas Valley School of Art.


Three Good Things

When I got home I told my wife
about the huckleberries growing from a stump
as I remembered them,
a boy at the edge of the woods.
The redness set among the pale green,
the easy way the berries roll into the outstretched hand,
and the taste on the tongue’s edge
of wildness calling deeper in the forest.
Oh I was young once!

I told he next, how later at the water’s edge
I looked west towards the mountain
as the sun rose hidden by a screen of cloud.
There in the raindrops of an idle shower
lingering on the giant’s shoulder, a patch of rainbow colour
that might have marked the place                                                                                           where Abraham unsheathed his knife
and was stayed.

And then, my stories told,
I looked at where my wife lay late abed,
tea at her elbow, papers on the floor,
reading glasses on the tip of her nose,
looking up at me and smiling,
the old cat sunk into the comforter
and purring like a worn-out fan.
I told you – three good things.

(July, 2007)


The Marmalade Years

When someone spreads the final blob
of dark and bitter marmalade
upon their morning toast,
perhaps they’ll think to find
the spattered book of recipes preserved,
and seek the page for Seville marmalade.
they’ll find the annotations and the log of jars
produced each year,
season after season,
reliable as snowdrops.
Or so it seemed.

But the snowdrops still appear
As oranges ripen.
Oh the sweetness of
The marmalade years!

(February 2014)


What could I Do?

This morning I was up early,
crept through our room gathering clothes
for Monday’s load of chores.

Arms full, I watched you sleep,
Tousled hair, your face relaxed,
in this soft light so beautiful.

I listened to your quiet breath then stole away.
What could I do with this rush of love
But make you pancakes?

(August 2019)


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9 thoughts on “Three Good Things

  1. What a lovely way to go about another day of isolation, changing the sheets and listening to the radio telling us only to shop once a week because popping into stores randomly increases our risk of catching the virus that none of us have any immunity to at this crucial time. Thanks Farrell, Pauline


  2. These are so beautiful Dad – the poems and the sketches.

    You taught Thomas and I about the west coast huckleberries when we were little kids. You were our guide to a whole different ecosystem when we visited out west. It’s your home bioregion but for us when we were little it was new to us. I did get quite familiar with it over the years thanks to the visits.
    I remember being really excited to find huckleberries in the woods when we were kids visiting BC. And there were some big huckleberry plants behind Muzz & Dad-dad’s place – including one where some of the berries could be reached by leaning down from the deck, as long as you had a spotter to prevent falling over the edge.

    Liked by 1 person

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