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Driving in winter, early one morning,
from Island View
to the Georges Dumont Hospital in Moncton
for Cancer tests
The crows in the garden complain of the cold,
cawing from their look-out points
with short, sharp calls.
A life of ease they seem to live,
but when the mercury descends and water freezes
icy blinds inside our window panes and snow-
squalls bluster in from north and west,
who knows what’s best for those poor birds
aloft in their crow’s nest spars,
sailing snow’s seas,
steadfast in their skippering of wind-bent trees?
This Arctic cold is such
that neither man nor beast can love it much,
crouched close to whatever warmth there is,
shivering in the wind’s cold touch.
Yesterday, a dozen crows pecked at salt grains
scattered over this road.
A black-clad chorus, they rejoiced
when sunshine drew the white-tailed deer,
from winter depths of banked up snow.
Not long ago she was alive.
Now she lies stiff and broken.
Soon she’ll be picked up by workmen,
tossed into the back of their truck,
dumped, and forgotten.
What magic spell invokes what beginnings?
To what end do we prolong our days?
What myth, this fairy-tale I call my life?
Stars drift hidden through the sunny sky.
Driving home from the hospital,
bullied by fierce winds
on a snow-packed road,
I dream as I drive.
I envision a past
that never was, a future
that may never be.
As I hibernate in that past,
last summer’s flowers
flourish in my mind.
The car skids into a snow bank
and my world shakes in shock.
A thirty wheeler rumbles by:
there are so many ways to die.
4 thoughts on “Aubade”
What a wonderful reworking of Driving home, Crows and Roadside Deer from A Cancer Chronicle. It is deeply touching and soul searching. It is also a thoughtful statement on the fragility of life.
Ps. Warmest congratulations on the publishing of On Being Welsh.
Thanks, Louise. E-mail on the way! Pierre sends his regards and best wishes!
I have a feeling that this was the earliest version and I split it up. Oh dear. Still glad you like it though.