"And how can I reach that birdfeeder?"
I love the shapes and the poses of squirrels.
This one, like most of the ones here, has a less-than-classic tail,
but he carried it with aplomb today.
Along Claremont Avenue the stores are closing.
The streetlights have just remembered to come on, and the first
faint stars. In the pharmacy the old man
leans behind the counter in the middle of those
well-stocked shelves as it gets dark outside.
Only a few shapes cross the window. Now and again
a young face glances in with a look that says
old man you're past it, as if her were the enemy.
Across the street the bus stop with its huge old oak
that was here even before him.
The bench under it: he remembers being young there, with a girl.
No one sits there anymore, it's gone
ice-cold in the shadows, almost invisible.
The young kids waiting for the bus would rather stand
at the edge of the curb, under the streetlamp
as the cars go by. There's that look in their eyes.
They want to see who's in them.
The Whole Night Coming Home; poems by Roo Borson,
McClelland and Stewart, LTD, 1984, page 35.
I don't know why I should object to the "old man" when I hardly notice the "old oak" but I do because I am "old." I have noticed a lot of fussing lately about words, what with insults, anti-feminist hooting, insults to people of color, insults to policemen (my son is one,) insults to the wardrobe of the President's daughters, and other fussing. Much of this seems beside the point when our current issues are so multiple and so serious and affect the future of the planet that sustains us. I hope we can become a more civil society, but I wouldn't bet actual money on it.
I love the way Roo Borson captures here a time, a place, generations young and old.
I need to go downtown and look around.