Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Tuesday poem #566 : Bruce Whiteman : Little Nameless Unremembered Acts



The sheep out the open window graze on grass
perilously close to an electric fence.

They lift their gaze at the slightest harsh or
unfamiliar sound: a squawking

squirrel, a girl lolling by at a
snail's pace, children fighting

noisily out of sight. It's afternoon but
the light is faltering, the colours in the

fields changing now to grim--slim
hope, nothing good to come.

A flock of geese invades a
nearby pond and honks like Boanerges.

The sheep, again, look up and stare
in recognition. Ajax realized his mistake

and scurried off to self-slaughter. He'd
killed a hecatomb of sheep in false belief

they were his unearned enemies and
deserved their awful fate, dying by the

sword as he thought they'd lived. Hate's
the root of everything human that

causes us dumb despair. It dares to
keep us out of love and spurns

self-sacrifice. Like spooked sheep we
lurch into our fate, bleat into the air

that will not cease from turning dark.
Love stands by with undesired goods.






Bruce Whiteman is a poet, essayist, and book reviewer. His most recent collection of poetry is The Invisible World Is in Decline, Book IX (ECW Press, 2022). His essays and reviews have appeared widely over the past forty years in journals and newspapers in both Canada and the United States. He has taught at several universities and was the poet in residence at Scattergood Friends School in Iowa for several years. Currently he teaches part-time in the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Bruce Whiteman lives in Peterborough, Ontario, with his cat Virgil, a harpsichord, and a Steinway grand piano. His collection of essays and reviews, Work to Be Done, will be published by Biblioasis in March of 2024.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

No comments: