Mercy among pillars

(“Throwback Thursday” post)


Beside a bus stop on Saanich Road we set up our furniture.
A sofa, arm chairs, a pole lamp–humped through the front door of our slumping bungalow, carried across the street and placed on the sidewalk under a ‘No Parking’ sign.
And there we sat drinking and smoking for half a day until the police came and watched us drag everything back across the asphalt past the stumpy caraganas, releasing it all onto an overgrown front yard.
In those days we reclined on the back of time, measured our afternoons under the shade of maples on boulevards, took our sunrises on benches, our sunsets on rocky beaches and tangles of driftwood.
Nothing escaped notice. Nothing was lost or wasted or in need of redemption.
We were lords of Beacon Hill Park presiding over the movement of the Juan de Fuca plate.
And we were never far from being in love.
And when love ran out we fell in love with the idea of being in love.
We were of no fixed address but never displaced. There was always some place and space enough.
No one suffered and died under the weight of headlines.
And when the world grew large and unmanageable we sought out the islands.
When the islands shrank we rowed out on books.
When books floated too near the falls and jagged rocks we berthed and hiked back to the buskers on Government Street.
Because on Government Street, mixed among the stone pillars breathed the mercy of their music.
And beneath the steeples lived the mercy of artists playing out scenes on cinder.
And drifting above the sleeping poets, the laughter of office workers at lunch.
All this we counted on, as I count on still.
That mercy will always mix in, always recline within steel’s speed,
always park itself under ‘No Parking’ signs and twine its tendrils up and over the hard surfaces of life.


  1. I probably would not have looked on the scene with favour….being a ‘hofficer of the law’ at the time…. age and lack of hair would now exclude me from any such activities… 🙂 Oh, yes I am not poetic either!

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