PO (1988 / St John's, NL)

Poverty Cove

Oh Birthland,
Where God's leftist hand
Was spread over pine clad hills,
Down to the walled-in Rooms
To ease aching flakes
Where browned men bent
At the salt and the splitting-knife,
And sturdy, salted wives
Bent over the oven bread.

Voices echoed in Gaelic
When they shouted down the merchants
When they dared to shout down the merchants
After being shouted down by merchants.

Sights and smells.

Salt breezes whipped rotting ocean
And rotten fish stench
Through unchinked shacks
Where woodstoves puffed, like cigarettes
And stockings held the Portugal oranges for Christmas
From a queer-talking man in town.

Beach stones danced benath the rolling tide,
Pink White and Green.
This was poverty cove.

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