robert service cabin yukon

I’m settling, I’m settling
into the blues
and the slow
where the easy comes
and the wild things
there can be no paradise
for the low
the blown off
the bitter
or the skin-thin mean
no paradise
no garden place for them
whose noses poke
through broken screens
on porches where
the welcome mat was sold
at some cheap yard sale
years ago
and furnishings inside
what most of us once saw
as good times, party house
though none of us was really
all that happy, more like beetles
skittering and watching
for the shadow of the boot
afraid the day might come
when that big ugly footwear fit…
oh, damn, I lost my train,
where was I taking this?

—the furnishings, that’s right,
the trappings in this house
that seemed like home to me
amounts to little more now
than some broken springs
and gashes on a wall,
early scribblings unread
and stashed in corrugated boxes
thudding time with bats and rain
through rafters redesigned
by termites into sky lights

thank the blues
these mother loving, ever
faithful, forward strumming
blues, the only flow with grit
and heart enough to clear
the rear view mirror, show
me people, times, and places
not as pretty or as close
as they appear once more
once more, before I go


© Elaine Stirling, 2015

The image is of poet Robert W. Service’s cabin in the Yukon. I’m not sure who took the photo. Happily, the former home of one of our Canadian treasures is well tended.