Saturday, April 16, 2011

A little doggerel to pass the time

Trusting that you will forgive my self-indulgence, I thought I would share a bit of free verse on the topic of canoe tripping in less than ideal conditions. It seemed appropriate, given the theme of recent blog posts.

Three degrees and raining

That is the weather today -
add in wind: gusty and blustery,
patches of snow in the woods,
lakes and ponds covered with ice.

Put another log on the fire,
make a cup of tea,
settle down with a good book:
it’s that kind of day.

I’ve been on canoe trips on days like this,
including the frozen lake part:
I highly recommend it,
if you need some character-building.

There was Temagami in October:
I was a bit embarrassed that the tent I loaned my friends
leaked like a sieve on a windbound rainy cold day.
At least that gave us a project.

Or the James Bay Lowlands in June,
on a river with an unpronounceable name,
camping on nature’s largest sponge.

After carving out a hideout in a spruce thicket
we blew up one stove
and the spare didn’t work.
That night the river rose a foot:
now I always tie my canoe to a tree.

Years ago, on the barrenlands in July
(Yes - rain, snow and frozen lakes)
with wind so strong you could lean into it
and not fall over.

Eventually the sun comes out.
You revel in it, dry out,
and make light of how uncomfortable you were
the day before.

It all gets stored in the memory bank
and you will inevitably do it again.

Even in Algonquin, mild-mannered Algonquin,
one day in May,
I drove into Magnetewan Lake,
with a vague plan to meet some friends
already out there.

There was snow on the ground and it was raining,
the ice had been out for a couple of days.
I got out of the car, and let the dog out.
The solo canoe stayed on the roof.

We walked down to the dock and had a look around.
I stuck my hand in the water.

I looked at the dog, already wet and doggy-smelling.
He looked back, in that soulful way that dogs have.
This time I had a choice:
I went home and made a cup of tea.

Gordon Baker, April 16, 2011.


  1. Its perfect Gord. It truly suits this type of day.

  2. I hope you don't mind but I shared it on my blog as well -