Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

Legend

Lesley Choyce
From:   Beautiful Sadness. Victoria, B.C.: Ekstasis Editions, 1998.


Legend

When I was three years old
and my father was building our house--
nothing there yet but a skeleton of studs
and empty air,
I climbed the ladder to the not yet attic
and crawled along a joist
just wide enough for infant knees
until I was discovered
in the centre of a would be home
with mortality singing along my skin
and a cold concrete basement below.

All I had going for me (as usual)
was blind optimism and a sense of balance
like a bright idea not quite yet lost.
Then, somehow, before the darkness found me out,
my father was aloft,
too scared to shout my name
or make me move.
I think he almost tripped in fear,
a man whose feet could dance through work,
while I just smiled, expecting praise
and found, instead, a painful price
of angry hands that spanked me back
into a world of safe and love
before the time of further years
of higher climbs to narrow beams
with legs less sure at every step
and darker depths below us all.


Lesley Choyce's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page