The orange half-moon winks at us as it drops to the ground. The Canadian continues its journey westward, unaffected by the darkness that envelops everything around it. In the dark coach car, only a few reading lights point their narrow pencil beams to the seats below, lighting the worn pages of books in the hands of passengers awaiting the sandman.
I lean my head on the cold window and close my eyes, hoping sleep will come soon. I can hear the young couple chatting and laughing, loudly, a few rows behind. They’ve never heard the saying “use your spa voice,” obviously. The lady across the row, the one with the sleep mask, the fluffy pillows, and the thick comforter, talks to the characters in her dream. I hope she doesn’t sleepwalk. A green light flies by; I see its glow through my closed eyelids.
Then two red lights. Don’t two red lights mean stop? For a brief second, I wonder if the engineer could have missed the signal, barreling down the track toward the next freighter heading in the opposite direction. I shift in my seat and look around. Seems I’m the only person who has noticed. The train’s whistle blares, its sound sliding by me toward the back of the train. The collision I imagined never comes. The night steals Saskatchewan… The sun will rise in Alberta.
Night time on the rails
Signal lights break the darkness
Lonely and cold out
Grey clouds gave an early, ghostly glow
Sun and moon peeked brightly, briefly, though
What if the moon got stuck, forever casting shadows
Stopping todays from becoming tomorrows
Fear not such a lasting concealment
Eclipses last but a moment
The moon rose slowly
A thin crescent only
Like a wink from an eye
The same usual dance
Only I found the patience
To watch it climb up high
Until this strange bird up high
Traced a path across the sky
Obscuring the space between me and you
For a moment only
Carried away softly
Letting you shine through
At the End of the Rainbow
Full moon and fireflies
The owl and the cicada
Concert just for us
Le monde est trop pour nous : tôt ou tard
Prenant et dépensant, nous gaspillons nos pouvoirs
On réalise très peu tout ce que la Nature nous offre
On aura vendu nos coeurs, une bien sordide affaire.
Summer Solstice (a literal translation)
Setting of sun and moon
My worries soon forgotten
Hook, line, and sinker
Deep into the thick forest
My dreams… Thoughts of you
A frozen park bench
Ideal refuge for two
For some other time
Look up! Straight ahead
Small clouds of mist from my breath
Conceal the new moon
Worth of a memory
Is what it conjures in us
This very moment (the present)
Where you went?
Feet sinking in snow
I turn around, double back
Tell me! Where you went?
I know what you’re thinking: “This is poor grammar!” And you would be correct to think that, but for the fact that it is intended. There’s a story, of course.
Our family camped for the night many moons ago. I woke at first light, quietly exited the tent, and went for a walk. My four-year old daughter greeted me behind the screen door upon my return:
“Where you went, dad?” she asked, to which I replied, eager to correct her grammar, “Where did you go?” placing the emphasis on the word “go.”
“I didn’t go anywhere,” she answered with her hands on her hips, and a broad smile on her face. My wife, my seven-year old son, and I broke into laughter at once; my daughter grinned through the screen.
I should have known better… Since then, “Where you went?” means something quite special.