Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Grandmother Crosses"

I have long loved Jane Urquhart's novels but only recently disovered her poetry.  This poem is the first of a grouping about "the undertaker's bride", who is also "grandmother".  Jane's real grandmother?  Who knows, but this is definatley the same character -- the undertaker's widow -- in the novel Whirpool.  In this poem she rides her tricycle over the suspension bridge that once crossed the Niagra river, just below the falls.

Grandmother Crosses

Grandmother crosses
the suspension bridge

she is seven years old
in the process
of eliminating

she watches amazed
as the loaf of bread
                             she has carried
from the american side
slips from her hands

somersaults gently
to the rapids below

       as an angel's gold brick

eighy years later
the streetcars passing
on mainstreet
will bring to her mind
                                this bump of

rubber wheels
on wooden planks

as she rides her tricyle

thinking of home

Jane Urquhart
False Shuffles, 1982.

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