Gerald Hill

THE MAN FROM SASKATCHEWAN

1.

When a man from Saskatchewan walks home, he can’t
see the end of it, walking I mean.
There’s no land like home land.
Love is a touchdown on a prairie afternoon.
In a cold wind you can’t get away.

He walks a straight line, makes up a melody
long as the day is, the time
he had a teacher who was always right.
Her first name was Rose. His father had
a crush on her.

He walks and remembers
Sundays. Everyone slept.
Dad played hymns and sang along.
adding more O. The cousins kept there turkey
warm under the hood of a ‘64
Merc from Yokton to Regina.

When he walks he takes his shirt off,
goes bare as a pocket. He’s plain
but his face is lined. He walks
home by alleys as if the only door
is a back door, a screen slamming.

When he walks home he won’t talk
Until not talking hurts
But it never hurts.
He loves a woman who won’t love him.
The sun never sets but does burn sweetly,
160 acres, a sky full of haze.

9.

He desires what she’d
be if she were real, if she were here,
not in the lines of another man
taking forever to end, the two of them
carrying light away.

Bells ring. The man from Saskatchewan recalls
sunsets redundant, the light so pure
here to horizon, her eyes
on him there, a shore facing the sea.

Bells ring. Her three-string
music caught him. He stayed
until the light wore off.
No lie. Horizon’s a line
They gave each other.


About Gerald Hill (http://www.geraldhill.ca/)

genral hillThe Man from Saskatchewan, edited by Dennis Cooley was published in 2001 when Coteau was publishing more poetry than it does now. His biography says he’s lived in Regina since 1996, but our paths crossed back in the 1980s when he moved back to his home town, and I had just started as Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, February 1982.

He came up to the SWG office on Scarth Street (Paul Wilson there too) and joined the Correction Line where Paul, I, Anne Campbell and Bruce Rice were members.

He brought a sequence called Better Poems and Gardens to a meeting and I was impressed. Not just by the clever title but by the words that followed. He was born in Tisdale Saskatchewan, and now wears “The man from Saskatchewan,” affectionately with his continuing work. His next book, poetry called Hillsdale Book, with NeWest Press, comes out in April, 2015.


About The Man from Saskatchewan

Poets from western Canada have an affinity for the long poem and the poetry sequence inspired by the long walk and those that have ridden off any horizon in the green plain before. Newlove, Kroetsch, Dyck, Szumigalski, Suknaski, and now Susan Andrews Grace, and Gerry Hill. I chose a prairie walking poem of Gerry’s as a companion to a Walker in the City by Meira Cook. Coming Soon.