Christmas 1946

What did I see those first years three upon this frozen planet,
While life was learned, few lessons spurned,
In land of spruce and granite?

Since May I’d spent within mom’s tent the first seven months gestation
And moved around in muffled sound
No sight yet of Cree Nation.

My collogue hence, young man at fence, put down his yoke of water
And stooped to pour small droplets for
My sisters’ teacups’ alter.

Mom bathed within a washtub thin, and I within her fluid
Then we swam forth in waters north
And forged a bond most lucid –

My mom and I heard children cry in throws of great transition
From Resi-school to Christmas – cool
Relief from massive tension.

Stood helpless by and said good-by without sufficient answer
To native pain some aspirin – lame
Response to stomach Cancer.

We’d watched my dad, few coins they had, start up first Union Credit
To give a chance mid song and dance –
Then traders saw its merit.

We walked that shore outside the door our big white house by sunset
Our hymns of praise to God we raised
First steps in world of spirit.

Her English side walked there beside Cree Nation's foreign context
And made for me my ‘culture-three’
Which forged maturity’s matrix.

I’m Creenglish now, I’d not seen how through sixty years of living
My paths were bent as years were spent
Invoking life through giving.

Last days on earth like those at birth are stripped of drive to covet
Like Christmas there, a time to care
Inclusive Grace – I love it!

Her school of logs and sleds with dogs now swept by northern flooding
So life in south can feed the mouth
Of Venture Capital’s budding.

Dad lived the war on northern shore while collogues died in Europe
While he time spent, their culture lent
His children enriched Spirit.

I’ve tried through life of puzzled strife this gift to fully steward
Account that I as end draws nigh
Might give in full – name ‘Stuart’.

That Yule in mom, life first begun – they acted out a pageant
The sled-dogs yipped to fence-posts clipped
All kept on Res by agent.

Beneath our feet some dogs’ hearts beat, and round us eyes were smiling
I felt the love of God above
In pews my time a-whiling.

The smells of smoke-tanned leather still for me evokes a pleasure
And thoughts of God where e’er I’ve trod
Through strife and stormy weather.

Slow-cadenced hymns his glory brings and thrills unto my spirit
Through winters crisp our prayers we lisped –
We asked His grace and merit.

My thanks goes out -- trouble about -- but peace within my being
For sixty years through joy and tears –
These lives enriched its meaning.