S: Dad's Voice
FC: Not Much But Mine | poetry by W.J. DesRoches
1: For Mom | compiled by Laurie DesRoches Petrie farm photos by Andrea DesRoches
3: Not Much But Mine The wind is sharp and harsh and cruel The sun just glimmers through the haze The frost glare hangs round everywhere The sun dogs shine as bright the sun One well might ask will we defend This wide harsh land of frost and wind? That's what I asked myself today With my nose froze on a load of hay. Would we be willing night on end To lie outside to watch and guard With frozen fingers on our guns For midnight lunch chew frozen buns? I would myself be sooner dead Then have some other race instead Of us to own this raw wild land I will not give it up I'll stand And freeze out in a blizzard's rage To keep it free to keep it mine. They'll have to kill both me and mine Before they take this land, it's mine!
5: We seeded our crops and hoped for the best And the best won't be any too good Oh the frost or the drought they come here no doubt And the rust and the hail maybe too. Oh they whittle away first rain drowned the hay Then rust it cuts into the wheat. Then the smut and the hail have taken a whale of A profit from out of the oats. And the gophers and mice and so have the plant lice taken a nibble or two Now the harvest is on and the sleet and the snow are here to make our troubles grow Will you figger it up or figger it down when you've finished up your last round.
7: My wife and myself and my two little kids We live near the spruces alone And the rain it comes down and splatters around And the spruces they whistle and sway The lamp it shines out of the window And lights up a small patch of ground. When I've been away till late in the day And the darkness has already fallen I always can see just a waiting for me The lamp shining out of that window It's an emblem to me that mine wait for me Wait with smiles and kisses and small stomping feet They all know they are much loved by me
9: As the spruces in the forest are ever fresh and green So for you my love my dearest my love has ever been As the storms and winds do bend them And make them toss and sway So our lives are likewise troubled by the cares that come each day And in the waning stillness so straight and true I likewise in the waning have a special love for you.
10: I want to go to bed I got a big head got it from drinkin' beer drinkin' till I'm stinkin' All because of you. I know that I am sure an ass to do the way I do. But when a man has been let down that's what they always do.
11: Oh Kathy, Willy and sweet Tam Your faces full of bread and Jam Smiling happy full of mirth You give my life a certain worth That is not found elsewhere on earth. Your happy faces "hello tot" To me they mean an awful lot That's surely something can't be bought. A happy face and hello Tot. If I'd my life to live again I'd have my children And all ten.
13: The poplar leaves are yellow the pasture grass is brown The blossoms on the thistles blow away as down The geese are honking southward The flocks of blackbirds too The ducks land in the barley The hunters hide from view The air is golden-hazy A hundred combines hum there's hurry, sweat and worry Another harvest's come.
14: Grave-Yard Lullaby Oh wondrous Father there on high I wonder why I wonder why I cannot do although I try The things you taught us to live by I'd like to do and live just so But being human I let it go For another day for another week Gosh! When you think of it "What cheek" And yet again what foolishness I maybe got only a week to live And that running out like through a sieve But me I act like I'll live and live.
15: We sit beside the table We scarcely talk at all We sip our tea we meditate We're together and that's all That's really what we married for So we could be us two Its all ten years I've had you And I can tell you true You're far and way more precious than when you were brand new.
16: They're no good shiftless lazy They idle booze and fight You see them any morning And they're a sorry sight. They have no share in progress They have no stirring pride They're aliens in their own land They're homeless dispossessed They've but a little corner Where once they had it all Yet still we must downgrade them We always make them small If they could have their pride back Be part of all they see I'm sure they'd hold their end up Be better men than We.
17: The autumn clouds they hold full sway A truly dull and sombre day The filthy mud has spattered all the stopping traffic seems to crawl Rain and rain and fog and wet the dreary drizzle ceases not yet the clouds all grey and hanging down they seem almost to join the ground The wind is small but chill and cold It makes me feel I am growing old It makes me know that there will be a parting sure for you and me When one must go and one must stay And how I dread that fatal day Oh could it be I sometimes pray that we could leave on the same day.
18: A Wandering Mind The wind is strong The night is long The spruces sing their whistling song The moon'll be up before too long The fire's warm the kitten purrs The dog he stretches out and groans And me I rest my weary bones My wife is near in the bed asleep I told little feller to count his sheep Must throw off my boots and go to bed I wonder by golly will I ever get ahead I guess I don't care much if I do If I do or don't don't matter much Cause Mary, wife, I'll still have you And you're really what counts that Oh say oh do
20: For Old Age When I am old and alone When my beloved has been taken When children are busy and distant When the world that I know is forsaken Then will I remember my youth Soft warm buttocks against me My arm draped over her rounded hip My hand against the swelling belly My unborn child beneath my hand. I will remember my sweetheart resting My child at her breast nursing The baby smiling, content, falling to sleep Lips still rounded as from holding the breast In my mind I'll behold this The greatest of happiness. I'll remember my wife in her garden Hair disheveled, earth on her face from killing mosquitoes Hands black with the good earth, feet bare and muddy Thus I'll remember beauty And tears will come to my eyes.
21: Folks will see an old man smile His mind gone his hand feeble But I'll be remembering Mary My one, my only sweetheart My reason for living, my wife! I'll remember her with a newborn in her arms A ring of happy children crowding round her A babble of questing voices I'll remember her bathing the baby with a ring of happy children round the table even the puppy paws on the table edge tail wagging I'll remember her on a horse running the horse all out, belly flat to the ground. She riding carefree uncaring as sure of her seat as a cossack her hair in the wind.