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Poetry London Contest 2nd place winner John Fooks

Poetry London Contest 2nd place winner is John Fooks.

Canada 150
by John Fooks

Nehiyawak
Chalk on the board and dusty, hastily erased
                                                                                          Canada 50
Hand on shoulder and whispers
sun slanting and noiseless
                                           hand gropes
                                           and still at night the moon bobbles
Empty corridors, roving hands and wide-eyed
                                           my blanket pulled up to my neck
No words
my language locked in rooms we pass and shuttered windows do not see Oji-cree
shadows creep, my parents’ shapes, their outlines on the walls
                                                 despair
The families call across the woods, the lakes, the glistening bogs and moose and moss
I cannot cry the roving roaming hands educate and Michif gone
                                                                                           Canada 100
The winter winds dance across the prairie the tundra snowflakes a tourbillon
and far away we learn new words, ideas take shape on hand benches
Nuns float and form
us formless Assiniboine
                                                none knew us
But shoulder to shoulder sepia-toned we smile the summer photograph on school stairs
Saulteaux boys and girls we stare and silent gaze or squint against the sun
its glare, the harshness of our education, the harsh hands
                                                                                                    Canada 150

Check out other blogs on National Poetry Month for 2016