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Poem By Donald McGrath

Eyewear is pleased to welcome Donald McGrath this Friday.

McGrath is a Montreal-based poet, short-story writer and translator. He has had work in a wide variety of Canadian periodicals and reviews including Grain, The Antigonish Review, Prism, Poetry Canada and The New Quarterly, as well as on and
He has published a very good volume of poetry, At First Light (Wolsak and Wynn, 1995).

His work is characterized by arch wit and verbal exuberance, leavened with recollections of a rural childhood.


The glass was blueish green, like the sea
and furrowed like it, too. Unlike the sea's,
its waves all rose to the same height
and never broke, holding in their smoke
like a bunch of grapes. Braided like rope,
rough to the touch, they rubbed
the woman's knuckles raw as she scrubbed
clothes up and down, down and up, in
the wooden iron-hooped tub, spilling
fluffy suds upon the grass behind
the house where the white clothesline
tipped and tilted on its long green stick.
The woman next door would step up to the fence
and, palm on reddening cheek, praise
such industry as this that kept poor Hannah
busy until all hours. But soon she'd flee,
driven by some sudden recollection, or by jealousy,
back into the house. Then a finned car
with fierce shark teeth would ever so slowly
grumble up the gravel of the lane. The boy
would be there, too, next to his mother,
guiding his own little car or peeling dark
strips of bark off speckled chips of wood
piled by the chopping block, where the bright red noodle
leaped out from the chicken’s neck that special
day his father took down the axe.

poem by Donald McGrath
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