Patrick O'Reilly

Rookie (1988 / St John's, NL)

The Ferry Across The St. Lawrence - Poem by Patrick O'Reilly

I took a ferry across the St. Lawrence to take me to the North Country,
To the ore mines where even the newborns hack iron dust,
And their eyes are tinted iron red.

The river rolled and rocked away from Gaspé,
Heaving in the francophone tongue,
Leaving Evangeline behind me in the evening.

A Frenchman was phlegming into the sink behind me.

The sky was dulling,
The fleur de lys flying anyway in the wind.
Roll on, St. Lawrence, I groaned in English.
All else on board chattered away in French
Over their sovereign particulars.

That was the first time in my life I was truly on my own.

Comments about The Ferry Across The St. Lawrence by Patrick O'Reilly

  • (7/24/2006 8:18:00 PM)

    Your gritty images lead me to want to read everything you've posted.
    I wasn't SURE precisely what you were saying in the last few lines. Not sure exactly what I say it plain enough, but what's missing for me, I think, is the exact emotional connotation, for you, of growling in English when everyone on board is speaking French. Is English liberating for you?
    Anyway, these are some thoughts, take them for what you feel they're worth. I feel a wonderful gift in you, as well as some concerns kindred to my own. And I don't THINK I'm just writing this because you wrote something nice to me, either!
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  • (7/22/2006 9:17:00 AM)

    You should re-title this:

    The Gay Guy across the St. Lawrence. Your present title is not 'politically correct'!
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 22, 2006

Poem Edited: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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