John-Ward Leighton CD

KALEIDOSCOPE

John-Ward Leighton CD: KaleidoscopeThe fascination of my preschool life
for a keep quiet afternoon
on a rainy day
when my brother and I were
being boarded on prairie farms
during WW2
I get the same sensation now
if I rear up too quickly
and have to settle myself to prevent
a fall
I stare at the electronic page
on devices unimagined
in those innocent times
listening to music
coming from a station
two thousand miles away
being played on electronic instruments
people sang then
and every good home
had an upright piano
situated in a parlour
a room with song sheets
and fancy ornaments
and any trophies won by members
of the family
a fancy settee and easy chairs
book shelves and photo albums
a small elegant writing desk
pen and ink
and even more elegant writing pads
dirt farmers aspiring to be middle class
where your place in the hierarchy
was measured in how much land you farmed
there were many subsistence farms
in those days
anything under a section
was considered small potatoes
and at harvest time
the small stake holders went
from farm to farm
as part of the trashing gangs
using their labour
as payment for getting their crops
thrashed and into their granaries
the cash in hand prior to the yearly grain cheque
came from the women’s side
of the equation
their vegetable gardens
their egg and chicken business
and the milk and cream business
which took care of the incidentals
because the grain cheque usually
went to the bank
to pay the mortgages
and seed if you had a disaster
like being hailed out
in those days there wasn’t artificial fertilizer
used on the land
the manure from the dairy cattle and plough horses
the chicken and hog manure
plus the crop rotated clover summer fallow
kept the land in good shape
every big farm had honey bee hives
a rarity these days
with the GM crops and the evil of Monsanto
and their lethal insecticide and herbicide
upsetting the balance of nature
poisoning the water table
and turning back the clock
to making family farm owners back into
pre industrial peasants
tenant farmers on their own land
and the small boy in me
still sits at the window
hoping for enough blue to
make a Dutchman’s pants
and twilling the tube
containing the kaleidoscope
trying to duplicate the arrangement
and anxious to be outside
in the wonderful world
that was those farms