To celebrate National Poetry Month, the community news website The Flesherton has published Colleen’s poem “Big Trees” about her childhood days in Grey County, Ontario.
Our backyard is beautiful to-night:
I could replant every tree
put it into its proper saucer of snow:
mr by mrs/ great-uncle by great-aunt;
I light out from an old photo, cross careless
before paving days into your yard
where winds are rocking a hammock,
wintertime moonlight & twigs,
(broom & unbuckle) and in handknit stockings from Ireland
now I’m skating icicletoed on the kitchen lino
past the black & silver kitchen stove
— just let it blast my middle — till
I see her, graybrown tree of the past,
rocking with her crochetflowers laid in rows,
and I see him, flannel shirt, grey sweatercoat,
newspaper & Bible, glasses there at hand.
you know, I was so small then, I let
your winds & waters rock me round
and couldn’t talk enough to tell you
– Big Trees, I like to be with you to-night.
Colleen Thibaudeau, 1971
“Big Trees” appears in The Artemesia Book (1991), available from Brick Books. For more about Colleen’s early days in Grey County, see Colleen Thibaudeau: A Biographical Sketch by Jean McKay.