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Acrostic Poem: Autumn in Northern Alberta's Peace River Country
What is an Acrostic?
[uh-kraw-stik, uh-kros-tik] noun - a series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc. (definition from dictionary.reference.com)
Acrostics or acrostic poems are often written around a famous event or a famous person's name. They tell us a story about the person or event in an entertaining or sometimes unexpected way. FloraBreenRobinson's "Agatha Christie: An Acrostic Poem" cleverly weaves facts of Christie's life with titles from her books, and tidbits about characters from her many crime novels to give us a unique perspective on the Queen of Crime.
This acrostic poem about harvest season in the Peace Country weaves a tapestry of autumnal images, scents, and sounds, and the thread of remembrance of times past - a portrait of a vasty place that those of us privileged to live here call home.
...view from the end of my street, looking towards the Peace River
All hushed, quiet, a new day waits to be born -
Utter stillness, the grey pre-dawn; nothing stirs to wake the world;
Tiny, tree-homed voices in sleepy chorus, a feathered choir sings the sun awake -
Up from sleep,
Man and beast meet and greet the morning,
New day crisp with apples, wood smoke, and the last sweet clover
Icy fingers chill the dugouts, frosting edge with the promise of winter's coming -
November's gift, a hockey pond for future Gretzkys, farm-boy dreams of the NHL;
Not just yet, though - harvest's in the air -
Ripening, golden, stalk-stiff,
Thick stands of Durham, Canada Number One, Pride of the Prairies,
Heavy-headed in the fields;
Every serried, sun-blessed row,
Round every curve of knoll and hollow, past windbreak and summer's long-dry creek bed;
Nowhere on earth has earth like this - centuries-old lake bottom, scoured by glaciers, hand-picked clean of rock enough to girdle the earth with stack-stone fences;
Ask any farmer their favorite childhood chore; not one will pick rock-picking -
Long hours in the sun,
Bent double, back-sore, blistered hands - burnt into mind
Every ache and furrow - too many rocks and stones to count, but every one remembered;
"Remember when" - an old man's game, to freeze time, to look back and say, "That year, we did 'thus and so'..."
Time seems to stretch so long; some days could last forever
All intent on reaping nature's year of work, yet, still... a calm, a peacefulness, a sense that all is right and ripe - a crystal moment of "knowing"
Sky so deep and clear a blue you could drown in it -
People down south never see sky that color!
Everyone should feel life under this sky
At least once, just to say they've really lived -
Combines marching over ordered fields; dust clouds hang in the still, golden air
Even the breeze seems to pause, holding its breath 'til the crop's are safely in;
Rain - black on the horizon -
I've seen the whole harvest taken, cold as charity gusting across the grain in some random steam hammer's crazy dance; flatten here, skip there, swirl, smash, and glide...
Vast swaths of broken hope, pounded into the field, stalk and stem;
Every Fall we pray to capricious weather gods:
"Rain, rain, go away;
Come again after the haying's over,
Or when the canola swaths have been taken up, or next spring when we really need you, but please, just hold off
Neat and swift, the last of the Canadas vee up over head -
Time flies with the geese, heading to warmer haunts,
Returning like all things, with the spring;
Years past, teams of men and horses, partnered, brought the harvest in...
Old Fashioned Grain Harvest, Sept 8, 2013
The video above, posted on YouTube by Al Girard, shows an old-fashioned wheat harvest, using the only known working wooden threshing machine in Canada. The video was shot at the Ukrainian Village just outside Edmonton, Alberta.
Today, the combine's king, and old wooden elevators give way to multi-silos - concrete coffins some call them... but the land still yields its bounty every fall.
Every fall, the air is thick with dust. The combines run long into the night, and grain trucks roll from field to rail-head with their hard-won treasure - a few of the threads in that weave the tapestry:
Autumn in Northern Alberta's Peace River Country
© 2011 RedElf