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Irondale
By Wesley Williamson (1921-2003)

Editor's Note: Wesley and his family enjoyed summer week-ends at a lakeside cottage near Irondale, in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario, Canada, for many years.

Haliburton is a hungry country;
A hulking winter-starved bear,
Pale bones bursting through the ragged fur;
Definitely not to be trusted
By the back-to-nature businessman
Commuting on summer weekends
From Toronto.


Not so long ago
Equally hairy and hulking iron miners
Scratched here and there
Into the bare rock outcrops;
But they knew better,
They kept looking over their shoulders
In case something was creeping up on them.


Finally I guess it did. At least
They're not around any more,
The scars they left have healed over,
All that is left
Is a shabby little church,
(A sensible Sunday insurance
Against the wild
Drunken Saturday nights.)


Sometimes at dusk
With the rowdy boats all docked
And the screeching water-skiers
Nested back in their snug cottages,
A loon wails on the lake,
And I look furtively back
Over my shoulder,
Cowering in the great bearís shadow.


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