POETICS: poems, text experiments

credit: Michael Collins (painting)

The Saint


The Stony Thursday Book No. 6 (ed. John Liddy), Limerick, Ireland. 18 October 2007.


One of the only publications I submit to is the annual Stony Thursday Book, since it has such a strong local connection. Every volume is produced with such care. And the city funds the publication without fail, which is an important gesture of support.

"The Saint" is one of my most popular poems, one that pokes loving fun at my native country of Canada.

The Saint

I knew a saint from Northern Ontario
who every Friday night at the bar
would demonstrate
turning wine into water.

They said he was a carpenter
Tight spirals of wood shaving
could be found clinging to his beard,
sawdust in his curly hair.

He had a way with women
that seemed divinely inspired,
never gambled,
and read with avid interest
every newspaper report on the Middle East.

I saw him once refuse a tuna sandwich:
"loaves and fishes",
he remarked with upturned nose.
"I'm sick of them."

Needing further proof
I pointed to the lake outside
and asked him to walk to the middle.

Having great patience and foresight,
as a holy man would,
he waited until darkest February,
smiled at me slyly,
and laced up his skates.