Tradition: Mary Barnes


February 16, 2013 by northerncardinalreview

When I was a child
I woke to frost on the window
bare feet hitting icy floors
before the heat had a chance to spread,
the snap of wood
as porridge bubbled and burped
in a white enamel pot
threatening to escape
its red-trimmed edge;
when I was a child
I heard the thumps of boots
in the shed entrance
as Father shook sawdust
from the wells of his cuffed overalls.
Mother tied us together
with the aroma of stew
simmering in a steam-filled kitchen
while behind the stove
laundry thawed
into sagging bodies
of denim, flannel and cotton.
These days are gone,
echoes of once what was.
But they are a part of me and I of them.
When the children of my children
run to me,
faces shining
and ask for a story,
I shall begin:
When I was a child…

Mary Barnes, a resident of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, received her BA in English from the University of Waterloo where she won the Tom York Memorial Award for short fiction. She has had poetry published in Prairie Journal and the Canadian Writer’s Journal. She is currently working on a novel.


One thought on “Tradition: Mary Barnes

  1. Monica Kristen says:

    Everyone should read this poem often, regardless of age, because it evokes one’s own memories that should not be forgotten. Mary’s writing is so fluid that it is easily read by those who are maybe not used to reading poetry. She brings to mind the morning scene, the comfort of home. I have been honored to read many of Mary’s poems and this, I feel, is one of her very best.

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