I submit this poem as part of my own journey here in the Yukon. Thankful for living on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, and for their continuing stewardship of this land that I have chosen to make my permanent home. As I come to my retirement and to the decision to stay here, I have tried to express some of my inner journey in this poem.
Over The Water
(A poem in the style of Robert Service)
Beverly C. S. Brazier
We’ve all come from over the water;
The question not whether, but when
Now me—I am new to the fireweed and gold
And haven’t a claim to “back then.”
It’s luck that I am here North of 60,
Convergence of chance and intent
I wonder—Is this what I’m made for?
Is this how my life will be spent?
The colours my spirit inhabits
The spectrum that’s home to my soul,
Give way for aurora, the way that they dance
Till blind, I’m convinced that I’m whole.
“Back then” is what many are seeking,
When newly we land on this shore
Unpacking our southern-fried notions and dreams
That still reek of the past we deplore.
The stream of our hopes fed by rivers
That flow with the gold and the sun,
And many would voice the illusion of choice
That we’re free from the past, and I’m one.
Illusion’s deceptive and daring
It’s easy, up here, to succumb
It lurks and it hunkers down, biding its time
In the voices that ask, “Where ya from?”
And that is the question explicit
And that is the quest, once you’re here
Where IS it you’re from, have you left it behind?
Are you settled? A season? A year?
They say there’s a voice and I’ve heard it,
And many will swear it is so
“I came here,” they’ll say, “for one season—not long,
And that was three decades ago.”
The voice that compels may be silent
Or a raven-like cluck, croak and caw
The hills, autumn-rusted, are loud in the way that they
Sing to the newcomers’ awe.
We’ve all come from over some water;
We’ve carried packs over some trail.
It’s merely a question of chance and of time,
What dreams and what visions prevail?