George Kenny: Two poems

George and his son, Michael Mahkwa Auksi

Indians Don’t Cry_ author George Kenny has generously allowed the University of Manitoba Press to use two of his unpublished poems for our blog. Today I am honoured to share “Williams Lake” with you.

Williams Lake

I was a boy of less than six years
With my father a trapper
In a spruce log cabin
On the south shoreline
Of Williams Lake

Dada, he would leave me
By myself on certain nights
When he was away
Checking his traplines
For fur wearing animals

I would keep the fire burning
In a small sheet metal stove
And I would sit by the four panes
Glass window frame
Looking at the night moon

The silver moon shone down
On frozen Williams Lake
A red fox would come and sit
near the covered water hole
Gazing up at me

Even at my young age
I could shoot a .22 rifle
And I could have shot the red fox
But how could I harm
My then only friend

Later at night
the timber wolves would howl
From the black hills beyond
Williams Lake
Sending a shiver down my back

Early in the morning
While eating bannock
I heard the best sound
In my life then
Snowshoes breaking crusted snow;

Dada, he was coming back
From the traplines
With lots of fur bearing animals
To trade at the Hudson’s Bay store
On Lac Seul

And home would be found
After a day’s walk on snowshoes
Across the frozen lake to Kejick Bay
Where Mama would be waiting
With hot tea for my dada and me.