Sunday, April 15, 2018



Glo/NaPoWriMo says maybe we can "write a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves)." 

Should I pick a politician? The world has a few who might reasonably be considered villains. 

No. Not a politician. I'm picking an alleged murderer, a man charged with seven counts (so far) of first degree for killing men he met in the part of Toronto known as the gay village and putting their remains in planters (he worked in landscaping). The gay village — a place I've visited more times than I can remember, a place where kind and beautiful friends live, a place that's always treated me well. 

Detail of plaque on the Alexander Wood (1772-1844) bronze statue. Wood was a magistrate who, when a young woman reported that she'd been raped and had managed to scratch her assailant's junk in the process, insisted on examining the bits and pieces of several young men deemed to be potential perps. He also was quite wealthy and bought up a lot of what is now downtown Toronto, including the area around Church and Wellesley known as the gay village. Hence, the statue and plaque. Do read about him, it's an interesting story. You'll notice a discoloured area on the exposed right buttock. It's considered good luck to touch it. I wonder if any of the seven men who've been identified as murder victims ever touched it. I wonder if the subject of my poem did. 

Growing Season

he places the planter 
on the terrace 

tamps down soil 
that cradles so gently 

bedding plants 
whose tiny roots 

stretch and stretch 
beneath the surface 

seek shade and sustenance
settle in for the long haul

but the unrelenting ruin
of a hot Toronto summer 

proves no match 
for gentle coaxing

new growth withers
dies of exposure

no longer responsive 
to his touch



Shannon Blood said...

Oh my! Quite the juxtaposition of preparing the soil for new roots which just wither and die. I suppose his DA could go that route . . . I thought briefly about working with a real life villain but just couldn't go there this morning. Fairy tales for me. Well done!

Linda Crosfield said...

Thank you, Shannon! Some of these prompts produce the strangest poems (at least, for me). Thanks for reading.