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HEY, THERE'S A MOOSE IN THE BIRDFEEDER

by Alan A Sandercott

Poetry collection

Published in 1999
ISBN 0-9685413-0-5

[Out of Print]


  • Window on Winter
  • Hey, There's a Moose in the Birdfeeder
  • Ring That Bell
  • Chicken Feathers
  • 3 Days a Logger
  • A Dish of His Own
  • Gladiolas To Share
  • Baloney!
  • Fishing With The Dog
  • The Wild Flower
  • The Marijuana Patch
  • The Reptile Ranch
  • Degrees of Stupidity
  • Flood Plain ??
  • The Sand Box
  • The Wolf Hunt
  • Gruel
  • The Rock Garden
  • The Singing Ice
  • Sandy's Flood
  • That Darn Fox!
  • En Guarde
  • The Slin-Fast Plan
  • First Love
  • The View I See
  • Fish On Little Brother
  • The Path
  • Through Your Eyes


  • NOTE: This previously published work is covered by copyright.
    No printing, copying or use by any means without written permission from the author.


     
    WINDOW ON WINTER    by Alan A Sandercott

    There's ice on the window
    outside the landscape's blanketed in snow
    ghostly mist boiling from the lake
    like scalding steam from a kettle
    chimney smoke spiraling skyward through frigid air
    a scene reminiscent of Dr. Zivago.

    Now free of a work-a-day world
    unchained from the desk
    I have time to enjoy
    to appreciate
    winter's wonderland
    life in the great outdoors.

    But who am I trying to kid
    winter's something I endure
    snow shovels, frozen feet, and anti-freeze
    all reminders of the cold.

    The snowmobile
    and the cross-country skis
    acquired in anticipation
    soon the rust set in
    the cobwebs grew
    'til sold.

    Years ago I escaped to the south
    with all its chaos
    smog, rain, more rain
    but the north drew me back.

    Now each winter I relax
    with blanket and book
    a warming fireplace
    next to the window.

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    HEY! THERE'S A MOOSE IN THE BIRDFEEDER    by Alan A Sandercott

    February, winter at its worst.

    In the early morning hours
    with a light snow falling
    it's minus 20 degrees outside
    scarcely a day for human or beast.

    Over by the garden
    a mere hundred feet from the house
    stands a solitary moose
    snow clinging to her back
    the familiar bell beneath her neck
    we've seen her before.

    She returns every spring to feed
    the twigs and shoots of willow
    raspberry and saskatoon bush
    the buds
    from my prized mountain ash.

    This regent of ungulates
    monarch of the forest
    now caught like the comical Bullwinkle
    her long nose stuffed in our birdfeeder!

    What a picture
    where's the camera
    do I dare go outside
    such an awesome sight I can't resist.

    She's not exactly a picture of beauty
    or elegance
    but more a massive hulk
    towering above the garden fence steam rising from her back into the morning air.

    She hears me
    those large ears pointed my way
    head moving side to side
    black eyes transfixed on my shivering form.

    She sniffs the air
    huffs and snorts
    jets of steam puffing from widening nostrils.

    Who am I to occupy her space
    to interrupt the tranquillity of her day.

    Head down, she grunts a guttural warning
    her long neck hairs
    now covered in frost
    standing rigid, bristling
    catching the sun like fine crystal needles.

    She advances her challenge on stilt-like legs
    stepping effortlessly through belt-deep snows
    barely reaching her knees
    I heed her warning and retreat indoors.

    Then slowly, deliberately
    she turns and moves away
    back among the trees, her realm secured.

    Beneath a canopy of poplar and willow
    she lays contentedly in the warming sun
    chewing her cud
    mindful of her surroundings.

    By early afternoon she's gone.

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    RING THAT BELL    by Alan A Sandercott

    Several years ago
    back when I still worked for a living
    I was a Zone Manager for Canada Post Corporation
    stationed in Prince George.

    At the same time
    150 miles away on Francois Lake
    the wife and I were building our retirement home
    every spare moment, weekend
    summer vacation
    we worked at the lake.

    It was also a time of strife in the Post office
    union unrest
    threatened strikes
    canceled leaves
    conference calls
    I'm expected to stay by the phone.

    When weekends came
    and I sat at my desk
    staring at the phone
    my mind would drift to the lake.

    v It seemed such a shame
    just sitting around
    waiting
    when I had 'call forwarding'
    did it really matter
    what phone I used?

    We parked our trailer at the lake
    right next to our building site
    300 yards from dad's house
    and he had a phone.

    The first few times Vancouver called
    he ran to get me
    I'd get on the phone
    everyone figured I must be at my desk.

    Then dad's ingenious plan
    a brass bell
    he hung it on our trailer
    connected to a fishing line
    strung through the trees
    right to his door.

    Throughout those summer weekends
    whenever anyone phoned me
    he'd be quick to answer
    then ring that bell
    and I'd run like hell.

    Well, it worked like a charm
    no one ever knew
    until years later
    when I finally retired
    and made it known.

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    CHICKEN FEATHERS    by Alan A Sandercott

    A neighbour of ours from just up the road
    had taken to raising some chickens
    his plan was quite simple
    fresh eggs through the summer
    and meat to last through the winter.

    However one day, while stopping to chat
    he described a bit of a mystery
    one of his laying hens
    had turned up missing
    and all he could find was some feathers.

    Now a fox that I know has her den by our home
    the same that's been there for years
    but I daren't tell my neighbour
    that surrounding that den
    will be found those very same feathers.

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    3 DAYS A LOGGER    by Alan A Sandercott

    Back in my much younger days
    I got my big break
    in the forest industry
    working in the bush
    training to be a 'logger'.

    It was a cold winter
    so 'ol Thompson told me to dress warmly
    wear warm mitts, warm boots with liners
    pack a lunch, a thermos of hot coffee
    and be on time.

    I had my own idea of how a logger should dress
    so Saturday I gathered my gear
    bought boots and hard hat
    stopped by the poolhall
    bragged and strutted for my peers.

    Day one I'm late for work
    the crummy didn't wait
    not too good a start
    and the faller wasn't impressed
    he had to limb his own trees.

    Day two I was bright and early
    dressed in my new leather cork boots
    gloves to match, new GWG's
    packing my lunch bag
    and two bottles of pop.

    Across the lake on the ice
    up into the bush
    not many amenities there
    a forest of trees
    snow up to my butt.

    The faller handed me an axe
    instructed me to follow behind
    chop off the branches
    and to keep up
    but I quickly fell behind.

    A Paul Bunyon I was not be
    my feet froze
    my hands as blue as the Ox
    the scarf over my ears and mouth
    soon caked with ice
    I shivered so much I couldn't talk.

    I think the faller felt sorry for me
    because before long
    he'd built a fire
    and while I thawed out
    he set to cutting limbs.

    By lunch time
    my pop had froze and broke
    my peanut butter sandwiches
    resisted the hungry assault
    of my chattering teeth.

    The afternoon was no better
    I worked to keep warm
    seldom venturing far from the fire
    trees continued to fall
    as did my aspiration to be a logger.

    Day three, Old Thompson took one look
    at my matched boots and gloves
    pulled me aside and said,
    I have to be honest kid
    you ain't never gonna be no logger!

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    A DISH OF HIS OWN    by Alan A Sandercott

    For years we've been fortunate
    to have a fox den
    within sight of our home
    tunneled under the roots of a big old tree.

    Each spring we anticipate
    the arrival of pups
    and peer through binoculars
    at little balls of fluff
    peeking from the den's entrance.

    The little ones jump and tumble
    in their sibling fun
    scurrying back to the den
    at the slightest noise.

    Eagerly they await their father
    on his return from the hunt
    to bite at his muzzle
    begging for food.

    Then one day the father fails to return
    now it's the mother
    who, with six hungry pups
    must hunt for the food.

    Torn with concern
    we place a dish by the trail
    our offer of puppy food
    readily accepted.

    Each morning with his mother
    a black pup polishes that dish
    then drags it back to the den
    for safe keeping no doubt.

    One night the mother moved the pups
    we watched for days
    but nothing
    not even the dish.

    In mind's view I see the mother
    leading her family to their new den
    her pups following obediently
    the male dragging his little red dish.

    A few weeks later
    much to our surprise and pleasure
    three pups return to the den
    now twice their size
    their colours distinct
    the black one's tail tipped with white.

    They romp and play
    on the old home ground
    next morning they're gone
    but partially hidden by that big old tree
    lay that little red dish.

    Now three years later
    in the deep of winter
    there's a silver black fox
    traveling our area
    his bushy tail tipped with white.

    That little red dish
    I've keep all this time
    is back in use
    with more puppy treats.

    And when that dish
    disappears some nights
    it will usually be found
    by that big old tree.

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    GLADIOLAS TO SHARE    by Alan A Sandercott

    You plant, you feed, you water
    and you water again
    all in the name of gardening
    awaiting that day
    and the blaze of colour
    when your gladiolas burst into bloom.

    Imagine if you will
    gladiolas four-foot tall
    large flowers of yellow and red
    and feel if you will
    the satisfaction you get
    at the envy of friends and all.

    Now imagine once more
    one morning of horror
    you discover some stalks have been snipped
    gone are the flowers
    and the pride that you felt
    a mystery that needs to be solved.

    So you watch
    you wait
    and low and behold
    the culprit makes its appearance
    a mule deer ...
    who, it seems
    appreciates your taste in flowers.

    You watch in amazement
    as the deer makes a snack
    of yet another bright flower
    with time of the essence
    you race to rescue
    the last of your prize gladiolas.

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    BALONEY!    by Alan A Sandercott

    Unbelievable pain
    my stomach is killing me
    I'm sitting in the living room
    doubled over
    paralyzing cramps.

    Hour after hour
    they relax
    then return with a vengeance
    my mind searching for an answer
    some explanation.

    That evening
    when the pain is too much to bear
    my brother takes me to emergency
    an interesting turn of events
    a role reversal for him
    that surprises even the nurses.

    I'm made to lie down on a gurney
    they take my blood pressure
    160 over 135
    that's way high for me.

    I think it's food poisoning, I say
    that bologna sandwich I had
    they check me over and figure it's gas
    I'm fed antacids and made to rest.

    But when pain continues
    the doctor's called in
    an electrocardiograph confirms
    it's not my heart.

    Food poisoning I ask?
    no, probably gas
    he gives me a prescription
    and sends me home.

    A night in hell
    the drug store's closed
    no medication
    I never realized
    sunrise takes so long.

    Next morning I see my own doctor
    he gives me pain killers
    relief at last
    might be gallbladder
    he sends me to Smithers.

    There I receive an ultrasound
    looks pretty gassy,
    the technician says
    I don't respond
    I'm still convinced
    it was that damned bologna sandwich.

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    FISHING WITH THE DOG    by Alan A Sandercott

    A ten-foot aluminum boat
    two adults
    oars and fishing equipment
    now,add fourty-five pounds
    of Siberian Husky.

    Sheba boards with a flying leap
    taking her place in the bow
    her paws on the gunnels
    like a captain on lookout
    dignified and proud.

    Once underway she's like a kid
    she can't sit still
    from the bow to stern and back again
    bumping the oars
    spilling the drinks.

    Time to fish
    she sniffs at the worms
    gives that quizzical look
    as they go on the hook.

    Then the line's in the water
    sinking from sight
    she's bounding side to side
    rocking the boat
    water's splashing in
    instinctively I grab for the rail.

    Steady once more
    Sheba plays with driftwood
    that she brought from shore
    thumping it on the bottom
    the sound heard for miles.

    Then it's the anchor rope
    she tugs and she pulls
    knocking over the tackle
    a scramble to retrieve the hooks.

    And then like a child
    her paitence wears thin
    she's bored
    she's restless
    her look of, 'when are we going in?'

    Suddenly a fish bites
    the fishing rod bends
    Sheba springs to your seat
    on the rod-side of course
    her excitement grows
    it shows in her eyes
    a big lick on your face.

    With the fish along side
    the fun now begins
    rod in one hand, net in my other
    Sheba's hanging over the side
    barking
    almost falling in.

    Now I lift the fish on board
    it's flopping around
    and Sheba's biting the net
    with side-splitting laughter
    and my supper at stake
    I fight to rescue my fish.

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    THE WILD FLOWER    by Alan A Sandercott

    Late one spring afternoon
    our curiosity is drawn from afar
    the yapping of coyotes
    their menacing sound
    bears our investigation.

    Through the trees we travel
    following the path
    that leads to the upper meadows
    there we discover three mule deer
    defiant
    standing fast beneath the trees.

    It's then we notice the fawn
    hiding motionless
    camouflaged in the grass
    its mother by its side
    protecting it from the threat.

    As we approach, the deer retreat
    the coyotes, they cowardly run
    and then we learn the saddest truth
    the little fawn is dead.

    Closer inspection tells a tale
    how this fragile life was lost
    tragically ended on the nearby road
    struck by a passing car.

    Under the watchfull eye of the mother
    pacing nervously nearby
    I arrange a small grave
    beneath those trees
    and lay her fawn to rest.

    The previous evening
    this very same fawn
    wandered freely through our flower gardens
    it pranced and nibbled
    so delicate
    itself
    but a wildflower.

    Now all that remains
    are memories
    buried
    beneath this mound of rocks.

    I later watch from a distance
    as the mother returns
    to the spot where she left her fawn
    she pauses by the rocks
    knowingly bowing her head
    sniffing the freshly turned earth.

    After a time
    she lays by the grave
    her companions waiting patiently nearby
    a peaceful scene
    silent
    the night setting in
    their images fading in darkness.

    The following morning
    the deer are gone
    a glint of steam rises into the cool morning air
    marking the spot by the grave
    where the fawn's mother spent her night's vigil
    I think I'll plant some flowers there.

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    THE MARIJUANA PATCH    by Alan A Sandercott

    I recall years back
    vacationing at Sandy's Resort
    a warm summer day
    wandering the trail high above Francois Lake.

    I'm not sure why I left the path
    to walk the few feet towards the edge
    other than to gaze down at waves
    far below.

    It was then I noticed by my feet
    the neat little wooden frame
    filled with darkened soil
    tucked beneath the trees
    hidden from prying eyes.

    I stared in disbelief
    a hallucination perhaps
    but no, just the green leaves
    of marijuana plants
    waving gently in the breeze.

    I had to admit
    it was a great location
    on the edge of that bank
    with its southern exposure
    lots of sun.

    My father was visibly upset
    when I showed him the marijuana patch
    Mother was equally surprised
    after all, they owned this land.

    But who, was the question
    who planted, watered
    and tended this cannabis garden.

    My father wasted no time
    immediately contacting police
    justice he wanted
    charges laid
    he knew who the culprit was
    but proving it
    that was his problem.

    'It's your property,' they said
    destroy the plants
    pull them out
    burn them.

    Then with a smile
    the officer added,
    'just don't inhale the smoke.'

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    THE REPTILE RANCH    by Alan A Sandercott

    From all around their living room
    you sense eyes peering from foliage
    slithering sounds pique your imagination
    visions of forked tongues sampling the air
    you're in the domain of the Reptile Ranch.

    It all started so simply
    Rob convincing Janet they needed a pet
    not the usual puppy or kitten
    but a nasty little Green Iguana
    appropriately named 'Sid Vicious'.
    Next came 'Lucy' the snake
    a Burmese Python with an appetite
    love at first sight
    today, she's fifteen feet long!
    More acquisitions followed
    cages spreading throughout the home
    Monitor Lizards, Iguanas
    Bearded Dragons and Geckos
    plus a few frogs and turtles
    talk about a hobby getting out of hand.

    Before long R.J.'s Reptile Ranch is born
    a home based business
    imports, breeding colonies
    to world wide exports
    now a full time job.

    Their summers are hectic with tours
    hundreds of reptiles to view
    and all this from the kid from Kamloops
    who grew up
    playing with rattlesnakes.

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    DEGREES OF STUPIDITY    by Alan A Sandercott

    After partying all day
    and into the night
    Victor and I decided
    to head down the lake
    in readiness for fishing next morning.

    Both drunker than skunks
    and just as dumb
    we loaded my boat
    and despite best advice
    we sailed into darkness.

    Fifteen miles
    we traveled that night
    blind luck as our guide
    a compass
    and faint distant skylines.

    Off Uncha Creek
    I slowed to a crawl
    aiming for the shallows
    up onto the bow
    I searched for the anchorage.

    I better take over, Vic said
    you're too drunk
    never fear, I replied
    I'm ex-navy remember
    the rest is a blank.

    When I awoke the next morning
    we were back at Sandy's
    tied to the dock
    my boat gently rocking
    my hangover raging.

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    FLOOD PLAIN??    by Alan A Sandercott

    Strange.

    On certain maps
    our land is identified as flood plain
    dispite the fact
    there is an 85 foot cliff out front
    straight down to the lake.

    Interestingly
    Francois Lake is the second largest
    (natural) lake
    in British Columbia
    and western head of the Fraser River.

    The way I see it
    if it floods our home
    then Noah better start building another ark
    because Vancouver and the lower mainland
    will become the next Atlantis.

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    THE SAND BOX    by Alan A Sandercott

    It seemed like the perfect idea
    a large sandbox for the grandchildren
    built of sturdy landscaping ties
    filled with 6 inches of good clean sand.

    The children love it each time they visit
    they play in there for hours
    even our dog Sheba
    loved to help them dig.

    Then one day we attracted another guest
    actually, more of a pest
    the neighbour's cat
    determined to turn the kid's sandbox
    into her private litterbox.

    Try as we may
    there seemed no way to repulse that cat
    we scared her, we chased her
    finally, constructing a cover of chicken wire
    convinced we had won.

    Alas, it was not to be
    we caught that damned feline
    performing a balancing act on the wire
    still doing her thing.

    But we had the last laugh
    she went nuts
    trying to figure out how to bury it.

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    THE WOLF HUNT    by Alan A Sandercott

    The lake lies frozen
    its snowy surface scarred
    by the tracks of wildlife
    fading from view with the setting sun.

    Off in the distance
    a lone wolf's mournful howl
    shatters the silence of the night
    a signal to the pack.

    From across the lake they appear
    six in all
    they bound, trot, run
    eager for the hunt.

    A farmer hears the sounds
    snarls of the hunting pack
    the terrified cry of a deer
    driven onto the ice
    running for its life
    in vain.

    Slathering jaws tearing flesh
    muzzles stained with blood
    as the dominant wolves feed
    growling warnings to subordinates
    who wait their turn.

    By dawn the feeding's done
    the wolves move off across the ice
    walking slower now
    bellies heavy, appetites quenched
    disappearing into the morning fog.

    From dawn to dusk
    scavengers take their turn
    coyotes close from the shadows
    eagles descend
    precious little remains for the raven.

    Fresh snows begin to fall
    blanketing the bloody scene
    to the west the evening sky turns crimson
    and from across the lake
    a lone wolf howls.

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    GRUEL    by Alan A Sandercott

    Behold the boiling cauldron
    bubbling and churning
    like witch's brew
    belching forth steam.

    Oats
    stripped of chaff
    pounded flat
    boiled beyond assimilation.

    A sticky consummate mass
    bathed in bovine sap
    smothered in sugar and cinnamon
    a breakfast porridge.

    It must be Wednesday morning.

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    THE ROCK GARDEN    by Alan A Sandercott

    About the time we moved to Francois Lake
    Ann decided she wanted a garden
    out front overlooking the lake
    the perfect spot.

    Little did we know
    that beneath that rich decomposed overburden
    lay a gardener's worst nightmare
    a tangle of roots and glacial remains.

    With grubhoe and axe we cleared the roots
    a prybar and pick
    for the overly abundant rock
    we wrestled from the ground.

    The first year was tough gardening
    free range cattle
    hungry deer
    hauling water by the bucket.

    Second year, not so bad
    we added a chain link fence
    ran a garden hose
    massaged the soil once more
    planted and reaped our bountiful reward.

    Each spring and fall thereafter
    we faithfully worked that soil
    but the moist fertilized ground
    attracted more roots
    more rocks mysteriously appeared.

    Now, the 'ol back ain't what it used to be
    our rototiller's now on it's last leg
    tangled with too many roots
    blades bent by the rocks
    I think it's time for a greenhouse.

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    THE SONG OF THE ICE    by Alan A Sandercott

    In the dawn of the year
    as the days grow longer
    Chinook winds blow
    spring fills the air.

    Each day the sun rises higher
    piercing fog with golden rays
    spreading warmth across the ice.

    Then comes the day
    a deafening roar shatters tranquility
    the frozen surface ruptures.

    Throughout the day expanding ice crushes
    like miniatures of earth's crust
    grinding together
    the song of the ice
    reverberating down the lake.

    Large mantles of blue force upwards
    like minute Rocky Mountains
    reaching for the sky.

    Beneath their gaping chasms
    freezing water
    like molten lava
    vents from the depths to flood the surface.

    Later, as daylight fades
    a waning sun sets down its crimson head
    the moving ice stills once more
    silent for the night.

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    SANDY'S FLOOD    by Alan A Sandercott

    Back in 1972 after heavy winter snows
    spring came early with little frost
    creating fast run-offs
    and the lake level rose
    higher and higher.

    At Sandy's Resort
    my father's concern grew
    at approaching waters
    consuming his land
    creeping closer and closer.

    Each day he watched helplessly
    his lawns going under
    wood piles drifting away
    our son Troy in his rubber raft
    having a great time
    paddling round the yard.

    Then Chinook winds blew
    their wrath from the east
    waves crashed in
    breaching sand bags
    flooding the road.

    Before it was done
    the outhouse floated
    water lapped at the steps
    a transportation boat
    tied to the door.

    Finally, one morning it was over
    waters began to recede
    and a week later
    Sandy's opened for business,
    gumboots optional.

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    THAT DARN FOX!    by Alan A Sandercott

    When the sun dawned this morning
    silhouetting that scraggly old willow tree
    in our front yard
    I detect a hint of light snow
    that overnight
    dusted branches with white.

    A large Hairy Woodpecker sits in the tree
    befuddled
    searching
    next to the stub of a rusty nail.

    Yesterday a wire cage hung from that nail
    filled with fat from the butcher shop
    for the birds.

    The cage is popular
    hanging above the birdfeeder
    within reach, we discovered
    of cats
    and foxes.

    We awoke one morning to find br'er fox
    atop the feeder
    pawing at the cage
    drooling at the fat.

    This morning the fat's disappeared
    and so is the cage
    prints in the snow reveal the culprit
    that darn fox!

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    EN GUARDE    by Alan A Sandercott

    Once upon a time
    brother-in-law Kris and I
    hunted the mighty moose
    across Francois Lake.

    Following a long cold day
    tramping through the bush
    never really knowing where I was
    I stumbled across my moose.

    With Kris's able assistance
    plus a lot of swearing
    moaning and groaning
    all on my part
    we dressed the animal
    loaded and hauled it back to camp.

    First things first
    despite the darkness
    and aided by a coal-oil lamp
    we wasted no time
    skinning and hanging my prize
    to cool overnight.

    In the nearby cabin
    with its pot-bellied stove
    the cold drained away
    we tied into a well-deserved meal.

    Kris had to work the next morning
    so he headed back that night
    I remained
    to spend the night in camp.

    Very early next morning
    I'm jolted awake
    a vehicle running outside
    I lay quietly listening
    as cobwebs drain from my sleepy head.

    I soon become suspicious
    my thoughts drifting across the road
    to the carcass of my moose
    hanging invitingly from the tree.

    Careful not to make a sound
    I steel quietly from my sleeping bag
    and creep cautiously to the window.

    Through the darkness
    I see a pickup truck on the road
    silhouetted by its tail lights
    exhaust fumes rising eerily
    into the cold morning air.

    I'm sure I heard the sound
    of truck doors opening
    the rattle of block and tackle
    visions of moose pilfering
    swept my mind.

    No! I thought
    having come so far
    and worked so hard,
    I wasn't about to let anyone steal my moose.

    Determined to stop them
    I fumbled in the dark for my rifle
    pumped a shell into its chamber
    and slid through the door.

    The morning air was crisp
    I stood rigid
    rifle at the ready
    my finger posed
    on that cold steel trigger.

    I listened intently
    but except for my pounding heart
    and rapid breaths
    all was strangely silent.
    Suddenly a reddish light emanates from inside
    a cigarette
    each puff illuminating the two occupants
    road hunters
    waiting for sunrise.

    A light snow blanketed the ground
    the sight of it making me shiver
    and no wonder
    I was wearing no clothes!

    In my rush to action
    I'd neglected to dress
    so there I stood
    en guarde
    rifle at the ready
    defender of the moose
    bare foot and clad only in underwear.

    Feeling rather embarrassed
    not to mention down right ridiculous
    I reached behind for the door knob
    and wouldn't you know it
    the door locked behind me.

    The fate of my moose then seemed
    insignificant
    compared to my immediate plight
    but to spare detection
    I remained standing, shivering in the shadows
    waiting in the cold.

    When they finally moved on
    I assaulted the door
    but the only damage
    was to pride and shoulder.

    The window was next
    but rather than smash it
    I turned to my rifle
    its barrel like a pry-bar
    I wrestled it open.

    After awkwardly crawling inside
    I dove into my sleeping bag
    thawing my bones
    waiting for daylight, and the assurance
    my moose was still there.

    While Kris found the incident
    absolutely hilarious
    it was many years
    before I mustered the nerve
    to tell anyone else.

    In hindsight
    humor exceeds seriousness
    true, I did get my moose
    but I've never hunted since.

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    THE SLIM-FAST PLAN    by Alan A Sandercott

    It's a bit of a shock
    on a January morning
    to step on the bathroom scales
    210 pounds
    they must be broken.

    It's times like that
    I prefer the metric system
    95 Kilograms
    now that sounds much better.

    I saw a woman on TV who lost 30 pounds
    on the Slim-fast Plan
    she looked great, a smile on her face
    a shake for breakfast, another for lunch
    'Delicious,' she said.

    So I figure, 'what the hell'
    I'll give it a whirl
    I've nothing to lose, but pounds.

    Now the Slim-fast Plan
    on the back of the label
    comes as another shock.

    Spinach and sprouts
    lentil, pumpernickel
    low fat yogurt!
    What have I got myself into?

    So I skip their diet
    and go with the shakes
    three different flavours
    250 calories sounds not too bad.

    'Be creative' they say, treat yourself
    blend in bananas or strawberries
    okay, lets see,
    strawberries work out to about 1 calorie per berry
    a banana has 89 ...
    this is nuts!
    Nope, can't have them either.

    So what's left
    but the monotonous shakes
    whole wheat bread
    lots of my kind of veggies
    water, lots of water.

    Much to my delight
    day by day the pounds disappear
    ooooh so slow
    all the while I resolve
    never, never again.

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    FIRST LOVE    by Alan A Sandercott

    Beyond the silken spider webs
    beneath the dust of time
    tucked away in darken attic
    lay a lonely steamer trunk.

    In grandma Martha's wake
    a lifetime revealed
    a mother's heirlooms
    of baby shoes and photographs
    her crinkled wedding dress.

    From deep within
    a bundle of old letters
    yellowed with time
    a curled lock of hair
    all tied with faded ribbon.

    The letters express a young man's love
    his deeply cherished memories
    of Martha
    his teary-eyed love
    left standing at the station.

    Who was this man named Charlie
    that penned such loving words
    torn apart by war
    this stranger from her past
    of whom grandma never spoke.

    He described his war in distant lands
    life in the trenches
    ankle-deep mud
    stale food
    amidst the stench of death.

    The monotonous battle for position
    measured in yards
    of give and take
    with an enemy
    a stone throw away.

    One chilling night all white with snow
    he wrote these final words,
    'At night I dream there is no war
    only you and I, hand in hand
    in a field of gold
    waving gently in the breeze.'

    Beneath the din of Howitzers
    the rattle of Vickers machine-gun
    100,000 brave young Canadians
    charged forward next morning
    Easter Sunday, April 9th 1917.

    When the smoke of battle cleared
    Charlie lay among the dead
    felled upon the gentle slope
    assaulting Hill 145
    at France's Vimy Ridge.

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    THE VIEW I SEE    by Alan A Sandercott

    The view I see:
    beyond rolling mountains,
    shrouded in
    night's vanishing fog.

    The view to the south
    above the girdled cloak of
    wooded slope,
    bordering barren tundra.

    The view of ageless ice
    adorned with snow,
    swept clean by
    winds of time.

    The view I see:
    glistening in morning sun,
    pristine in nature's care,
    the peaks of Tweedsmuir Park.

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    FISH ON, LITTLE BROTHER    by Alan A Sandercott

    He stares from his hospital window,
    shackled by Crone's disease,
    the world passing him by
    sighing in frustration.

    He cherishes memories
    of family and friends,
    hunting and fishing,
    his passions of life.

    Many admire his
    courage and determination,
    his refusal to relinquish
    his quality of life.

    Unafraid of dying, he dreams of
    returning to Tweedsmuir Park
    in the shadow of ancient glaciers
    where the big fish bite.

    In the depths of winter,
    cradled by family,
    the shackles break.
    His new voyage begins.

    Far in the distance,
    beyond the Whitesails and portage,
    lies the lake called Eutsuk
    wherein my brother's spirit rests.

    There's peace in knowing
    he's there,
    free amidst pristine wilderness,
    in the place he loves so much.

    Now, as I gaze towards those snowy peaks
    I see his face,
    hear his call on the evening breeze,
    "Fish on."
    And I smile.

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    THE PATH    by Alan A Sandercott

    It seems so long
    since you came to visit,
    walking alone,
    staff in hand,
    on the path through the trees.

    Those evenings when we sat
    by roaring campfire,
    father and son
    talking of times past,
    our plans for the future.

    We sat and gazed upon the lake,
    enjoying the quiet of night.
    No words were spoken
    then you were gone,
    on the path through the trees.

    Now many years have passed.
    Campfire embers cool,
    memories fade,
    but my heart holds strong.
    Our kinship bond remains.

    In the still of the evening
    I feel your presence by my side.
    We gaze upon the lake
    and I await my turn,
    on the path through the trees.

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    THROUGH YOUR EYES    by Alan A Sandercott

    I write these words to you,
    my descendants.
    You who walk on other worlds,
    you who soar among the stars.

    Remember me on your journeys,
    me who waited upon this earth,
    me who stared upon the stars,
    and yearned for such a voyage.
    Pause a moment to look around,
    speak my name.
    And through your eyes,
    I shall see the worlds of my imagination.

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