Leading the Ferry

         A kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Alice Frampton


First published in Tidepools: Haiku On Gabriola (Gabriola, British Columbia: Pacific-Rim Publishers, 2011). See my introduction to the book.



the sun just out—

a pod of orcas

leading the ferry                                                                              Michael


            in my wake

            kindergarten field trip                                                        Alice


bonnets for sale

in the small-town gift shop

discounted for fall                                                                           Michael


            at the bookstore

            a display of leaves                                                               Alice


patches on the moon—

the map hard to read

at the street corner                                                                        Michael


            the waitress drops her takeout

            into a puddle                                                                         Alice


Earth Day

the water line

in the empty pool                                                                            Alice


            news of Darfur

            on the Internet                                                                     Michael


in his text message

he tells me

he’s married                                                                                      Alice


            the boy’s T-shirt says

            I do all my own stunts                                                        Michael


mowing around

the Indian paintbrush,

my neighbor                                                                                      Alice


            bear scat stained red

            by blackberries                                                                     Michael


Alaskan sunset—

eagle talons found

in the salmon’s back                                                                       Alice


            a hubcap propped up

            by the side of the road                                                      Michael



the top of the wood stove

still warm                                                                                             Alice


            a satellite lost

            in the northern lights                                                         Michael


a gap in the fence

around the horse pasture . . .

the swaying grass                                                                            Alice


            for once mother doesn’t talk

            about her ailments                                                              Michael


windy alley—

the teenager can’t light

his cigarette                                                                                       Michael


            the firefighters spray

            each other                                                                              Alice


a late Christmas card

mixed in

with all the bills                                                                                 Michael


            I down my vitamins

            in a gulp of soda                                                                   Alice


at the grocery store,

she buys his favourite candy bar

instead of hers                                                                                  Michael


            freezer burn

            on the wedding cake                                                          Alice


target practice—

the husband and wife

swapping guns                                                                                  Michael


            the storehouse door

            rusted shut                                                                             Alice


rain catching

in the broken umbrella—

huddled tanager                                                                              Michael


            the quarterback calls

            for a double reverse                                                           Alice


two scoops

of Tutti Frutti

melting on the pavement                                                            Michael


            a layer of ice

            on the wheelbarrow                                                          Alice


the snowplow driver

stops to ask

for directions                                                                                     Alice


            late for mass

            the trysting choirboys                                                        Michael


Monopoly game—

finally I land

on Free Parking                                                                                Alice


            taxes done

            early this year                                                                        Michael


border crossing—

cherry blossoms

line the road                                                                                      Alice


            the prisoner of war

            home at last                                                                           Michael



Verses 1 through 13 written 18 July 2008, on the ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point, British Columbia.

Verses 14 through 16 written 18 July 2008, at Page’s Marina and Resort, Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

Verse 17 written 19 July 2008, at Page’s Marina and Resort, Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

Verses 18 and 19 written 20 July 2008, at Page’s Marina and Resort, Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

Verses 20 through 34 written 20 July 2008, on the ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen, British Columbia.

Verses 35 and 36 written 20 July 2008, just off the ferry in Tsawwassen, British Columbia.