Stuart Ian McKay's "Weaselhead Variations"

by Shaun Hunter


Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

A downy woodpecker in Calgary's Weaselhead flats. Said to be named after a Tsuut'ina chief, this 237-hectare park borders the west end of Glenmore Reservoir.  Between 1908 and 1998 the Canadian Armed Forces used the area for military training. The park is now a haven for wildlife, birders and poets. (Photo: Dan Arndt, Birds Calgary)

A downy woodpecker in Calgary's Weaselhead flats. Said to be named after a Tsuut'ina chief, this 237-hectare park borders the west end of Glenmore Reservoir.  Between 1908 and 1998 the Canadian Armed Forces used the area for military training. The park is now a haven for wildlife, birders and poets. (Photo: Dan Arndt, Birds Calgary)

On a March morning, the poet opens his senses to the Weaselhead flats along the Elbow River at the southwest edge of the city. He observes flora and fauna, mud, breeze, and “the waking river.” A landscape caught in the slow motion of a Calgary spring.

 

shine toppled trees roots gesturing exposed and worn down

in the intimacy of river, wind, seasons, as the wrinkles

around a woman’s eyes are to the land itself touched

tenderly, even to the formed spaces where anchoring roots

ache in the remembered river bank soil, defying birds,

leaving footsteps venial, as if to say an eternal thing was

 

 

Stuart Ian McKay, “Weaselhead Variations,” in Writing the Land: Alberta Through its Poets (House of Blue Skies, 2007)