Sunday, 8 June 2014

The View from Salt Spring Island

From the weathered wooden dock,
the lake lapped, serene in dreamy sparkles,
and intoxicating breezes – spirited and free:
conferring young-as-sixties peace
upon the glorious day

– and I am carried away –

back, to the beginning of time,
when bliss was bestowed in the fervent lyrics
and deep, highly anticipated kisses
of exuberant youth.

The bitter-sweet moment, as mystifying as:
looking down upon my long lost
macramé headband and puka shell beads
plucked from the bottom of a drawer,
to be held in old hands,

or, the sound of Cat Stevens
coming from the battered transistor radio
through the misty mesh of the squeaky screen door.

photo:  St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island – H. Bourke

note:  Salt Spring Island (one of the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia between mainland BC and Vancouver Island) has a colorful history.  The island was initially inhabited by various Native Salishan peoples before being settled by pioneers in 1859.  (While there are land settlement issues still being addressed in Canadian courts, relations between First Nations people and settlers were not entirely unfriendly:  they married and shared their knowledge of living off the land and sea.)  About half of the first settlers were black.  They had come from San Francisco in search of equal rights.  Salt Spring’s settlement is unique in that it allowed newcomers to farm land before purchasing it, using money from their harvested crops to do so.  In the sixties it became a haven for those avoiding the draft during the Vietnam War and, as such, attracted a population from across North America seeking an alternative life-style, personal freedom and acceptance. 

© 2014 Wendy Bourke


  1. Beautiful landscape and lovely poem ............both compliment each other!

  2. What a wonderful way to present the history.. I can hear that old wooden deck talk.. Proximity to the sea would have that effect.

    1. I think about time, more and more, as it passes by. And there is no place on earth where I find this to be the case, more so, than on Salt Spring Island - such a little wee, bit of a place (though still very much in a natural state) with so much history and so many reminders of it, right before one's eyes. And I agree, water: the lake, the sea - do conjure up that history . . . and one's place in it.

  3. nice...def a serene moment...and those tangible memories like hte shell and headband, they carry us right back there as well...i love the water....

  4. OH! MY! GOD! Wendy! I didnt know you live on Saltspring! You must know how I love Tofino and long for it......I have never been to Tofino but I KNOW, from everything I;ve heard, that the same type of Energy exists there. Oh my goodness! You are so darned lucky......I suppose renting a small space there is as impossible as it is in Tofino???? Fill me in!!!!!!!

    By the way, I ADORED this poem!!!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Sherry. I'll get back to you via email regarding beautiful Saltspring.

  5. How wonderful, Wendy, the way you capture and present those memories of the beginning of time: the beads, the transistor radio, etc.

    And thanks for the info!