On the Streets of Montreal
by Brian Gourley
The last day of October and the first breath of snow:
I was grateful for the fire-red scarf as the gusts blew
And the bitter streets turned their backs,
their trenches and insurmountable peaks
were too full of depth and height
to overcome. In the cold fading of the light
That sea-blue Irish Harrington
of mine could never offer protection
from the cutting teeth of the North wind.
A vision of lost souls haunted the mind
As I drifted downhill on the Rue Ste-Catherine.
I imagined them following me as if in intercession,
Pleading, entreating, demanding some second chance
at life, some release from the futility of circumstance.
In St Patrick’s Basilica I sat in empty pews
without thought or prayer in the shadows:
A desperate seeker after some imagined real vision.
To gaze into the dark was a Sisyphean ardour; no revelation
And I was halved, quartered, scavenged out to the hollow core
of barest existence and the heart knew this too much to bear.