Hurricane Rena's

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Author: Hurricane Rena

In Memory of Crusty John

In Memory of Crusty John

(what I admired most about John Proski was his outrageous sense of humor and his cheerfulness, and how hospitable and socialble he was)

In memory, in celebration of the life of Crusty, John Proski
That guy who was a friend to all in the Bay here,
Threw a party that went on for several years
Like a king on the hill watching over the neighborhood from the bunker
Hospitable and social,
Welcoming, with time to talk most of the time
Sharing some wacky ideas
Laughing often in the course of his life
Bringing home the FOS
Last one to join the fleet of the great DQ charters
Admired from above
On its own portable ways forever,
And John was my favorite water taxi driver when I first met him
Hauling us over cheaply to parties on Read
Dances at Surge
The best birthday ever was one where my friends got him to
Take me out sailing on the Silver Lining
Over to Maurelle to get Stui and his dog,
Packing on board everyone we could find.
I only knew him in his later years
When he already had so many great stories about the life he’d lived,
Friends from all over coming to see him,
Then falling madly in love and moving out
It was so sweet to travel with him and his lady
When he was all happy
On a voyage to Sontuila
And oh how it pleased him greatly to get
Back on the water with the Sonic
Where you could drag a bent pin and catch a fish, he claimed
Living on an ex troller in his later days
Taking up wharfage collecting, a government job at Minstrel
Wandering around here and there
John Proski enjoyed his time on Earth
Was loved and appreciated by those he knew,
Made proud by the kids that he raised
Of whom he spoke highly in his later days
So we come to say good bye to our good friend Crusty
John Proski, whom we will miss on the coast here a lot,
But sure that he’s finding his way in other worlds,
As cheerful as he ever was in the very early mornings of this one.

The Silence of Zoe

The Silence of Zoe
by Rena Patrick

(written in honour of Zoe Cassidy)

Picking up Zoe on the roads
Always made me smile
With outrageous humor and hope
That there’s some free spirits coming up in the younger generation
Who sees walls and fences placed in his path
As another blank canvas
With which to add a touch of color
A flair for the outrageous
An imagination of greater depth
These are just surface impressions of the man
I did not know him well
Just a few ways our paths crossed on this island
And when they happened to cross
Zoe Cassidy always brightened my day
Reminding me of the times when I saw the world
as a blank canvas with magic imagination
When steel boxes were a surface to which color and character must be added
now lost years too soon
on his way from this world,
his presence, or his absence
strikes my heart with the importance of treasuring each day
in its own special way
And not letting it all get taken away
By the things that bring us down.
The silence of Zoe speaks loudest of spotting the brilliance
In this first sunny day after weeks of rain
OF not letting the flood waters of your sadness carry you away.
But seize what you can to treasure in life
hold close the moments of each day
How the things in life that cheer our hearts
need to be honoured,
held close and treasured
How delicate the enthusiasm that keeps us alive
is such a fine line
Whispered to me in the silence of Zoe

Echoing on in Song

Echoing on in Song
(dedicated to the memory of Steve Trayler, written by Rena Patrick)

Steve I remember you best in song
the sound of your voice and guitar echoes on
Writer of some of my favorites,
fellow poet of the west coast
writing ballads of our collective history
Love of stories,
Words connected he and I
Heated debates we had, inspired the creation of Poetry Pigeonhole and
Honouring historic changes within your lifetime with
Non Timber Forest Products
and Valentino
I danced to your songs every chance I got
and made you smile
She left me for Jesus
at the Sunday afternoon jam,
Your pictures present at my very first art show
in the Fools Gallery years ago
when I wondered who you were
along the same lines as mine,
except yours were in fine lines and detail
Mine painted in colors and impressions
a contrast yet similarity in style
Honouring character and place
as it changes and as it stays the same,
With the main work of your career
dedicated to trying to help others
a compassionate man
who tried to understand
The tragic tales that befall those around us,
Driven mad caught between compassion and effectiveness
Turned to the water, and boating
For enjoyment and beauty to be the main thing
to share with others the enjoyment of our waters
without the pursuit of prey,
It was the water that took you on your way
On a quiet night,
a tragedy too soon,
but a way that others would wish to go
with no trips to hospitals or old folks homes,
no lengthy illness to make you dread your fate
That everyone shares at the end of all our days
Just a cold sparkling starlight night for your journey
and all of us here to remember you
Remember you best in song
When we hear your voice echoing on.

Memories of Martin


Memories of Martian

Just last week I was dancing with Martian the fishing guide

It turned out to be the week just before he died

The man who started looking like his prey as he aged

Eyes and teeth getting bigger

Munching away on this fine duck dinner in the restaurant in Heriot Bay

Drinking in the lounge

saying, “this does not quite sound as good to me

as the music that was being played

When I was a young man

But I got to go to the show

Enjoy as much of this as I can before I go”

Standing out in a crowd as the oldest guy up dancing

Song after song, with a big grin on

The way we all keep wishing more of the men around here would do

With beautiful girls for partners

Laughing and grinning all the way

Come to think of it he’s been at almost every one I’ve gone to this winter,

Every time I got up to play,

He’s doing the just same

Always wants to hear my latest poetry

Discuss the ideas behind the words

Or singing out on the smoking deck

“And we won’t give a damn when we drink our rum

With the girls of old Maui”

Martian knew it all, word for word,

Wearing what he refers to as his super bowl rings

Gold that he’s won in derbies

Of his own pro sport

Profession, passion in life

Last fall we were talking

By the parking lot in Heriot Bay

Got splashed by a huge chum jumping right by the beach

and he’s saying

“that fish is so horny he barely knows what he’s doing

just trying to get to the creek as fast as he can”

Splashed by a big one

and it’s “That fish just made my day”

As we go on our separate ways

with his presence in life getting ever more vivid and intense

just before he went

This is Martian, always our friend.

To Honour Carl Nelson


To Honor Carl Nelson

Last time I saw him he said

“ I think you and I will be friends for a long time”

But it wasn’t quie long enough

We never got another chance to recite poetry

around the fire in winter again

Eating sandwiches of sockeye spread with ooligan oil thick as margarine

For a double fish flavor

Drink home made wine and play music in the house he built himself

And named after some magical place in Viking mythology

Loaded with magic and beauty

Originality and artwork

Honoring life and the creative spirit

I’ve sat in his sauna

Being cleansed from toxic copper paint

Until the heat caused me to skinny dip in the ocean in November

Sad to hear that he’s gone but

Happy to hear that he rode right until the bitter end

Not a tragedy to die doing what you love

Last moments of life spent riding his motorbike

With the threat of long term illness looming large

Strikes fear in the hearts of the courageous

He went fishing after hearing he had cancer and limited time to live

After months of chemo and operations failed to cure him

Spent some of his precious time out on the boat chasing sockeye

To be one more time blessed by the ocean

A fortune grander than winning fifty thousand in the lottery

Like he did the year before to buy a slightly newer gill netter

With which to fish his last season

And I hear it was a good one,

though he didn’t live long enough to collect it all

Never made it out for chums

This great poet, fellow hunter of the ocean,

Keeper of legend and lore, appearing on tv reciting poems

Riding the roads strong in his heart

Facing death courageously,

The world will be so much less without him

We can only be thankful

That he took time to inspire others

To share of his life, his skills and imagination

so he’ll be remembered and treasured for years to come.


Memories of Mickey


Memories of Mickey

My Dad was such an inspiration

As the man I looked up to in my early childhood

As I listened with rapt attention

To his stories of how great it was riding a motorbike to the west coast

And hangin’ out on Long Beach, seeking a life of freedom

Thinking when I grow up, I’m gonna do the same

Rollin’ two wheel thunder through the rockies

To see the freedom of the open road, and standing up to the challenges

it offers, hail balls on the cliff edged highways, or camping out in the rain

Just like he presents us with here and now to honor him

Hay River in the winter time,

flights in the thousands of dollars to go on

at the end of a road seldom salted or plowed

Where they stopped sending the bus years ago because it broke down for 5 hours

When it was forty below and the people on it nearly froze

and many more would be here to honor him

The man who changed all our lives

With his soft spoken presence, his larger than life stories

Building a church on MacKay lake

Cabin turned church with stain glass windows to offer sanctuary

To contentious objectors in times of war

Later to be reffered to as

“that religious cult I was in back in the early 70s”

But I couldn’t see a difference between it

and other churches sponsering refugees,

just theirs came from the USA,

Church turned cabin where we went on so many fishing trips

Filled my younger years with adventure and fun and the pride

Of eating of what you have caught yourself

Allowing us to miss weeks of school to make the point

That “there’s no education so valuable as knowing how to feed yourself”

With both a rod and a gun

Helping to make me the great radio show host I’ve become

With a song for every occasion

Its “fearless Heart” when he’s looking for love

Or “Last thing I needed” when his first born daughter runs away

He says to me “there’s a song about people who quit school in grade six”

When I was never going back after lunch one day

And he makes me sit there and listen to Murry Macloughlin, songs from the street, Honkey Red

I had to go to Edmonton last month

and thank him in person for being my Dad

For being such an example of a decent human being

Wish I could be there myself to honor

Memoies of Mickey,


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