The Lament of a Hurtful Past | Review of “Hear and Foretell” by Joseph A. Dandurand (2015) BookLand Press

Hear

We have all heard about the pain and the anguish of the Aboriginal peoples recently but do we really get a chance to understand them. Quick sound bites and small mentions in news items touch on their pain but then move on to another issue. Hence, it is insightful to read the thoughts of someone like Joseph A. Dandurand through his collection of poetry called Hear and Foretell.

The Kwantlens – Page 8-9

I had to open a building

this morning for a crew

they were going north

into our territories

up in a place called

Stave Lake.

 

They will be digging for

stone tools

pieces of our

lost

puzzle.

 

who are we?

 

the Kwantlens

 

a pitiful number of 90

than once numbered

in the thousands.

 

smallpox epidemic

wiped us out

80 % of us sick

died

tortured

by illness

one sneeze

and it was over.

 

here now we dig

for our stones

ancient signs

that we once

lived further north

than this island.

 

here we are centuries

of pieces

of torn up

families.

 

quietly my son

goes to the water

and skips a stone

that will be found

a thousand years

from now

in a land

not

forgotten.

Dandurand opens his soul to give a simple voice to complex thoughts and emotions here. His words are clear and small but are able to reveal to the mind’s eye his situation directly and we are able to empathize and understand the world he resides in.

Afterthought Memories – pages 18-19

where is the war?

where do priests go when they touch

little boys?

 

where are the nuns who

beat me and stepped on me

and controlled me?

 

this is not a poem for

carnivals and happy places

nor is this the perfect life

filled with pictures

of happier times.

 

people keep asking me for pictures

but I do not like being in a picture

and there is nothing mysterious

or sacred

as to why.

 

I am a picture.

 

this etched face

this empty heart

this portrait of a hack writer.

 

this fridge makes a noise

the uncaring listen into my home

wondering who I am.

 

don’t ask

and no pictures please

leave me alone

to write pictures

like this one.

 

a landslide

of afterthought

memories

taken

and tossed.

Dandurand does an excellent job in capturing elements of the human condition and bring them forth in this book. While he enlightens us about modern Aboriginal life, he also expresses some of his personal anguish and fears, sharing thoughts we all have at times and helping us not feel alone in our pains.

Lovers – Page 56-57

there have been good ones

sad ones

crazy ones

and then I speak

and all of them run away.

 

wouldn’t you?

 

am I so terrible?

 

I go in with passion

upon my lips

as I caress them

as I love them.

 

today I have no lovers

only memories of goodbyes

and I wonder who is loving

them all now.

 

I curl up on an empty bed

hugging myself

trying to feel a sensation that

is no longer there.

 

the window is closed

the blinds are down

the cats are sleeping

the room is empty

except for a frightened man

hiding his love

from lovers

who all walked away.

 

I open my mouth

to speak

to save myself

but the words

are all empty

yes

my

words

are empty.

Hear and Foretell by Joseph A. Dandurand brings forth an element of the human condition rarely explored. His words are simple yet his emotions are deep and complex. A great read and an author worthy of further study.

Link to the Wikipedia page on Joseph A. Dandurand

Link to Bookland Press website for a page on Joesph A. Dandurand

 

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