Biode: A Life in Rhyming Couplets

To tell of a life

In just one go

These are things

I’d have you know



Born in Britain

A good while back

Swaddled through the last

Of the rocket attacks

Four poor schools

In three sad years

Boarded and battered

And oft in tears

For that was the way

In that land and day



My mother was kind

And good and true

She took me to the park

And to Whipsnade Zoo

To the British Museum

The Palace, the Tower

And read to me for many an hour

But best of all it seems to me

She brought me to Canada

In ’53


There my dad picked us up

In a new blue car

And we crossed to the Prairie

‘Twas ever so far

Far and wide and open and free

Filling the very heart of me

Boy ‘though I was

A mere lad of eight

I’d the golden key

To a garden gate

Where the other boys

And their sisters too

Had open smiles

And would welcome you

But I’d never entirely

Not be that boy

His own devices

Left to employ

King Street School N. Battleford


I went to school

Less to work than play

But always managed

To make my way

North Battleford, then Saskatoon

Where I’d many a dance

To a coach’s tune



Packing a pigskin

Crossing the line

Ahead of the field

Much of the time

Lookin’ from my back

In the pole-vault pit

While the bar stayed

Where I’d flown over it


Then my Dad said go

‘fore you settle down

There’s a big old world

To be gone around

Kim’s Gun, Lahore

So I went and returned

And quickly found

That I’d no taste left

For the common ground

I gave it the good old College try

I could do the work

But could not see why


Then I paid my rent

To the smell of ink

After Dad and I

Took things to the brink

Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Toronto

I’d sign on, stay

In six months, go

‘Till I shied, not from love

But from ties that bind

‘Though that wasn’t clear

To my young man’s mind

And fled, as it were

Back across the plain

Over the Rockies

To the Land of Rain

By then I carried

A fine guitar

Had penned some songs

’bout my life, so far

I sang in the corner

To tune my ear

And to find a voice

Folks might stay to hear

Tried peyote and LSD

I’d not deny

What they helped me see


As I always hoped one might

Came the love of my life

In the gloaming light

We crossed this land

Where she’d never been

Then returned to the part

That is ever green

We built a boat and sailed away

To where the wild things

Still hold sway

Herbert Arm

And then returned

And found anew

A way to live as we wanted to

And I became

Believe you me

A boom-man

Fine as you’ll ever see

I could make that ‘winder’ dance

And do

Every little thing that

I wanted it to


Then I ran a little boat

Tough as could be found

Pulling deadheads

From the booming grounds

Until one day I was made to see

What many a year

Would hold for me

A lone beachcomber

In a silver craft

Runnin’ over boomsticks

With his shallow draft

With nary a nod

To the powers that be

A picture I still clearly see


Just how

I’ll say elsewhere

In prose

But I found a way

As you might suppose

To become a man in a silver boat

Going anywhere

That wood could float

In the gentlest calm

And the wildest seas

With nary a nod to ‘if you please.’

We’d many a year

At the water’s side

The seasons the measure of life

The tide

The money was good

And not ill spent

When we wanted to go

Well, we just went

Into Vancouver…. to see a play

Back on the plane

The very next day


To her home in Australia

With my love, we’d go

We: the daughters she bore and I

Each the apple of their daddy’s eye

A pony for riding, a dog, two cats

A rowboat, a kayak, stuff like that

Friends from away

And along the shore

Who could fairly ask for more?

Yet more we got

On another isle

Being paid to stay

Don’t it make you smile?

Amidst long miles of open shore

Where the tugboats

Fought the tide

And bore logs

For the Fraser

And Howe Sound

Bound for the sawmills

And the sorting grounds

Right where we lived

The wind would rise

And catch the log tows

By surprise

Bundles and loose logs everywhere

Plenty o’ money

For to do our share

To get those humpty dumpty tows

All together ere the next gale blows

We left that life, as all things pass

For a nice little house

A shop, some grass

As I had written

A thought or three

On the odd little thing

That was botherin’ me

Before I knew it

I’d said O.K.

I’d stand up on election day

And so I came

To spend six years

Giving a colleague or two

The gears

While things at home

Went clickety-clack

And changed in ways

That won’t change back


I am a man now

Not a boy,

His own devices

Left to employ

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This