Thursday, November 3, 2011

Truck Lights

I first heard Rene Fumeleau’s poem about two years ago while driving in my car and listening to the CBC.  It made an impression so I more recently offered the poem for our Board meeting as we find our way through a time of uncertainty, calling on our faith in God and in each other.  A few weeks later I offered the poem in a sermon while visiting with the Cariboo Presbytery in Fort St. James, where it was also appreciated.  So now I offer it to you, that you may have the faith to go forward even with the little light we have in the moment.

Truck Lights
By Rene Fumeleau, an Oblate priest doing missionary work in the far North.  Beuchoko is about 80 kilometers north of Yellowknife.  This piece is from his collection of poems,  Here I Sit.

Wintertime and very cold,
early afternoon but already dark.
I'm driving from Sombak'e (Yellowknife) to Beuchoko (Rae)
in my fifteen-year-old pickup truck,
and a Dene elder askes me for a ride.

The land has taught the Dene
to live in a world of silence.
After ten kilometeres, Kolchia relects:

"Driving the truck is like having faith in God."
I'm trying to figure out what he means,
but after two kilometres I give up:

"Grandpa, you talked about driving and faith in God.
I'm not sure what you meant."

Kolchia turned slightly towards me:
"You started the engine and you put the lights on.
We could have said,
'We see only one hundred metres ahead.
Farther on, it's one hundred kilometres of darkness,
so we cannot go the Beuchoko.'

But you got the truck into gear,
we started to move,
and the lights kept showing ahead of us.

Posted by Dan Chambers

1 comment:

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