Montreal Spring, 1955

Oh, when spring arrived, and high sun ousted winter’s
long blue shadows, how we shed our parkas, mitts, boots,

how rotten black snowbanks fled down city drains,
gutter tributaries to fleuve St-Laurent. Sudden sidewalks,

skipping ropes. Lady, lady, touch the ground, lady, lady
turn around. Feather light, bootless, how we learned to fly,

roller skates keyed on our shoes, bodies buzzing after,
vvvvvv all through supper and into sleep. How backwinds

fueled our bikes to park swings where we sailed over the city,
leaping again and again into wild freefall, skinned knees

our red courage badge. How Eden-new the earth smelled
when we scraped our vacant-lot marble holes,

aggies and catseyes kissing for keepsies. School a navy tunic
shrunk in the wash, parents missing till the streetlights came on.

3 thoughts on “Montreal Spring, 1955”

  1. Thank you Janet!

    I just came across this while browsing your network.

    What a delightful journey back through my own young years of welcoming spring. Do you remember ‘double-Dutch skipping?’ Our marble holes in Newfoundland were called ‘Mots.’ I’ve no idea why, and I’m content to let it be one of my young life’s mysteries.

    1. Thanks, Patricia. Double Dutch—now why was it called that?—I do indeed remember. We had another game in Montreal that consisted of many, many elastic bands linked into a rope. Two would hold the rope close to the ground and move it up incrementally. The lone player would stand on one foot and swing the other leg back and forth over the rope, while saying—as nearly as I can recall—“Yoka in the Kaisah, yoka-yi-yay, tanga, sobo, sadooh, saday.” I kid you not!

  2. Ok.
    Now, my young self is totally intimidated by ” Yoka
    in the Kaisha etc etc.” She, (me) wouldn’t have had a hope of making it through the words, not to mention the one-leg-ed balance trick. Montreal kids rock!

    Hope all is going well! ⛄️

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