Cave Painting


Prof. Jeanine Kowalski, PhD, Anthropology:

“I write until very late in my parents’ farmhouse, in my old bedroom. 

I am visiting at Thanksgiving, writing my research.  

I love my parents, to be here, my work. 


“When I was seventeen, here, in my childhood bedroom,

Threatened with boredom, which my parents implied was the Prince of Darkness, 

And to be fair I believed it myself, independently,

I did not honour the life and love commitment I made to a seventeen year old boy.

I gave up, temporarily, the love-courage of girls. 


“The combine harvester working by floodlight in the field outside this room is harvesting soybeans while I write.

The man who was that boy is driving the combine harvester at night, harvesting his parents’ crop, helping his parents.

He is driving back and forth by tractor floodlight and headlights and the headlights of the trucks aimed up the rows. 


“I do not have to live without love or happiness or beloved children.

 I am pretty, too. I got most of the gifts.

He has a wife and children and a life of his own.

If I was treacherous, I am, I am sure, forgiven, but still, 

After even the fullest and truest justification, you must look at the thing itself,

Just the thing itself ….


“And to do that I would need the kind of love poetry which is hardest to find, the love poetry which is all we have left

Of the great art of cave painting, poetry not drawing its power from melancholy, but shining with wanting, with excitement and awe.

He had, of all the gifts, character.”


Paul Anthony Hutchinson

copyright Paul Anthony Hutchinson 

They Were Children Together

They Were Children Together
I remember her white poet shirt and clean clear face.

She is on stage at the Mansion House, a St. Catharines bar:

Songs she wrote and songs learned from the radio

Brag of coarse and earthy evenings.

She sang, “…when I’m drunk I’m a nihilist…”
She jokes that her life is a documentary limerick.

She has two children.

She’s the eager daughter of rich peasants.

Impulse, defiance, insults, she defends as truth and a joke.p
“I’m going to tell him you’re his father,”

She said to her best friend while I listened.

“You don’t have to pay.

I told my parents you’re the father”

And while he cried she said:

“You could make everything all right for me.”

Paul Anthony Hutchinson

copyright Paul Anthony Hutchinson
(this poem was published May 2002 in Shadow Voices)