Tom Gone

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Have I kept ya wondrin

How northern lake consumed me

Was it from a skirmish

Or woman in the wings?

Stop the silly meddling

And try ta see what I see

Dancing crystal waters

Up where the white throat sings.

Coulda made a bundle

At logging or the deep ore

But that forest gripped me

And took away my soul

Packed up sparse for paddling

My paints and planks a-ready

Colour and creation

My happy splashing goal.

Had a group of friends

Who talked of naught but canvas

Said the city’s market

Was getting close to prime

Talked of light and texture

In glacier, mount and stream-side

Slap dab of a moment

Dominion’s charms sublime.

How I loved the thunking

Of paddle on the gunwhales

How I froze a watchman

For heron, moose or bear.

Lattice work of branches

Or red leaves by the rapids

Couldn’t find a better thrill

No not anywhere.

Never weep this youngster

Was taken seems too early

Musta packed in three lives

In doing what I love

Oh the smells and stillness

Of pine and borealis

Crackling fires near reaching

That Painter up above.

In respectful memory of the days and ways of artist Tom Thomson who died mysteriously of drowning in Algonquin Park in 1917. Many brilliant examples of his pioneer style in Canadian art may be found at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. There is also a museum in his birth town Owen Sound.

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