One kilometer from the Kouchibouguac River, in Kent County, New Brunswick, this
specific plot was known as the "Middle Field." It was famous for potato growing.
My great uncle left here decades ago. The field disappeared. Trees grew. Eventually, a
cousin opened part of it again, to make way for a Christmas tree lot. In 1994, I acquired
nine acres of it.
I am a writer, best known for my poetry. It would be fair to say I am prolific, having
written an estimated 20,000 poems in some 35 years. In any case, this spot - a mile from
my nearest neighbor - off a dirt road, is ideal for contemplation and for writing.
I have no power - the lines don't come this far. I have no phone and no car. To some
extent, I live off the land. I do a bit of farming, and I harvest natural things, which I
I have been alone for almost two years now, except for my two dogs, Lacey and Billy,
and, naturally, the animals.
While always a country person at heart, I have lived many years in cities, from Moncton
to Toronto and Vancouver. I could, and would, never go back. It's that simple.
I built this house single-handedly, using hemlock. It is large, as yet unfinished, but
it surely is home. I dug my well by hand also, and the water is wonderful. I surprised
even the local dowser, hitting water at ten feet, in a drought, atop a considerable hill,
exactly as I had predicted.
Until recently, I had never seen doves in the wild. For some time now, I have had one
hanging around. In the morning, its plaintive cry always greets me, as it perches atop my
roof, directly over my bed.
Outside my window - even as I write this - where my garden sets, it is more the rule
than the exception to see my dove and other creatures foraging. It's exhilarating.
I burn wood. I built a 20-ton chimney by hand, harvesting sand from the spring run-off
at the road. I love the smell of wood, and its heat has no comparison elsewhere.
Atop my roof, I now have a medium-sized solar panel, which charges a battery, which in
turn gives me sufficient power to watch a small black and white television.
While I am quite secluded here, many people visit, including various members of the
media. I welcome everyone equally and always try to give gifts, be it of poetry, produce,
or walking canes - I go out in search of the latter each spring, and some of these have
been known to travel as far as California.
One of my greatest joys is corresponding with people, and it is not entirely surprising
that some people are drawn to this sort of lifestyle, even if they ultimately say they
couldn't live this life themselves.
Being a poet, I draw practically all of my inspiration from nature.
I am, without a doubt, close to the Earth. And I must say I have an acute sense for
things: we are in ecological trouble. I need not be told. I have lived through the
changes, and they have been quick to come upon us.
I have seen the animals disappear. It is now difficult to catch fish, and if you do,
you're warned not to eat them as, much like animal organs, they are now full of cadmium.
The sun beats down too hot, and the weather is unpredictable at the best of times.
I grieve for the Earth I knew as a boy, that time when you could play outside all day,
shirtless, and not fear skin cancer.
Right here, in isolation, I can go outside any clear day, look up, and count two dozen
jets overhead at one time, long trails of smoke painted across what would otherwise be
Basically a man of peace, I am not so readily forgiving of those who have taken it upon
themselves to destroy this planet, my home. And, rather than reversing trends, the pace is
accelerated, nothing less.
I know who they are, and what they're doing, which is wrong, and I know they know too.
So, what is it all about? How much longer before there's no reversing the damage?
I'd like to go on writing my poems. I'd like to look to a sound future, but I really
And it's beyond sad. It's shameful and mad.
I'm glad I came here, grateful of the privilege. My ancestors left quite a legacy, yes,
but what am I leaving? What is any of us?