Down on the farm
January 21st, 2021
Linda Thompson grew up on a cattle and potato farm in the Pemberton Valley. As an adult, she has lived on Vancouver Island for many years on what her father called “barely a hobby farm.”
Her writing has been published widely in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Now her debut poetry collection, Black Bears in the Carrot Field (Mother Tongue $19.95) that celebrates small town characters, will be released this July.
There’s Eddie, who rolled his skidder in ’68, Kirk buying a house on a Visa credit card, Verna who sneaks back from the dead and Ethyl Peach hammering out tunes on a mildewed piano. There’s plenty of farm imagery with cows, horses and old cars, and dreaming about black bears in the carrot field. There’s even Jesus, come to town driving a Chevy Chevelle (or was it a Dodge Dart?) later spotted at the Stawamus Chief looking way up.
Described as country songs crossed with dark lyricism and wit, Thompson’s poems humorously tell of people full of imperfection and guts.
Bob’s House (excerpt)
After the old man died, the boys divided the property, tidied things up, so to speak.
Bob took the west side along the Ryan and south of the homestead. Said he always
wanted to be on one side of the road and one side only. Didn’t like a highway through
the farm, well, back then it was mostly ruts, but he didn’t like the interruption, it was
like people driving through the middle of his living room. So they jacked up the
squatty maroon shack and got Dick Black down with his D-8 and he did the job for
a bottle of whiskey – probably cheap, it was all the same to Dick, who loved his
drink and froze solid in a snowbank outside the hotel pub in ’61. Dick’s mother
told his friends at the funeral she knew he’d be in trouble one day for never wearing
socks. When they were younger, Dick and Bob had made every dance they could at the Community Hall where Ethyl Peach hammered out tunes on a mildewed piano and
Elmer Heck blew his heart out on a saxophone his uncle Winnie had brought from Bavaria.
From Black Bears in the Carrot Field by Linda K. Thompson (Mother Tongue Publishing, July 2021)