Picnic Rock

Thomas O'Grady

A gift of Island Poetry | Curated by Deirdre Kessler

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An old album, a thumb-scuffed photograph,
black and white, circa 1964:
centred, hair tied back by a windblown scarf,
my mother in slacks and blouse. “The South Shore.”

Behind her, pinned down by stones, a blanket
unfolded across a table-flat, block-
square boulder; and centred there, a basket
holding the Sunday supper. “Picnic Rock.”

The trusty Kodak, its accordion case . . .
My father, trouser cuffs rolled kneecap high –
just picure this – halfway up the cliff’s face
to snap that shot with such a focused eye.

How the shutter’s blink stops the lapping tongue
of tide and time, the bite of sea on land.
Can a poem’s lie keep my parents young?
Words erode into brine-washed grains of sand.


—Thomas O’Grady. Delivering the News. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.

Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for The Buzz.

A Gift of Island PoetryDeirdre Kesslerpoetry