June 30, 2011 at 4:42 PM
For Tofino Paramedics Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka- October 19, 2010
I am a poet living in Tofino. Along with most of the residents of our small, remote village, I was shaken with the death last year of Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka, when their ambulance went off the road and plunged into Kennedy Lake.
In grappling with the tragedy, I wrote a poem, which I would like to share with your members.
For Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka
October 19, 2010
Two ambulances draped in black,
their flashing lights a silent dirge.
The skirl of bagpipes, thump of drums.
A thousand marched through these grey streets,
streaming yellow, navy, red—
a bright and sombre ribbon of police
and paramedics, search and rescue.
All our lifelines reaching out
past hospital, Co-op, RCMP,
where the flag at half-mast floundered.
Past the barricaded side streets,
past a thousand on-lookers,
mute, dark coats shrugged close
against the dark day, among us
a nod of greeting, a hand clasped.
A man picked up a small child,
held her tight.
Then drums and pipes faded
toward the school ground,
the clump of boots,
the breath-like sough of the wind,
the waiting rain.
Inside the vast nave of the white tent,
the smell of goose droppings
and wet schoolyard grass.
Down the long aisle,
two blue cushions,
on them, two pairs of boots
black and polished.
The crowd sat chilled, cold seeping in
from ground and air,
from the memory
of every time we have driven
the dark and winding road
home toward fire and light.
Each eulogy fiercely burning
our frosted veins.
And then it began to rain,
a full lament from the lowering sky,
beating the heaving canvas roof.
And at the end, the last call,
a voice over the radio:
"3-6 kilo? 3-6 kilo – are you there?"
It was their unit number,
but it could have been a weight—
greater than the gravity
with which our world
embraces earthbound things,
a load more ponderous
than the press of water,
a burden shifted suddenly
from their shoulders
© Janice Lore 2010