Harold Macdonald's Muse






















The Real Me



Harold Macdonald

When I was sent to an Anglican residential school

I was torn from my family, my mother

and father (on a trip to Europe) and from

my neighbourhood, my indigenous culture: the

back alleys of Edmonton.


I lost touch instantly with Jimmy Ferguson

the first of our little gang to screw a girl and

afterwards he showed us her blood all over

his pants I guess he caught her at the wrong time

of the month


And tearing up the asphalt sidewalks, and

bullying that little kid down the street, which

is the real reason I was sent away, a good thing

too - and climbing the outside of buildings and



the slanted columns of the high level bridge

and seeing how far Susan Leiberman could pee

standing up like a boy; and intermittent attendance

at the first Presbyterian church, peaking through

my fingers during the interminable




a lesson on Amos and the plumb line, straight

like this cried the teacher slashing a bending line

down the black board; and discussing Miss Deverel’s

tits in grade two, hastening my departure

for school.


So you see, my indigenous self was stripped bare

and I had to be recultured, reindigenized, in

an English boarding school, with the yes sirs and

no sirs and oh sirs and please sirs, and standing

to attention and having to make proper corners

for my bed


learning music, being red-robed in the choir, singing

Stanford’s Te Deum and being repremanded for rendering

Handel’s “Where ere you Walk” while facing the

Congregation, and what the hell was that piece doing

in Church anyway?  And trying to win on the playing



Particularly there was that hovering Presence

insuring I was given a life, a patch

of sunlight, a place of brilliance inviting

worship and joy; my constant friend, her

black hair windblown, her smile for me, mischief

in her eye.



Midi: Sacred Ground