Mennonite Poetry Home | Elmer Wiens



It Was a Time

It was a time when
as the Sumas lake bottom dried
the small, independent Mennonite farmers
with a few acres in raspberries, strawberries
and beans — cash crops two or less
years after planting — a few apple, cherry,
plum and pear trees, and of course a kitchen
garden — fresh fruit and vegetables
for eating and canning — a chicken barn,
half a dozen cows and enough pasture
for grazing and winter hay, two or three pigs
in the pen, farmers with hard work, piety, and order
who processed and marketed produce through
the Co-op and a day-job on the side flourished
gratefully for a good and successful life,

but guilt ridden for brothers and sisters
in the former Black Sea colonies, dispossessed,
murdered, dispersed, enslaved in Siberian work
camps, drafted into the Red Army, killed, captured,
repatriated to Germany, drafted into the Wehrmacht,
killed, captured, starved families decimated,
and maybe sponsored as immigrants to Canada.

It was a time when
the small, independent Mennonite farmers
who sold their farms to those displaced persons
and soldiers from the Vedder army base all flourished
in Clearbrook, Langley, Vancouver, the Okanagan,
Kitimat, and even in Winkler, Winnipeg and California.

© Elmer Wiens




      Copyright © Elmer G. Wiens:   EgwaldTM Web Services       All Rights Reserved.    Inquiries