War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

thanks (hard-asses need not read on!)

this morning, it occurred to me as I entered the avalanche zone of a mountain hike then saw fresh bear scat on the trail, that there was one important lesson I missed out when I wrote my posting, Infantry Lessons, and that is: Before leaving home, make peace with everyone/everything… with this in mind, I thought I’d take time for the following…

The great paradox of the great journey is that while we are alone, we are never alone… this journey is no exception, I need to thank (and forgive me if I’ve left you out, it’s not intentional) and/or ask forgiveness from:

CFAP/Dr. John MacFarlane, my fellow war artists who have taken time to meet me/share with me… Scott Waters, Dick Averns, Allan Harding MacKay

1PPLCI, especially 9er, LCol Walsh, for inviting me to spend this year with the battalion and for giving me the opportunity to watch the ramp up to deploy, and Capt. W. (congrats), my fixer, Cpl. M, my other fixer, Lt. E, my other fixer (!) from the Brigade, Capt. S-D, my other fixer (!!) from WWrt… the list is huge… I won’t begin to try to include all the names (MWOs, WOs, Sgts, SgtMs,MCpls, Cpls, Capts., Majs, Lts., enlisted men/women… etc. etc. etc.)… the vets who bear witness to what none of us can imagine… the wives, families, girlfriends

my fellow writers in Scotland and Canada, Ariel Gordon of the May Day Poetry Project , Madeline Nattras who translated for me, my fellow artists from the Banff Centre, Leighton Artist Colony, Scottish School of Poets, the readers responsible for the nearly 17,000 hits on this site (!) and who keep me honest (thanks Doug, Hebridean, Ososman, Tony, Alex, Brenda S, etc. and all of you soldiers eyeballing the details…), the flamencas who are my sanity and my lifeline, D @ caffe fantastico for keeping me caffinated (I made some in my room this morning and it tasted great along with the toast that I made using the iron propped upside down… an old infantry trick!), Prof. Tim Kendell for my ongoing education, the CBC, BBC etc., all of those who hire me for speaking engagements which allows me to fund this project… the list is endless

thank you to Michael Gravel for making me look good as always, Stewart McLellan and Dave Preston for helping me with my recordings, Eunice Montenegro for photography etc. etc…

but most of all thank you to the ones who are encouraging me, sometimes reluctantly (thanks mom), who may disagree with the war but who are behind me and what I’m trying to do, thank you to those for whom this work comes at great personal cost (F, E), to the ones who actually roll up their sleeves and make the journey possible by caring for my child while I’m away, the ones who love me/who are mystified by me/support me by giving me time/space/love/pray for me (OSP in Edinburgh/J & J…) and yes, even the ones who yell at me, throw criticism/abuse my way… you keep me questioning myself, you fuel the self-doubt, not a bad thing…

and to 2 Royal 22e Régiment, especially the boys of 21A who at this minute patrol the desert… merci safe return, every day that there is no news of you is a good day… I remember how you covered me with a blanket when I was cold aussi, merci Sgt. B who is also over there with the boys, the few hours I spent with you in the gunner’s turret, you showing me your absinthe world, fundamentally changed my vision of this earth…

oh and as always, to Cpl. D, the young afghan vet who opened the door to his experience, the heavy load of ’06, and his girlfriend J, I thank you and to all the Can Scots ditto… I just know there are glaring omissions… forgive me…

by the way, the mountains today are clear, bright, the shark fin of Rundle, sublime

5 Comments (Closed)

Ariel Gordon

No thanks necessary…I’ll be thinking of you!

Apr 21 2009 · 18:28


If you are ‘going over the top’ to the Land of the Poppies, take care. The inhabitants of Tir nan Og (The Land of the ever-young) do not want to meet you for a very long time so keep walking on the Traigh Mhor of life, with its sand held firmly in your grasp: and let the Galley of the Night sail without you The Lewis Chessmen can wait, and so must we!
It is we who should be thanking you for allowing us to accompany
you on your journey from the relative comfort and security of our laptops. God speed.

Apr 23 2009 · 13:49

Alex VanderWoude

Bon chance, may the ground you sleep on be soft, dry, and bug-free. It’s a pity I can’t make it to your reading Saturday, because I’d love to meet you in person. But I have a sick wife and young children, so, y’know…

Apr 24 2009 · 13:48


thanks Hebridean, this is an Ex. I’m going on, not the real thing. still, there should be Big Boom.
Alex, there will be other times. thank you for being interested.

Apr 25 2009 · 08:58


My mistake – again!
Whatever, take care and keep us all posted as best you can. Brits left Iraq today. The roll call of the dead at the dedication service was a stark reminder that war is not a game. No rest for our guys though; a quick leave, then off to the ‘Land of the Poppies’. Black Watch and Red Poppies – just like your dress, a popular combination!

Apr 30 2009 · 13:46

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled thanks (hard-asses need not read on!). It was posted here on April 21, 2009.


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