. Before Going to Sleep as a Boy I saw Him when I closed my eyes, Gazing down sidelong, seeing all, Serenely, stoically wise. I knew that judgement was to fall But found His habit was to look Past me—a boy’s vain hope, as He Was of his conjuring? I took, As a boy might, one way to be From that indifferent, manly face, A constant way, the prospect bleak, Perhaps, if measuring by grace For one inevitably weak, By flattering bounty, or by joy We might deem fitting for a boy. In this I took from what I knew, And knew to worship, what to fear, To love, to do and not to do. I also knew the desperate tear. For love, though it sustained me just, Seemed fleeting and at times unreal: I found betrayal of the trust A child ought always know and feel. The feeling often seemed to flee; The knowing held at last, that face— My father’s likeness, I now see— Though ashen, yielded that stiff grace, Steadfast, despite the sea-storm greys And dreadful mystery of that gaze. . . Unfashionable Advice to One in Need Eschew the fateful glance And solipsism’s trance. Sit with the truth a while. Whatever forms your style Or drives your thoughts and acts, Gaze coolly on the facts, Your history shaped by chance Or iron circumstance. For in such knowledge lies Our peace, though pain and tears Be due, as compromise Expires with hidden fears. As bonfires do the past Put rhetoric to flame, Or purge it in the blast. Forsake the ugly game That egotism plays, The dire polemics, cant About false anodynes, The artful cynic’s lines, The calculated rant— Give all of that the blaze. Hell feeds the ego’s pleasure, Until you lose the measure Of all we know as true— Then, lost, you lose anew. Be calm. Respect the real. Doubt self and what you feel. Expect no comfort where You face the steely stare And infinite reproof, The cold regard of truth. . . Tiree MacGregor began publishing verse with The Epigrammatist in the early 1990s. Since then his poems have occasionally appeared in print and online journals. He taught university English for many years in three Canadian provinces and now works as a freelance editor. Born in Scotland, he lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.