Art LaBorde

by Chris LaBorde

In December, 2006 in the ICU room where my dad spent his final days, we shared a special goodbye. I said, “Send me poetry, Dad.” He smiled and nodded before drifting away. In the weeks that followed his passing, a wonderful poem of his life-story came through in time to share with friends and family at the memorial gathering.

When the estate work was done, the following poem came through in my surrender to grief. The opening verses reflect how this recent loss triggered mourning of other losses, but “New Morning” suggests the hope that comes in our great capacity to heal.

Oh Darkness Divine, Keeper of the Light
That comforts and soothes while I traverse the night.
The pain of this loss opens wounds of old grief
That bathes me in tears which bring small relief.
The risk has been great to embroider the past
Giving credit to others while all fault holds me fast.
This salting my wounds and the salt in my tears
Keep me bound to the earth and give rise to my fears
That old pain once thought gone, wraps me like a cocoon
And the struggle within leaves no safe place immune
To the blame and harangue of abusive self-talk
That clouds my perspective and weighs down my walk.
I feel so unsure now of progress I’ve made,
The steps once familiar seem dim in the shade.
This gloom so unbidden, recalled from my youth
Has crept back to grip me, to shadow the truth
That Beauty and Light still dwell in my soul,
The tears add a luster while grief takes its toll.
A gem lies within though, still hidden from sight
Crushed and in turmoil, yet held in Love’s Light.
The glow from this pearl I hold close while I roam
It grows ever brighter to light my way Home.
I rest, I try breathing Light into my life
And seek those who’ve come to know peace after strife.
To this I surrender as Thy Will be done
And faith now grows stronger, a new day’s begun.


Will and Eliza had Fred and eight more
Southend to London, then Canada’s shore.
They built folks their dream homes in North Battleford
When Fred asked his Frida to be a LaBorde.

Along then came Arthur, some years after Ed.
A son to be proud of, the things in his head!
The music, the laughter, success at the books,
A natural at business and how ’bout those looks.

Piano and choir gave young Art a gift,
His folks’ dance pavilion, a summertime lift,
Their board and bunk-housing let students partake
To play in the dance band each night at the Lake.

Art soon developed a love for Big Band
And to the sax’phone he then turned his hand
With Jim Barbour’s swing-time playing on the weekends,
Weekdays at the shop to learn new building trends.

Known while in school as orator and athlete,
Art found this helped him to make life complete;
Romantic and stylish, Art wed Mary Ann,
Was welcomed as in-law by all the Boyd clan.

He served on town council and chaired the school board,
Supported the Kinsmen as time would afford
With three bouncing daughters, his elders and wife,
He sought to serve all who were lights to his life.

As time grew closer for Art to retire
Some good intentions began to backfire.
Up for the challenge, Art moved to BC
And folks there welcomed him as family.

Art and Joan married, grown so much alike;
Art embraced in-laws, both Donald and Pike.
Both enjoyed hand-crafts, green thumbs in their yards
And so much laughter with friends over cards.

Drawn to the Prairies, they moved back to nest,
First out at Cochin, N.B. for the rest.
Delighted to be there to roost with old friends,
Art baked and he gardened right up to the end.

Art was called home in December last year
Asking his daughters to gather, be near.
Courage and prayer lit his pathway with Love,
His spirit well cared for, both here and above.


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