Rowley, Beatrice C. “The Bear at Camp.” Who Owns the Earth? Ed. Theresa M. Ford. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Education, 1979. 67.

This poem was first published in 1979, so what is it doing on our website? Well, the truth is, the author of the poem is the same R.H. Grenville with whose poetry I began posting to the blog. R. H. Grenville was born Beatrice C. Bunker in 1917. She moved to Canada in 1925, celebrating her 8th birthday en route. She eventually married Frank E. Rowley, and settled on the West Coast. As a youth, she was a frequent contributor to the “Poets’ Corner” in the Winnipeg Free Press.

The Bear at Camp

Fumbling and sniffling at the discard pile
He came by cover of the autumn dark
To see what he might rummage to his taste
And by such insolence became the mark
Of outraged hoots and cries, and one well-flung
Indignant boot. We did not see eyes,
But from his blundering and swift retreat
Imagined they were widened with surprise.

These woods are his. Have been for how long now?
Too long to count at least, if bears could count.
And what are we queer creatures doing here,
Loading among his ferns, beside his fount
Of crimson berries, with our alien smell
Polluting earth’s sweet, mouldy, wild perfume?
It needs some higher court here to decide
Exactly who is trespassing on whom.