Janitor

“Janitor” is a poem from Souwesto Home, James Reaney’s recent collection of new poems, published by Brick Books in 2005.

Janitor

I love gateways into farms & yards: even more
Do I love door-
ways (latches, their hooks, hinges, keyholes).
From my collegiate days
I remember the janitor,
Mr January,
Who lingered, with his blizzard broom
At the highschool’s entrance, tending
His garden of galoshes, rubbers, boots,
Mudmats, sleet mops, rainwhisks.
Awesomely quiet, brooding, puttering man,
He had, in his pockets, keys for all locks
Of classroom, gymnasium,
Even the mysterious cubby holes under stairs,
And the exits & entrances of the assembly
Auditorium.
You shuffler & sweeper, who opened, who shut,
Kept the rain, wind, mud, snow, out,
And us, inside, warm & dry.
Doorkeeper, in some strange way,
You caretaker, though you were
Neither principal nor teacher,
You secretly governed the school.
We often dreamt of you,
Our most remembered educator.

James Reaney, 2005.

James Reaney attended Stratford Central Collegiate, now Stratford Central Secondary School, from 1939-1944. On November 26, 2010, the school held a celebration to rename the school’s old auditorium the James C. Reaney Auditorium in honour of his achievements as a poet and playwright.