Monthly Archives: February 2012

Colleen Thibaudeau Reaney, 1925-2012

Colleen Thibaudeau Reaney, poet and beloved wife of James Reaney, passed away on February 6, 2012 in London, Ontario. Colleen will long be remembered by her family, neighbours, and many friends.

Colleen’s poems and short stories have appeared in magazines and journals since 1945. Here is a poem Colleen wrote in 1984 in her book The Martha Landscapes.

 

The Star Over the House Quilt (Last night I dreamed…)

Last night I dreamed about you all under the Star Over the House Quilt;
I remember mother making it: the little squares of jonquil window lit
The doors, shutters often green. Your block has still the hollyhock (french knots)
Mine has the lilac (front yard), looking hard the lilacs still are blooming there,
The real ones down — time and town development don’t affect the quilt.

Each of us, house body, and the star, the star-filled head;
Each of us bedded down lifetime dreams the star-filled town
Waking goes walking the houses of our own making, talking the blocks away.
I might move into you taking on hollyhock            but it’s not
Me really just the dreaming of the star-filled head.

The Star Over the House Quilt she made it extra size;
Her eyes puzzled out each stitch; she declared her fingers to be all pricked
And she licked the blood from roofs, sidewalks, from the small yards
With the ever-blooming trees pointing to the stars
Of the Star Over the House Quilt.

Sheila and Colleen in St. Thomas, Ontario, 1942

 

Colleen Thibaudeau and James Reaney, 1950

 

 

James Reaney and Colleen Thibaudeau near Stratford, Ontario, 1982.

 

Update March 3, 2012:  In tribute to Colleen Thibaudeau and her work, the London Public Library, Brick Books, and Poetry London have commissioned a billboard with her poem “Balloon”. The billboard will go up sometime in the week of March 26, and there will be a a “Balloon” billboard launch on Saturday April 14 at 3:00 pm. The library is also printing postcards of “Balloon” to hand out during April, which is National Poetry Month.

 

© 2017 James Reaney