friends of dufferin grove park
A poem about the joy of a rink

A poem by Toronto poet and Alexandra rink neighbour Richard Sanger.

Law of the Local Rink

Nothing so before, nothing so since,
Like the lure, the lore of the local rink-
You went to play shinny, to talk big and swear
And hork, as you said, over the boards,
--The boards that shook with each shot you'd take--
To chase the puck-what else?--for hours on end,
Then double over, gasping, your life in the air,
And push off again, thighs aching, blades crunching,
Till, with a deke and a flick of your wrist,
(It was all a dance, all a show)
You tapped in the goal that topped all the rest,
No sweat… No-the goal nobody saw,
Least of all the girls you most wanted to,
As they unveiled, on the rink next door,
Annie, Laura and sore-ankled Kate,
Their figures, and their figure eights.
Nothing so before, nothing so since,
Like the lure, the girls of the local rink.
The puck spun off, lost momentum.
You dropped your sticks and went to show them
Who could really skate, to start a game
--Tag, plain or frozen, or crack-the-whip--
And hope the girls you wanted chose you to chase,
Twirling, turning, you gave them the slip
Swooping down to steal, say, Annie's toque
And take off, to stop and taunt her, play hard-to-get
To duck and spin and hear her squeal and squeal yourself,
Then hide the toque where she would have to grab it
Until she dared and she did, arms round your pants,
And in the snow, a-ha!, you both collapsed-
(It was all a show, all a dance)
Nothing so before, nothing so since,
Like the lure, the law of the local rink.

--Richard Sanger, from Calling Home (Signal Editions, 2002).