Hubert Reginald Evans, the Elder of our Tribe
You’re about to read few short paragraphs about a classical Canadian poet, Hubert Reginald Evans. Through my paragraphs, you’ll learn some interesting facts about Hubert Evans, and read my interpretation of one of his poems, “Release”.
The poet Hubert Reginald Evans was born in 1892, Van Leek Hill, located in Ontario. After World War I, at the age of 16, he permanently moved to British Colombia with his family. Hubert married Anna Emily Winter in 1920, and 6 years later, he decided to try freelance writing as a full time occupation. He spent his life as a freelance writer for few years, and around the 1930s, he started publishing stories for young readers. In 1954, Hubert decided to expand his readership, and more people got to know him through radio plays written by Hubert, which were broadcast by CBC. Everything worked out smoothly and soon, many of the Canadian audiences started recognizing him as “The Elder of our Tribe” named by fellow Canadian writer, Margaret Laurence. Aside from being a poet, Hubert also worked as a reporter, fisherman, as well as a writer, but he enjoyed writing more than anything else. He was a writer for over 70 years, which means he spent almost eighty percent of his life writing. However, around the late 1970s, he started having hard time writing novels and poetries due to his falling eyesight, but he never gave up his passion for writing until he passed away at the age of 93 in 1986.
Hubert’s poems are often written in present form. It is most likely to be written in the first person point-of-view. Many of them talk about nature, Hubert’s life, or political events and he use varieties of metaphors to make them interesting. The length of his poems depends on the topic of the poem. He doesn’t try to make the lines rhyme, which I think is a good thing because it’s hard to make lines rhyme and make sense at the same time, and as a result most of the rhyming poems hardly make sense at all. His poems aren’t focused on a certain age level and mostly use simple vocabularies, but sometimes it is difficult to really understand the subtext; behind the lines. In order to fully understand some of his poetries, you would need to read it more than twice. Hubert enjoys giving the readers lessons, and his poetries often have the colour of feeling “yellow”.
One window is open. A bee bumbles in.
It circles the room wall to wall
now high, now low, erratically
and with increasing speed.
It has lost direction. Frantically
it beats its wings against a window
which is closed.
I guide it through the open window
and see it soar to sunlight.
Many times in life I too have forgotten
whence I came and have beaten my wings
against barriers which would not yield.
Whose the hand which guided me to the light?
The poem “Release” expresses Hubert’s ironic and confused feelings about his past. Hubert first sees the bee bumbling into his window (line 1, stanza 1), and watches the bee circling the room wall to wall (line 2, stanza 1). The bee moves around “erratically and with increasing speed.” (line 3 and 4, stanza 1), but soon, it loses its direction (line 5, stanza 1) and tries to get out of his room. “it beats its wings against a window which is closed.” (line 6 and 7, stanza 1) Because the bee is unfamiliar with Hubert’s room, it is now confused and scared of Hubert’s room. It tries to get out of his room, but since it already lost direction and forgot where the opened window was, it is impossible to fly out by itself. When Hubert realizes this, he decides to help the bee and “guides it through the open window and sees it soar to sunlight.” (line 8 and 9, stanza 1). Finally now the bee is free and back to its nature again.
His second stanza starts off saying “Many times in life I too have forgotten whence I came and have beaten my wings against barriers which would not yield.” (line 1 to 3, stanza 2). It simply summarizes the first stanza, and it is also used as a metaphor to compare the bee’s situation to the poet’s situation itself. From this, he explains that he too have experienced the time when he had nobody around to help him when he was having a hard time. In the end, he concludes the poem by asking himself “Whose the hand which guided me to the light?” (line 4, stanza 2). The last line is mysterious and could be understood as anything, but I understood it as “Many times in life I too have forgotten that it would’ve been impossible for me to be here without the ‘hand which guided me to the light’”, and it is also my favourite line in this poem.
Hubert was a passionate poet. He loved writings and poetries, and helped lots on making Canadian poetry famous. He is now resting in peace, but he will always stay in our minds along with his great writings and poetries.