A Good Day’s Work

A Good Day’s Work
The Water Tower
11

 “A good day’s work,” the artist said,
admiring, as light drained from the sky,
 all the different blues of a lower sky renewed.

Above the tower, a deeper shade of blue.
At the tower’s foot, the nascent grass grew damp
with dew beneath the artist’s feet.

And so, to home, but not to rest.
The restless mind plans on and on,
the next day’s work, and after that, the next.

We who bear witness, our feet fixed in the earth below,
cherish each moment, admire the paints as they flow.
Time and space trapped in fragile things
and the water tower, a watch tower now,
standing guard, on high, watching over, mirroring,
all poor creatures, set on earth, and born to die.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
A Good Day’s Work

The Water Tower 10

The Water Tower
10

In the beginning the artist decided to start
with the sky and work his way downwards.

He chose and mixed his paints. Then he climbed
to the tower’s top and began to paint.

“Let there be sky,” the artist said.
He masked his face, pressed the button,
and refreshed the sky’s battered surface
turning it to a delicate shade of blue.

The morning and the afternoon took up that day.
When evening came, he packed up
his equipment and went home to rest.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 10

The Water Tower
St. Andrews
New Brunswick

Geoff Slater
Illustrations

Roger Moore
Poems

School Days

School Days

Sixty years ago, in 1962, somewhere around today’s date, I left my public school – private school – boys’ boarding school and entered the real world as a free man. I was lost. They educated me to be part of a world that no longer existed, the world of walls, and boundaries, of lists and rules, of school reports and chains of authority, older boys > house monitors > prefects > head boy of house > head boy of school > masters > house masters > head master. That great chain of authority was to rule me for the rest of my life.

Lists

This is my clothing list. Six times a year I packed all items into my school trunk, 3 times to go to school and 3 times to go home. Six times a year I unpacked all items from my trunk, 3 times when I arrived at school and 3 times when I arrived home.

Reports

I still have my school reports signed by by teachers, initials only, and my father, full signature. He had to sign so that the teachers could ascertain that yes, he had read my school report and that no, I had not hidden it from him. The report is a disaster story. I look back on some of the comments and wonder what worlds, what different realities, were we living in? One verbal remark, made in class: “Why are you in the sixth form?” “I am going to university, sir.” “The only way you’ll go to university is on a train.”

I sent that gentleman my train ticket, but he didn’t choose to remember the comment, made to a fifteen year old boy.

Scars

I still carry them. So many of us do. Less than most, possibly, for us ne’er do wells and miscreants.

In the beginning was the word, and the word, maybe, may endure. I guess, maybe, one day we’ll find out.

The Water Tower 9

The Water Tower
9

How do you paint this water tower,
that garden, these flowers, those woods?
Up and down: two dimensions. Easy.
Where does light begin and darkness end?

Where do these things come from – depth
tactility, energy, water’s flow,
that rush of breathless movement
that transcends the painting’s stillness?

This water tower is more than a reservoir.
Restored, it reaches out, an old friend,
with all its strengths that reinforce the needs,
physical and spiritual, of so many people.

The water tower itself is more than a tower:
it symbolizes the creative power of life and art.


Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 9

The Water Tower 8

The Water Tower
8

Circles within circles and wheels within wheels,
the restless gears always churning,
we both know how it feels.

Some call it a gift, some call it a calling,
but we who follow the creative way
rarely know the how and why
of who pushes whom with what,
nor when, nor where, yet still we try
to scale that ladder, to reach that sky,
and always will, until we shrivel,
give up the creative ghost, and die.

Even the water tower frowns
when I write ‘die’. Yet death will take us all.
Tombs and tombstones will crumble and fall.
Monuments, their words carved in stone,
will fall sideways, perish, and die,
their words erased by the sandpaper polish
of wind, snow, hailstones, sun, and time.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 8

The Water Tower 7

The Water Tower 7

Lifted up, so close to the stars,
and even though we cannot see them
we know they are there,
looking down as we labour here below.

Are they sentient?
Do they smile on us, or frown?
Is our fate really up there, written in their ranks?
Or is it in our own hands to raise ourselves
up from the mud, to sail this frail bone-boat,
to make something out of nothing?

Fate? Destiny? The windmill’s sails
throwing us back down, into the mud,
or lifting us up to the stars?
Which is it to be? Such questions
are too deep for you and me.

Your work is in your paint,
mine in my words,
yet paintbrush and pen are guided, both,
by the hand that holds the artist’s hand.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 7

Geoff Slater – Painter

Roger Moore – Poet

The Water Tower 6

The Water Tower 6

What launch pad lifts us to our fate?
What makes us climb above the beach,
above the gardens, above the trees?
Why are we striving for that pot of gold
that always seems out of reach?

Why is what we have achieved never enough?
Why must our eyes be fixed on stars beyond the stars
when lesser, earthbound men are bound by lowly wars?

Are we giants then, to aspire not to be
like other men, clad in grey suits
and suitable shirts and ties.
Working from nine to five,
five days a week, and sometimes six.
Fixed hours, yet our hours are ours and never fixed.

Ambition, for us, the coming word,
the oncoming stroke of paint,
the incomplete picture, much better
than the ones we have done of late.
No artistic battle is ever won
when we sit back and say
and now my creative work is done.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 6


Geoff Slater – Painter

Roger Moore – Poet

The Water Tower 5

The Water Tower 5

Does the left hand know
what the right hand is doing?

Does the pencil know
where the artist’s hand is going?

Does the artist know
the point of arrival
before he even sets out
and takes his first step
on that life-long journey?

Or does he play the music by ear,
the paint by eye,
the pencil and brush
by the deftest of touches
that follow a path set
long ago in the summer stars
and the winter nights
of longing and strife?

Only the artist knows:
and he might not be telling.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Water Tower 5

Geoff Slater – Painter

Roger Moore – Poet

The Water Tower 4



The Water Tower 4

The artist scales Jacob’s ladder,
per ardua ad astra,
through hardship to the stars.

He discovers a jigsaw puzzle
of shattered color and shape,
a serpent’s shed skin of paint,
battered patterns broken, stripped,
dangling, swayed by the wind
that washes and renews the world.

What world you ask?
The painter’s world. The world that dwells
within the meditating mind.
The creation that awaits the artist’s touch
in order to come alive and beckon us.
The secret, sacred world
of the artist’s hidden garden,
soon to be revealed.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 4

Geoff Slater – Painter

Roger Moore – Poet

Starless Night

Starless Night

Night without moon, without stars.
Dark sand dropped filling my mouth.
I walked the lonely bed of a dried up river.
When I stumbled in my dream,
my feet left no marks on the sand.  

Colorless was my path
through shadow and shade
where a thousand figures of darkness
danced before me,
hollow their eyes,
their mouths black caverns.
No flesh decked their bones
and no night birds called.

Footless the earth worm
sighed a sibilant song.
Mindless he drew in a net
full of sorrows, silver fish
darkling losing their sparkle.

The dusky shawl of knitted dreams
wrapped itself around my shoulders
and I picked at knots of tangled memory
that bled like fresh wounds.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Starless Night