Joy

Joy

Such joy in small things:
a task finished,
the old month ended,
a new month begun.

Such joy in the acorn:
a thought planted in the mind
and gradually growing,
root, trunk, and branch.

Such joy in those first green shoots
thrusting up from dead-leaf mold
to renew themselves, reborn –
as this year’s hollyhocks.

Such joy in the surge of spring birds:
robins marching on the lawn,
passerines and song birds returning,
ducks and geese at ice’s edge.

Such joy to reach out,
to stand beneath leafing boughs,
to watch beauty’s youthful feet
how they can dance to cheer ageing eyes.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Joy

Mallards

Mallards

They flew twice around the house, then settled in on the snow. Not a pond in sight. Six of them: beautiful. The snow was fairly fresh and they sort of swam through it, looking very clumsy. Between low light, fly screens, and dirty winter windows, the photos aren’t great. But what fun. This is the best way to shoot things: with a camera.

“Duck! Here comes another one!”

Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus

On a sunny morning, the sun lights up
my bedroom wall. Each day he arrives
earlier and earlier, a minute a day.
Now days grow longer, a sure sign
that spring is on its way.

As I lie awake, waiting for the sun,
I sing my morning sunshine song.
It keeps me warm and comforts me.
I also count the birds that fly across
the garden in search of sunshine and food.

Crows come first. They perch atop
the highest trees and watch and wait.
Mourning Doves come next
and their dawn song is a mourning chorus,
“Who-who-who’s next?
called from branch to branch.
With the sun come Chickadees,
Pine Siskins, lazy Blue Jays, Juncos.
These are all regulars.

Irregular are my neighbor’s Cardinals,
orange and red, American Goldfinches,
two small woodpeckers, a Downie
and a Hairy, a Nuthatch.

Gone now are the Gray Jays,
Gorbies, Whisky Jacks,
those ghosts of the woods.
Lost too are the Greater Pileated,
the flocks of Grosbeaks, Evening,
Pine, and Rose-Breasted.

They may come back,
but somehow, I doubt it.
For now, the Blueness of Jays,
the Blackness of Crows,
and an unsubtle dawn chorus
of Caw-Caw-Caw-Caw-Caw.

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Dawn Chorus

Survivors

Survivors
Chuck Bowie
(KIRA, June, 2019)

We met at St. Andrews, at low tide, on
the underwater road. In secret we
shared the closed, coded envelopes of thought,
running fresh ideas through open minds.

Our words, brief vapor trails, gathered for
a moment over Passamaquoddy,
before drifting silently away. Canvas sails
flapped white seagulls across the bay.

All seven seas rose before our eyes, brought
in on a breeze’s wing. The flow of cold
waters over warm sand cocooned us
in a cloak-and-dagger mystery of mist.

We spun our spider-web dreams word by word,
decking them out with the silver dew drops
proximity brings. Characters’ voices,
unattached to real people, floated by.

Verbal ghosts, shape-shifting, emerging from
shadows, revealed new attitudes and twists,
spoke briefly, filled us with visions of book-
lives, unforgettable, but doomed, swift to fail.

Soft waves ascended rock, sand, mud, to wash
away footprints, clues, all the sandcastle
dreams we had constructed that afternoon,
though a few still survive upon the printed page.

Comment: We, like the words we leave on the printed page, are survivors. Sometimes, when the seas rise high and our paths grow rough and hard to travel, we need a friend to reach out to us in our time of need. That friendship extends across differences and distances. Here, on the shores of time, we can meet and greet and share. Patos de diciembre, we can paddle together and give each other strength and comfort.

This poem appears on pages 64-65 of The Nature of Art and the Art of Nature, soon to be available at Cyberwit and Amazon. More details later.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Survivors

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

She surveys her empire
from a tall tree, then steps
into space, plunging her
body’s weight downwards,
diving into fragile air.

A feathered arrow,
she makes contact, feet first,
and pins the unsuspecting robin
to the ground. His shrill shriek
emerges from a beak
that shreds failing life.

The hawk’s claws clench.
Her victim weakens.
His eyes glaze over.
One final spasm,
a last quick twitch,
the robin is gone.

One wing drags, flaps weakly,
borne skywards in the hawk’s
triumphant claws.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sometime

Sometime
with thanks to Seamus Heaney

Sometime, make the time to drive to Alberton
where the Great Blue Herons
stand thigh deep in the incoming tide.
Lobster boats spark stars from the waves.

They white-water surge through a gap
in the sandbank where the lighthouse
stands red and white, outlined against
blue sky, golden sand, sparkling bay.

Follow the fast-eroding coastline, a little
less each year, past Jacques Cartier Park
to Kildare Capes. Black-backed gulls ride
shotgun on the red sand beach. Piping
plovers charge up and down the wind-rush
of surf digging for treasure, the crustaceans
that will fill their bellies and enable them
to survive their long journey south.

Head north past Sea Cow Pond to North Cape.
Quixotic windmills wave their arms, like giants.
The sand and pebble reef stretches its low-tide
footpath out to the lazy seals basking in late
summer warmth. Sea-birds seethe in great
white clouds while fishing boats bob on wild
waves and a black horse hauls Irish Moss
off the beach to be sun-dried on the shore.

An osprey hovers, drops its lightning bolt
to spear a flapping flounder on sharp claws.
The magic of that great bird’s fall and rise will
drive a wedge through your heart and split it open.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Sometime

Snow Geese

Snow: no geese!

Snow Geese

Snow geese falling, plummeting from the sky,
dropping like leaves, slowly and tumbling,
swiftly and twisting, spiralling down. Fresh
snow on the ground, their seasoned arrival.

Some land on water, others on the earth.
They gather in groups, snow banks of geese,
ghost-white, frightening, true sky lightning,
celestial, striking from its ancestral throne.

Always some sentries, necks stretched, eyes
open, alert, watching, guarding their needs
while the flock feeds. One honks “Who goes
there?” the flock looks up, watching him move.

Slowly, at first, they waddle from the walkers,
then faster and faster as the man unleashes his
hounds. An idiot woman, grinning like a death’s
head, points her cell phone and barks instructions.

The dogs run at them, barking and growling.
The snow geese panic, run ever faster, taking
to the air with a clap-wing chorus, honking
and hooting. The woman laughing, shouting

and shooting. “I’ve got them, I’ve shot them,”
she calls in her pleasure. Frustrated, the hounds
take to the water. Whistling, calling, the man
cannot catch them, not till they tire of the chase,

no match for geese, not in air, nor in water.
Joyous the couple, their videos made, hugging,
cuddling. They get back in the car, dogs shaking,
spraying them, baptismal water, cleansing all guilt.

Geese: no snow.

Click on the link for Roger’s reading.
Snow Geese

Osprey

Osprey

An osprey on the wind
wings thrusting
for maximum lift
then flattened
for feather-tip control

Wheeling up and away
the soft-wing
sway of him
ascending his celestial
staircase
in a rush of blue air

Light his flight
sky steps
danced to wind music
played over beach below
and rock and rolling waves

Watch him
wave good-bye
with a waggle of his wings
and a well-judged flick
of his paint brush tail
brown white and black lines
neat strokes
across a cerulean sky

Click here for Roger’s reading of Osprey

Dizzy Dawn

Dizzy Dawn

There is so much happening. It’s hard to keep track of it all. Reading and annotating the material I am working on for my online writing seminar. Painting: a delightful relief and relaxation. Who cares if I can’t paint? I can make meaning out of shape and color, like my friend Matisse. Writing: the poetry is back and I will start revising those short stories again soon. I may also go back to my first novel. I have abandoned it for too long.

Meanwhile, each dawn is a busy dizzy time. This morning I decided to lie in bed until 24 birds had flown past my new bedroom window, one for each new pane of glass. It took about fifteen minutes. I watched the mist rise and then the sun start to break through and when the sun came, so did the birds. Dizzy Dawn is now hanging on the wall, along with another set of paintings I have finished recently.

Life is good. I hope it stays that way for as long as possible.

Reconciliation

Guess who caught a fish?

Meditations on Messiaen
Why do the people?

7

Reconciliation

Rant, I say, rant and rage away, rage, rage against
the death of friendship and loathing built on false love.
This is a blood sport where even the spectators
are spattered with the refined frenzy of friends
turned into fiends and foes, and this is a protest,
a rant against love that doesn’t last, that doesn’t stand
the test of time, against families that break up,
against a society that breaks them up, driving wedges
and knives between people once bound
by the puppet strings of love, against relationships
that can no longer continue, against the rattling
of dead white bones in empty cupboards where skeletons
dance their way into legal daylight and the spectators
 call for more: more blood, more money, more blood money,
and the engagement diamond is a blood diamond now,
a tarnished garnet, and where is the Little Old Lady
of Threadneedle Street, that spire inspired needle
that will stitch their world back together,
and stitch you back together when you’ve been shocked
out of your own ruby-sweet rose-tinted world
and torn into little bits in their oh-so-bitter one,
the biters bitten and those bitten biting back in return,
 a new world this world of snapping turtles,
turtles standing on the back of turtles, and turtle after turtle
all the way down until this carnival world puts down
its dead clown mask and turns turtle in its turn.

Comment:

National Reconciliation Day today, the first in Canada. Now that is a valid reason to rant. Let us hope for reconciliation, for a healing and a mending. I love Canada. I love all Canadians. I came here by choice, stayed here by choice, and I am very grateful to have been accepted by the Canadian communities in which I have lived. I hope I have graced Canada, with my presence, as Canada has aided me and helped me along in all my endeavors, academic, sporting, teaching, creating, and editing. As Norman Levine once wrote: Canada Made Me. In my case, it is true. On this first National Reconciliation Day, my thoughts and thanks go out to my brothers and sisters, all of us Canadians.

I don’t know what happened this morning: I put the same post up as yesterday. Different photo, same post. I really don’t know what to think about what I was thinking. Old age? Confusion? A troubled mind? All of the above!!! Never mind: here we go again, and maybe my next rant will be about getting out of touch and loss of memory! You never know what’s coming next, and that’s the beauty of Messiaen.

Click on the link below for Roger’s reading.

Reconciliation