Kingsbrae 22.2
22 June 2017


To dwell here
is to build
cloud castles
or castles
in Spain.

the clouds,
across a blue field.

no sound but the breeze
rippling the pond,
leaving soft footsteps
as its cat’s paw
bats at trailing branches.

in bank and ditch,
sway to the wind’s soft voice.
Toe-tapping, head tossing,
they play a jazz and blues concert
to a chorus of yellow bells.


Water Tower


Kingsbrae 19.3
19 June 2017

Water Tower
(for Geoff)

Asked where he got the material
for his plays, Molière said:
“Je le prends où je le trouve,”
“I take it from wherever I find it.”

Here, before the water tower,
I find the tower to be a ground
level water tank, no tower at all.

The first steel band, the horizon,
is composed of yellow lilies.
Above them, the Kingsbrae Café shares
the second band with the gardens’ windmill.

Twin pointed roofs and the windmill’s
thin sails reach up to the skyline
with its background of trees
silhouetted against an egg-shell sky.

Art is in the eye of the beholder
or the artist and can be seen
wherever it can be found.


This Old Man


Kingsbrae 16.1
16 June 2017

This Old Man

This old man, with his bundle of memories
carried on his back like a snail carries his shell,
a broken record, he played, with the gramophone needle
stuck in a groove and the same tales repeated.

The ancient  mariner who lives in his brain
stops people in the street and retells
the old story: life’s doldrums where
no winds blew and his ship just drifted,
with no wind to bring it home.

Then blew the wind of change, and suddenly
the sun was just as warm as it was in his youth.
The sea became blue again.  Flowers flourished
brighter, stronger. Birds chirped in the trees.
Light grew bright and he felt beauty return to
the new-born world of his second childhood.

Comment: My journal tells me that I wrote the original version of this poem on Friday, 21 April 2017, and posted it to my blog on Sunday, 23 April 2017 . Today’s rewrite changes the structure and tone of the poem and illustrates how time and place can influence any previously generated word sequence. For time and place we can also substitute attitude and change of heart, as Ludwig Wittgenstein suggests. More important, perhaps, our attitude and outlook can change with the weather and the state of our digestion. This is the same poem, then, written by the same person, on two different days. Or was it the same person? My stay at this residency would suggest that perhaps the person has changed along with his attitude, his outlook, his digestion, and the weather.

Wordless Wednesday


Kingsbrae 14.2
14 June 2017

Wordless Wednesday

All sound has run dry in my
song-sparrow throat.
Words and music no longer flow.
They need eaux de vie,
the waters of life.

Water from a bucket, perhaps,
though I cannot stoop to fill,
nor carry it, without spilling.

A hosepipe, then, though I need
to bend to make the connections
and turn the tap on, and alas,
I am too old and stiff to bend.

Rain, perhaps, though today
it must fall from a cloudless sky.
Who could pray for rain on a day
like today, with sun warming earth
and flowers and my old bones
basking, wordless in the warmth.

I long for the word drought to end.
Silent I shall sit and wait for the word
-well to fill itself with those spiritual
waters flowering and flowing deep within.





IMG_0066 (2)

Kingsbrae 13.1
13  June 2017


plant a plant
deep its roots
rooted in fine soil
potting soil in a pot
firm the fingers
the spot well-chosen
in a flower bed
in a pattern
in an empty space
in a growing garden
within a larger garden
in an old estate
in a small town by the sea

Russian doll puzzle
garden after garden

(one a secret
with its birds and voices
lost in the hedgerow
and the echoes
of secret meetings
watched only by the guardian
the robin that watches)

planted and replanted
unfolding flowers
in a sunshine world
in a state of grace
hope and handicraft
hand in hand
with faith and belief
and everything planned
to take advantage
of this time and this space

these words so simple
these thoughts so complex

Comment: I began this poem on  10 March 2017. It formed part of my initial poetry sequence with Kingsbrae unseen, save for videos and photos of the gardens and their history, viewed on the Kingsbrae website. As I have grown into the KIRA experience, or perhaps I should write ‘as the Kingsbrae experience has blossomed within me’, so I have found these words prophetic, yet strangely inadequate, in the way all words are inadequate when tides flow, days flourish, and ideas blossom, sometimes in that formless world between sleep and dream where reality is something for which the writer reaches out but finds it is beyond the fingertips and just out of reach. As my Judo instructor told me, a long time ago:

“The more you strive,
you cannot reach it.
The hand cannot grasp it,
nor the mind exceed it.
When you no longer seek it,
it is with you.”

Word Blooms


Kingsbrae 10.1
10 June 2017

Word Blooms

a blank page
below it
dormant bulbs
paint box colors
waiting to awake

the gardener’s eyes
eager her helping hands
rainbows the flowers
pushing into bloom

also wait for the sun
to warm them
to pluck them
from their word beds
and give them shape

and delightful
the word seeds
blown across the world
implanted their ideas

taking root
their blossoms
blooming sudden
in the reader’s mind


Word Blooms Voice Only

Word Blooms Music

Scent and Touch


Kingsbrae 9.4
9 June 2017

Scent and Touch

A feather upon the cheek,
this fern frond held
fragile, hesitant
between fine fingers.

Touch and smell:
two senses engaged.
A paint brush sounds,
brush-brushing lightly
the expectant skin.

Faint the taste tested
on tongue tip.
No sight, just insight.

I have a sense of senses lacking.
My words reach out like fingers,
but they can neither retain
nor explain the meaning of it all.

Comment: “Built in cooperation with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Scents and Sensitivity Garden is dedicated to the memory of St. Andrews’ resident Albert McQuoid. The garden features raised beds that allow handicapped, sight impaired, and wheelchair bound visitors the opportunity to enjoy the feel, and scent, of the plants and flowers right within arms’ reach.”