Ay Ay Ayeres

Digging around in the photo files that I transferred from my old computer to my Google drive, I discovered this golden oldie composed of my words and Clare’s images. What a revelation: I had completely forgotten that this group of work existed. I’ll dig them out ne by one and post them from time to time. Ayer is the Spanish for yesterday, hier in French. The title “Ay! Ay! Ayeres!” with its multiple plays All our yesterdays and its reference to the old song “Ay, ay, ay, canta no llores” draws together a series of memories, some in the past and some in the future. ‘How can we have a memory in the future?’ you ask. By recognizing a present moment, or one that lies just ahead in a future that ill become soon enough a present, as one that has already occurred in the past, thus confirming the circularity of our lives and the idea that all time is time present, one of T. S. Eliot’s recurring themes.

Ocho Venado: Eight Deer is a central figure (war leader) in the Zouche-Nuttal, a pre-Columbian Mixtec Codex. He is the war leader in the Conquests recorded in the codex (circa 1050-1100).
Quesadillas: Oaxacan tortillas filled with cheese and flores de Calabaza, gourd flowers.
Reyes Magos: the three wise men or kings who visited the Christ Child on January 6, the traditional Spanish Christmas.
Murcielago: the bat and a symbol of death in Oaxacan mythology.
Nueve Viento: Nine Wind descends from heaven to separate the sky from earth and its waters. Nine Wind at Tule meeting with Cortes is mythical not historical, though the meeting of Cortes with the Mixtec chiefs (caciques) did happen.
Apoala: The Mixtec nation was born form a cave (sometimes a tree) in Apoala, Oaxaca.
Spinning the wheels in the snow: a reference to Jean Chretien and one of his famous images.

The piece is written in a surrealist style that mixes historical fact with creative writing. The distant past is recalled (1050-1100), then the middle past (1525-1530), and finally the present appears. This mixing of time and place (Mexico and Canada) is also related to the surrealist movement. Surrealism creates a dream world in which images float and change shape within a time-space conundrum where dream is more real than reality and creates its own new meanings that are individual to each reader.

Any comments on this rediscovered piece will be warmly welcomed.

Small Corner


Kingsbrae 6.1
6 June 2017

Small Corner

 And this is the good thing,
to find your one small corner
and to have your one small candle,
then to light it, and leave it burning
its sharp bright hole in the night.

 Around you, the walls you constructed;
inside, the reduced space, the secret garden,
the Holy of Holies where roses grow
and no cold wind disturbs you.

 “Is it over here?” you ask: “Or over here?”

If you do not know, I cannot tell you.

But I will say this: turning a corner one day
you will suddenly know
that you have found a perfection
that you will seek again, in vain,
for the rest of your life.

Journal: I had the pleasure of reading this poem to the artists and committee of the KIRA program after the evening barbeque on Saturday, 3 June, 2017. It is indeed a Golden Oldie, but it summarizes with remarkable accuracy my own feelings about Kingsbrae and the surrounding area. There are places of peace within the world and, as our world becomes more crowded and our cities overflow with urgency, these peaceful places take on more and more importance. It is essential for us to escape the concrete and tarmac of the so-called civilization and to take refuge in nature. The cultivated garden has a long tradition going back to Medieval times, le jardin enclos and its sacred space, for example, and the monastery cloisters and their enclosed serenity,

Following in this tradition, Kingsbrae Gardens has established an oasis of cultivated peace within the larger peaceful space that is New Brunswick. We are indeed lucky to be permitted to enter these places, to renew our contact with nature in all its beauty and bounty, and to be able to refresh our spirits and drink deep of the peace that flows, and fills us, and blesses our endeavors.

The photo that accompanies this poem is of the crab apple trees in full blossom on the front lawn of the house in Island View where Clare and I have lived and worked together for a quarter of  century or more. This is the view from my writing room window. It is no wonder that poetry flows from this subtle spring beauty.