Movember

Movember

When we men threaten to grow moustaches,
walking unshaven, amid the leaves
that crackle and pop as they rustle,
wind-blown, against our feet.

But pity us, poor hairless ones,
whose youthful skin still bears no beard –
can we we force a moustache to our lips?

That said, a chain of purple lights
adorns the wall in front of me
and I type to its imperious, flashing
bulbs, a constant reminder of bygone days

when the biopsy proved cancerous
and my prostate threatened my body
but was prevented from entering my bones.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Movember

Comment: November is prostate cancer month. My heart goes out to any and all who are suffering from this form of cancer. Caught early, it is curable. Get checked out, as quickly as possible. The sooner you catch it, the sooner your medical team can be formed to inform and advise you as to your choices. And YES, you have choices. I will always be grateful for the help I received, from my own medical team, back in 2014-15, when I was first diagnosed and then cured. Cured, yes. But the nightmare of a possible return always remains, ticking away like a time-bomb at the back of my mind.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

This new day rises
gift-glorious before me.

I untie sleep’s wrappings,
all paper and string.

Birds throng branches,
light up the yard with
rainbows of sound,
arcing and arching.

Fall colors streak trees
with overnight paint.

A woodpecker breakfasts
on the back porch.

Chipmunk and chickadee
thrive on the lawn.

Red robins, tipsy,
giving thanks for the feast.

Teeter-totter branches
alive with berries and song.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Thanksgiving.



Gambit 1

Gambit 1

She’d been there.
She’d have walked
those waxed floors,
looked down at her feet
to see her face distorted
in the elbow-grease
of sheen and shine.

Alone, she was, all alone,
abandoned.
Tonight, on her birthday,
I feel the chill hand
of her sorrow
clutch my heart.

Who can reach in,
who can melt the iceberg
rising beneath my ribs?
Who can warm chilled bones,
charm lost feelings
back into throbbing life?

Gone, all gone,
lost, forgotten, forsaken,
abandoned
on those same ice floes,
where she walked on thin ice,
with the darkest depths
calling out to her from far below.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor
Gambit 1

Comment: My mother, had she lived, would have celebrated her 109th birthday. Watching Episode One of The Queen’s Gambit, I was overwhelmed by what my mother must have felt, all those years ago, when she lost another child. Did she actually feel and think in manner portrayed above? I’ll never know now.

Portrait of Moo

Moo by Fin

Finley has left. She has left me with a selection of her art and instructions to ‘show it to the world’. S o, here we have the Portrait of Moo by Fin. I guess many of you don’t know who Moo is, but don’t worry about it, neither do I and Fin has been busy for three weeks, trying to work it out for herself. Oh dear – what can the matter be? Finish the song for yourself, if you remember it in any of its many versions.

Meanwhile, I go back to my old friend, Robbie Burns, with whom I spoke only yesterday. He spoke to me through my eyes and, as I sat there talking, I digested his words of wisdom: “Ah would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.” The giftie gie us is, as you well know, the Scottish dialect for what comes out in Standard English as the gift give us.

So that’s how Fin sees Moo. When I next meet him, if he cares to show up chez nous, I will show him Fin’s portrait and ask him what he thinks. Until then, his identity – and I am assuming he is a he not a she – must remain a mystery as mysterous as this mysterious painting that appeared on my desk.

Rainbow Flower & Pot

Rainbow Flower and Pot

Finley has decided, quite rightly, that what she wants to paint, draw, or colour, is much more important than any of the page prompts in the drawing book I got her. That said, this could easily be a comic book cover – or the cover photo of my next book.

“I want to see the world again through the eyes of a little child” – Picasso. The gift of so doing is precious.

Me and My Bride!

Me and My Bride!

A friend wrote to me today and sent her greetings to ‘you and your bride’. Well, that delightful phrase set me thinking. Clare (my bride!) and I have known each other for 61 years and we have been married for 56 of them, 57 this Christmas. I often wonder how this wonderful woman has put up with me during all those years.

Mrs. Thomas Thomas, my good friend from the little village in Wales where my parents had their house, once told me about a friend of hers. That friend had been married for 35 years and had never had a quarrel or a fight with her husband. ‘There she goes,’ she told me one morning. ‘Never a fight with her husband. Bloody boring marriage, if you ask me.’

The point, I suppose, is that yes, there can be disagreements within a marriage, and doubts, and uncertainties, and questions about major decisions, and no, we don’t agree on everything? How could we? And one of the best parts about marriage, well, ours anyway, is agreeing to differ, and then making up again, as quickly as possible, after any disagreements.

Whatever, it is hard to argue against 61 years of togetherness and happiness. The secret formula? Clare’s – to learn my languages with me, to help me with my work, to lift me up when I am down. Mine – to love cooking for her, spoiling her, bringing her flowers, and trying to support her as she has supported me.

We have often led separate lives – Clare as a tennis player, a national gymnastics judge, a dedicated show secretary of the local kennel club, a show dog owner, groomer, and handler. Me – as a rugby player and coach, a researcher who has travelled frequently and visited important libraries in my field, a poet and short story writer who has taken and led workshops and writing groups.

We have also worked together at all levels. Each of my four graduate courses (MA, Toronto, 1967) demanded a paper every two weeks. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday – paper #1. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday -paper #2. Saturday – rugby with U of T Blues or Toronto Irish. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday – paper #3. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – paper #4.

I would sit in the kitchen and write the papers in longhand. Clare would sit at the other side of the table and type each page as I finished it. She did the editing too, when and where necessary. She also developed her computing skills faster than I did. Result: web pages, art work, design, photography, and several of my book covers. Our keys to success include team work, mutual assistance, deep caring and sharing, but separate paths, when and if we needed to take them.

So, there you have it. A swiftly-penned picture of me and my bride, or, as I call her, my better two-thirds. My life would have been very, very different without her. And don’t forget: behind every lucky man, there stands a wonderful woman.

Hair

Hair

Some have it, many don’t.
Some find it floating
one morning on their pillow,
short or long, all gone,
a dream faded in the light of day.

A woman’s crowning glory,
or so they say
yet I admire the bald skull,
its stiff stubble
stubbornly growing back
beneath head scarf or cap.

The lucky ones wear wigs,
often made from
another person’s loss.

The bravest flaunt their baldness,
battle flags their shining skulls,
blazing like badges of glory,
shiny medals awarded
in this never-ending war
against our own fifth column
and the enemy who devours us
from within.

Comment: Yet another of my friends is suffering from cancer. When will it ever end? This is my tribute to all who fight, or who have fought, the enemy within. Meet him head on. Never surrender. D o not give in.

Click here for Roger’s reading of Hair on Anchor.
Hair