Another Long Day

Another Long Day
The Water Tower
13

“Another long day but I completed the sky,
then finished the wharf’s grey asphalt.
Large areas are easier to spray with my air gun.
It’s hard to paint them with a brush.

I also got the base coat on to the ever-greens.
Much more difficult: I painted the inside of the cage
around the ladder that leads to the roof.
Fiddly work, time consuming, but nice
to get out of the way. 

No painting tomorrow,
but Saturday and Sunday look good.
As for Monday, I don’t know yet
I’ll have to wait and see if it rains.”

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Another Long Day

Fight the Good Fight!

Fight the Good Fight
The Water Tower
12

“I fought the weather all day.
Relentless winds. Overpowering gusts
threatening to topple the tower,
to throw me off the ladder.

Very challenging, the painting.
An understatement like the undertow
when the tide threatens to take us out to sea.

I was treading water in the middle of the ocean,
 huge waves under my armpits, lifting me up,
dragging me down, and me quite powerless.

The strain, both mental and physical of biking
up a long steep hill, into a driving wind.
It felt like Sisyphus pushing his rock.”

Click here for Roger’s Reading on Anchor.
Fight the Good Fight

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

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

May Day

May Day

Mayday, Mayday, S O S,
this is a plea for help, I guess.

Dit-dit-dit- dat-dat-dat,
the world lies dying
and that’s a fact.

Add another dit-dit-dit
and that’s morse code
for we’re in deep shit.
What can we do
to get out of it?

Very little, as I see it,
if the world can’t be
bothered to see it.

Another half country
of forest gone,
right whales diminishing,
they won’t last long.
Rivers flooding,
forests on fire,
what have we done
to earn Gaia’s ire?

Human beings
long-forgotten,
but profits are up,
maybe that’s what’s rotten.
We’re near rock bottom
I would guess.
Mayday, Mayday, SOS,

We’ll soon be gone
our works forgotten.
No more humans,
the world in a mess:
Mayday, Mayday, SOS.


Comment: Well that’s how I see it some days and this is just one of those mournings. Say it in paint, say it in rhyme. Nobody’s listening most of the time.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
May Day

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

Doors

Vis Brevis – Ars longa

Doors
Revised version

Paintings:
doors you can walk through,
windows that open onto visions
of another, more beautiful life.
Deeper than the paint, the thoughts
and words that formed them,
brushed them into life,
an ephemeral life, so brief
that butterflies seem to last longer
and flowers live for all eternity.

Transience and insubstantiality.
Change is all around us,
we are surrounded by change.
But the deepest changes,
the ones that affect us most
are internal, set deep within us,
death’s eggs hatching slowly
since the day we were born.

Life is indeed short, and art endures.
Carved five thousand years ago,
in stone, this magnificent henge,
first Wood-henge, then Stonehenge,
majestic at the dawn of time,
with its sarsen stones, pillars, post-holes,
and labyrinths, circling within circles,
a frail spider-web of sunlit brilliance.

Lost now, the message,
as my own message is lost,
covered by paint, though words
emerge in the strangest places,
allowing us to peer in through windows
as long-lost words and worlds
whirl out through carved and painted
windows and everlasting doors.

Doors
First version

Paintings are doors you can walk through,
windows that open onto visions
of another, sometimes better, life.
Deeper than the paint are the thoughts
and words that formed them,
brushed them into life,
an ephemeral life, so brief
that butterflies last longer
and flowers live for all eternity,
or so it seems.

Transience and insubstantiality.
Change is all around us,
we are surrounded by change.
But the deepest changes,
the ones that affect us most
are internal, set deep within us,
death’s eggs hatching slowly
since the day we were born.

Life is indeed short, and art endures.
Carved five thousand years ago,
in stone, this Towie ball
with its labyrinths and circles.
Lost now, the message,
as my own message is lost,
covered by paint, though words
emerge in the strangest places,
allowing us to peer in through windows
as long lost words and worlds
walk out through carved and painted doors.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Doors

Spiders

Spiders

The spider plant
spins out web after web,
all knotted together,
then ejected
from the central nest.

One landed on my floor
the other afternoon
with an enormous clunk.
A huge new set of offspring
and roots ejected and sent
on a voyage of discovery
to find a new home.

Mala madre / bad mother.
Oaxacans have a curious way
of naming their plants.
I lived in an apartment
above a courtyard
filled with malas madres.

There was also
A Bird of Paradise
that nested in the same tree,
a banana plant, in flower,
a huge hibiscus,
and such a variety
of prize poinsettias
that I could never get
the varieties straight:
red, white, cream, single,
clotted, and double-crowned.

In the powder room,
downstairs, our hibiscus
is about to break
into winter blooms.

It is covered in spider mites.
Every day, I hunt them down,
squishing them whenever I can.

My daughter calls me cruel
and a padre malo.

I say ‘no: it’s them
or the hibiscus.
You can’t have both.’

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Spiders


Self-portrait with flowers

Self-portrait with flowers

I walk past the Jesuit Church
where the shoe-shine boys store
polish, brushes, and chairs overnight.
I walk past the wrought-iron bench
where the gay guys sit, caressing,
asking the unsuspecting to join them.

Nobody bothers to ask me for a match,
for a drink, for charity, for a walk
down the alley to a cheap hotel.

The witch doctor is the one who throws
the hands of all the clocks into the air
at midnight, in despair.
He’s the one who leaves this place,
and returns to this place, all places being one.

The witch doctor sees little things
that other men don’t see. He reaches out
and flicks a fly away from my nose.
“It too has lost its way,” he sighs.

I think I know who I am,
but I often have doubts when I shave,
rasping the razor across my chin’s dry husks.
The witch doctor, my lookalike, my twin,
stares back at me from my bathroom mirror.

Three witches dance on the waning soap dish.
One spins the yarn, one measures the cloth,
one wields the knife, that will one day sever
the thread of I, who the same as all
poor creatures, was born only to die.

You too must one day look in that mirror,
oh hypocrite lecteur,
mon semblable, mon frère.

Type on this link for Roger’s reading.
Self-portrait with flowers

Comment: My thanks to all those who click on earlier poems and express their liking for them. I am particularly pleased when an earlier poem lacks a voice reading. Then I can revisit it, rethink it, rewrite it, record it, and speak it aloud. Here’s the link to the earlier version of the poem Charles Baudelaire. Fast away the old year passes, and we must renew ourselves, our thoughts, and our poetry for the new year soon to be upon us. To all my readers, old and new, welcome to that world.