Stumps

Stumps

Stumps, yes. Firmly planted.
Newly arrived at the wicket,
I can now take my guard.
Last man in
with everything to play for.

“Middle and off. Please.”
I hold the bat steady, upright,
and the man in white
nods his head, counts
the coins, or stones,
he has in his pocket
and wonders when he can leave
his post and go to tea.

I stand, there, right-handed,
and the field adjusts.
Then I change hands,
keep the same guard,
now middle and leg,
and stare at the square leg,
now a short leg
who glares back fiercely.

The man in the white coat
tut-tuts in despair.
I know he knows this isn’t done.
It’s just not cricket.
But then, he’s not the one
batting on a cloth untrue,
with a twisted cue,
while the bowlers bowl
with elliptical balls.

The field changes over
to a left-handed stance.
I think about changing over again,
but I’m sure there’d be an appeal:
wasting time, a nasty crime
at this stage of the game,
though many do it.

First ball, a long-hop,
and I clobber it for four.
Three runs to win,
four balls to bowl.
I block the next ball.
The one after is short.
I cut it away past gully
and call for two.
I make it home safe
but my partner is run out
at the bowler’s end.

We lose by one run.
“Serve you right,”
says the man in the white coat,
racing towards the pavilion
for a pee before tea.
“That just wasn’t cricket.”

I walk slowly back,
stiff upper lip,
ramrod straight bat,
and no time at all for this
sticky dog wicket.


Comment: I wonder how many of my followers will have understood a word of what I have written. Never mind. You can always enjoy the painting. Oh the mysteries of what used to be England’s national game and a wonderful source of metaphor and image. A double-header on the weekend. England vs the West Indies. I wonder if it will be that close?

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Stumps.

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Seize the day. Squeeze this moment tight.
Nothing before means anything. Everything
afterwards is merely hope and dream. 

A tiny child, you chased wind-blown leaves
trying to catch them before they hit the ground.
Elf parachutes you called them and trod with care

so as not to crush the fallen elves as they lay leaf-bound.
I stand here now, a scarecrow scarred with age,
arms held out, palms up, in the hope that a leaf

will descend, a fallen sparrow, and rest in my hand.
When one perches on my shoulder and another
graces my gray hair, my old heart pumps with joy.


Comment:
Coming soon to a garden near you!

Listen to the podcast
Carpe Diem

Eclipse at KIRA

Eclipse at KIRA
June, 2021
as seen from the Red Room

Another exercise in light and the emotions triggered by changing light. I couldn’t look at the early morning sun, with its partial eclipse, especially through the camera’s eye. So I did my best through the digital screen. These photos are the result of hope and a set of digital colors that are way beyond my human eyes to comprehend.

Incredible moments in time and space, and oh so subjective, this seeming objectivity of the camera’s eye. Who are we, what are we, we tiny morsels of humanity when we see ourselves, so miniscule, so seemingly meaningless, beneath the daisy eye of heaven and the celestial dance that began before us and will continue long after we have gone.

The Old 100th in metrical form:

“All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with mirth, his praise foretell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.”
Scottish Psalter, 1650.


Comment: No, I am not an overtly religious man and definitely not ‘a man of any cloth’. However, yesterday afternoon I received my second shot of Moderna and I want to offer my thanks to all those, world-wide, who made the vaccine possible and also to all the New Brunswickers and Canadians involved in distributing and delivering the Covid-19 vaccine. Today, I remembered my digital photos of the partial eclipse I witnessed at KIRA, St. Andrews, NB, earlier this month. So, this morning, for better or for worse, I have come before you to encourage you to rejoice.

 

Dreams

IMG0023_1.jpg
Dreams are important throughout mythology. Do we create them ourselves? Or do they come to us as celestial messages? Can they exist without us? Or do we form a symbiotic relationship, each dependent on the other?

Dreams

I once stole the nose from a sacred statue.
Today I watch it cross the square attached to a face.
Eight Deer walks past with a fanfare of conches:
you can tell him by his donut with its little tail.

A shadow moves as zopilote wings his way across the square.
I spoke with him once on a midnight bus.
He begged me to fold his wings and let him sleep forever.

gringa called Nuttall sells tins of watery soap.
Her children fill my days with enchantment
as they blow bright bubbles through a magic ring.

Eight Deer, eight years old, sets out on his conquests.
Nine Wind births nine of his people from flakes of flint,
or was it from the magic tree in Apoala?

The voices in my head slip slowly into silence.
Sometimes I think they have no need of me,
these dreams that come at midnight,
and knock at my window.
Other times I know they cannot live without me.

Striations

IMG_0299.jpg
The iguana that guards the front door of our house. At night he comes alive, goes round on patrol, checking and securing everything and everybody. Beware the jaws that bite, the claws that clutch!

Striations

There are striations in my heart, so deep, a lizard could lie there, unseen, and wait for tomorrow’s sun. Timeless, the worm at the apple’s core waiting for its world to end. Seculae seculorum: the centuries rushing headlong. Matins: wide-eyed this owl hooting in the face of day. Somewhere, I remember a table spread for two. Breakfast. An open door. “Where are you going, dear?” Something bright has fled the world. The sun unfurls shadows. The blood whirls stars around the body. “It has gone.” she said. “The magic. I no longer tremble at your touch.” The silver birch wades at dawn’s bright edge. Somewhere, tight lips, a blaze of anger, a challenge spat in the wind’s taut face. High-pitched the rabbit’s grief in its silver snare. The midnight moon deep in a trance. If only I could kick away this death’s head, this sow’s bladder, this full moon drifting high in a cloudless sky.

Comment: a fitting ending for the month of February: ubi sunt? Where have all those days gone: Ou sont les neiges d’antan?

Yours

Yours

Yours are the hands that raise me up,
that rescue me from dark depression,
that haul me from life’s whirlpool,
that clench around the jaws that bite,
that save me from the claws that snatch.

Yours are the hands that move the pieces
on the chess board of my days and nights,
that break my breakfast eggs and bread,
that bake my birthday cake and count
the candles that you place and light.

You are the icing on that cake, and yours
is the beauty that strips the scales
from my eyes, then blinds me with light.

Carpe Diem

IMG_0811 (2)

Carpe Diem

Seize the day. Squeeze this moment tight.
Nothing before means anything. Everything
afterwards is merely hope and dream.

Remember how, when you were a tiny child,
you chased wind-blown autumn leaves
trying to catch them before they landed?

Elf parachutes you called them, treading with care
so as not to crush the fallen elves as they lay
leaf-bound upon the ground. I stand here now,

a scarecrow scarred with age, arms held out,
palms up, in the hope that a descending leaf
will perch like a sparrow on my shoulder.

When one condescends to visit me and another
graces my gray hair, my old heart pumps with joy.
I stand up straight, knowing I have seized this day.