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

Gilt Trip

Gilt Trip

A walking gilt trip
and the woes of the journey
packed into the old kit bag
that bends your back
and weighs down your shoulders.

Take care lest you stumble,
for if you stumble
you will surely fall, and every fall
is a precipice that will never allow you
to get back up again.

Where is the stranger, the faceless one,
the as-yet-unknown one who will care
just because he cares and will help you
stand up once more on your own two feet?

Take root where you stand.
Plant your feet solidly into the ground.
The winds of change will blow,
but they will not topple you.

Raise your eyes to the sunrise.
Strive upwards, ever upwards,
turn towards the light,
that fragile lightness
of everlasting light.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
G
ilt Trip


Hope

Hope

In the half-light, on my evening walk,
the first pale-green spears of spring
stuck out their tongues
from the lips of leaf mold
and dark earth to mock me.

“Back home,” they said, “the daffodils
are in full bloom. In Ireland
the shamrock refuses to surrender.
It will not be trampled underfoot.”

“But this is my home,” I replied.
“Believe: and spring will come,”
the earth cried out.
La paciencia todo lo alcanza
patience achieves everything.”

The darkness deepened. Night came on.
But the sun still shone within my heart,
and filled me with hope.

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



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

Sun Storm

Sun Storm

Some days the clouds roll in.
Your world turns from gray
into fifty shades of black.

These are the days when the sun
seems as lost as you.
But the sun isn’t lost.
It hides behind clouds, maybe,
but it’s there.

That’s where the sun storm comes in.
Clouds have silver linings
and the sun, once seen, will never,
ever be forgotten.

Hold its image in your mind.
Breathe in the sunshine.
Let it flood through your body
and shine out through your heart.

Now, you will never be alone,
and the sun will walk with you,
all your days, and be remembered
even in the darkest night
when paths disappear
and all seems lost.

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Sun Storm

Balls of Fire

Balls of Fire

One of my first cartoons. It always reminded me of Jerry Lee Lewis: “Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire.” What fun it was to paint and what a joy to rediscover it. I guess that’s the name of the game for a little while: rediscovery. Dig down into the dirt and the memoirs and the flashbacks and reproduce what’s in there. It reminds me too of the conjunction of Mars and Venus, a couple of years back. I would look out of the window, to the southern sky, and there they were, drawing closer together until, suddenly, one night, there they were. “Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire.”

I have never been able to draw or paint with any skill. Then, one day, I read Matisse and his commentaries on his own work: “Making meaning out of colour and shape.” So, there you are. I don’t know what it means, but, as Salvador Dali said “I don’t know what it means, but I know it means something.” And the moment means something: staying in the moment of creativity creates great joy. That joy, the joy in joie de vivre, is there to be rediscovered. So: share the joy. Laugh at the innocence. And, following Picasso, “paint the world as a child might see it.”

Indoor Plants

Indoor Plants

Those that have been chosen to survive have walked indoors, Now they are safe behind glass, in the warm, low sunshine that floods the rooms. We watch the sun’s fingers starting to reach into the deepest corners and know that winter is on its way.

Thanksgiving has come and gone yet we still give thanks: indoor flowers to brighten the dark days, flu shots tomorrow, blood tests on Friday. I guess it’s a case of ‘last man standing’!

Orion confirms this. He has risen in the night sky and now accompanies me on my journey through the dark hours, sword at belt, faithful dog at heel. Yes. Winter is on its way. Warmer clothing. Thicker jerseys. Non-slip shoes. Oh the joys of Canada.

Remember: there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. Locked out of the university, walking the picket lines at -35C, we learned the facts of outdoor winter life only too well. So, dress warmly. Keep safe. Keep your distance. Wear those masks. Did out your snow tires. Tune up the snow blower.

And may you always wake with the flowers in the house.

Dancing Bananas

Dancing Bananas

“The only difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad,” Salvador Dali. It is a great honor to borrow his words and to be able to make the same declaration: the only difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad.

Mikhail Bakhtin: carnival, the world turned upside down, the world going bananas and those bananas dancing, as you can see in the painting above. It is a mad moment frozen in the still time of paint. And why shouldn’t bananas dance? Some one out there will remember Thunder Bay, 1981: ‘you just have to go bananas’ and the bananas duly appeared at half time instead of the oranges. Saint John, 1985: same thing.

And now the dancing bananas have emerged once more to fill your minds with pleasure and your hearts with joy. Go, bananas, go. Bananas-a-go-go. Way to go, bananas. And I tell you, given the current state of society, going bananas is the only way to go. So, in the next election, I shall form the Banana Party and we can all stand firmly, shoulder to shoulder and shout “Oh, Mighty Banana!” and “Go, Bananas!”

Ah yes, and my next painting? Maybe it will be Banana Custard or Banana Splits, not that I have ever done the splits!

Stay on the Green Side

Stay on the Green Side

One of my good friends always greets me with the following phrase: “Still on the green side of the grass, then”. So, here’s my painting: Stay on the Green Side. Much better than the other side, from all that I am told by my more down-to-earth companions. I will not intrude upon the thoughts of some of my other friends, nor expose their beliefs. I’ll paint for them another day.

So, while you can, and while you may, Stay on the Green Side, my friends. Wake up each morning, smell the coffee, and gather ye rosebuds while ye may!

Daffodils

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Daffodils

Winter’s chill lingers well into spring.
I buy daffodils to encourage the sun
to return and shine in the kitchen.

Tight-clenched fists their buds,
they sit on the table and I wait
for them to open.

Grey clouds fill the sky.
A distant sun lights up the land
but doesn’t warm the earth
nor melt the snow.

The north wind chills the mind,
driving dry snow across our drive
to settle in the garden.

Our red squirrels spark at the feeder.
The daffodils promise warmth,
foretell future suns, predicting
bright warmer days to come.