Grand Finale

IMG_0646 (2).JPG

Grand Finale
(Moscow 1812
Moncton 2015)

survey the battlefield
muskets primed
three shots a minute
cities burning
hamlets and villages

through a monocle
stand to attention
be-whiskered faces
small narrow minds
wine glasses raised
gay colored uniforms
dazzling decorations
marvelous medals

balloons blooming
gaudy their globules
pins at the ready
no flash but a big bang

glorious martial music
church bells ringing
carillon and cannon
magnificent the music

written cryptic
recorded alive
heard played seen
in  memory’s mind’s eye
again and again


Kingsbrae Creations




Kingsbrae 14.4
14 June 2017

Kingsbrae Creations

Carlos Carty has recorded me as I sat reading some of my poems out loud. He has also put some of them to music. I think of it as mood music, because he captures meaning from tone and voice and then adds a music he has created to match the emotions expressed in the poem. We have recorded six poems so far and I list them below. Just clink on the links and turn your volume up. Carlos and I hope you enjoy these Kingsbrae Creations, one of the many results of our collaboration here at Kingsbrae and KIRA. Here are the poems, click on their titles to access to voice readings and musical accompaniment.

Giving Back

Word Blooms

Scent & Touch

Small Corner

Yellow Bird



Carlos Carty

IMG_0134 (2)


Journal: Carlos Carty addressed the group of resident artists tonight. Carlos is from Lima, Peru, but he has lived for the past few years in Brazil. He told us how, at the age of 15, he had discovered music while still in school. It was, he said, love at first sight. However, musical instruments were expensive and not easy to obtain, so he learned to play rhythms and music on throwaway things, empty boxes, plastic and glass bottles, material that could be re-cycled. He was self-taught and has had few lessons. However, his explorations have led him to the Pan Flute, the Andean flute, the Chinese (or sideways) flute, and to many of the myriad flute-like instruments that are played in the Andes in general and in Peru in particular.

Carlos is interested in all types of music and would love to be a full-time musician, dedicated exclusively to his music. However, he has a family to look after and music alone will not keep food on the table. This was a problem shared by all the artists in residence. He then told us of some of his difficulties. He also told of his preference for his own people’s traditional music. This music existed before the Incan Empire and long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores who laid his land and his people to waste. Part of Carlos’s musical experiments have centered on restoring a melodic happiness to a Peruvian traditional music that is, by nature, sad. Add to this his ability to create music from all types of recyclable material, and you will see Carlos as an innovator. His own compositions demonstrate this innovative spirit and he happily blends any and all types of music to the traditional music as he searches for new ways in which to express himself, his moods, and his emotions.

With regards to KIRA and the Kingsbrae experience, Carlos stated that six months ago, while thinking about his application to KIRA, he realized how important it was to write down his ideas and focus on the elements that made him the musician that he is. From these cogitations arose his ideas on the eclectic nature of music and the necessity to recycle not just music, but the means by which music is made. Music, for Carlos, comes as an imitation of nature. It is the sound of water, of rocks knocking against each other. It is the sound of the wind through grass and reeds, the beating of wood on stone. He also spoke of the various waves of immigrants who came into Peru. The African slaves, in their moments of leisure, expressed themselves in sound, sounds made from the very materials with which they were laboring. This too became a part of Peruvian music.

One of the reasons why Carlos loves the flute is that it is one of the world’s most ancient instruments coming after the percussion of wood on rock and taut animal skin or shells. Flutes go back many thousands of years, to ancient Greece, among other places, and they are the world’s original instruments and bind all cultures together via the international language of music.

Many questions followed Carlos’s presentation. Most of them centered on a clarification of one thing or another. However, thanks to Anne Wright, a very productive theme was introduced: the relationship between North American aboriginal music (especially the first nations peoples of Canada) and the traditional music of other aboriginal American people. This theme merged into the question of identity, loss of identity, and the attempt to recover that lost identity, especially in the current age when so many differences are so easily erased. Language, culture, identity, music … they are all tied closely together. Carlos is an excellent ambassador and has the personality to explore and develop such links as these. Perhaps there will be further room to develop these contacts at a later date.



fundy 05 mist+wolfepipers 077

Kingsbrae 10.2
10 June 2017


Tisty-tosty ,
this morning mist,
white wisps
blindfolding bushes,
draping our world
with silent birds.

Eyes out of focus,
we squint
at shape and form,
mystery in the magic
of movement,
the air a-shimmer,
spider webs glistening.

Long lost sailors
return from distant seas,
dead warriors wake,
our ancestors walk
backwards in time
to greet us
in this mythical
dreamland that swathes
our senses,
wrapping us
in the mystery of mist.

Pan pipes:
a melancholy melody ,
moving among the reeds.


IMG_0134 (2)

Carlos Carty Making Magic

Kingsbrae 8.1

(for Carlos Carty)

Songs without words:
a black alpaca rolling on green grass,
two deer dashing across the lawn,
three Indian Runner Ducks actually running,
four tents, canopies billowing beneath the sun,
Passamaquoddy stretched out before me,
a dark island stark in the bay,
sunlight descending a ladder of cloud.

Song without words without end:
music of wind through rock,
waves lapping against stones,
a breeze tapping rhythm from river reeds,
plucked and pierced, the reeds:
the world’s first flute.

Life and breath are one.
The young man opening the water bottles,
sipping the right amount, pursing his lips,
blowing into the bottle neck,
making sweet music:
a song of joy.

Kingsbrae 2.2


Kingsbrae 2.2
2 June 2017

The Red Room

Carlos makes music on his flute.
He lives in the Green Room,
an open door opposite mine.

He creates the highest note of all
and it floats before me in the air,
a trapeze artist caught in a sunbeam,
suspended between the hands
that fling and those that catch.

His musical rhythms are different.
I try to follow his fingering.

In the space between notes,
hummingbirds flash their ruby
throats as they flit between flowers.

With a whirring of wings, all music
stops, save for the robin’s song
refreshing the early summer
with the sound of his eternal joy.

Journal: As I unpack my bags and start to settle in and arrange the room to my own liking, Carlos who will stay in the room opposite mine, starts to play his flute. I listen to the notes and, as I am listening, a robin joins in the song. I rest for a moment and sit at the small writing desk by one of the windows. From here I can see white clouds floating their ice-berg shapes across a sea-blue sky. Beneath them, Passamaquoddy Bay sparkles and crackles with filtered sunshine.

My mind goes back to another, more desperate time, two years ago, when I sat by the hospice window in Moncton and looked out at the car park. My car sat out there, abandoned, lonely, waiting to take me home for the welcome respite of a weekend free from radiation and treatments. Now, looking out of the window towards Minister Island, I feel as if I belong, as if this place had been waiting a long time for me to arrive and bear witness to it. I feel deep inside me the joy I feel when I walk in the door and enter the warmth of my own family and home.