Monday 31 July 2023
When she thinks back,
she pictures herself sitting
out on the patio stones,
rocking in a wicker chair
The chair bleached as white
as the stones
The stones, the colour of the
sheep on the hill
The memories blur together;
one falls against the next, and the
next, and the next,
much like a long line of dominos
set to cascade in some crazy method
Her rough red hands, delicate then,
did fancy needlework
She can still see the thread - colours
plucked right out of the fields:
corn-yellow, olive-green, tomato-red
While she sat on the patio stones
rocking and humming, snatches
of hymns, and laughing at nothing
Sometimes she mended things, but
she can't think what now
What would a country girl have
to mend, she wonders
She can almost put her mind on it
but it flits away, skittish as a colt
Was she always such a fool,
she ponders this a bit before moving
on to some other something.
Tuesday 4 July 2023
Tuesday 19 April 2022
GRANDCHILDREN - A KIND OF DO-OVER
One of the nice things about
grandkids is the freedom they bring
Not that I ever felt
particularly hampered by my own two kids
the responsibilities are different with the new batch.
always known I’d throw myself under a bus for any of them
just a given, but, what joy to learn I can watch all the movies
didn’t have time for when my kids were growing up
listen intensely when my granddaughter tells me her visions
I don’t remember so many
things from my own kids’ childhood
We always seemed so busy,
and I was so tired. True, I was ill much
of the time. Maybe that’s
why this do-over is such a gift.
Thursday 7 April 2022
For “F’s” Sake WAS HOW THIS STARTED
Fudge, especially maple and butterscotch, tickles my tastebuds unbearably (and are flavours that I actually at times, yearn for)
Fireplace nights when the temperature outside is Arctic cold feel especially warm (and not even an electric heater warms my body like my wood-burning fireplace with birch-logs flaming high)
Feeling loved, cherished, and feeling that all is well – fine times. (Again, body and soul -- mind/body connection -- it all comes down to this, it does.)
Sunday 4 April 2021
LET ME TELL YOU WHO
and the blackness that is night in across the sky,
I am every dying star appearing diamond-like
and each planet aligning with our own.
I'll be the blush along the horizon announcing
dawn as Sol's coin slides up, glowing
and the warmth you feel when your kitten
purrs, good morning beside you in your bed.
floor an instant before your baby calls for
you to come and get him.
The gasp you utter in the night when the phone
rings and your heart stops beating
for the few seconds it takes you to answer it.
be asked to sign your name —
for good reasons, and those not so great—.
letters from overseas, even in these days
of emails and Facebook
I am the thick white and yellow pages you used
to find in big cities, and still can, if you look hard
enough, containing the names and numbers
of everyone, you will ever need to contact.
of your life, I will be the sound of solace
The master of ceremonies, the person in charge
of the view-master, the reels; I'll unspool whatever
memories you are keen to review.
Before you take your final bow—I live, then die,
to serve you.
Saturday 27 March 2021
Most any other place
Plays ordinary April
Jokes, at least that’s
What they tell me
It’s only here
Where one expects
To see showers and
And wakes to bowers
And drifts of that
Not clouds, no
Not fog or mist or dew
Nothing so ephemeral
As any of that
Here in this place
Crouched on the lip
Of the Arctic Circle
As some wise scribe
Are those who
Continue to dwell
Tries to set world
Thursday 3 August 2017
Ingrid was quite right. She had talked about this superb conference she attended in Muhlenberg that was just for women writers, trying to encourage all the writers we write with to attend. (We’re a group of seven or eight collaborators from all around the planet, poets mainly – we’ve known each other from studying various MOOC’s but have stayed in touch in this smaller group to work on rengays, on a regular basis.)
This year, only I managed to attend the conference but after I read the courses offered, and one in particular – I was determined to come. Eunice Scarfe is not only on IWWG’s board, she’s a regular presenter at the conferences, and, she’s also a big deal where I come from – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. As it happened, after years of trying, I finally managed to enroll in one of Eunice’s classes in Edmonton this past May – and was thrilled I could tell her I’d see her in Muhlenberg also.
Was IWWG what I thought it would be? Oh yes!
Ingrid had tried to prepare me for this wondrous event and even offered to put me up at her house in Pequea, PA (about 2 hours from Muhlenberg) before and after the conference (this is someone I only knew online, until the conference) – a generous offer I decided to take her up on.
This was not my first rodeo, as we’re fond of saying in the west. I’ve had the good fortune of attending workshops with publishers in Colrain, Massachusetts, with mixed genre facilitators in Hudson, New York, and with the late Thomas Lux in Palm Beach, Florida – not to mention many in Canada as well. I guess you could say, after almost seven decades on the planet, I’m not easily impressed.
But this conference managed to put paid to that notion – being hard to impress me, that is – I arrived with a healthy dose of skepticism in my bag, and left thoroughly uplifted.
Ingrid had primed my pump, so to speak, telling me glowingly of the supportive atmosphere she found at previous conferences, and mentioning various instructors she thought I’d find commonalities with – she mentioned Susan Tiberghien and Myra Shapiro, for instance; when I threw Eunice Scarfe into the mix myself, Ingrid knew I was a goner.
Being gently guided to and from the conference by two long-time attenders, Ingrid and her sister Leslie Keithline, who flew in from Denver to join us, to being embraced by newbies and seasoned members alike – my indoctrination as a first-year joiner was about as perfect as I could have wished.
The hardest part? Selecting which courses to attend, by far! I knew I would want to stay in Eunice’s class once I started going there and was almost relieved that she was delayed arriving so I could try out another. I did go to both Susan’s and Myra’s – and I was hooked from the get-go, knew I wouldn’t be looking any further afield this year. The other person I was most interested in was Marj Hahne, but I intended to attend poetry critiquing and knew she was doing that, so decided to cover getting to know her—at least a little bit—that way.
Every evening was rich with speakers and awards, readings, and more; the Red Door Lounge filled with camaraderie and good food and drink.
I like to read my poetry aloud but haven’t done that in awhile, and not in front of a large crowd for quite some time. Still, I was determined to do it here – and am thrilled I did – never a warmer crowd than this one.
Dancing – we danced every night before other more formal parts of the evening got started – if someone had told me I’d be doing that, I would have pooh-poohed the idea as not happening, but somehow, here – with these women, the most natural and fun thing ever.
The seminar about writing for racial healing: “experimental”, it was billed. Heart-warming and inspiring is how it felt. I hope we do more of this in the future. I especially liked that we each committed to doing one thing, in the near future, to promote racial healing.
From dining in the great hall (which many of us agreed reminded us of Hogwarts) to moving across the quads to go to class, IWWG 2017, was filled with the joy of learning and being amongst our tribe – women who were philosophically attuned to each other. Is there a greater joy? I can’t imagine one.
Some Photos from the College: