a word picture from the past... and yet, like the spirit of today

Sunlight touches
the grey-rough bark
There is no warmth
just hard light
If Picasso has painted this
one would see chunks
of thin barely yellow
shadow-slashes scarring
a dusky-dull coat

Scrubby twigs spread their brittle webs
chicken-foot scales hanging in wait
to scratch an unsuspecting

The light shifts this harsh perspective
becomes just another
hiding for one more winter
the food for flocks

hardly recent and yet....

the snow keeps
drifting down
covering every aspect other
than its cold white breath.

my lungs forget how to empty
and each indrawn breath
is colder, sharper, bringing
singular awareness
one by one my fingers and toes are growing numb.

Yet as I approach another
slippery intersection
millions of tiny birds
skid out of the sky-space
that connect the clouds.

Their hot energy
is like pepper dust.
It catches my throat
propels a sneeze
gusts of fury
sheer vertical
as if to catch the centre
empty of bodies
empty air

the heart beat of an instant
direction change.

Poetry has always been important to me.  You will have noticed I haven't posted here regularly and that is because I don't write much anymore but I have decided  this is a good place to share some of my work that was written before.  So technically not recent work but work that I am proud of, none the less, and which has not been shared before.  Archives sounds far to lofty  and old files seems to dusty but I hope you enjoy reading my words, and that in some way they speak to you.  

Please respect my copyright!  

reading about poetry

 As  well as reading and writing poetry I sometime find a terrific reference book that reminds me about how to read and think through poetry. I always find it stimulating to go back to analysis and think it through then try to apply it to other work I love.   The most recent book was only published last year 2015  and is by a fabulous poet in her own right  as well as being a master of analysis that doesn't feel invasive, or corrosive . By that I mean it doesn't make you hate that you are reading about the meaning of said words... you are part of the process and it is exciting to think about words and how they are, have, and will continue to elaborate all the things we cannot know for certain.

"Ten Windows   How Great Poems Transform the World",   by Jane Hirshfield

 I have been journalling about windows and photos and  Hirshfield writes this about windows and poems....  

    "Many good poems have a kind of window moment in them---- they change their direction of gaze in a way that suddenly opens a broader landscape of meaning and feeling. Encountering such a moment, the reader breathes in some new infusion, as steeply perceptible as any physical window's increase of light, scent,or air.  The gesture is one of lifting, unlatching, releasing;  mind and attention swing open to new-peeled vistas."

The pleasure of reading this book is about learning better how to see the poem.  NOW I will have to put my brain to work to see if anything new finds its way into language. But I leave you with this.

Basho  perhaps the greatest write of haiku wrote in one of his travel journals:

wind penetrates
through to the heart

things have changed

poem again

I rediscovered this in a sketch book, not where I usually write but it felt good enough to be revised and now it says something more I hope!

the poet places words
ending lines
just so
meanings are
not as clear cut
only average hostility
a heart beats triple time
cut done
for a whole generation
skined over

the painter swirls colour
past line ending
we pre tend lines
hide with in space
twirl twizzle leap
dot dash con-trast
end and be
physical marks
stilled complexity
perplexingly assertive

I've moved over

and approximately one month later.... this....

 As a result of one of  Jena Schwartz's "Dive into Poetry" emails during April,  that started with a quote from Jane Kenyon about being a "patient gardener of a dry and weedy garden"

This was my response. 

I am a gardener of sorts,
sorts of effort,
sorts of random effects,
sorts of plants whose
names I never remember,

But as I rake and bag winter

I begin sorting greeness
by degrees of silky newness
by their effortless effort
shouldering brown sideways
to the edges of vision.

Exhausted by bending and the scrabbling of my fingers,
I drag over the hose
sit down, and watch
the sunlight sparkle liquied jewels,
turning dust to black magic
and even bolder green.

april 1 is for poetry


I have worked with you
long hours sifting voices
the hot scratch
of dusty sunlight
the twitch of shoulders
under homespun
and written you simply
in landscape.

Everyone felt it a good fit.
But I wanted more
I wanted the texture
the fabric of life
the words woven
across paper in colour,
brilliant sparkling truths.

I tried the natual progression
of uniform colour.
I tried to interpret
the habitual square
a section of land
boxed history
tilting to abstract
in neutrals once again
but bright with ragged edges.

This time I was sure
the clear strong colours
of prairie light would settle round.

Back and fore grounds
hummed all night
defeating sleep.

I awoke to violet,
the darkest colour of the rainbow
the colour before
a thundering rain
to find you
whispering hues, voicing
the gift in clear blue.




something that happens

when you flick a switch

a word twists  slides suddenly 

a new look   in sight

lips curl up

arch a thin open ache

that bites   silences

the dark behind the eye

that black hole

that minutely adjusts

our exposure

written around nov 18/14

I feel as ragged as the sleep

I stepped out of too early

this morning. Too many

things to do in the cross over time

between house and frozen ground.

The drive wakes me as I concentrate

negotiating optimum spaces

 like words arrange attitude in type

disembodied from the voice

that speaks up behind my eyes.