Art thou pale for weariness of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, wandering companionless among the stars that have a different birth, and ever changing, like a joyless eye that finds no object worth it's constancy? Thou chosen sister of the Spirit, that gazes on thee til in thee it pities. . . -Shelley (To The Moon)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Have you come to play with me today? Terrific! No matter my age I hope to always live by the rules of the playground: share, take turns, use my imagination, run, jump, dance, sing, get a little dirty, challenge my limits by learning new songs and games, participate, climb high, hide away alone if I want to, laugh and express myself loud and clear. Sounds a little hokey, maybe, but I really think these rules work, when I consider that if I applied even a few today more would be accomplished on all planes.
I hope you carry a playground in your heart, and that you will come and play with me again!
The above image is the cover of an old playground equipment catalogue. The painting on the right is by Edward Del Rosario. There is the most wonderful blog called Playscapes about everything playground here:

Flat slides, wide and shiny during daytime
cool down in the evening.

Noises of the nearby road
die down. At once

She hears wind scraping
chains against the crossbar

(Suggesting child phantoms
in the autumn dusk);

The undulating swingset
provides distraction from her upset.

Now that work is over
she's faced with such futility.

It was just a part-time job -
but her responsibility.

Why is life a cycle
wielding many oppositions?

She once came here to play,
now she comes to worry.

Cutting the streetlamp's beam
a long shadow appears.

followed by a boy,
who has been her friend for years.

Life now seems to balance
as she greets him happily;

Yes, the time has turned,
but not so differently.

Is the playground no more
a reflection on her changes,

than the same place it will always be
where friendship meets the ages?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Best Answer

The day is only truly "mine" when I share it with you. This poem is about a piece of the relationship between my partner and I. I play piano and sing, and record my own ideas in a studio where he works. He doesn't like to record his ideas, though. I wish he would, and this poem expresses that wish. The title of my poem refers to the last few lines where I answer a popular question as best as I possibly can.
The above painting is by Lichtenstein. It's supposed to be (a skinnier, blonde version of) "me", listening in my bedroom on the second floor while he plays guitar on the first floor, the sound drifting clearly upwards. The painting to the right is by Joni Mitchell, depicting an eagle and the phrase "Love is All Love".
I hope you return to share your day with me, again.

The Best Answer

There is a sound he makes

I can't have disappear.

He strums the chords from way down deep

I'm privileged to hear.

I think he is an angel

hiding what's divine

from everyone but me because

his home is also mine.

He doesn't like to play

when I'm listening with intent,

admiring the music

to which my heart is bent.

If I remain busy, though,

and avert my eyes,

he will play with ease to know

that I won't scandalize

his work or reputation,

or judge him bad or good,

or give him up to people

who would have a singer's blood.

So when I hear him ringing true

I fall to my knees

just begging space to keep it longer

than a passing breeze.

Music is made sacred, though,

because it always dies,

leaving more enlightened

than I dare surmise.

How ironic, then, that he won't save

the beauty he is hoarding -

when others want to become stars. . .

he makes their recordings!

He thinks if nature can't recall

why should he make concrete

the voices from his soul, play God

and undermine the fleet

of all that is worth saving

and fighting for in life.

It's knowing what we can't renew

that generates our strife.

His gentle strains remind me

of what I hate to lose,

the tempered and the chaos

the blessings and the blues.

Sometimes I'm so moved

my vision begins blearing

until it's only by his song

I find a way worth steering.

They ask, "if when a tree falls. . ."

and without being specious,

I can say it hardly matters

for it couldn't sound more precious.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Many writers, particularly Canadian ones, have been inspired by the paintings of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. I have seen her paintings many times at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. A Tom Thomson hung on the wall of my childhood home. I can't attempt to explain what these paintings mean to me in any other way than how I have explained it below, in my poem Frontier. Someday I will expand this poem or use pieces of it for another, more complex poem on this subject.
In the meantime, though, I can tell you a little about the lines: "On her shades of grey, from dappled plum to ocean/ I hang silver tears; their transverse waves/ augment and diminish." My "tears" are a not just a literal response to being moved by her work, but they are meant as the filters of perceptions through which we all respond to visual stimuli. We each perceive and "see" things, especially art, differently from one another. In this metaphorical way, my "tears" also connote the fantastical idea that I have touched or changed the work somehow by seeing it, so that the painting will carry with it something of each of its viewers throughout its life.
The above painting and the one to the right are by Emily Carr. I hope you will leave your tears on my poem and return again to see what's changed.


Materials that men have made
obscure what nature means to emphasize.

They decorate walls in synthetic shapes
nature did not make --------- their jades
will never match the gem -------------

To God, green
is the very substance
of the leaf itself.

To God, blue is chameleon
changing against desert sands --------------
mutation its very essence.

Most of what men make is grey:

endless slabs, great as lakes
sweeping continents, constituting castles. . .
warehouses. . . vast stadiums. . .

Inside earth, legacies

of craft and construct, of form and fashion
spur with wind their veiny waifs
to adjust the pressure, inciting newborn vines
to somnolently streak our stone-hewn homes

for inevitable weddings of spirit to mere substance.

Emily's paintings do not perform a function,
or try to fool me into thinking they are anything besides wild.

On her shades of grey, from dappled plum to ocean
I hang silver tears; their transverse waves

augment and diminish.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Flowers of Saint Francis (Inspired by Rossellini)

Beauty is rich in the realm of our senses, today. I left my house to walk two blocks to a coffee shop downtown because my attempt to reheat an old coffee on the stove was unsuccessful (it just tasted burnt). When the weather is cold, sometimes my neighbourhood streets are populated by a number of homeless people because there are four churches on my street (aptly named Church Street) sheltering them at night. I am often emotionally overwhelmed to see them. Today, though, three women were about to pass me as one greeted me with a boisterous and friendly, "hello there!" My reaction was immediate; I responded with hello and my best smile. Her greeting gave me strength and security. It made me feel like my presence as a home-leaser was not resented and like this neighbourhood is alive, not dying. These moments are "flowers" in my garden of time.
e above painting is by El Greco. I hope your path of flowers leads you to return.

The Flowers Of Saint Francis (Inspired by Rossellini's film of the same name)

I am a follower, a flower
in the merciful sun.
I was told by fire of miracles
won by faith and ardent,
desired suffering.

Miracles are each vignettes
extolling the whole, real miracle
revolving constantly through turquoise
in impermanent jade waves:
(Paradox ~ Memory ~ Truth's Parasol)~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it happened once ---------- love -----------

does it exist forever,
if only witnessed internally,

experienced as nostalgia?

my memory of a perfect rose
into which I peered
is peaceful ~~~~~~~~~~~~ just as
peering in the first place
provoked such peace primarily

My heart is not my own
but a part of all I follow,
a flower in the merciful light.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"In Our First World, Shall We Follow The Deception of The Thrush?" - TS Eliot

Welcome - the sun and moon salute your breathing being, as do I! I use a quote from "Four Quartets" by TS Eliot as the title for this poem because of a coincidence. I don't remember the exact coincidence, but it had to do with the concept of eternity. When I was a little girl I used to imagine that there were infinite parallel universes before I went to sleep and I would stay up late trying to grasp the idea. This poem came from those nights.
The above painting is by Josef Albers. It reminds me a bit of parallel universes.
Fond farewell. I hope you return.

In Our First World, Shall We Follow The Deception of The Thrush?" - TS Eliot

The only place where time does not exist

is where past, present and future
present themselves a fixed point -----
a ball of time, forever
at the same time, a small

portion of now.

Some poets, like Shakespeare,
have seen the truth in mirrors
the truth being a dance

a dance of light across glass artifacts,
presenting change and only change
while it (truth) remains unscathed.

Truth, like spiders' legs
casting minute shadows on speckled fossils
attracts our eye toward the stone.

So why should I speak of what might have been?
Our memory will not be altered, and
I haven't enough of a grip on reality

to deploy the spotlight filters
so I will leave the dust
on the roses in the bowl
graciously or gracelessly - I don't know -

Age will tint them brown,
a shade already tanning pages
in my antique library, already
wearing through the grass. . .
the pressed path I pace at daily intervals. . .
over these crisp petals

I hold an immemorial mirror
reflecting reflections themselves
showing only to the soul:

Past happiness, fact-less and cracking,

bringing back a second joy -
still distant to the point of madness -

Gardens, like ceremonial bracelets
fringe my footsteps,

diamond-like in dew - birthwaters.