Sunday, April 26, 2015

Off the raiils

I'm afraid that's where I've been this month, especially in terms of this poor little blog -- off the rails. Off in too many directions, doing workshops, attending readings and art openings -- all good things, but lacking in focus.

Maybe that's what happened to the engineer pulling the train these cars were part of. It didn't look like a particularly dangerous section of track (though there is a switch some yards back) along the Fraser River in New Westminster.

Luckily, it doesn't appear that the car was carrying dangerous freight. Still, the sight is enough to make me think 'what if'' especially in terms of the often-hazardous materials being pulled through nearby White Rock and Crescent Beach every day.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

MagPo Road Trip

Because April is National Poetry Month, I'm going to do my best to feature some poems on the blog. For a start, this one, "Highway Love," grew out of an afternoon stop while we were on our Spring Break Road Trip along the Pacific coast.

Before we left, I'd bought myself a new set of Magnetic Poetry, this time with words about the famous Route 66. Even though I knew we weren't planning to get that far south, it seemed to be a good batch of words to try out on a road trip.

When I opened the kit and saw all those still-in-blocks words, I also discovered that I had a problem. I couldn't find a stretch of metal big enough to accommodate all of my potentially poetic words. The only spot inside that was magnet-friendly metal was an eensy niche on the side of the stove hood fan. Nearly every other surface in the RV was wood or some facsimile.

Even the metal sides of the vehicle must be mainly aluminum, as nothing wanted to stick.

But at last, I was saved by the shining expanse of the front bumper. I spread out the set of words across the entire front width of the truck and, using my little metal clipboard as a notepad, started to work.
The poem I came up with will probably ride around with us for the next while or so, or at least until I can come up with something better.  

One of the challenges you might want to take up this month is NaPoWriMo. As the abbreviated words suggest, the site is dedicated to April also being National Poetry Writing Month. Daily prompts will help nudge you toward the goal of a poem every day. What's to lose? Nothing but your writer's block.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Untangling the labyrinth

This labyrinth in the forest provided a wonderful place for untangling some thoughts about a group of poems I have been working on for too long.

But then, that's one of the purposes of walking a labyrinth -- it's a meditative experience where one may seek answers to questions. As the sign near the entry point of this labyrinth puts it, "The labyrinth is a metaphor for our journey through life."

This one, located in the Oregon forest at Bandon Dunes, was silent and empty, the perfect spot for clearing my mind and finding a focus for going forward. Patterned after the famous labyrinth at Chartres, walking its patterned arcs made me think of the convoluted lines of the brain.

The gift I left at its centre? Two pine cones
that looked as though they wanted to be friends.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Foresty yin and yang

Spring. The vernal equinox. Ostara. The death of winter, the beginnings of things that grow.

I suppose some will find the image on this post not to their liking. It certainly presented me with something I'd never seen before -- a slug waltzing past the still-fresh corpse of a bird, The odd pairing seemed fitting to the cycle of change this day represents.

And really, when could a slug ever hope to pass that near a bird? A reminder that it's time to reach for dreams.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kreativ spelling

When I saw this sign, I had to think for a minute, as I didn't think a garden centre would have much to do with Seder, a practice that's observed as part of Judaism.

I'm pretty sure they meant that they had cedar trees for sale.

I almost wish I'd spotted this and taken the photo sooner, as I might have entered it in "Signs" a show currently on exhibit at one of our local community galleries. Not that the image would have made the cut, but it might have given the judges a laugh.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Pruning time

Yet again, it's time for the first of the haircuts I give to my blackberries. This round of pruning, first of the season, is always the most drastic. It's the one where I cut away all the frizzy brown clumps of dried-out berries and get rid of branches that have died. It's also where I get to chop out all the straggly bits that wouldn't produce much in the way of fruit anyway.

Strange, I suppose, that a job like this -- which involves avoiding some very nasty thorns -- could be one that brings me such pleasure. Even though this year's prune took three separate afternoons, I know that it was worth it. After all, who doesn't like blackberry pie or jam?

Yesterday (when I finished this job) was not only International Women's Day, but also the day we had to set our clocks for Daylight Saving Time, My son, liberated soul that he is, pointed out that once again, women were getting the short end of the stick -- that even the day dedicated to celebrating us had been pruned by an hour -- sort of the way our wages still don't measure up to those of men.

But, you might be wondering, what's with the chain? No symbolism around women and their roles, I promise. It's just there (along with what looks like a dancer's barre) to keep those prickly branches in line later in the season when their branches are weighted down with all that luscious fruit.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Poem bears

Turns out that yesterday was International Polar Bear Day. If it weren't for those video news blats the Internet providers love to insert, I'd never have even known it. And I somehow doubt that many others would have either.

My observation of the day ranges from the silly set-up photo above (who says it doesn't pay to not defrost in a timely manner?) to the poem below, expressing some of my concerns about this mysterious creature.

Last day of February, and no doubt things are beginning to melt everywhere.

Night of the Bears 

While we sleep this wintry night away, you’re saving bears
dreaming metal islands for an ocean with no ice:
floating metal platforms for polar bears to walk on
artificial stepping stones so they won’t have to drown.

I see water dense with bears, nose to tip to nose,
like pieces in some Escher tessellation
swarming in a sea gone soupy warm.

Their whitish fur, slicked back so smooth,
makes them look like fish, thick as schools of salmon
used to be, spawning in some woodland stream, dense
so we might walk, carefully, on tiptoe cross their backs.