Autumn bouquet

 

 

 

 

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Cut with more thought and care
Than summer peonies, roses, lilies pink or white.
Cut with a thought to composition, a leaf or grass fronds here and there.
Conscious of the water clear and cool that show
The stems and leafy fronds a beauty all their own
High summer has its freedom, barefoot carelessness,
But this a charm, a homeliness that calls forth smiles, surprise
The calm hope that still there is to come, some comfort
Before the end of warmth and winter’s icy beauty.
No, not yet. Here between the sunburn and the glove
A bouquet to honor autumn

Sometimes we are not alone

 

 

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In the dark night as I lay sleeping

in the low mist of no-dreaming sleep

a spirit, a little soul came.

There, I can hear you snorting, hrumphing, “ridiculous

why not just say a moth?”

it wa a moth but so light, fluttering, seeking

looking for a little water.

There was a little water, how prudent

how prudent to put a glass of water beside my bed.

Yes, I laughed too to imagine myself taking a good long swallow

of water and moth in the middle of the night.

and down, down, like Jonah he would go.

no three days reprive here.  That would have been the end of him.

In the morning when I made my bed and picked up the cool glass of water

I looked to see a sign of life and quickly, quickly before I could make up my mind

threw the water out into the bushes in hopes that he would fly.

there, now do you see why I called him a little soul?

 

 

 

No, it’s not too soon!

 

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It’s not end of August yet.

We had such a wet summer!

The climate is ruined

 

No matter what you say, these leaves are turned and it is early fall.  The light is different, you need a blanket to sleep comfortably at night.  People are saying ” come in, the water’s lovely”.  It is lovely but it’s not the lovely of a scorching day, a sweaty body falling into the refreshing water, the sun hot on wet flesh.  We have a hard time letting go of summer.  Well, it is beautiful, green, kind, indulgent of insects, birds, plants, us walking around with no shoes and in very little clothing.  Why shouldn’t we love it, cling to it.

 

And yet. . . look at those colors just blazing out.  Soon whole hills will be alive with that color, highlighted with evergreens, with the red of sugar maples, with the slender trunks of birch.  The vivid blue of the sky against those colors will please us too, after all.  Then we’ll have a nostalgia for fall too.  As the leaves blow in the wind, we’ll be sorry to let go of fall as well.  What are these seasons that we cling to them like old lovers?  The only one who loses his charm too soon is winter.  He’s like a charming visitor who becomes boring and burdensome when he stays too long.  

All that will come later.  Today is for sitting in the sun and enjoying the leaves with a lazy thought of putting away the summer clothes and hunting around in the sock drawer.

Neglected garden

 

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Even if I neglect my garden disgracefully it goes on with its own heedless life.  I am just a visitor here.  What do I have to do with the persistent teeming life that proceeds with or without my presence.  My part is to try to control, to clip , to weed, to fertilize and water.  Nature doesn’t want to be controlled or modified except by its own rules, it’s own needs.  There is much beauty in this uncontrolled growth, blooming, decay.  Weeds that entwine like convolvulus or deadly nightshade clamber over my clematis.  The hollyhocks outgrow their supports and bend to the ground.  Insects munch on the rose leaves and my poor lilies are almost stripped of their leaves by red lily beetles.  But the whole place thrives somehow.  It becomes more beautiful and mysterious.  My little city garden when left to itself shows my the folly of my illusion of control.  Like a naughty teenager I love it all the more and find it all the more beautiful.

 

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One angel, two angels

 

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Here are two images of angels.  One is the original of the angel of the golden tresses presently in a museum in St. Pertersburg.  We don’t know where it came from originally but it spent some time in the bell tower of  the Kremlin during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.  The other is a modern copy.  I found both images in an interesting book about how to copy icons by two artists, Andre Fischer and Agnes Raynaud.  I picked it up in the gift shop of the Faberge Exhibition in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  The book sets out in detail the technique of making a copy like the one below.  I want to discuss here what is appealing or not about both images.  If we look at the older icon, it has the beauty of the ages imprinted on it.  It is also, as far as we know, the original creation of an artist.  While it is true that iconography demands that the originality of the artist be subordinate to the requirements of rules, a “truth” about what is being depicted, if you will, still the artist here has imbued the subject with personality.  The large eyes are ringed with shadows.  Sadness?  Reflection?  The idea of a “bodiless power” having shadows under his? her? eyes is intriguing, is ‘t it?  I love the little jewel in the hair but the traditional ribbons are a faint vestige only appearing as a dark line on the left side.

if we look at the modern copy we have a totally different rendering of the subject.  Of course it is more vividly coloured. Somehow it seems more formal.  A new element is the naming of the angel.  High on the left the little oval that means saint and then on the right the two letters for archangel and his name Gabriel.  Once again, I am puzzled by that question, why is Gabriel a he?  I love the treatment of the hair and the obvious halo.  The tilt of the head is almost the same but to me the mouth and even the eyes are different.  To me the original is like an old friend whom we meet over and over again.  The new one reminds me of an introduction by name and with the vivid impression a new person can make.  Comparisons, are they so odious?

 

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Birch Veils

 

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A chipmunk was was planning her wedding

Beside the dark cool summer lake.

She’d already collected her bedding

Delivered by Sidney the snake.

 

To set up her household so tidy

Deep down in the roots of a tree.

The wedding was set for next Friday

And who would make music?  A bee!

 

She’d plates of the finest flat pebbles

And pine twigs for furniture too

The froggies would sing – they were trebles

Just one thing was making her blue.

 

“My eyes are as bright as two pennies.

I’ve brushed up the fur of my tail.

My stripes are as pretty as any.

But what shall I do for a veil?”

 

The spiders heard chipmunk’s sad worry

They worked all the dark silent night.

They wove delicate veils in a hurry

To be sure the bride might look just right.

 

For the bridesmaids, the ducklings all fluffy

Were some smaller veils delicate white

And so that the groom didn’t get huffy

They coached him and helped him recite

 

His wedding vows up on the hill top

And while blue jay was ringing the bells

All the woodland folks toasted with tear drops

And drank dew out of little nut shells.

Into the lake

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Stepping into the lake at early morning
No other bather and no boat,
No bird but lake silence.
Stepping into the water, the cool water.
Stones and sand beneath my feet.

Ripples, sun-ring ripples ring my legs,
stepping into the lake.
Expanding gentle ripples in early morning sun.
Stepping into the cool water
The sun faint, bright, touching the crests
of the sun-ring ripples.

Stepping into the silent cool water,
ripples advancing before me
spreading out before and after me.
Around me the sun-burnished crests of ripples
Stepping into the darker, deeper water,
Indrawn breath as the cold water
draws me in, stepping off into the cold lake morning water.