Neighborhood graffiti


It’s been  a long time since I posted graffiti and I have some new wonderful ones. Well, lady Justice has been discretely hiding in a little side wall right across from the Monk Metro for a while. I wonder about the person who did this in dark colors  on an unobtrusive surface.  She has a strange hipster mood in my eyes but I love her for her classical tone and execution.  On my way to the Metro I nod to her in her bubble of serious consideration.  She sits on a little jog of the wall of a hairdresser.  If I were cutting hair in there I’d be extra careful in case she judged my cut a little careless, or worse in this neighbourhood, too conservative.

The other piece is is a huge and exuberant wall of magical creatures that reminds me of Alfred Pellan’s work. ( come on babies, you have Google).  I like that it is detailed, light and endlessly absorbing.  I tried to include the names of the artists but if you can’t read them you’ll have to come see.  It’s right across from the  CLSC Ville Émard near the Jolicoeur Metro.

Today was a wonderful late fall day with the last leaves blowing off the trees and the huge clouds driven across the sky.  Wonderful city  of decorated walls and divine wind breath waking us up.

Spreading out


it is strange and wonderful feeling to see one’s book on the shelf of a bookstore.  It is exciting to see that a few copies got sold on Amazon and oddest and most unreal of all is to do a book signing and to see that people really buy this book.  They carelessly thrust money into my hand.  They ask me to write a dedication.  Then they take the book away and, I guess they read it.  They read it in the metro, in the bus, late at night before they go to sleep.  I guess they really read it.  I am almost shy to think they read it when they are alone and they lend it to their sisters or friends and the book and what is in it gets diffused out into the world.  I could never have imagined this sensation of my voice, my ideas drifting out there.

Enough ” I ” …..that pronoun does not make good art


Tell me what you see


Isn’t this an intriguing image?  Yesterday a group of guides from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts went on a day trip to Joliette.  This is a small town about an hour’s drive from Montreal but to my embarrassment I have never explored it.  We visited the old centre of the town where a modern and totally contemporary museum sat close to the cathedral and old seminary ( now a CEGEP).  The museum exhibited a wide variety of artifacts from ultra modern art to medieval pieces.  I wonder how many of my readers will be able to identify some items in the picture.

After a leisurely lunch overlooking the weir and windng river we visited the beautiful cathedral.  Depictions of the mysteries of the rosary by Ozias Leduc were one beautiful feature of the cathedral.  Some of us had fun identifying Old Testament stories from the many gorgeous stained glass panels.  Samson tumbling the pillars of the pagan temple was easy but we never did figure out what that snake twisted around a staff was.  I must admit I have a tendency to drift away from guided tours ( oops).  I am one of those annoying visitors who drift off and come back to ask the question the guide just addressed.

One thing I love about these trips is being driven around in a cushy bus.  Most of the time I have no idea what highway I’m on,  or when I will arrive at the destination.  The rather quaint habit of the drivers lightly steadying my elbow as I trip down from the bus is the crowning touch. I feel like Queen Elizabeth the first.  I expect him to doff his teal blue  uniform coat and spread it before me on the rotting leaves of November so that my dainty ( ha!) tootsies don’t slip.  I just love being driven around.

Sooo……what do you see in the picture? Hmmm?

Lunch on Remembrance Day


My grandchildren come to lunch on Wednesdays. Their school is close by and they hurry through the back lanes, let themselves in through the garden gate and run up the kitchen steps. They know there will always be a table set and something a little special for lunch. They have more than an hour so we always have time for play or reading. Today was special. They arrived at 11:45 so the ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Ottawa were just winding up and the march-past was going to begin. To their astonishment, I had devised a makeshift table out of book cartons covered with a table cloth and lunch was served in front of the TV..unheard of. They had lots of questions about the Governor General. They recognized our new Prime Minister and his wife. They were genuinely interested in what they were seeing. I thought it was a once-a-year opportunity to talk about …about what? War, soldiers, our country. I had prepared a copy of “In Flanders Fields” for each of them. We read it and talked about it. My oldest grandchild, a very lovely boy of 11 told me they had studied the poem the day before in English class. He said his favorite part was “Loved and were loved” I was surprised that my middle grandchild found it ” creepy” but I could see his point of view too. Dead people watching and telling us they’ll haunt us if we don’t go on fighting. It struck him as scary somehow. These days we tell kids they should never fight, and rightly so. The only way I could put a positive spin on it was to take the example of a bully picking on a weaker kid. We’d have to ” take up our quarrel” then, wouldn’t we? It was a very thoughtful conversation. They got the idea of fighting against dictators too. Fresh from the Federal elections, I guess. After lunch we walked back to the school together in the mild November sunshine. I saw my granddaughter standing a little way off from her classmates, not joining in until the bell rang and I wondered what she was thinking.

You are cordially invited…..


to a book sale and signing at St. Mary’s Hospital Library. Date : November 19 from noon to 14hrs. I want to thank our librarian M. Gilles Teasdale for his kindness and encouragement in allowing me to hold this event. My book of poetry is priced at $15 and I will be happy to sign a copy with a special dedication to all my work colleagues. For those of you unable to attend, the book is available on Amazon and there are plans for another event at another venue in December. If you do decide to buy the book on Amazon, please do so next Wednesday, November 11 as I am aiming for a high sales day which will put me on a special page with Amazon. ( who knew? ) Oh, and write reviews too pretty please. Thanks to everyone for your support and ….see you at the book table! Isobel

The mist of poetry

I don’t have an image but I invite you to go on YouTube and watch a video of Yanis Kotsiras singing ” Anigo to stoma mou”. Get the one with the subtitles if you can. The title means “I open my Mouth”  I speak good modern Greek but I am always stumped by songs because, of course songs are poems.  The choice of unusual vocabulary, inverted syntax and strange linking of ideas often draws a blank for me.  When I heard this song tonight, entirely by chance, I was moved to tears.  First, this singer is wonderful in appearance and in his quality of voice.  Then, he is conducted by Theodorakis, with his exuberant style of waving his arms like a windmill.   Finally there is a full orchestra and choir taking part in this song of very engaging melody.  It was, moreover, very rewarding to have sub titles to the song.  I was utterly surprised and uplifted by the wonderful poem that is exposed in this song.  I certainly could never have imagined the lyrical ideas I would hear.

If you follow my blog, you know that I have just finished a book of poetry.  Recently a dear acquaintance of mine was kindly telling me how she was looking forward to buying my book.  She expressed the idea that she was rather apprehensive of trying to read poetry. She asked me if she would be able to understand it.  This idea stuck in my mind and the more I thought about it, the more it struck me as such a modern idea that one could be stimied by poetry, that it was something obscure, something that ordinary people could not understand.  How did this happen?  Don’t little children speak in poetry all the time? Popular songs are blatant poetry, right out there.  Certainly one has to let go and abandon oneself to the freedom of the medium. I found myself surprised, shocked perhaps by some of the ideas in Kotsiras’s song.  On the other hand, there are a lot of other things to be afraid of in this world.  I’m afraid of car crashes, flesh eating disease, losing people I love.  Must I be afraid of poetry too?

Tonight I wanted to share that music with you….YouTube.  Yanis Kotsiras.  “Anigo to Stoma Mou”  sleep well and dream well

Some of us live in the light…..


and….some in the shadows…hehehe!  Why is it so hard to express a fearful cackle on paper?  Don’t you like this great Halloween garland my granddaughter made.  There’s something about the little mouse on the right that is so sinister.  Love it!  I love Halloween!  I love the permitted “badness” of it, the scurrying around in the dark evening, the disguises, the birthday cake!  Whaaat?  Yes, Halloween is my birthday and I think it’s the most fun day to have a birthday.  I can express my witchy side, so often suppressed and cackle away on the street.  I have had a nice witch hat and a besom broom for a couple of years but today I bought a marked down wig too and the kids are going to be totally shocked! What could be more fun than knocking on the doors of total strangers and demanding candy.  And in the dark!

Now some would say that my witchy side is not so suppressed and that I have a mean  streak.  Well, I am a Scorpio, the most brilliant, jealous and darkly deep of all the zodiac signs.  What could be more boring, anyway, than a goodie goodie little scared thing, never expressing herself or calling to task her sometimes rebellious friends… know who you are!  No, old age, that feared season brings with it hard won wisdom too; the knowlege.that sometimes fate must be brought to heel, curbed to my wicked will. Oh, wow. I could really get into this stuff.

Somehow I think it’s only the spirit of Halloween that is stirring me up and making me get in bad witch character early in the afternoon.  By the time the kids come over in their Ninja and karate costumes to gasp at my blacked out tooth and new wig ( I know it will be a big hit and they will want to try it on), all my venom will have dissipated.  It is exhausting  to be really nasty and I am too lazy.

Halloween is magic though.  I’m so happy there has been a silvery moon lately and I hope the clouds hold off until after trick or treat.  It’s the only holiday that doesn’t require you to be ” good” and that has a wonderful appeal.  It’s a night whirlpool of mystery that lures you into…..who knows what?  Only the little mouse on the wall knows!