A Pair of Red Repairs

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The letters we receive

are far between and few.

From cousins old and cranky

or high school friends we knew.

The mail boxes grew shabby.

One even lost its lid

to gale-force winds, a wild raccoon,

perhaps a smart-ass kid.

The hardware store had boxes,

the cheap and nasty kind.

Or fancy and luxurious,

Oh, nothing could I find

to fit my homey little house

so cozy and so sweet,

to make the mailman happy

who comes in cold or heat.

My darling made an offer.

I had my doubts, I vow

that he could transform old to new.

Well, look what I have now!

A plate of tin, a hinge

a coat of red spray paint,

so beautiful, it works well too

this sight could make you faint!

So don’t throw out, recycle friends

and you too, can save money.

It helps to know a handy guy

to fix things, like my honey.

He haunts the Eco Centre

once called the local dump.

Free tiles, a sink, a window,

these things can make him jump

for joy – yes, you should try it.

Recycling saves you cash.

It helps save the environment too

you’ll notice in a flash

how old can be as good as new,

one look at me can show it.

So do the right thing – don’t discard

it’s the “new” way – you know it!

 

 

At the Museum – Pompeii

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It is a long time since I wrote.  I was very busy with Pascha, singing at  many of the beautiful Holy Week services.  On Holy Saturday I had a wonderful warm and sunny day with my grandchildren and we dyed traditional red eggs.  Many of the neighborhood children were facinated and surprised to see the method of “stamping” the image of a leaf on the egg.  It was a joy to be with them.  They would sit with me for a few moments to help with the eggs and then run off to ride their bikes or play in the lane. They were like the white butterfly I saw in my garden today, fluttering close to me for a moment and then flying off to attend to her right butterfly business.

On Sunday in the afternoon I went to the Montreal  Museum of Fine Arts,where an interesting exhibition on Pompeii is presently drawing large crowds of visitors.  I usually try for a quieter time especially for exhibitions on ancient cultures as there are often small items to look at and the crowded galleries make it hard to see everything.  I expect I will go back again several times to get a good look at the many interesting pieces.  Pompeii is etched in our imaginations as it is the preserved moment of death and destruction of a large town.  We can identify with the people trapped in a natural disaster.  Part of the exhibition that made me stop and wonder over the fragility of the human condition were plaster casts of people caught in the moment of death.  It has something of the flavour of a science fiction movie to imagine people suddenly covered with ash and preserved in their last moments.  The nineteenth century excavator who found these remains observed that the bodies had disintegrated into dust but that the hard coating of volcanic ash had given us the shell of these “ghosts” perfectly preserved.  He injected plaster to preserve the form and that is what we see today.  I stood for a long time looking at these relics.  Should I pray for the souls of these long dead people?  Could I consider them simple plaster casts?  Who were these men and women?  Were they caught up in some family dispute?  Were they worried about a business deal?  It made me think how meaningless it is to dwell on these trivial things.  Like a feather or a trail of smoke how quickly things we think are so vital can disappear.  Such joy or anguish brought to ash in a moment.    With notice or without, soon enough we will follow these souls wherever they may be so what is the use of striving and yearning, struggling and arguing over what cannot  be.

And in the next room here was the statue of one of the muses, Polyhymnia.  She is the goddess of lyric poetry and song and she helped me to write this.

 

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

Lots of work to do

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Funny how that phrase can feel heavy, onerous, and yet this time, it doesn’t.  I have lots of writing, organizing and preparation to do.  It feels like diving into something welcome, something exciting.  I am so aware of how lucky I have been to have been in a warm and beautiful environment for the whole of February.  San Miguel in Mexico is a wonderful place with a near perfect climate and stimulating company. Every day I saw color, beauty, outdoor life in plants, birds and animals.  Coming back I notice how people seem tired, strung out, sometimes even frantic with the strain of managing cold, snow and all that brings to daily life.  Just managing the car is tiresome and requires a lot of planning in a long winter like the one we seem to be emerging from.  I know just how lucky I have been to have avoided it.

And now it is time to do the work inspired by my stay in Mexico.  Time for “wild writing” .  Time for revision, for choosing pieces and for polishing poetry.  Lots of work to do and plenty of energy to do it in!  Finish up that second coffee and . . .let’s begin!

 

Rain boy

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The red-headed boy and his mother

Run in the morning of rain

Run as all red-headed boys before him

Running in Ireland, Scotland, in Norway

Running away from, running toward

the steady cool rain.

A thatch of thick straight red hair to run

off the steady cool rain.

The rain and the red-headed boy and his mother

Running and laughing, running to summer.

Rain, run to the river.

Boy, run from the giver of life, your mother.

A summer of rain and the red-headed boy

And the trees and I stand

and smile at the running of rain and the red-headed boy.

Image courtesy of the Reader

May day, grey day

Cold day, old day of dreams

Spring day, ring day

of the bell to begin day.

Of taking out the trash bin

of shedding the snakeskin

of clearing out the cupboard, standing on the diving board,

of plunging into this.

Poetry day, writing day,

fighting day, fighting with laziness, with stress, with excess

with trying to impress

the reader.

Is the reader then the writer?

The biter, the biter bitten, smitten

Unwritten with the delete button?

And the buttonhole, the keyhole, the porthole?

Ready for the button?  Don’t push it. Stroke it and look, a surprise!

A woman – to sympathize, energize, capsize, to recognize and fantazise

and at last, to burst into a swarm of dragonflies before your tired eyes.

At Last

 

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Such a little space, after all. Such a narrow city yard and yet

Blessed with the scent of daffodils.  Rave

about the scent of roses, or of lilac.

But that smell of sap, rain, green Spring essence

is the most precious of all.

Without this golden key

the treasure of sun, warmth, summer cannot be unlocked..

The golden trumpet, now hybridized into white or pink blooms

still retains the power, the earth rooted intoxication

the scent,

the scent that I inhale over and over again.

Yes, yes, it whispers.

It is here, grey skies or not, rain and sickly puddles

in the lane.

I know, I tell you, it is here.

A few more days and you can admire your

tulips and lilies and phlox to your heart’s content.

I am here

I have come.  I’ll bring them all in.

In to the little city garden.  Soon to be full of blooms so people stop and stare

as they walk their dogs or take a short cut

They never look at me.

But you, city gardener, you look and you see

And again, this year, this new spring,

you taste that sappy spring smell

Of daffodils.