Monday, October 31, 2011

inside the emerging moment


give this space
a moment
to emerge

to pull its pressed lips

to loosen
its hold upon
the breathless containment


don't rush
this moment

let it
breathe in
let it step into this place
to find its fullness

and then
breathe out

feel the space
like my eyes

i was travelling along highway 28 just south of peterborough when i saw this tree.
i was listening to "boy 1904" by riceboy sleeps when i wrote this

Sunday, October 30, 2011

while the water rushes by

john singer sargent on his holidays

my waiting

never tiring of the rush of life
always passing me by
with its outstretched fingers
reaching and
flicking little droplets of possibility
on the face of my self -

each so shockingly cold on this very hot day
each so entirely welcome
in their hopefulness

i was listening to ralph vaughan william's "serenade to music" when i wrote this

Saturday, October 29, 2011

all the skies of today

all the clouds
crossing the skies
are flying southwards
like all the wings
i see
through the windows
of this day

i was listening to jimi hendrix "the wind cries mary" when i wrote this

Friday, October 28, 2011

now the great wheel

scenes from margaret's garden (i)

now the great wheel of darkness and low clouds
whirs and whirls in the heavens with dipping rim;
against the ice-white wall of light in the west
skeleton trees bow down in a stream of air.
leaves, black leaves and smoke, are blown on the wind;
mount upward past my window; swoop again;
in a sharp silence, loudly, loudly falls
the first cold drop, striking a shriveled leaf....

words excerpted from conraid aiken's poem "now the great wheel of darkness and low clouds"

i was listening to gil evans when i assembled this piece. something in the colours of the text and the colours of the music found a common voice in the basin of rain water and leaves.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


on the surface
(the skin of this place)
it falls
in waves and packets
and forms
into lines and shadows
dividing the whole
into parts
and giving shape
to the shapeless

deeper yet
it emerges
from me
in hope
and wishes for a place
in those who define the terms of their presence here
as hopeless

a way of being
that seems reasonable
its strange covenant
with the deliberately obscure
the seemingly unattainable
the unmeasurable


without form
it can't be directed

it simply is

like the air
like the water
like the earth

a process

i was listening to harold budd and brian eno - "flowered knife shadows" when i wrote this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

leaving the beginning behind

we wind
and then we unwind
our hands flinging first skyward
and then earthwards -
each lost in our own small dance

the music i listened to while writing these words is by omar faruk tekbilek: "whirling dervish"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

on reflection

image lee friedlander, from "america by car" provided by tess at magpie tales

on reflection
his world
fell to pieces

standing at the window
she thought
she saw him
watching her
watching him

they were quickly
and easily
drawn together

then inseparable

of each other
and designed
to shatter

Monday, October 24, 2011

rainy day commuting

this is the time of year for cold rainy day rides. i commute to and from the school i teach at and until recently - very recently in fact - i've been riding in shorts. temperatures are hovering around the single to low double-digits in celsius so it's been a manly character-building exercise in something that when asked to explain, i simply can't, not even to myself. i simple feel the need to do it.

however, those days are passing by as my hands now have gloves on them and my legs (no matter how hairy)
are also covered, by riding pants.

the bike looks out onto the driveway ."oh no. not again".....

yep! get your nose out there .....
it ain't gonna go away
and i've gotta ride.

every day, the road unfolds under my wheels. on these days when it's rainy and the roads are often slick with leaves, i read the road even more carefully than usual for anything that could make my ride -
and maybe even my life - less than pleasant . . . or worse!

but i'm careful and so (touch wood) nothing overly untoward happens.

i love the early morning streetlights reflecting in the rain on the streets.
they're the hidden gift of a rainy day ride for me.

i tell bicycle stories over at my other blog "cycles".
right now i'm wrapping up the day-by-day telling of my latest fundraising ride around lake ontario.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

we rise

painting by daniel merriam

i cradle
in my arms
an idea
that was birthed
long ago
when i lived in a small room
that i called my own

the idea
that fell into my lap and my head and my heart
is that the world
is a good place

a very good and kind place
no matter what else

and of course i grew older
and learned
the terms of a parallel world
with distractions
that exist to draw the goodness away
and replace it with easiness, suffering, unhappiness, stress -
not simplicity.

propped up,
and contained within
this other world
that exists inside
the one i love

oh, and by the way
the terms of this sad parallel world (simply put)
are that it is easier
to ignore the truth,
easier to look away
and much more desirable
to achieve or hold in your possession
that which others hold as worthy
whether it be a person
an object
an idea
or even
and maybe even most especially
that which contradicts the insight
that marks the signpost
for anyone
wishing to move beyond the surface of this world

because i want to remind you
that there is
beneath the material,
beneath the allegory, the metaphor, the simile,
beneath the parables held in place by angels,
and then beneath the lives
of the many
who have seen and see beyond everything
to nothing

this knowing
- this very simple knowing
that is the beginning
of unknowing -
that we can rise
so like the sun
so like the moon
so like the sound
of bells
above what is simple
or easy
and work
to welcome the goodness
of the real world
that holds all other worlds
like pearls
in mirrors
reflecting each other
into endlessness
and forever
and evermore

Saturday, October 22, 2011

late october

the sun
is sleeping

in the leaves
so much
is being
so much is being prepared
for its return to the earth

i hold
their thin cold bodies
and feel something
of their reluctance
and their acceptance
in my own thin body

it's a dance
a slow moving dance
that embraces the moment
and holds it for evermore

Friday, October 21, 2011

thin line of colour (ii)

i fall
in a thin line
of colour

like leaves
down the fence
of myself
until i am

gone to earth



this piece was written with david sylvian's "gone to earth" in my mind and ears ...

and in my eyes, david's lyrics, still strong and fresh after all these years:

with a burning candle
a book of holy things
they'll throw you up against the wall
bind your hands with string
caught in this sudden shower
our host of heavenly kings
they're all victims of circumstance
of ancient bells that bring
all the fear in the world, naked and shy
down upon our heads, with no reason why
and though voices may holler
for all they're worth
the rabbits have fled their burrows
gone to earth

Thursday, October 20, 2011


i find myself
(like the shadows of a plant
in the breeze
of an open window)
within a wave
using my eyes
for arms
and hope
for a whistle
the surface
bubble above me -
its pale green foam
wrapping around
my body
like so many wishes
"take me with you"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


this is a special day for me. more special even than most. you see my mum - ruth - is celebrating her eightieth birthday today.

she doesn't quite match the image of eighty that i and perhaps you might see in your mind's eye.

she's just returned from a couple of weeks in england visiting friends and travelling
around to see some special places.
what she'll return to is her role as a walker at the local dog shelter, a supporter of the local donkey sanctuary, a preparer of gift baskets used to raise money for the huntington's foundation, loving tenderer of her garden, bottler of all sorts of awesome preserves (especially pickled beets which i could eat 'till i was sick) friend to many, sister in law to her closest friend margaret, gramma to alan, dawson and lexie, and of course mum to myself and my brother david.

she'll be heading off to cuba in the early part of next year for some r and r. books by the ocean, that sort of thing.

my mum is (among many other things) well read, well movied, well musicked,
thoughtful, reflective, sensitive, and i would underscore several times - driven!

there's lots more about her but really, you get my drift. she's not sitting around any more than she has to.
actually i don't think she knows how!

i'm very grateful for my mum - she brought me into this world at great personal effort - a couple of days of work . . . . . and stuck with me from then on, through thick and thin.

have you had a "difficult" child? then you know what ruth dealt with while pursuing a career, and managing the rest of her not entirely easy life!!!

nope, it's not been easy but then i think that my mum would ask "why should it be?" and then go after whatever's next in her line of sight.

much of what i value in myself has its roots in my mum. either she showed me how to be or i figured it out by standing on her shoulders and having a look-see.

i love you mum, no more this day than any other but this is special!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

down from above

i rise
in search of a
chance shaft
of light
falling down
from above

i wrote this while listening to vetiver "down from above"

Monday, October 17, 2011

forever and ever

i live very near the countryside.
my bicycle and i love to ride there whenever we can.

the roads extend a great distance in a more-or-less straight line.

they make no accommodations for hills or valleys.
which is fine with me.

i'd like them to feel free to go on forever.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

thin line of colour (i)

i move
in a thin line
of colour

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the starting point

"to let the eye stray over a palette, splashed with many colours, produces a dual result. in the first place one receives a purely physical impression, one of pleasure and contentment at the varied and beautiful colours. the eye is either warmed or else soothed and cooled. but these physical sensations can only be of short duration. they are merely superficial and leave no lasting impression, for the soul is unaffected. but although the effect of the colours is forgotten when the eye is turned away, the superficial impression of varied colour may be the starting point of a whole chain of related sensations."

Friday, October 14, 2011

fallen leaf

beneath the surface
of your fading skin
the slow pulse
of a year's stories

Thursday, October 13, 2011

dawnfast at tess's house

"the morning's not my best time but it's all the time i have my sweet".

this brief note on the back of this lovely photograph was left on my windowsill and i see from the arcing calligraphy of the writer that it's from my date for the ball at willow manor.
thank goodness, i thought i might have to travel solo!!

my date - lee - (lee miller for fans of surrealist photography) and i, became close friends after meeting at a performance piece i performed on berlin's kurfurstendamm during a similar dawn escapade a few years ago.

here's the little picture my friend man ray took of lee right afterwards.

when we are in the same place and time,
lee and i spend much of our time together in bakeries and sitting alongside rivers or small pools writing poetry and playing endless games of exquisite corpse.

if you're awake just before dawn, you'll see us arriving at the manor
on our identical english touring bicycles
(lights on of course!)

here's a picture of us last summer much of which we spent at my house.

i've spent the last little while assembling several breakfast baskets.
each has a bottle of veuve-clicquot, a fresh-baked bagette, unsalted butter, a garden tomato, a lovely little tub of caviar, some wensleydale, dark chocolate and of course smoked salmon.

samovars of hot water will be brought down to us at the appropriate juncture to help with the coffee-making - preferably as soon as our eyes open!

smoked salmon and dark chocolate. oh my goodness!!!!

please come and join us down by the little stream at the back of tess's property for some dawnfast!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

this blue

this blue
this very soft and beautiful blue
hides in the very quiet places

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the river trees

because they receive so much
from the water

they pour their light
back in

Monday, October 10, 2011

the fitful tracing

a season's fallen bounty still ripe with colour

beauty is momentary in the mind
the fitful tracing of a portal

words excerpted from "peter quince at the clavier" by wallace stevens

Sunday, October 9, 2011

this day

this day began

and ended

with strength
and real presence

that filled me
with desire -
simple and complex desires
that whirled
in small eddies
and pools
stopping long enough
to admire their echo in the sky
and then pulling me onward

deeper into the day

Saturday, October 8, 2011

blue room

it's just the only
clearest place there
where ever 'there' was

a home now
simply cast
as tumbledown
in the unforgiving eyes
that fall beside
then drag across
its sorry fallen emptiness

life dances
in the soft fall
of sunbeams
dry motes
flaked paint
fibres and feathers
all formless

to their fates

perhaps a wish
or a shield of hope
will be
raised high above the heads
of those who feel its past
as keenly
as its presence

as purely
and directly
as i do

i was listening to "your blue room" by passengers (brian eno and u2) when i wrote this

Friday, October 7, 2011

this empty vessel

there's an emptiness
about this hollow vessel

it's carefully filled each morning

a clean ladle is hung over its side

a notebook
and a pencil
are left for the stories of passersby

through the day
it's tipped
this way and that
held by warm and cold hands

eyes of all colours and shapes
look into its depths

depths that feel
the breath of the passersby
the travellers

depths that darken
through the day
as the level of water
and the sun
meet at the cool

Thursday, October 6, 2011


i hide myself within my flower,
that fading from your vase,
you, unsuspecting, feel for me -
almost a loneliness.

emily dickinson

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the mere presence of rain at night

i'm listening to the sound of rain

a heavy rain
characterized by the dense pattering of water falling onto the deck
accompanied by the lighter dripping
from the eaves

the night is entirely black
the moon
and the stars
lost behind the clouds
from which this rain is falling

i'm so grateful for all of this

its completeness
its necessity
its place in the whole of everything

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

the castle

edward ingram taylor lambert castle

a wall
like so many other walls
now a mound
of brickdust
crumbled down through time
and framed
in the windblown
briefly birthed
between two branches
on a distant hill

Monday, October 3, 2011

madrigal sky

it appears, with considered judgement, bears the light beneath the rifted clouds
the indivisible shared out in endless abundance

words excerpted from "bearing the light" by denise levertov

Sunday, October 2, 2011


edward brian seago fishing boats - honfleur

we sail
through the each of us
the despite and the otherness.

cause brings small effect
and so we stay -
waking each morning
to the shallow indents
left in each other's pillows.

time washes over us
callow and carefree
as driftwood
carried here and there -
each wave a measure of our becoming
and our leaving behind.

you and i
and the boat of we
between us

Saturday, October 1, 2011


edward brian seago the white kitchen

when we wake
will you
hold my hand
and tell me all the stories

will you tell me what
we held of ourselves
each other's thoughts

will you say my name
as if you've known me before
and will you sing every song
you've held in check -
especially -
the songs
that rhyme
with why
and now

and will you hear your own voice
crossing the lines
of your creation
breaking past the vastness
of your heart
and your mind

because then
and only then
can you put time
gently back up on the mantlepiece
and let your eyes
and mouth go quiet
enough to hear the words of your soul
speaking rough and pure


will tell
the story better