Monday, August 31, 2009

the clouds of dawn

you've probably experienced the long nights . . .

the lonely walk-around-the-house wondering why and whatever nights . . .

the nights when your thoughts are filled
with everything that is sad
or worrisome
or that needs resolving quickly . . .

insistent lists!

i get those every so often . . .

and when i do,
i've noticed that i don't like the dark.

i also don't like the artificiality of a light "turned on".

and while i wish for the sun . . .
the sun takes forever to rise
and then arrives far too early . . . .

and without exception,
when the sun rises and
i realize that the day has begun
and i'm unprepared . . .
i wish
to be in a simpler place,
in a simpler time . . .

come with me for a moment.

at last came the blessed dawn
and the mist lay like a vasty shining cloud on the place,
but as the sun swam up,
full of power and warmship . . .
"lifting mist"

not to be gainsayed,
the mist came loose all in a piece,
and lifted slow,
till there was a space betwixt its under side and the mere,
where the coots swam,
like bees running about between two boards.
"morning breaks"

then one half of the tree trunks came free,
so that the forest seemed to be mounded up with snow.
it lifted and lifted,
and at last went into the sky,
and failed amid the clouds of dawn.
"a summer place"

then the clouds faded,
and there were only the proper heavens,
blue as bird's eye.

all artwork john daniel neubauer
all italicized text mary webb

Sunday, August 30, 2009

like the pure sky

just as many rivers are one in the ocean
all half-truths are swallowed by the one truth;

the effulgence of the sun illuminates all dark corners.

clouds draw water from the ocean to fall as rain on the earth
and there is neither increase nor decrease;

just so,
reality remains unaltered like the pure sky.

words sarahapa

Saturday, August 29, 2009

rain drops

it's a rainy day outside . . .

the view out the front window is a bit blurry . . .

the melody in arid drifts of rain,
is the visible, serene and fictive air
of inspiration rising as if in prayer.
from "afternoon of a faun" by stephane mallarme

the hostas are happy about the rain

so are these little plants

and so am i!
i love to walk in the rain,

i always have.

sure it finds its way through clothing,

warm backs,

even down warm tummy's!

then some of it finds its way from my forehead,
along my nose,
and drips onto my outstretched tongue.

that's right a fifty-two year old man walking 'round with his tongue stuck out to catch raindrops.
(i do it in the winter when it snows as well!!)

could one drop taste better.
could i treasure one drop of water more?

one little drop
that began its journey who knows where?

i love what santoka taneda says about rainy afternoons~

just as it is —
it rains,
i get wet,
i walk

yes i do!

Friday, August 28, 2009


hello dear friends of "the golden fish" and "flow".

those of you who have been visiting for some time now will know that i am very particular about responding to every comment left. i place that expectation on myself because i think that that's appropriate.

with my return to active service as a teacher, my priorities are shifting ever so slightly, but enough that in order to make sure that my dawsonboy and lexiegirl get good dinners and time with their dad, that they get their homework done, and that my marking and paperwork stays current, i may be slower to respond to your welcome, encouraging, insightful, lovely and thoughtful comments.

i cannot express just how much those comments mean to me but i ask for your understanding as i will endeavour to respond to anyone who comments here as quickly as is possible. (that might sometimes be painfully slow!!!)

i will continue to post everyday and please continue to comment.
love and peacefulness,


i love words.
i have for as long as i can remember.
when there isn't a word for something,
i create it and let the world figure it out,
catch on to it,
whatever it takes.

some words i like because they describe something specialized.

for example, the word


its usual context is science.
but i like to apply it to ideas.
a melting,
a dissolution,
a disappearance from one context
and a reemergence in another.

i recall an article in a magazine in which musician brian eno
described his excitement at living in new york city for a while.

he described the cultural tone as being
similar to that of a medieval crossroads.
all sorts of cultural assumptions,
and expressions
were colliding and reforming
into new and unexpected combinations
that allowed for him to see familiar music
in a new light . . .

and unfamiliar music with an open ear.

i love circumstances that lend themselves to the notion of "planned accidents",
or circumstances that are generative of newness
through the incidental juxtaposition of disparate states or qualities.

this sometimes happens with people.

it sometimes happens with my photographs
(like the ones i've used to ilustrate this little piece!).

del·i·quesce (dl-kws)
intr.v. del·i·quesced, del·i·quesc·ing, del·i·quesc·es
1. a. to melt away.
b. to disappear as if by melting.
2. chemistry:
a. to dissolve and become liquid by absorbing moisture from the air.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

evening disposition

summer evenings spent outdoors carry me away.

the setting of the sun, the gentle breezes, the clouds, the softness of everything.

even as a child i played hard all day and then i craved the soft peacefullness of
learning to understand
who i was

jennifer's painting has that quality.
she lays bare the too bright clutter of the room beyond,
framed by the soft lilacs of the entrance way.

pass the portal
(like being birthed)
and you enter the world of everything
and everybody,
and garish.

warm but overblown.

i think she knows about all of this.
"evening disposition" jennifer o'connell

and charlotte had a clear sense of this as well . . .

the human heart has hidden treasures,
in secret kept, in silence sealed;
the thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
whose charms were broken if revealed.
and days may pass in gay confusion,
and nights in rosy riot fly,
while, lost in fame's or wealth's illusion,
the memory of the past may die.

but, there are hours of lonely musing,
such as in evening silence come,
when, soft as birds their pinions closing,
the heart's best feelings gather home.
then in our souls there seems to languish
a tender grief that is not woe;
and thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish,
now cause but some mild tears to flow.

and feelings, once as strong as passions,
float softly back a faded dream;
our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
the tale of others' sufferings seem.
oh ! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
how longs it for that time to be,
when, through the mist of years receding,
its woes but live in reverie !

and it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
on evening shade and loneliness;
and, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
feel no untold and strange distress
only a deeper impulse given
by lonely hour and darkened room,
to solemn thoughts that soar to heaven,
seeking a life and world to come.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the sandman

neil gaiman and his dog

i'm reading writer neil gaiman's collaboration
with artist yoshitaka amano
"the sandman: the dream hunters."

it's simply brilliant.

beginning with a wager between a badger and a fox,
the prize for the winner is a temple.

but first - how to get rid of the wise and insightful monk?

then, issues arise when the fox falls in love with the monk and has to save his life!

i am loosely participating in a meme that has the following rules:

"collect the book that you have most handy,
turn to page 161,
find the 5th complete sentence,
and cite the sentence on your blog."

all good until i discovered that this book ends on page 128.
so i chose the halfway point of the book.

here's a tasty sampler from the book (with the fifth sentence embedded!!)

"to begin, darkness.

in the darkness a light flickered into being.
then another and another.

the lights were moving.

they were fireflies.
first a handful, then a swarm,
and then hundreds and thousands of fireflies
glittered with their cold fire in the darkness.

it reminded the monk of a river of stars,
or a bridge of stars,
or a ribbon,
twining away into the darkness,
insubstantial and glimmering,
and it was along this ribbon that the monk began to walk.

in his hand he was holding a scrap of paper,
which glowed even more brightly than the fireflies.

as he walked, the fireflies, which had been flickering on and off,
began to fall away,
to drop and to tumble like camellia blossoms.

the monk tumbled with them.
he realized as he fell that he was not falling through fireflies,
but through the milky way,
the river of the gods that passes through the night sky."

how good is that?!!!

the daisy

it's getting late in the summer.
people are noticing the sun passes beneath the horizon earlier.

the nights have a coolness about them
that will seem warm - even hot - next spring.

the canada geese have been doing practice v's over our house for a couple of weeks.
and the breezes now have bronze, then silver fingers
that bring your elbows in close to your body
when you're sitting outside.

the indoor plants know.
some of them have dropped some leaves.

the outdoor plants are offering single leaves.



and there are the flowers.
who are there.
simply there.

cool nights.
dry ground.

twenty rays -
a floral corona.

the dayseye hugging the earth
in august, ha! spring is
gone down in purple,
weeds stand high in the corn,
the rainbeaten furrow
is clotted with sorrel
and crabgrass, the
branch is black under
the heavy mass of the leaves--
the sun is upon a
slender green stem
ribbed lengthwise.
he lies on his back--
it is a woman also--
he regards his former
majesty and
round the yellow center,
split and creviced and done into
minute flowerheads, he sends out
his twenty rays-- a little
and the wind is among them
to grow cool there!

(excerpted from) "the daisy" william carlos williams

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


in comanche the word ekapi is used for
the words
and red.

they see
that there is something fundamental,
and all-encompassing
about this powerful colour.

from the garden today - reds, yellows, and oranges.

photographed as the last direct sunlight of the day made its way across
90 million miles of space,
across the backyard, through the windows
and then
through these petals.

an english harvest from long ago

every so often i get homesick.
forty-three years, two months and nine days ago
i came to canada.
leaving a lot behind.
perhaps more than i can say here.
because i don't know all of it.

but i do know that when i visit my english bloggy friends.
and read their tellings of late summer in england.

when i read my mary webb books.
my thomas hardy.

i'm home.

with a familiar aching in my heart.
even after all this time.


it's late summer and the fields are filled with ripe crops of all sorts.

a very long time ago,
in a simpler time the harvest was ready to be taken in.

war loomed on the horizon,
the economy was struggling,
but there was still an england recognizable as the gentle place

i still call home.

Monday, August 24, 2009

the world of theo ellsworth

i love coming across brilliance.

you know, that glowing luminescent buzz that comes out of the work
of someone who is immersed in their creative flow.
so imagine my delight when i came across the work of
theo ellsworth!!

you see . . . .

inside the big city that is theo ellsworth's imagination . . .

when night time falls, it is a time of celebration . . .

some people like to visit the elephant garden . . .

while others like to go out for a walk under the ghosty stars . . .

some prefer to row around the green dappled pond and listen to the fish sing . . .

and when everyone returns safely home,
they climb to their rooftops
and sing dreamy nighttime stories . . .

and after all the songs are heard, it's cuddle time . . . .

and the city quiets down and goes to sleep .

is one of many artists
whose incredible work can be found at islands fold.
i love islands fold.
it's a spectacular creative and loving artist's collaborative
on canada's west coast.

spend some time looking around
and you'll be delighted, amazed, and maybe even leave with a work of art!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

august 17, 1936 blythe, california

seventy-three years ago -
almost to the day.

dorothea lange,
sees the world through a camera's eyes.

so many people
on the move.
and empty hearted.

and in their midst
this extraordinary photographer -
whose camera has been working at a fever pitch -
capturing a juncture in time and history,
all in the same moment.

a point of no return,

and a beginning
for america.

august 17, 1936. blythe, california.

in this moment,
she turns her camera towards a family of seven.
drought refugees from oklahoma.
they hope to get work in the cotton fields.

i see the woman first.

so strong. so pretty.

see her.

then feel her eyes.


can you feel
this moment
through her arms.

soft arms wrapped around a boy who knows no more
than this moment he's inside:
his mother giving . . .


move to her mouth.

it says
"no one.
no one will come between us."

and then i see the legs.
to her right.

whose legs?

with his arrival,
the moment relocates its centre in desperation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a language older than the oldest script of man

it's late august and happily
my day often begins with birdsong.

sometimes its the cooing of mourning doves,
sometimes the cawing of my friends the crows,
and some days it's the territorial imperative
of the neighbourhood robins.

goldfinches are less frequent contributors to the morning chorus,
but their distinctive voices add a nice touch.

one of my favourite writers
- mary webb -
wrote these beautiful long ago words about birdsong:

wood pigeons spoke in their deep voices
from the dark pines
across the batch -
a language older than the oldest script of man.

cuckoos shouted in the wind-riven larches,
green beyond imagining . . .

shishkin "brook in birch forest " (click on image to enlarge)

a blackbird meditated aloud in high rhapsody,
very leisured,
but very tireless,
on matters deeper than the coppice pool far below,
deep as the mystery of the chipped, freckled eggs in his nest in the thorn.

polonov "overgrown pond" (detail) (click on image to enlarge)

there's deep knowledge in their songs.
sometimes joyous, sometimes fearful,
sometimes threatening, sometimes reminding.

in the wintertime
when the birds have for the most part gone south
to keep their bodies and their heritage intact,
i miss their songs.

i miss their incredible wheeling and diving across and through the sky.
i miss the sound of the air passing through their feathers.

i miss the magical discoveries of their eggs.
cracked afterthoughts after the wonder of birth.

soon they'll start thinking about leaving.

so for now, i pay special attention to their songs.
holding them inside as i do the idea of green.
leaves, the rustling of an afternoon breeze through the trees.
the sensation of flowers.
the draping of a humid breeze across my body.
the feeling of grass under my bare feet.

(italicized words by mary webb from her novel "gone to earth".)

Friday, August 21, 2009

in my mother's garden

a few days ago i biked down to my mum's home in cobourg.
it's a beautiful ride.
around 55 km.
i took photographs of my journey the last time i biked there.
if you'd like to see them then have a look right here.

the day i rode down, the humidex was 42 c.
for my american friends that's 107 f.

it was really hot!

so you can imagine how glad i was to walk into my mother's home.
there was lovely music playing,
a cold english beer waiting,
and of course a good hug!!!

my mum told me that she'd been doing a lot of work in the backyard.
so i had to see what she'd been up to.


come with me for a walk 'round my mother's garden.

come on!!

i love gardens in which there is a blend of dappled greenery . . .

and splashes of colour . . .

a place to wonder at the incredible complexity that is a flower . . .

and a place to acknowledge the all of everything and nothing . . .

and best of all, a space to enjoy the unconditional gift that is nature . . .

all of this and more can be found in my mother's garden!!