Monday, November 30, 2009


through the night
the wind
howled and whistled
for attention.

i gave it my attention
but that wasn't enough.

seeing through
the cracked pane of glass
that frames the view from my bed . . .

a late autumn moon
still high in the sky

last night the wind and rain together blew,
the wall-curtains rustled in their autumn song.
the candle died, the water-clock was exhausted,
i rose and sat, but could not be at peace.
man's affairs are like the flow of floodwater,
a life is just like floating in a dream.
i should more often go drunken through the country,
for otherwise I could not bear to live.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

tuning the air

if you are lucky enough to live in seattle
or somewhere near there,
here's an experience
that you might want to look into.
performance ensemble "tuning the air" has been playing in the seattle area for more than eight years.

tuning the air began as a development of courses taught by musician robert fripp.
named guitar craft, these courses offered musicians an opportunity
to integrate and refine their work both spiritually and musically.
the guitar craft courses grew out of a request to robert
to provide residential courses at claymont court underscoring
the course's intent and design
through claymont and robert's connection to philosopher j.g. bennett's own work.

these courses generated a number of guitar circles around the world including the seattle circle.

"tuning the air" itself grew out of the seattle circle,
an independent offshoot of guitar craft,
formed in response to a suggestion-challenge presented to members of guitar craft,
that they form a location-based performance ensemble.

the results and the direction they have taken are compelling.

have a look and a listen.

to learn more about the seattle guitar circle you can visit their dedicated website right here.

a very ecstacy

i was not more than eighteen
when an inner and esoteric meaning
began to come to me from all the visible universe,
and indefinable aspirations filled me.

i found them in the grass fields,
under the trees,
on the hill-tops,
at sunrise, and in the night.

there was a deeper meaning everywhere.
the sun burned with it,
the broad front of morning beamed with it;
a deep feeling entered me
while gazing at the sky in the azure noon,
and in the star-lit evening.

i was sensitive to all things,
to the earth under,
and the star-hollow round about;
to the least blade of grass,
to the largest oak.

they seemed like exterior nerves and veins
for the conveyance of feeling to me.
sometimes a very ecstasy of exquisite enjoyment
of the entire visible universe filled me.

i was aware that in reality
the feeling and the thought were in me,
and not in the earth or sun;
yet i was more conscious of it when in company with these.

words from richard jefferies' the story of my heart

Saturday, November 28, 2009

i love buttertarts

it's funny but i made this post a while back and forgot about it.
this morning i woke up thinking about buttertarts and how very much i love them so
and how i needed to go to omemee
for some more.
so here's a forgotten post that mirrors the ride i'm actually taking again today
under much colder
snowy rainy
i'll document this ride also and you'll see how very different
things are just a few weeeks later!
i notice that the trees and grass are still colourful.

- - - - - - -

oh i really, really love buttertarts.
really a lot!!
the promise of
the taste
of a fine homemade buttertart
(a really super homemade buttertart)
saw me put my bike on the trail
to the little town of omemee once again.

it was
a beautiful
windy blustery rainy
sort of day.

ideal for a long journey.

there was
not a soul on the trail
but myself.

the wind was in my face for the journey west,

but the slower pace allowed me to really enjoy the farmer's fields

and the wetlands

the signs all pointed west, so on i went

past silver birch long bare

and suddenly i was there!!!
land of the delectable tasties i crave . . .
a little main street omemee bakery named "rubies roost".

here's sherie and her mum - the proud owners.

they had just pulled a batch of buttertarts out of the oven.
so i tested one for them
("exceptional" was my judgement!)
and drained a mug of columbian joe to
add fuel to my return trip.

i bought six.
and rode them
very carefully back home
seventeen kilometres . . .
because i believe in sharing my fortune!

Friday, November 27, 2009

the elevation

it sometimes helps
to rise above as much of what we know as

"it all"

as is possible.

the rewards are often short
and just as often quickly forgotten.

but the feeling of release
from the tangled webs of daily life
is palpable and healing.

the elevation

above the valleys, over rills and meres,
above the mountains, woods, the oceans, clouds,
beyond the sun, past all ethereal bounds,
beyond the borders of the starry spheres,

my agile spirit, how you take your flight!
like a strong swimmer swooning on the sea
you gaily plough the vast immensity
with manly, inexpressible delight.

fly far above this morbid, vaporous place;
go cleanse yourself in higher, finer air,
and drink up, like a pure, divine liqueur,
bright fire, out of clear and limpid space.

beyond ennui, past troubles and ordeals
tthat load our dim existence with their weight,
happy the strong-winged man, who makes the great
leap upward to the bright and peaceful fields!

the man whose thoughts, like larks, take to their wings
each morning, freely speeding through the air,
- who soars above this life, interpreter
of flowers' speech, the voice of silent things!

translated by james mcgowan

Thursday, November 26, 2009


the canoe is a canadian icon.
bound intimately to the landscape of this country,
it is a key element in our history
past and present.
the town i live in
and so
in this town
you'll find
canoes from the arctic,
the pacific,
the atlantic and
the eastern woodlands
are all on display.
the extraordinary craftsmanship
that each contains leaves you breathless.
each came from nature
and will eventually return to nature.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

pearl fog

i was reading carl sandburg's poem "pearl fog"
and came across this lovely writing . . .

open the door now
go roll up the collar of your coat
to walk in the changing scarf of mist.

tell your sins here to the pearl fog
and know for once a deepening night . . . .

those are words that sing!

so, when i woke this morning
and saw the fog through the window,
i got right out of bed,
put on something to keep me dry
and headed for the woods.

just past this entanglement
is one of the ways in
keep going past the fairy dance-floor

take a moment and look at one tiny little universe unto itself
deeper still
and the sky is
filled with leafless tracery
and stop
with me
to watch
as the trees gather 'round
for a foggy morning conversation

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

wine and haiku

i looked out the classroom windows
off and on
throughout the day.

it rained and rained.
light then heavy
from a sky that was
blue-grey then
charcoal grey
and all the time the puddles
grew and grew!

needless to say -
the ride home was wet!
i was soaked within minutes of setting off.
but in my head
i knew,
i'd pass through some woods before
the end of this journey . . . .

and so it was!

i brought some haiku
by santoka taneda
and a bottle of red wine . . . .

come and walk with me
for a little while
through the woods
in the rain.

"just as it is —
it rains, I get wet, I walk"

"completely drenched —
this stone marks the way"

santoka taneda

"stretching out their branches
the winter trees"

santoka taneda

"even the sound of the raindrops
has grown older"

santoka taneda

it's getting late
time to turn towards home . . . .

along the way i see

"men, women
and their shadows

oh you silly people!!
just enjoy yourselves!

Monday, November 23, 2009

their secret design

there's a stark emptiness about
late autumn trees.
their secret design -
as above
so below -
revealed for all to see.

the skies
pastel-hued softness
their brittle bodies
and gather
the chaos of
their spindly
black india ink
of branches
and limbs
a request:

there is a spirit
in these trees . . .
love even!

and though
the cold glory
of autumn
the outer beauty of their bodies,
there is a
tender metaphor
that speaks to me . . .

there it is -

the outer trappings.

as above so below.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

who has looked out?

not very far from my home -
perhaps twenty kilometres across rolling hills, farmland, dense woodlots -
is a magical place called lang pioneer village.

on a blustery autumn day,
under a cloud-filled sky,
i walked through the village.

no one was there.
it was absolutely still
but for the wind.

the wind ran
thin and silvery through the trees
passing soft and dusty
across the pathways
between the houses.

the leaves danced
red, green and yellow

i was drawn to the windows.

who else has looked in . . .
who else has looked out . . .
these thin

Saturday, November 21, 2009


i like to listen
to the voices in my head.

the conversations / monologues are intriguing
and sometimes helpful!

there was one
that was basically
focussed on the idea
"steven needs to change his route home."

- - -

so on my ride home,
i turned right at an intersection
and went north instead of west
as a result of which
i went by
the marina.

it's empty now.

there are no
with party lights
the quirky lifestyles of
just passing through
on their way to

no little sailboat
and clanking.

just the very soft sound
of water.

i love symmetry.
when it's not entirely symmetrical
but has enough of
the warp and weft
of time
to skew the details
ever so slightly.

so i was captivated
when i clambered over
a wooden dock
and saw this

can i say that sometimes
it pays to listen
to the voices in your head!

Friday, November 20, 2009

back bone cloud

i saw this.

towards the end
of a day.
not unlike other days -
with their demands
and gifts
almost equally balanced.

it lasted all of fifteen minutes.

i straddled my bike
and stood
watching its
like a spine in the clouds.

that i later compared
to the whorls and silvered curves
of water
behind a rock
in a slow and purposeful

a river of sky.
(click the image to enlarge it).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

peacefully within

shiro kasamatsu moon at matsushima

it's cold this night in autumn's third month,
peacefully within, a lone old man.
he lies down late, the lamp already gone out,
and beautifully sleeps amid the sound of rain.
the ash inside the vessel still warm from the fire,
its fragrance increases the warmth of quilt and covers.
when dawn comes, clear and cold, he does not rise,
the red frosted leaves cover the steps.

shufu miyamoto autumn leaves at temple gate