Wednesday, June 30, 2010

music is painting in the air

in the mid seventies music sometimes sounded like this . . . .

it went well with the very large moment that hovered from 1974 - 1977.

i was a part of that bubble
finishing high school
in 1976
and making a first attempt
to start university
that autumn

a moment
that eventually taught me everything
i needed to know
to begin

this was one piece of the soundtrack
of that emergence

(there've been some problems this morning linking blogger to youtube
so if the video doesn't play you can go directly to its page here!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

spatial depths

spatial depths of being survive
the birth to death recurrences
of feet dancing on earth of sand;

vibrations of the dance survive
the sand; the sand, elect, survives
the dancer.

he can find no source
of magic adequate to bind
the sand upon his feet, his feet
upon his dance, his dance upon
the diamond body of his being.

nathan jean toomer

Monday, June 28, 2010

their little faces

their little faces
pressed against
the glass of their knowing

a window onto a world
made of worlds
and what extraordinary
unlikely worlds

each an imagined place
and more illusory
than the last

each little face
a window


see through
to the real world

Sunday, June 27, 2010

a star without a name

a star without a name

when a baby is taken from the wet nurse,
it easily forgets her
and starts eating solid food.

seeds feed awhile on ground,
then lift up into the sun.

so you should taste the filtered light
and work your way toward wisdom
with no personal covering.

that's how you came here, like a star
without a name. move across the night sky
with those anonymous lights.


Saturday, June 26, 2010


i love voices
that are filled with life

not the life
you might think of immediately
you know;
the joyous
cheery bouncy voice
that guides you on your way to and from work

no no
i love the voice that speaks to me
the kind of worldly wisdom
i know through my mother
the kind of insight
i know from my father's sister margaret

when they speak
i listen
no matter how they speak
or what they are speaking about

they have already been there
they have already done it
and if they didn't bother
then i know better for their choice

you know what i mean?

so, i love voices
and when voices sing
with knowing
and understanding
and insight

well i am compelled
to pay attention

terry callier
has such a voice

Friday, June 25, 2010

opening and upward

i appreciate

especially the memory
that returns unbidden
from the long unfolding
present moment


i saw this house
and knew it immediately
never having seen it


the stories i wrote
and lived

the work

the love

i remember her so well

ferdinand loyen du puigaudeau kervaudu, le jardin fleuri

here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
and to your (in my arms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain

ee cummings

Thursday, June 24, 2010

in close

i'm trying really hard
to make sense of an understanding
that guides my knowing of this place

for now

it is that the surface details of our existence
are like clues
to the deeper learnings
we come here for

"come here for"

i figure we're almost like visitors -
visitors with an investment

by learning what we can about the surface
we begin
to learn about the deeper maps
of our existence

our purpose -
maybe even
our reason for being here
before the next piece of our becoming
says "hey!"
in the way it does

so knowing that
or learning that
or getting inside that
is a big part of the journey

and i hear lots about "the journey"
and i've seen lots of distractions that people know as "the journey"
but i'm here now
a considered and thoughtful
approach to this world
leads to riches beyond my imagining

albert joseph moore study of an ash trunk

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

at the window

i came across these words of paul eluard and was captivated, as if walking by a mirror i saw myself and was caught for a moment in that lovely indecision over whether to stop and stare at my own reflection or to hurriedly move on, embarassed by the possibility of being seen admiring my appearance.

paul's insight is so gently and yet precisely expressed here that the effect is more that of walking through a door, or having a long stretch of dark weather suddenly move on allowing the light
to come streaming in through the windows.

white doors vilhelm hammershoi

i have not always had this certainty, this pessimism which reassures the best among us.
there was a time when my friends laughed at me.
i was not the master of my words.
a certain indifference, i have not always known well what I wanted to say,
but most often it was because i had nothing to say.
the necessity of speaking and the desire not to be heard.
my life hanging only by a thread.

there was a time when i seemed to understand nothing.
my chains floated on the water.

all my desires are born of my dreams. and i have proven my love with words.
to what fantastic creatures have i entrusted myself,
in what dolorous and ravishing world has my imagination enclosed me?

i am sure of having been loved in the most mysterious of domains, my own.
the language of my love does not belong to human language,
my human body does not touch the flesh of my love.
my amorous imagination has always been constant and high enough so that nothing
could attempt to convince me of error.

words from "at the window" paul eluard

sunbeams or sunshine. dust motes dancing in the sunbeams vilhelm hammershoi

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


maybe it's the hot weather
or just the need to move around to a tight groove
but tinariwen, the poet guitarists and rebels from the southern sahara,
have been filling the air here after a bit of an absence.

this is pure summer music
in the golden fish definition of summer music.

groovalicious, soulful, feel-it-in-your-hips music.

never heard of them?
perhaps you didn't know me when i posted this.

i can listen to this group without understanding their songs
but their words, which come from their touareg heritage - born out of the desert -
are worth reading:

so here are the words for the song you can choose to listen to
or shake your ass to:


i am a traveler in the lone desert
it's nothing special
i can stand the wind
i can stand the thirst
and the sun
i know how to go and walk
until the setting of the sun
in the desert, flat and empty,
where nothing is given
my head is alert, awake
i have climbed up and climbed down
the mountains where I was born
i know in which caves the water is hidden
these worries are my friends
i'm always on familiar
terms with them and that
gives birth to the stories of my life
you who are organized
assembled, walking together
hand in hand, you're living
a path which is empty of meaning
in truth, you're all alone.

headphones out ladies and gentlemen! blinkers off!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

walk away

giovanni fattori on the beach or grey day

the boat sails.
then it's docked.

it's dragged up onto the beach
and abandoned

that's when you
walk away
scour the beach for small lovelies

sea glass
mermaid combs
little rocks
that shine and almost glow
until they dry out later on
becoming simply
and most especially

walk away

let the waves wash
over your toes

Sunday, June 20, 2010

each night

even ulving vid vattenbrynet

each night
i row my way

- a small
riverside home -

a hut really

small, damp, quiet
but for the hissing flame of a small stove

the rustling of the pages
as i turn them

when all is quiet inside
i can hear the water lapping
wending its way
through the city
on its way to the ocean

sometimes emerald
sometimes slate

past my little home

my world
within this world

Saturday, June 19, 2010

hold thy lips ready to speak

the dusty road
that winds before
and behind me
is full of the speakable
and the unspeakable
that are the doing of my life
the being of me


i have to believe
the stories
were intended
for me
either to walk into
to read
or to write

that's why i've lived them

and yet
i find that people
want to know

some even suggest
they need to know
those very same stories
indeed i feel much of that

and perhaps that's
one of the great mysteries
of this place
for me

if we are each
matrix maps
of energy clusters
emerging like flowers
or starry accretions
from the one great
which i know as love

how is it
that we have this
overwhelming urge
to share our vantage point

our knowing
of our state of being

when ultimately
we are all describing
that comes from the same place

is it our work here
to create and experience
the journey
and then to share our variant

is that it

federico zandomeneghi la strada

i asked a gypsy pal
to imitate an old image
and speak old wisdom.
she drew in her chin,
made her neck and head
the top piece of a nile obelisk
and said:
snatch off the gag from thy mouth, child,
and be free to keep silence.
tell no man anything for no man listens,
yet hold thy lips ready to speak.

Friday, June 18, 2010

i sail in a ship of my own design

i sail in a ship of my own design

the gift of the wind -
makes for a life of sorts

the surface of the sea -
provides tantalizing glimpses
of the riches that lie beneath

and harbours
are places of contentment
and simple wonder

my sails are stories
that hold the wind of my life
pulling me across
the sea
of my becoming
each day
the sun and the moon
glide across my skies
full soft and silent

all artwork by vladimir kush

Thursday, June 17, 2010

if lives were raindrops

if lives were raindrops
the tale
of your birth
would be told in the air

your flight
from cloud
to earth
a rite of passage
before melding
with this world

where just as suddenly
as you were born
your existence
might resolve as a ripple

sometimes quiet
sometimes subdued

a silvery globule
of water on a leaf

an unlikely
hovering above the flow
of a vast river

or perhaps
a moment
of elegant and absolute presence
in which your unlikely
and unexpected nature
is subsumed
into some soft lagoon

each ripple an echo

a liquid tracery
of your arrival
and then also
of your passing

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

water flowers

you could sing
if you were the wind

with your fingers
as they wove
tiny filaments
in and around
the cotton threads
of the sails

and your song
would be wordless

filled only
with the knowing
of the sky
the gurgling
of the noonday river
swirling in water flowers
the thick wash of the sun
the soft warm bricks
vanilla yellow

and not so very far away
the hollow
of an oarless

cos cob john henry twachtman

i arrived in canada - an immigrant child from england - forty four years ago today.
my father was waiting for us in the terminal in toronto.
i hadn't seen him for a year.
i thought it was a long time.
in the year he was gone
i had a recurring nightmare.
a man entered the bedroom in which i was sleeping
picked me up and threw me through the floor,
then i passed through the first floor
and then through into the cellar.
this is about being compelled to view,
become aware of,
and deal with my subconscious.
perhaps with my shadow.
here i am.
much more for the experience.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the skies that hover

the skies
that hover
the warning
of a bruised blue-purple
and cloud scattered summer depths

alfred sisley small meadows in spring

are the skies
i love to see mirrored
in the flow of a river

in the rich contrast
of leaves and flower petals

in the deep shadow
of a passing friend

Monday, June 14, 2010


if a river
spoke in a music
other than that of its own making
what might it sound like

if that music
described the passing
of all the moments

of the river's experiencing?

the water i drink
was once in the ganges
flowed down the side
of an english cliff
was nestled under a rock
on the siberian tundra

what if
i were to learn all of its stories
as i drank it
into my body?


here is a piece of music
featuring the work of vernon reid
and the extraordinary voice


Sunday, June 13, 2010

unveil! arise!

i can feel

in those moments of doubt
where experience
seems to be of little relevance
in fact
where i wish
i had no experience to draw on

i can feel lost


desolate and lone
all night long on the lake
where fog trails and mist creeps,
the whistle of a boat
calls and cries unendingly,
like some lost child
in tears and trouble
hunting the harbor's breast
and the harbor's eyes.

henry moore queen of the night unveil! arise!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


in the night
a downpour


sliced by lightning

a morning walk

rain brings the sky and the earth together
so they can look at each other's reflections

m.c. escher puddle

Friday, June 11, 2010

after the rain

it's been some time

some time

since rain fell

in this
the most hopeful of seasons

well, it carries the weight of hope
in its soft silvery fingers

gustave caillebot the yerres, rain

the monotone of the rain is beautiful,
and the sudden rise and slow relapse
of the long multitudinous rain.
the sun on the hills is beautiful,
or a captured sunset sea-flung,
bannered with fire and gold.
a face i know is beautiful
with fire and gold of sky and sea,
and the peace of long warm rain.

carl sandburg

Thursday, June 10, 2010

in the fog, alone

through the fog
the gently defined edges
of a fence

a tree hovers
arms gently flailing

alfred sisley a foggy morning, voisins

a silent figure
hunched over her work

her work
to gather

to gather
mint, lavender, sage

and flowers
for the table

silent work
but for the birds
(their voices like small muffled bells)

colourless work
but for the flowers
(their faces shrouded in fog-lace)

the scent of water
and blossoms
as unlikely as light
in the heavy air

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

begin here at the end of the story

here is
the night sky
and scrawled
in pale grey ennui

what little light there is
contained in its
butter yellow
mouth of a moon


as they sail away
their awareness
travels with them
on the receding tide

by the shore
a solitary figure

in her hands
a small piece of greyed paper
on which are scrawled the words:

"light the lamp within you,
but do not hide your lamp beneath a basket
for when you come to know yourself
you will be known.

say then from the heart
that you are the perfect day
and dwell in the light
that does not fail."

(source of italicized words)

moonlight flanders john twachtman

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


i saw with my eyes
what i will tell you

my eyes wanted to close
but i couldn’t let them

i felt with my body
what i cannot forget

a silence so heavy
the weight of the moment
pressed on my chest
like a fist

and that silence
was broken by the footsteps of a man
walking his dog down the cobbled street

the dog stopped short
as a pot of flowers fell from a small ledge
and smashed to the ground
in a kaleidoscope
of white porcelain fragments
scattered black dirt
and red geranium petals

at his barking
a flock of starlings
from the fullness
of an ancient tree
scattering across the sky as one swirling black cloud
and in that moment
from somewhere deep in the earth
there was a rumbling
as if boulders
were being tumbled against each other

above me the tower of the church
began to sway
in giddy calligraphy
pencilling drunken prophesies
onto the darkening sky

just as suddenly
it gave way under its own weight
and the air was filled with debris
that smashed to the ground
rising back into the sky
on powdery thermals

as the walls fell down
i could see
the splintered pews
and shattered glass
the great grey bricks
laying like so many bones
on the ground

the rain
in clouds bruised purple and dark grey
sullen and dour
fell slowly at first
then hard and with purpose

a rich emptiness

people wandered in from the surrounding streets
slowly picking their way across the fluttering pages
the rubble and shards
sometimes stumbling
sometimes stopping and catching their breath
their clothes dark with rain

the scarred edges
of the church walls
were the backdrop
against which one of them

a boy

stooped down to pick up a dust-covered gold candlestick
feeling its improbable smoothness
against the work-roughened palm of his hand
then carefully replacing it
he saw me

picking me up
in both hands

he stared tenderly into my eyes

a look of wonder
crossed his face
as clutching me close to his chest
he turned
and ran home

to read more writing in response to the image above please visit magpie tales for links

Monday, June 7, 2010

a life well-lived

each morning
as the sun rose
above the low hills to the east
he left his cottage
and made his way along the river path

christen købke autumn morning on lake sortedam

each day
in the course of this walk
he reflected on the improbabilities
so apparent in his daily
experiencing of life

in a world
in which work is a commodity

in a world
in which the conditional
defines the terms of a sacred trust

and then
after some time
he would
round a corner
and embrace
in his imagining
an impossibly beautiful
gloriously simple
of all that he held
most sacred
and truthful

he knew it as
"the little space"

in the winter
it was a place of simple wonders
seemingly barren
and yet
filled with riches beyond any man's
reasonable expectation

camille pissaro brouillard à l’hermitage, pontoise

in the summer it became a place of exuberant wealth -
the fortune that nature bestows
upon a person who has lived their life well
a person who has made
and gentleness
their closest friends

camille pissaro l'hermitage pontoise

Sunday, June 6, 2010

on the grand canal

i've long dreamed of living
in other places
friesland, iceland,
and venice
have hovered
in my imagining

if it was venice
i could live in this house
with my friends

the artists
and the poets
the thinkers
and the musicians of my life

those people
who have featured in stories
and who have told their stories
sung their songs
played their music
been played by music
lived their visions
and turned their visions into life

where the wave of moonlight glosses -
weaving olden dances
'till the moon has taken flight
and whispering in their ears
gives them unquiet dreams
away with us he's going,
the solemn-eyed:
for he comes, the human child,
to the waters and the wild
with a faery, hand in hand . . . .

words excerpted from "the stolen child" william butler yeats

Saturday, June 5, 2010

my twenties

gustave caillebot a young man at his window

as a young man
i wished my way
into a sort of privilege
and then stood back
in shocked recognition
as i saw myself
in the ways of the world

one face of the world

everett shinn on the streets of new york

i learned about work
and patience
and remembered something
of what i had forgotten
but in a new context

and somehow
or grace
(i've found that they can be as close as sisters)
allowed me to forget
what i wished to forget

and without really noticing
my unfolding presence

i began
to become
who i was intended to be
to do what i was intended to do

and all the while
the real work
of my being
as it was nurtured
and brought gently forth
into a world
and understandably
of my presence

Friday, June 4, 2010

the wind of existence

gustave caillebotte boats moored on the seine

the wind
of existence
without end

passing through all points
of the experiential compass
and finding no end

so resting


contemplating the flow
of life's river

is something
of a necessary luxury

an act of kindness
simply so

Thursday, June 3, 2010

the hug

i dreamt last night
my father hugged me

we looked into each other's eyes
his wrinkled like mine
both of us smiling


"how are you?"
i asked him

"i'm well actually" he answered in his soft english accent, a sort of bemused smile
carrying the words into the realm of much more than sounds.

"you look tired", i added

"yes, it's hard work!"

i cried in my sleep

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

on the river

nature needs for this small part
of the world
to move quickly past spring
into summer

in some places
the air
was soft
with the perfumed songs of trees
dreaming their way
through an afternoon

many of those blooms
have now withered
and faded

frederick carl frieseke on the river

each piece of flying blossom leaves spring the less,
i grieve as myriad points float in the wind.
i watch the last ones move before my eyes,
and cannot have enough wine pass my lips.

from "winding river" du fu

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


i've dreamed enough dreams
of my self
being carried
down a river

i've swum up them and down them
been pulled to the bottom
and come up gasping for air

i know the metaphor

but being dealt a metaphor
and becoming it
is another thing altogether


for me the richest feature
of the living metaphor
are the islands

make your way out to them

and islands
vantage points

places to stop
and consider
what has gone before

and what might be becoming