Monday, January 31, 2011

the hedge

julian alden weir connecticut scene at branchville

on the other side of the hedge
another world

a world
that affords
the most simple
and commonplace

it's a world
in which goodness
and grace
are the currency

a world in which
are respected all the more
for their unknowing
of expectation

passing through the hedge
and wandering down the dusty road
requires nothing more
than a kind and loving heart
a trusting and thoughtful mind
and a sense of purpose
infused with goodness
unfettered by expectation

push the densely matted branches apart



julian alden weir branchville, connecticut

Sunday, January 30, 2011

i cast my net into the sea

in the morning i cast my net into the sea

i dragged up from the dark abyss
things of strange aspect and strange beauty
some shone like a smile,
some glistened like tears,
and some were flushed like the cheeks of a bride

when with the day's burden i went home
my love was sitting in the garden idly
tearing the leaves of a flower

i hesitated for a moment
and then placed at her feet
all that i had dragged up

and stood silent

she glanced at them and said,
'what strange things are these?
i know not of what use they are!'

i bowed my head in shame and thought

'i have not fought for these
i did not buy them in the market;
they are not fit gifts for her.'

then the whole night through
i flung them one by one into the street

in the morning travellers came;
they picked them up and carried them into far countries

all words ~ rabindranath tagore

Saturday, January 29, 2011

slow motion

portions of my day are spent looking at these forms.
reading them for holes, cracks, ice, tongues of tarmac.

my ears are attuned to the motors of the cars, the buses, the trucks
and of course to the calls of my friends the crows.
my nose takes in the smells of the many restaurants and houses i pass by.
baking and cooking smells carry a long way - both in the air and in my heart.
thankfully further than the harsher diesel and catalytic converter smells.
my body feels the changes in temperature.
there's a noticeable distinction between the warmth of the inner town
and the cooler air of the edge of town where the wind has more freedom.

i know all of this because i walk and i ride bicycles.
i know that my sensitivity to my environment
is due in no small part to the need to have my senses attuned - for survival.

and from that basic need has come my need to write and to share what i see . . .
and then to share what i have learned from what i see.

i could never have imagined
the goodness that has come from such a simple choice.

slowing down some of the processes of experiencing this world, allowing for a degree of suffering (because i won't fool anyone into thinking that using your body to get around this world is always fun and easy
or painless or without consequence) brings gifts.

'if you surrender completely
to the moments as they pass,
you live more richly those moments.'

Friday, January 28, 2011

sullen light

the light between
the darkened dawn
and the darker dusk
flickers faintly
all day long
through a vanilla fog

a light
whose soft and sullen spirit
cries for the hope
a candle
or a small fire
might bring

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a little winter walk

this is the view . . .

in late january during a small snowfall
looking out one of my classroom windows.

what a gift for my kids and i to see trees every time we look outside.

at the end of the day
my walk home takes me across a bridge.

the river is still open, but ice has very slowly built out from the sides

on the other side of the bridge there are ducks.
they don't seem to care what season it is . . .

some nights i take a right turn after the bridge.

i cross the railway tracks.

and follow a route
that takes me around what is known locally as little lake.
it's not a lake at all but a widening of the river.

no matter.
it's beautiful all the same.

and on those lovely nights when the wind is soft,
the air is gentle
and i have no idea what time it is
and really have no interest . . .

i stop right here
for a while

i'm sure you understand

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the black cherry in winter

three years ago this tree was dying
i didn't know why but he was clearly sad
i asked him what was wrong and he told me

so i took the dead branches off him
spent more time watering him
and gave him my love

the next year he blossomed -
a cloud of blossoms
each as soft as a kiss

have you held a blossom on your lips?

i was deeply thrilled
to touch the pink blossoms
each carefully painted
with thin deep red threads

but to feel my friend's rough body
to know that he had found his life again

well that was pure joy
and that joy
was driven even deeper
by the appearance of fruit

the birds ate it all in three days
but to know that the black cherry
had returned and made its place again
was the purest magic

he's sleeping right now
but i drop in on him
to let him know
i'm still around
and hoping
that he will be too

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


image: kevin westerberg

i walked into a small now defunct record store (the record pedlar) in toronto in the late eighties and saw a man enter the shop and walk up to the front desk.
i heard him ask the tattoed and pierced boy at the till:

"where's the michael brook section".

the boy at the till said "i'll show you" and the two walked side-by-side
to a plywood stand jampacked with vinyl.

the boy at the till returned to his post as the man thumbed through the pile. after a while, the man went back to the counter. "thanks for stocking my stuff, call me if you need any more".
i was caught in the moment. it was michael brook himself!!!
michael brook - the guy who'd worked with brian eno.
the guy who taught the edge how to play infinite guitar !

when i moved from toronto and continued to follow michael's path through his work i was astonished at who he drew into his circle. robert fripp, mary margaret o'hara, julia fordham, jane siberry, u. srinivas, youssou n'dour, and, most amazing to me was nusrat fateh ali khan but more about that another time.

today i'd like to share with you a piece of work that spun on my turntable many evenings.
the piece is entitled "searching" in which michael plays alongside the dutch musician pieter nooten


you’re searching

words ... words ... sentences

see these things

our end

slowly moving in the air . . .

hear our thoughts

hear how they play

a long forgotten tune

in the big green coloured chair

can no man rebuild rooms

corners of

all me

arise high above this bed


you’re searching -

the images

the memories

but see these plans

our end

slowly moving in the air . . .

Monday, January 24, 2011

red hair

i should be genetically predisposed to be drawn to red hair
because a portion of my genes are drawn from a small pool in
the border country melding england and scotland.

when i went there
i walked up the pennine spine of the middle of england.

it was not like going home.

it was like being somewhere that had long ago said goodbye
and added under its breath "and don't come back".

who knows the story behind that?

when red hair walks into my life i'm drawn to it
and then i usually run the other way.

i loved the colour red when i was a teenager.
my room had a red wall.
crimson red.
the accents were bright red.
i had a copy of chairman mao's little red book.
it all sang for me.

perhaps that's why when the willow tree outside my mother's home caught the setting sun i was captivated.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


my eyes turn to the very sky
the light falls from

tumbling past
soft-feathered birds

bursting through
dark green needled trees

flowing molten
along iced fingers

and settling in hummocks of pale pink blue
on the soft peace of sunday morning snow

Saturday, January 22, 2011


the light of the sun
rising higher with each day
will shorten my shadow

Friday, January 21, 2011

like life itself

i like to find these little places
where the animals come to drink

i wonder at what passes through their minds
as they approach such a spot

carefully reading the snowy indentations
of others
who have passed this way before

listening for sounds
and sniffing the air for scents
that suggest companionship
or danger

and then cautiously
lowering their heads
to lap the still water

i like to find these little places
because they are so much
like life itself

Thursday, January 20, 2011


the crimson tangle
of dogwood

on an overcast winter day
it's soft fire
flickers warmly
in my eyes

frost-hardened heat

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

alone on a winter's night

it's flag-whipping cold

my essence brother du mu wrote poems so very long ago
and yet
they're right here
right now
like me

at the essence
of cold winter aloneness


outside the window, wind and snow blow straight,
i clutch the stove and open a flask of wine.


later on, liu zong yuan arrived in a similar space when he wrote;

not a bird in miles flying in the cold,
on all roads and tracks, not even a soul.
only one old man with a grass hat and shawl,
fishing in his lonely boat in the snow.


oh man it's cold and lonely ...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the wild deer call

my sense
the sparse
and partitioned
of mid-winter
that i know
is that
i hold tightly
to colour and form
no matter how small
a quantity
of each
is present
i will also hold
more tightly

to my self

the wilderness is shadowed with white new-flying snow.

a hundred birds from an empty mountain scatter and return;
three thousand miles of floating clouds darken and lighten;
a wildgoose fledgling, left behind, cries for its flock,
then river waves are calmed
and birds are mute that were singing,
like a long wind swaying a forest, a downpour breaking tiles,
a cascade through the air, flying over tree-tops.

...a wild deer calls to his fellows.

words excerpted from "on hearing dong play the flageolet - a poem to palace attendant fang" by li qi

Monday, January 17, 2011

street song

the creative use of body on the street is a
vital expression of the human condition at its most vulnerable.

for this alone
i love street energy
for its outward arrogance
and its inward reverence

the first expression
of this reverent arrogance
comes from korea
in the form of
prepix dance group

the energy between the dancers and the audience
is breathtaking!

this is such a stunning
and visually complex piece
that my strategy is to watch the clip four times -
once for each of the dancers.

you'll see.

headphones on ladies and gentlemen!!


the next clip has already made an appearance on my "cycles" blog.
danny mcaskill - does things on a bike, with his body that are simply beautiful
and hard to ignore.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

a peninsula of light

following a worn and fractured canyon
i got caught in the lift and tread of my feet
until finally emerging into
a peninsula of light
i heard the mumbled beginnings
of a tale of tales
worn bare
through their retelling

and i listened to the old stories
all the same
they pointed the way

past serpents bent on devouring
whatever was handy

and especially because
i have always wanted to find
the golden icicle cave

which as everyone knows
is where the real treasures are kept

Saturday, January 15, 2011

washed ashore

the sky lays softly
upon her weathered wooden mouth

eyes creased
by countless waves

body blurred
like a vision

i think i can hear her wordless whispers
but she holds her thoughts
like sheets pulled up close

keeping out the night

Friday, January 14, 2011

forest echo

hello and welcome to the golden fish!!!

if you have a craving for poetry today, then nip over to my other blog flow.
i've shared a little something to one of tess kincaid's prompts.
if you need to read something connected to cycling then pop in here.
otherwise stay right here and listen to this - one of the most beautiful songs i've heard in the last two years!

headphones on please ladies and gentlemen.

to read a review of this album and to hear more - streamed - go here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

home through the snow

edward willis redfield between daylight and darkness new york city

after an hour the mild
confusion of snow
amongst the lamplights
has softened and subdued
the nervous lines of bare
branches etched against
the chill twilight.

paul gustav fischer jacobenson square, copenhagen

now behind me, upon the pallid
expanse of empty boulevard,
the snow reclaims from the darkened
staring shop windows,

guy wiggins winter in new york 1927

one by one, a single
line of footprints.

maurice cullen winter night, craig street, montreal

all words kenneth rexroth

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the quiet house

i am deeply grateful
for the rare moments
of aloneness
even i
get out of my way

winter loneliness
in a mountain hamlet grows
only deeper, when
guests are gone, and leaves and grass
withered are; so runs my thought

italicized words minamoto no muneyuki ason

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the little window

i found
a little window in the snow

holding my breath

i moved closer
to see inside

a world
of soft round pebbles


Monday, January 10, 2011

the reed flute

whenever i forget what this is all about
and get caught up
in the apparently significant

i find the words
or a place
that remind me
of the very simple and the very complex
all at once

God picks up the reed-flute world and blows

each note is a need coming through one of us
a passion, a longing-pain

remember the lips
where the wind-breath originated
and let your note be clear

jelaluddin rumi

Sunday, January 9, 2011


i love getting mail

real mail

a soft parcel
with lots of clear tape
and colour splashed
with foreign stamps

the other day
i opened my mail box and inside
was just such a parcel

can you imagine?

it was from france!
i have never received anything from france!
what is it . . . what could it be?

cutting a thin sliver off the end of the package i pulled out a scarf and a card
and it was from . . . .

so thankyou nancy!!!

so very thankyou!!!!!

for the excitement, for the beautiful hand made scarf, for the gorgeous card
and especially for the soft parcel that came all the way from france!!