Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the worlds i live in

the little worlds
under my feet

that i feel
as surely
as the clouds overhead

know more of me

than i do
of myself

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

pagan angel

love was a promise made of smoke
in a frozen copse of trees
a bone cold and older than our bodies
slowly floating in the sea
every morning there were planes
the shiny blades of pagan angels in our father's skies
every evening i would watch her hold the pillow
tight against her hollows, her unholy child
i was still a beggar shaking out my stolen coat
among the angry cemetery leaves
when they caught the king beneath the borrowed car
righteous, drunk, and fumbling for the royal keys

love was a father's flag and sung like a shank
in a cake on our leather boots
a beautiful feather floating down
to where the birds had shit on empty chapel pews
every morning we found one more machine
to mock our ever waning patience at the well
every evening she'd descend the mountain stealing socks
and singing something good where all the horses fell
like a snake within the wilted garden wall
i'd hint to her every possibility
while with his gun the pagan angel rose to say
"my love is one made to break every bended knee"

all words iron and wine

Monday, August 29, 2011


he had the whole garden
the whole world
to fly in

he flew into my shoulder
a tap
"hey, whatsup?"

so when he landed on a fencepost
i went over to him
and admired him
and told him how beautiful he was

as if
he didn't already know

Sunday, August 28, 2011

tinariwen - tassili

the thrill of hearing good new music has been with me since i first put on a 45 of the beach boys sloop john b, or maybe it was the lp of beatles for sale, i dunno, what i do know is that the rush is still there. when something new crosses my path, i've got to listen and if it's "good" it'll get played over and over

tinariwen are a group i've enjoyed since stumbling across their womad performance a few years ago. i couldn't believe my ears and eyes! pure rock roots completely and precisely melded into the bass-driven groove and chicken-pickin' guitar of malian trance with the kick-in-the-teeth edge that revolutionary lyrics always carry.

four albums since that time, tinariwen's edge is still sharp. their latest album entitled "tassili" will be released at the end of this month but if you'd like to hear the entire album streamed (courtesy of npr) please go here. to hear individual tracks and read the review by npr writer bob boilen go here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

four years

this blog is now four years old - an astonishing feature of my life through which i have managed to share at least one posting per day since its inception on august twenty-seventh, two thousand and seven.
i'm proud that in one way shape or form i have kept my commitment.
no matter what or why or who or when or even how i have been or am.

i have watched the digital soil in which i have carefully planted the seeds of my becoming self,
grow from wishing for readers and reposting current news on technology, art, and coolness in general, through my relationship with nature and its relationships with me, to its current place as a journal for writing that speaks as much of the nascent momentum of my wish to speak in a poetic tongue
as it does of my wish to express both the expressible and the inexpressible
with equal understanding.

the significance of this is that despite my very public and social work as a teacher, i am in fact very typically and cerebrally english in my need for a considerable amount of personal space in which to be able to take several steps back and observe the animal i live inside.
then again, perhaps that has no cultural context and is expressly a feature of the person i am.

no matter - the peculiarities of the digital realm afford me the sweet luxury of
expressing my experiencing of this state, with a delete button mere centimetres from my index finger.

i am grateful to all of you who arrive here each day and to those of you who respond in whatever manner to my thinking, my photographs, my riffs on old paintings, my poetry, my stories and especially to whatever it is that compels the sharing of my work which finds in part a place to locate itself in process right here.

love of course . . . steven

Friday, August 26, 2011

evening closes

lift your eyes
from the sliding shadows
on the path

and you are
the soft light

you paint
the pale clouds

as evening closes

Thursday, August 25, 2011


a dusty, narrow, root-crossed trail led steeply downwards to the water's edge.
a tree with a wide strong trunk had grown out over the river.
i crawled on my hands and knees along its rough body
and then straddled it with my legs
until i reached a place where i could see
up and downstream.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


look at this leafless branch
torn from a tree

carried to the sea
on a river
of rainrings

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


i like to go out for coffee sometimes.
americano's are a special pleasure.

when i am in my hometown, this is where i like to sit and enjoy coffee.

see the little boathouse near the top of the picture.
it's a small cafe called the silver bean.

it sits by a river that flows through the middle of my town.

i always meet people i know ... just by sitting there.
a simple pleasure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

easier said (than done)

when they wrap their arms and eyes and lives around me it's the most exquisite form of containment.
immersion in the wholeness of them.

all my life i've heard that it's easy to let them go when the time comes.

i think my parents were glad to see me go. i have no regrets. no recriminations.
i made it really easy for them!

i think it made it easier for me to return when i became more of who i am today.

we were all ready!

i feel my children so deeply. they are entirely me.
they are entirely themselves.

music today, some summer pop from rahsaan patterson: easier said than done

Sunday, August 21, 2011

claremont august 13. 2011

i slept on the lawn of this house

and woke to this flower

Saturday, August 20, 2011

evening of august 12. 2011 bronte creek

a silver edge to every cloud
scallop-shelled out from above the very late sunset trees to the south.

a small growing point of light, it rounded and swelled, pregnant with moonbeams that lit
the small enclave of tents i was one small part of.

music for alongside the moment experiencing: "last night the moon came . . . " jon hassell

Friday, August 19, 2011

i am here . . . very briefly

their beautiful unlikeliness

a family of fungi grew overnight outside my tent

Thursday, August 18, 2011


water knows nothing
of borders

water knows nothing
of place
or thing

looking down the side of the ferry between kingston, ontario and cape vincent, ny, usa

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


a space
lit by
wished upon stars

in the small eternity
i traverse
in an instant
between the world
of my imagining
and the world
of my living


something has happened.
the moon lit up the room.
God knew about it

tomas tranströmer

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

so much more

you and i and we

we know
there's so much more
than this
so for now
settling here
let's enjoy ourselves
and each other
there's so much here
there's so much more
than this

Monday, August 15, 2011

a careless arrangement

landscape: a shinnecock vale william merritt chase

against summer's
soft and careless expanse
time's melody
fragments into formlessness

Time Is Like A Melody by fulltimehobby

Sunday, August 14, 2011


in one airplane flight
three thousand
four hundred
and twenty two miles
from the chafed skin of working class subsistence
to the heart of working class modernity

i am eight years old
looking through
a window
a large plate glass window
through which i can see
the very big american cars
travelling past the very big building
i now call home

my entirety contained
in two bedrooms
an l-shaped living room dining room and kitchen

and in that kitchen
a fridge and an electric stove
a bathroom with hot and cold running water
there's food in the fridge
in the cupboards

none of this possible
or even imaginable
twenty four hours earlier

in the same world
at the same time

mine and not mine
a beginning
and an end

my heart
to transparency


far off i found myself standing in front of one of the
new buildings.
many windows flowed together there into a single
in it the luminous nightsky was caught, and the
walking trees.
it was a mirror-like lake with no waves, turned on edge
in the summer night.

excerpted from "out in the open" by tomas tranströmer translated by robert bly

Saturday, August 13, 2011


i had been reading all that i could find of the writing of j.g. bennett who
had passed through the work of gurdjieff.
i was immersed.
in love with the ideas, but through applying my own habit of reading and learning
and then believing that "i knew",
i wasn't learning anything that i could truly apply to the details of my daily work.

one evening, i saw in the newspaper that "meetings with remarkable men" a film by peter brook depicting the early years of gurdjieff, would be showing at a small cinema on the west side of toronto.

i arrived in a state of great excitement and walking down the late summer streets i moved between the shadows of the buildings full in the hope that i would experience some sort of transformative experience.

surprisingly, there was a small crowd outside the theatre.
among them were sufis.

as i approached i was compelled to absorb their appearance.
and then their presence.

i must have been holding my gaze for some time,
for i became aware that one of the men was holding my eyes.
not in a harsh or judgemental manner.
rather, i felt compassion and encouragement.

afterwards i considered that this man
- much like i -
lived in a city.

he benefitted ffromood and shelter and love and warmth.
and was who and what and why and how and when he was.
much like i.

from that moment alone
everything has flowed.

there is a kind of out-of-sight dreaming
that never stops. light for other eyes.
a zone where creeping thoughts learn to walk.
faces and forms regrouped.
we're moving on a street among people
in blazing sun.
but just as many - maybe more -
we don't see
are in dark buildings -
high on both sides.
sometimes one of them comes to the window
and glances down on us.

tomas tranströmer

Thursday, August 11, 2011

waiting as we do

i was a little boy
in wales
long ago

we had stopped at a village market
to buy bread and cheese and tomato
which we ate in our car

beside us
a hill
pulled back into the sky
so steeply
such a sharp ascent
and the wind
thin and pierced
with embroidered eyelets of rain
slanted sideways
as if
against my wish
to see the top

where i imagined myself
telling my daddy
that i had done it

i had climbed to the top

his wish


there's a tree walking around in the rain,
it rushes past us in the pouring grey.
it has an errand. it gathers life
out of the rain like a blackbird in an orchard.

when the rain stops so does the tree.
there it is, quiet on clear nights
waiting as we do for the moment
when the snowflakes blossom in space.

from: "the tree and the sky" tomas tranströmer

this was the day of my dad's birth so very long ago

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

move with the water

as i write this in the summer heat i'm thinking back to this same place, this same time, six months ago.


in february living stood still.
the birds flew unwillingly and the soul
chafed against the landscape as a boat
chafes against the pier it lies moored to.
the trees stood with their backs turned towards me.
the deep snow was measured with dead straws.
the footprints grew old out on the crust.
under a tarpaulin language pined.
one day something came to the window.
work was dropped, i looked up.
the colours flared. everything turned round.
the earth and i sprang towards each other.

tomas tranströmer

music rain tree crow

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

carried by darkness into the light

the stairs are wooden
and old

the bannister
worn free
of its last coat of paint
is now palm smoothed
and supple as skin

it holds my hand
as i climb
to my room

the window
of my room
overlooks a small
whitewashed courtyard

shadows dance
on the bricks

each night
as i sleep
a man
picks me up
and throws me through the floor

the floors beneath
that of
my room
have disappeared
giving my body
egress to leave this world
and enter
the otherworld of the cellar
where i am given
the opportunity
to find my way
without a map
from that crawling and shifting darkness
into the light

each morning
i wake up
glad to be alive

"the happiest little boy i ever knew"


carried by darkness.
i met an immense shadow
in a pair of eyes.

tomas tranströmer

Monday, August 8, 2011

the sighing rain

i am filled with secrets ...
in one small corner of my world
there sits an apothecarist's cupboard
whose tiny compartments
are filled
with admixtures
of dreams still sleeping
desires let fade
humbled hopes
wishes waiting to be released

each is filmed
with a soft fine dust
that rises in tiny spore-like clouds
when i reach in with questing fingers
seeding the moment
with unimagineable multiplicities


hear the sighing rain.
i whisper a secret, to reach
all the way in there.

tomas tranströmer

Sunday, August 7, 2011


in the little world
of my creation
there is a courtyard
filled with woods and rivers and ponds and skies
trees and flowers and rocks
birds and fish and animals

and on the walls of the courtyard
are pictures of my history

something in the courtyard will enter
one of the pictures
and in its leaving
a song will emerge
and i write it here

holding it
in place

all the better
to see it

all the better
to know


a lamasery
with hanging gardens.
battle pictures

thoughts stand unmoving
like the mosaic tiles
in the palace yard

words tomas tranströmer

Saturday, August 6, 2011

in a cage of sunbeams

i arrived
listening to the tall thin man

he was part of what i knew as
'the world'

he believed
that he was better
than he

and i was his
in name
and form
and so
he expected much
in return for so very little

i remember arriving at a time
and a place
filled with the feeling
that a lot of the world
i was compelled to be a part of
was ugly
and wrong for me
and that like i was told
so often
"could do better"

so i constructed
a little world
all of my own
and filled it
with the most beautiful music
and words
and art
that i could find
or create

building walls
of knowledge and understanding
that few could climb over -
there were no doorways

sometimes i would come out
and play with similar minded people
in their worlds

they knew we were different
for doing this
we just didn't talk about why

at the end of every day
i could smile
and feel that deep love
i felt for my little world
when i returned


on the balcony
standing in a cage of sunbeams –
like a rainbow

tomas tranströmer

Friday, August 5, 2011

the fifty-fifth lap

today marks the end of my fifty-fourth transit around the sun.
by coincidence, friends who own a little cafe that i sometimes drop in on at the end of rides
put this sign out yesterday.

that sort of stuff can go to my head so
i dropped by later in the day and added at the bottom "i know the guy - he's a chump!"


i was born at 8:30 pm. it was a monday.
a holiday! (but not for my mum, who was in labour off-and-on with me for two days!)
thankyou for having me mum!

here are my mum and i just over a year ago

my mum dropped by yesterday with a tasty cake, beer, jam, pickled beets, and many other small wonders that mums somehow know to bring with them when they visit their children's homes!!!


i've enjoyed a lovely year filled with all the blessings and challenges of being a dad and a husband and a friend and a teacher and all the many things that i am and each of which i treasure for the gift that they are.

my children!

i'm most grateful for the continued opportunity to bring goodness into the world to whatever degree i am capable as that (in my view) makes up much of my purpose for being here.

this will be a busy day as i am preparing for one hot thrill lap of lake ontario on my bicycle (that leaves peterborough tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.) in the company of my ride for africycle friends. i still have to pack and finish preparing the maps of the route that will get us all around this great body of water - all eleven hundred kilometres of the way around - and then also find us locations with opportunities to stop for nice cups of coffee, devour pastries, eat lunch, and down beers at appropriate junctures in the course of each day.


thankyou bloggy friends for your many kindnesses. your comments, your own blogs, your insights, passions, acknowledgement of life passages, and celebrations that have contributed towards making this point in my journey so amazing!

thankyou for all that you are and do.

as walt whitman says . . .

"you have done such good to me,
i would do the same to you."

have a peaceful day!

with my love


and now, to get all the household chores done before i leave . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, August 4, 2011

gently fading

the sun was slowly drifting to the horizon when i saw these fading lilies against the background of their flourishing brothers and sisters and i wondered if my age predisposes me to see them as perhaps more beautiful in the gentle convolutions and softened tones of their aging bodies than their
more colourful and well-formed siblings.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


when i was young
i believed that the world
turned inside the spinning vanes of america

the veins of america
ran with chocolate
a rectangle
that bled sweetly into the stars
up above the world so high

each star a nexus point for countless dreams

dreams painstakingly crafted
by hand and by head and by heart
and then carefully placed inside
each five-pointed form
like a diamond in the sky

at each vertice of the star
a wish

hope ... compassion ... tolerance ... change ... opportunity

of these hope

the most precious
the most fragile
how i wonder what you are

the most vulnerable to the capricious winds of change
the most easily pocketed
by those who for whom opportunity
is measured in material terms
the most easily crushed
by those for whom
compassion tolerance and change
are synonymous with
the dark drudgery
of a stasis
that is most easily hidden
in the empty landscape that is
for the sake of change


i see sadness
when i look
into your eyes
knowing as you do
that there are those
who would contain hope
he could not see which way to go,
if you did not twinkle so

that there are
those who would take
the shimmering thread
that is woven
through and around each dream-filled star
fixing each
to the firmament

that they would
wind that thread
around the spool of politics
the discordant songs of empty rhetoric
and false promises
when the blazing sun is gone
when he nothing shines upon
then you show your little light

i wish for you

i wish upon the twinkling stars
that you can
in the fullness of time
remember the love
that you hold for yourself
as your bright and tiny spark
lights the traveller in the dark

welcome the angels


visual prompt (skip hunt) provided by tess at magpie tales
go here for the full text of twinkle, twinkle, little star

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

the red tree

i have so loved shaun tan's work since i shared with my class his book " the arrival ".

he has a sense of the details of living and being in this world that i admire for his gentle insight as well as for the freshness of his perspective.

the red tree is about many things.
most especially though, the subtle appearance of hope.

Monday, August 1, 2011


fourteen fingers
reach out from her face



inclined in supplication

drawing first the sun
then the sky