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Monday, July 30, 2012

Pin Ball Machine

Pin Ball Machine

has a strange way
of falling
through the sublime
into the wayward frenzy
of a ball rolling down
a rough channel.

after robust attack,
it will settle.


This poem is a response to Wordle #67 from The Sunday Whirl, a poetry prompt suggesting the use of twelve words to write a poem:  frenzy, strange, ball, rough, falling, robust, settle, wayward, sublime, channel, attack, life.  You can learn more about The Sunday Whirl and read other responses at:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Family Visits in Summer

Family Visits in Summer

Last night, I slept for 13 hours.  Yes, I was that tired.  Exhausted but content.  Since Monday we have entertained company, well not really company...I should say family.  Each day we've had 6-8 adults and 2-4 children at our house; family who've joined us for a summertime visit.

We visited with each other, caught up on family news and stories, played cards or paper crafts with the children, had many barbecues, late night conversations under the stars, laughed and sang, enjoyed the summer days and evenings.

It felt a bit like a camp ground here with a Volkswagen camper van in the driveway and a 40 foot RV at the curb.  At bedtime, everyone went off to their own cozy places to rest.

During the day, we played in the pool or caravaned to The Rocks to sight-see and picnic or sat around talking, eating, and drinking Caesars...or doing whatever anyone felt like doing.  We enjoyed each other with no agenda.

Our time together was full of laughter and love.  Though there were many meals to prepare and dishes to clean, laundry to wash and supplies to purchase, there were many hands to help.  It was worth it all to see family, to spend long summer days together and to enjoy each other.

When everyone left, the house had a few extra finger prints and spills to clean, but was so quiet...too quiet.  It was fun to have family come and spend time with us and we are missing them so much already.

Yes, I slept for 13 hours last night.  I am catching up on rest and feeling almost ready for the next batch of family visitors, arriving on Saturday.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My House

My House

My house is going to be busy this week.  We are hosting relatives and enjoying their company.  I won't be posting again until the end of the week.

I hope you're enjoying time with someone you love, too.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unrestrained Summer

Unrestrained Summer

A single gold lily
cannot be melancholy
in this erotic garden,
where feathered grasses
fling their pale gold spray
and cover the earth
with seed,
where fragrance fills
the heated air
with rosy dreams,
and stray powders swing
on the backs of bees
every breath
of this

This is a response to The Sunday Whirl, a wordle poetry prompt in which one is to write a poem including the 12 words:  swing, fling, rosy, powders, melancholy, stray, grasses, gold, erotic, pale, cover, spray.   This is Wordle #66 for July 22, 2012. 

Red text includes hyperlinks that take you to another web page where you can find out more.

Photo is mine.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blue Jays in July

Blue Jays in July

Our yard is alive with Blue Jays this July. 
Loose flocks fly in and around our deciduous
trees, shrubs and hedges.

Blue Jays forage on the ground and among our garden's vegetation
for nuts, berries, insects and birdseed.
They can also be bullies,
stealing eggs or nestlings
from smaller birds.
But they are beautiful bullies.

Lately, we've had a stretch of warm days.
We see the Blue Jays drinking water
from the birdbath and watch them bathing, 
enjoying themselves with enthusiasm.

Blue Jays sit in the trees near the birdbath,
noisy and screaming jay-jay-jay
prior to landing to splash and play.
Sometimes one will guard the area
from a perch in a nearby shrub
while the other one washes.
At those times, they speak to each other
in softer tones and sound like they are
saying queedle-queedle-queedle.

We enjoy these bright blue birds.
They are striking with their blue crest,
black necklace, blue upper parts, white underparts,
white bar and flecking on their wings,
dark bars and white corners on blue tail and a black bill.

We  know Blue Jays can be bullies
but they are entertaining to watch just the same.
Our yard is large and open enough to be a home base
for a variety of wildlife.

We are fortunate to be visited by many birds and animals
during each season of the year.

Right now, the Blue Jays are here.

All photos are mine.

You can see another of my posts about Blue Jays from
July 22, 2011 by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thank you, Ian LeTourneau

Thank you, Ian LeTourneau

“A poem freshens the world.”  
So wrote the US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser.
To learn more about how a poem freshens the world and the craft of poetry, I participated in “The Basics of Poetry Writing: How to Transform Ideas into Poems” with instructor Ian LeTourneau.  The daylong workshop was part of the 37th Annual Maritime Writers’ Workshops sponsored by University of New Brunswick.
The focus was to strengthen skills in the craft of poetry, using metaphor, imagery and the poetic line.  The goal was not to create a masterpiece in one day, but to study and learn more about the basic tools for poetry writing, using explanation, writing exercises, examinations of sample poetry and sharing of our own pieces.  This was indeed what we did.
We seven students and Ian talked; the dialogue shed light on questions about technique and this in turn opened doors and pushed us beyond familiar territories.  We began with warm-up exercises on imagery:
*working like a _________________________________
*cold as _______________________________________
*as unpredictable as_____________________________
*as red as_____________________________________
And as we shared (all of us shared, including Ian), it was helpful to hear how others’ minds worked; it generated creativity.  It helped to learn that the instructor, a published poet, went through the same processes, he was teaching us to use.  Each workshop participant was at the same time dealing with the same technique, and was focusing on the same assignment, so we became interested in and learned from the work of each other.
We examined “My Shoes” by Charles Simic, “X-ray” by Dave Hickey and “Ode to a Stinging Jelly-fish (Portuguese Man-O-War)” by Roger Nash.  We admitted to feeling jealous of their abilities, all the while admiring their poems.
We created enlarged images from our initial warm-up exercises.  Here is mine:
Birth and Death
Dark eyes are red.
She’s just given birth,
a son,
for a husband who
runs around,
and she is raw,
red as fresh road-kill
bleeding out.
We set up our own metaphors, created lists of similarities, noted associations and connections, searched for fresh ways to make our poetry bits and nubs leap to life.  Ian encouraged us to make our images stretch, to do more work, to connect with emotions, to enrich details, to freshen the world.  The lists exploded and we picked a concrete image to begin.
I worked on a metaphor between hand-churning old-fashioned ice-cream and the beginnings and subsequent survival of a couple’s relationship.  It’s a work in progress so I won’t share it here but it has potential and I was content with accomplishing a good start.
The workshop participants shared exercises, beginnings of poems, great lines and shitty lines.  We laughed and we learned.  We talked about titles and how to make them work for our poems.  We talked about line breaks and ways to milk meaning, and yet more meaning from spaces, and ways to still or rush a clause to illuminate with surprises. 
Ian shared this from “Paradise Lost” by John Milton:
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
We understood the line break and spacing suggested another meaning.
Our minds stretched through writing exercises, using restrictions.  One assignment was to use the same five words in each stanza of a two stanza poem; the words were plain, light, glass, river, shadow.  Mine follows.

The river is glass-still
reflects light and shadow,
root to root, stem to stem,
plain and perfect
at full tide.

The tide shifts,
stabs the glass,
ripples spread,
shadows wrinkle,
shake the light.
The river plain begins
to shimmer and dance.

Not good poetry certainly, but you have the idea.
At the end of the day, we shared poems we had brought with us; not an easy thing to do, like giving birth and hearing someone say, “Gosh, that’s an ugly baby.”  It was helpful to listen to the responses and suggestions, to know the others were sharing their thoughts about what worked and what needed tweaking or a complete overhaul.  It was another way to learn.  And my day was all about learning.
The workshop emphasized that writing a poem was a passionate relationship between craft and seriousness of endeavour.  It took place in a crucible, where the wild unfettered mind met the responsible, purposeful self and laboured with fervor and desire, with ability and honest work and created a fresh way in which to perceive our world.
The workshop day was well spent.  My time, my money and my energy were well spent.  I was grateful for the opportunity to work with Ian LeTourneau and to learn from the others.
I hope to learn more next year, hope to attend the full week and follow courses on other genres of writing, on editing, on pitching a story and on publishing.  I hope to get acquainted with other poets and writers and continue to learn new ways to freshen the world through my own writing.
For now… thank you, Laurie Glenn Norris for organizing with the University of New Brunswick, for the Maritime Writers’ Workshops and especially, thank you, Ian LeTourneau, for the gift of yourself.
I’ll see you next year.

 If you click on the words in red, you will go to another website with additional information.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Trap

The Trap

I am down again.
Crack of the chain pulled taut,
spray of grittle, as gravity weighs
down again.
Pain triggers

I don’t relish having to learn
and relearn the lesson.
“Loosen the chain,
before you step out
it will rip you, trip you,
trip you…
again and again.”

I flick aside the gravel
that claims my knees,
now planted in tailings.

My skin swells
around the wounds,
and I hear again,
“Loosen the chain
before you step out,
step out,

This poem is a response to The Sunday Whirl at   http://sundaywhirl.wordpress.com 
The Wordle is #65 for July 15, 2012.
The words to be used to create a poem are: humility, relishes, trigger, flicks, swells, gravity, refrain, crack, chain, plant, grittle*, spray, claim.
Grittle = to grind coarsely or the result of a rough grind.
Words shown in different colours will take you to another website, with additional information, if you click on them. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012



Lavender grows by my back door.
The way it smells, makes me want more.
I’d like to plant it everywhere;
yes, share it till it fills the air
with scent so sweet and mauve galore.

There may be those who will abhor,
who find it cloying at their core,
who find it makes them ill, where’re
lavender grows.

Is to love just one scent a bore?
Should I ask of neighbours before
I plant these flowers everywhere?
What if they breathe it in and glare
or roar at me, no more, no more
lavender grows?

This is a light-hearted response to the poetry prompt for Friday, July 13, 2012 from Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.  They suggest writing a rondeau of 13 lines and a 4 syllable refrain, the first half of the first line, used twice.  The rondeau is arranged in 3 unequal stanzas, usually with two main rhymes, plus a third rhyme in refrain.  It’s supposed to be iambic lines with 4 stresses, but I have not quite captured the iambic cadence in each line.  The rhyme scheme is aabba, aabc, aabbac.  One of the most well-known examples of a rondeau is the poem "In Flanders Fields."
If you click on words in red in the text, you will go to another site with additional information.

Thursday, July 12, 2012



On the door frame,
white paint hangs like a pout
then peels
in slow slivers.

The afternoon sun nibbles
a little each day.
Nothing is left
except naked wood
and a few curls of paint quivering
beneath the sun's breath.

The door frame cannot resist
the sun's fingers,
cannot say no
to its searching touch
and scorching kisses.

I know this.
I know the paint will swell
and give way,
will split and open.

The sun's caress
is so insistent
and delicious.

As I paint,
I feel the sun
behind me
pulsing, rounding with desire.

I know my bristles
will not stop
its hunger.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Comes Next

What Comes Next

When housewives return
Christmas balls to the drawers,
when the old year's gone...
subtracting months from eternity,
when the New Year's rind falls
off, and entices happy wishes...
and then,
there is something that spurns
the ignorant
(caught celebrating),
as yet unaware of the stings
that await,
when they bite
into the pulp...
of what comes

This is a poem I wrote for The Sunday Whirl, a weekly wordle for July 8, 2012 using the following list of given words:  housewives, ignorant, rind, spurn, subtracting, fall, months, sting, drawers, eternity, balls and year.  The Sunday Whirl is a poetry prompt site which you can link to by clicking here.

Summer Whine

Summer Whine

Breathe in lavender
and roses, impossible
with a summer cold.

Sun kisses my skin;
comfort, caress and healing
for fever and ache.

Summer day singing,
leaves chat with the breeze.  I cough,
cough as chipmunks chirr.

I want to exchange:
tissues, lozenges and sneezes
for margaritas.

I want to breathe in summer,
be well and be well.
This is not an earth-moving poem but one which is reflective of my whiny state, of having a summer cold for the second time this summer.   I dream of being well again and enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of summer, and of writing better when my head is clear.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Royal Wave

The Royal Wave

Birch trees in the breeze.
Leaves flip, green to gold and back
and forth, royal waves.
Tiny heart-shaped hands rotate,
twist and wave, acknowledge us.

Photos are mine.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Daisies Grow

Daisies Grow

As a child, I chanted,
"He loves me, he loves me not,"
yet wondered
what the dropping petals
had to do
with love.

I pluck a daisy still,
but no more wonder
what it means
or if...
I am
my Love's love.

For his love choruses
its own ripe song,
round all the circles
of my daisy chain.
As each white petal falls,
"He loves me, yes,
he loves me,

And fields
once rough and raw,
now full
of daisies grow.
On bright breeze,
the pale and golden songs caress,
"He loves me, yes,
he loves me,

Photos are mine.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rain Music

Rain Music

Hostas cradle rain.
Droplets shimmer in the folds.
Clear, like tiny bells
glittering so perfectly,
you can almost hear them ring.

Photo is mine.

This is a Tanka poem for wewritepoems   Wewritepoems is a site that offers poetry prompts; click on the words in red to go there.