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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Space of Neither Here Nor There

The Space of Neither Here Nor There

Berries are orange bright on the rowan tree; its leaves turn yellow, wave good-bye as they drift down.  Dusky purple grapes hide among the vine’s large leaves.  Rustles of wind toss maple leaves in a dancing whirl to the grass, grass which hasn’t needed mowing for weeks.  Trees and shrubs and vines begin to undress.
Hornets buzz and tap insistent against the side of my wine glass, frustrated because it has a lid.  I hear the thrum of hummingbirds chasing one another, an erratic race to flowers or to the sugar-water in the feeders.
The season is neither here nor there; a liminal space between the last soft scented days of summer and the colourful crisp cool of fall.  Now, dawn and dusk serve up the same chill, calling for sweaters.  These end-days of August open the gates for autumn, show the path, invite.
Neither here nor there; the days are tender sweet, so warm even the breeze buffets skin like a lover’s caress, under skies the shade of a blue jay’s wing.
Some keep busy.  Neighbours scrape, paint, weed, water and mow.  Squirrels gather seeds, berries and yes, my grapes.
Some are busy, but not me.
I sit in the swing and write, breathing summer in this space of neither here nor there, in this space of right now.  And yet…yet there is a scent of fall.  I sit and savour this mellow time of “in between.”   It feels too good, to be wasted on doing. I allow myself to be.
For me, for today, neither here nor there is the very best place...to simply be.

The photo and words are mine, copyright © Carol Steel.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



Mists at dawn
and chills of evening
carry scents of hydrangea,
the last of my roses.
Winds rattle dry leaves.
Blue Jays call
my changes.

Mama Zen at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads found at http://withrealtoads.blogspot.ca  challenged poets to create a poem using their own power image in 25 words or fewer.  A power image is one which turns up frequently in your work, one you return to often.  Mine is metamorphosis, often linked to changes in the natural world.  And often in my work, changes inside mirror changes outside and visa versa.
Text in red will take you to another site with additional information, if you click on it.  Words and images are copyright © Carol Steel.  To read what other poets wrote and linked to on this challenge, click here.

Monday, August 27, 2012



Dear operator,
while I am on hold,
waiting for news,
you may be forgiven
for using your pencil
to trace empty designs
or copy a recipe
from a co-worker,
in your chain of fenced cubicles.

While I am on hold,
you don't see me.
I have been waiting
since before the sun
to hear.

You sit efficient,
doling out the essentials,
to doctors and labs,
while I am on hold.

The only link between us
this phone call.

You can't know
how I need
to hear something,
before dusk,
before this unknown
fills with  fear.

I am on hold.

This is for the Sunday Whirl Wordle #71 on August 26, 2012.  To learn more about the Sunday Whirl, click here to go to another site with more information.  This week's wordle suggests creating a poem using the following words:  link, chain, recipe, rose, operator, trace, forgiven, fence, essentials, dusk, pencil,empty.

Photo and words are mine, copyright Carol Steel.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Web of Life

Web of Life

In the midst
of a pure blue dream of a day,
you shiver
as you face the truth.
This moment freezes time.
Oh sure,
time doesn’t really stop,
can’t stop,
can’t wait
but you are frozen
caught like a fly
in a spider’s web,
on the shining silver
all around you,
waiting to feel
the message
across the web,
“You’re next.”

You try
not to shudder,
try to be still,
hope to hide,
a little while
from death.

Words and photo are ©copyright Carol Steel.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Live the Changes

Each day life changes.  The only constant is change.  No matter what the change, good or bad, the sun rises, the day passes, and the sun sets.   After night, the cycle begins again with the dawn.
The seasons change, each year the same rotation of natural change: invigorating spring, sweet summer, ripe autumn, snow-deep winter.  The seasons cycle again and again.  Changes.
Life is full of changes each day, each season, each year.  Change is the only constant.  And life itself is a cycle of changes; changes with an end.  The only sensible way to deal with life and change is to pack as much living as possible into each precious cycle—day, season and year.
Live each day, each hour.  Be present to each moment.  Waste not one second.  Waste no time and attention on what drains energy and spirit, on what tarnishes the shining you-ness of you.  Do what you can to live a life full of meaning and peace and joy.
Live all the changes. Live the days.  Live…

Words and photos are © copyright Carol Steel.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Perfect Pie

On a grey sky day full of the waning warmth of summer, we go for a bike ride.  Not wanting to sit at traffic lights, sweltering in our motorcycle gear, we head out to the country.  At the bottom of the street, we turn right onto Route 114 and drive toward the Fundy Park area of lower Albert County, NB.  Off to our right are thunder clouds, to our left, grey and blue skies.  We are optimistic.
As we drive, I feel the warmth and smell the scents carried on the wind, scents connecting me to the sights we pass.   Sensory stimulation can be delightful—clover, new mown hay, lilies, pockets of cool air, salt marsh, evergreen forests, or can be pungent—manure, stagnant ponds of brackish water, diesel fuel, asphalt, tar and skunk.
As a passenger on the motorcycle, I am free to gawk as long as I don’t move my body too much and disrupt the equilibrium.   My heads rotates side to side as we pass new houses and houses six to eight generations old, former neighbours, sights familiar from my childhood, fields, marshland, the Petitcodiac River widening as we travel toward the Bay of Fundy.  The closer we draw to the Bay, the cooler, cleaner and fresher the air feels.  We both appreciate the natural loveliness of this drive on Route 114.
We reach the village of Riverside-Albert, home of September’s Albert County Fair and cross roads to Fundy Park or to Mary’s Point and Cape Enrage, to the Trans Canada Trail or Crooked Creek Lookout.
We stop at a local restaurant.  There is no name and no sign, just a flag and a flashing sign in the window; both say, “Open.”  It’s just past the Guardian Drug Store, on the opposite side of the main street.  We’ve not eaten here before and are apprehensive. 
The décor is simple and clean.  There are plastic protectors over the plain tablecloths, paper place mats, and a school binder with menu pages.  We are surprised at the variety of dishes available on the pages, but want only coffee and pie.
Gary has lemon pie, his favourite.  He says that it is just right, tart and bursting with the taste of fresh lemon.  The meringue is perfect.  I order peach pie with French vanilla ice cream.  It is tasty, full of thick juicy slices of peach.  I close my eyes and think “mmmm.”  I open my eyes and realize that I have mmmm’d aloud.  The family at the next table are grinning at me.  They are having fried clam platters and fish and chips.  Their food must be good as they are gobbling bites from one another’s plates.
I eat my pie and ice-cream and feel content.  It’s so good.
When we leave, both the waitress and the cook are at the counter.  I tell the cook, “It’s the best pie I’ve had in a long time.”  She giggles and puts her head down.
Later she waves at me when we are getting our gear on again to ride and she is outdoors on her break.  We smile at each other.
Gary and I know we’ll return, perhaps for more than pie next time.  Or, maybe a meal and then pie, or maybe the pie first, just in case.

Text in red has hyperlinks which will connect you to another website with additional information.   Words and image are © copyright Carol Steel.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Playing in Puddles

Playing in Puddles

Trees, distressed by rainfall shortage, are losing leaves, stripping themselves.  Leaves fall crisp and dry; skip chattering down the asphalt driveway.  The ornamental grasses at the edge of the garden are bronze, weary of searching for water.
All of nature aches for rain, wants to squeeze water from the grey sponge sky.  The soil is parched after weeks of inadequate rainfall.  A breeze shakes the leaves on the hedge; they make sounds like sheets of paper sliding to the floor.  A crow complains atop the neighbour’s poplars.

I close my eyes.  This heat-held air carries memories of Windsor, Ontario.  The fat damp air here is nothing compared to the suffocating humidity of Windsor in summers of my childhood.  I remember weeks upon weeks of stifling heat and humidity.  We played in the cool cement basement and sucked on pieces of ice to survive the heat.   And, waited for rain.
Rain.  The rain would come, heavy fat drops, a downpour, a deluge, complete with thunder and lightning.  After the storms, there were deep steaming puddles of water, warm as the bath on sidewalks and in yards.  My mother would put us outside to play; we, three small girls aged 2 to 5, dressed only in our underwear.  Our back yard would be full of screams and laughter of three little girls running, jumping and splashing in every puddle.  We played until the sun would return to dry the delight-filled puddles, and to begin again the work of building humidity.  We would return to days of playing in the cool basement.   And, to waiting for the next rain storm.


This morning, I woke early.  Even before I was out of bed, I felt it.  Rain.  I opened the curtains and smiled to myself as the first sun peeked through the clouds; clouds spilling welcome rain.
I saw puddles in the driveway and on the street and remembered dancing in the warm rainwater as a child. 
Now, robins are here in the puddles, splashing and singing.
I remember how good it feels.

Red text includes hyperlinks that take you to other web pages where you can find out more.  All words and photos are © copyright Carol Steel.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gardens in August

In the past week, the days and nights have been humid, sticky, with threats of rain.  No rain comes, just misty moments or tiny showers, nothing that will nourish the grass, trees and plants.  It's dry.

Our garden is parched and brown; nothing exciting or colorful is growing here.  But just down the road in my sister's and brother-in-law's gardens, flowers are blooming.  Look at their lilies.

Their vegetable patch is flourishing; beets, beans, Swiss chard and cucumbers are all doing well.

Their hydrangea is blue and healthy, blooming with enthusiasm.  Micro-climates within a local area amaze me.  How is it one yard can do so well and another, not so far away, does not?  I suppose it has to do with the soil's composition and perhaps...with the gardener.  Possibly, they're simply better at gardening than I am.

Whatever the reason for the differences, I am grateful they allow me to capture photos and to enjoy their lush flowers and thriving gardens.

I love to be near their flowers.

All photos are mine and were taken after a flash shower.   
All flowers belong to my sister and brother-in-law.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



August is a doe
and two fawns munching fresh shoots,
the deserted greens
of a golf course in the rain.

This photos are mine, taken at the golf course in Fundy Park, NB.

If you click on words in red you will go to another site with more information.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Someone Stole My Gargoyle

Someone Stole My Gargoyle

Someone stole my gargoyle from my garden.
He has travelled from house to house with me, each time I have moved over the past two decades.  He sat next to my back door at this house for seven years. 
This gargoyle is not large, just ten inches tall.  He is not scary-looking, just impish sitting with folded arms.  He is not expensive like some garden decorations can be.  He is just not here anymore.
What he is or was…was important to me.  My daughter gave him to me a long time ago when I was going through a bad patch, bereft and alone.  She gave him in recognition that I love stories about gargoyles, in recognition that gargoyles guard sacred spaces, in recognition that I hold my home (wherever it is) as sacred space, and as a reminder of her love for me.
And now he is gone; someone’s prank perhaps or a bit of mischief maybe—who knows.
I’ve wandered the yard and the neighbourhood looking for him, though he is so small, he would look like a large stone if someone had just pitched him.
I am unsettled that someone walked down my driveway and into the path, walked through the garden, stood outside my kitchen windows, so close to my door, all to steal something of little monetary value.  Yet this gargoyle is of great value to me.
There are few items I own I can’t bear to part with.  I don’t attach myself to things.  I have moved often and have faced life changes often; enough to know that things don’t matter as much as people and relationships.
This gargoyle however I was attached to; he was a gift from someone dear to me, someone who wanted me, whenever I looked at her gift, to be reassured she loved me.
And now he is gone.
I’ll get over it.
I have a lump in my throat and tightness in my chest.
I’ll get over that too.
How easily this thief has inflicted pain.  A joke, a dare, a thoughtless prank, someone stole my gargoyle from my garden.

This photo is mine.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement

I received a comment today from a photographer whose image I used for a blog post last year.   I had taken the photo from Google images thinking any photo posted there was for free use by anyone.
Boy, was I naïve!
I started blogging in February 2011.  After helpful hints from my daughter’s sister-in-law about how to get going, I have been self-taught.  
My learning has gaps in it...huge gaps.  I have discovered, after researching copyright infringement, it is not OK to take photos from Google images.  It infringes on copyright and can end up with me getting sued.  Not a happy scene.
And I’ve discovered through these two websites 
… what I have been doing amounts to just that…copyright infringement.  I am embarrassed at being so naïve and horrified at my own stupidity. 
Over the next few days, I will not be posting any new blogs.  I will be combing through my 357 blog entries removing or replacing the photos that don’t belong to me or that I do not have permission to use. 
As the two sites above state: Ignorance of the law is no defense.
And my comment request from the photographer whose photo I used?  He has kindly allowed me to use his photo as long as I credit the source of the photo and link back to his website, which I have done…and done promptly.
I am lucky to have learned this lesson early in my blogging career.
As for photos from now on, if they aren’t mine, you won’t be seeing them on this blog unless I obtain permission to use them.
My husband says that I could just post photos of the cats anywhere I need to have a picture, but that would just be too much, don’t you think?  And I don’t want to make light of this issue.  It is serious.
Ignorance of copyright law is no defense. 

The photo is mine of the cats helping to make the bed.  They too are amazed at my stupidity but love me regardless.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012



Sometime make the time to drink a vintage port.
Anchor yourself in a chair on your deck
and pitch conversation,
over tiny crackers, Stilton cheese,
and walnuts in a bowl.
Fill your glass.
the marrow of memory
to a place where it links
to your store
of stories.
Fill your glass.
Sink your teeth deep
into dark chocolate.
a slice of Bosc pear with brie?
Fill your glass.
Tell the tales.
Tumble tears.
(Reminisce ‘til only
the deck rail
can help you
to stand.)
Fill your glass.
from your heart,
the stern shards
of loss.

And you’ll see, my friend,
vintage port
makes for a most comforting wake.
Ah yes, fill your glass.

This poem is for the Sunday Whirl, Weekly Wordle # 68.  The instructions are to create a poem using the following 12 words:  port, marrow, deck, store, rail, wake, anchor, pitch, link, stern, sink, navigate.
If you’d like to learn more or see poems written by others, click on this link:  http://sundaywhirl.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/wordle-68/

Photo is mine.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Evening Song

Evening Song

Do you see the grackle,
a  silhouette
on the birch,
his song harsh
like a rusted hinge,
his eye,
yellow as the sun?
He inflates
his chest and sings.
hear him scrape open
the gates of  evening.
His metallic squawk
the sun,
invites the darkness in.

do you see the grackle,
his iridescent silhouette?
hear him screech...
calling down the darkness,
the moon.

The photo is mine.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Red Haired Girl

Red Haired Girl

Red haired girl
without knowing
where her river leads.

Sure, strong, fierce.

her sky
the paddle,
salt, sweat,
an occasional tear.

Sure, strong, fierce.

She travels
beside the running man,
shares her strength
and strange salt love.

Sure, strong, fierce,
this red haired girl.

Photo is mine.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Pat and Joycelyn
Gary’s gone.
Gary’s gone on a bike trip to Weymouth, Nova Scotia to visit his brother.  He needed to go.  Sometimes he needs to get away from every worry and care and just ride.
His brother and sister-in-law are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary
on August 4, 2012.  Gary’s gone to be with them and to help them celebrate, to catch up with relatives he seldom sees. 

He was so excited last night; he didn’t think he’d be able to sleep.   And he couldn’t have slept very long as he was up before 6 a.m. and on the road shortly after that.
He’s just phoned at 5 to say that he has arrived safe and sound in Weymouth, at Pat’s and Jocelyn’s.  He’s been there since 4.
So, Gary... have a good time with your family over the next few days.   
Happy Anniversary to you, Pat and Jocelyn. 
Let the good times roll.

Photos are mine.



this connection of flesh and blood
is one long muscle of lineage and kin.
What happens when a shock
rips like sciatic lightning,
cuts sudden and deep?

No one muscle moves
in any movement.

Does muscle tear,
form scars,
emerge stronger?

Do hamstrings tighten
to maintain center,
to stand

Will the muscle belly
pull in
and bind back upon itself,
forever changed
unable to recoil, to rest?

... remain open,
gashed and bloody?

Will it leave the tribe

Blood ties
do not always
mean smooth flow,
cannot always

Sometimes family
does not mean

This poem is written for We Write Poems poetry prompt #117, "what words mean" on August 2, 2012, at http://wewritepoems.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/prompt-117-its-post-your-poems-day/

The prompt asks:  Write a poem that begins and ends with a one word line, that word being the same at both beginning and ending. Yet allow the body of the poem to create that shift in meaning for that one word.