Thursday, September 24, 2009

a Letter

So often this summer
I have found myself
sitting in the early light
of a rising sun.

Though now it is August,
the season of my birth,
and there is a chill in the air
and the cushions of the chair
cool on my bare back.

You can still count on
the birds to sing
whether I am in Paris or Ottawa -
though they are not
the same birds,
the sky is the same,
just a different part of it.
The sun is the same
though it shines through a different time.

A pair of ducks are flying
so low to the water
their reflections are racing
below them.
They laugh as they fly
or so it seems to me.
If I could fly low over a river
racing my reflection
I would certainly laugh as I did it.

This canadian morning's clouds
are whispy and whimsical
more like ghosts than clouds
or perhaps the ghosts of clouds -
not like the heavy, silver-tinged clouds of Paris.

The pink and white flowers
in my mother's flowerboxes
look a little better than mine,
but that seems an inevitable truth.

The wind is making that
sssssssssssssssssssssssss sound
in the trees on the banks of the river.
The leaves are all trembling in the light,
shimmering as if their branches were covered
with tiny green and yellow butterflies.

Now six ducks fly low
over the mirror of the river
their formation, lop-sided
lacking two birds for its symmetry
the ones who raced ahead earlier,

The chives and rosemary and mint
have seen better days.
At home, in Paris, my herbs are thriving
(better than my mother's)
and soon erica will be getting out of my bed,
and probably singing to herself
as she gives them water
and love.

It occurs to me that I am writing a letter
more than I am composing a poem -
an aubade or a meditation
on my approaching birthday.
Though I do not know who
I am writing this letter to -
this letter with broken lines.

Perhaps I'll just send it
to everyone I know.
Except my mother
and erica,
who now appear
as characters in my letter
and might feel spied upon or
like I was talking about them
behind their backs.

Take care everybody,
you too, mom.
you too, erica.
Wish you all were here.



Our mistakes are what we make
and back we cannot take
we own up to them - they are our own.

They are so like our bones -
once we have them grown
they are ours and ours alone.

(ours in our hours alone)

We do not own our bones
to our selves they are only on loan

and though we can break them
we cannot forsake them
for then we would all fall apart.

(which reminds me of our hearts.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nature Poem

Behind a wall of white mist
the sun is struggling
to send its heat
to the morning
to me.

I am sitting on my mother's balcony
with a splinter in my heart -
echoes of a conversation
with the girl who put it there
running round my brain.

The sun is burning the fog away
and the geese are down there
somewhere - laughing.
They sound flippant and glib,
indifferent to my heartache.

It's good to be a poet,
even in these moments.
All of nature seems
to address me.
Even if she doesn't
One of The Time

You can't fool all of the people
all of the time.
Or is that please ?

Maybe you can please some of the people
some of the time -
but surely not all of the time.

Unless you can fool one of the people
into thinking he is pleased
all of the time.

Actually, I might be a good candidate.
Certainly some of the time.
At least one of the time.
Like this time :

Laying on my mother's couch
with a cup of the tea she made for me,
reading a new book of poetry,
the hush of the falling rain
calling me onto the balcony.

It sounds like the wind does
when it shimmies through the trees.
I can hardly see it,
the rain is so fine,
but it hisses as it hits the leaves
of the trees on the banks of the river,
and it shimmers there below
on the skin of the river,
making a pointilist painting
of their dark green reflections.

I could be
fooled into being
pleased with this time.

I guess you can please
at least one of the people
one of the time.
How to Write a Poem

Slow down.
Stop and give
your undivided attention to -

I was about to say
but that isn't it.

What you need to give
is your full and undivided
attention to something ;

a cherry blossum perhaps,
or the sound of the cars,
or your mother softly coughing in the next room.

The choice is yours.
It depends on
what kind of poet you are.
How to Write a Poem (continued)

I guess
I wasn't finished.

Valery said poems are never finished -
only abandoned.

after you've slowed down
and are giving your full attention
to the things of this world
you can adopt your poetry tone
and get to work making your observations.

After all,
the giving of attention
is only half the battle -
afterwards, you have to
write the poems
about the laughter of the geese
invisible in the bluegrey morning fog,
about the cracked glazed pale beige beer stein full of pens

most of which
don't work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

tell me, tell me, smiling child,
tell me of days gone by.
"one night in august, sweet and mild,
the wind did sadly sigh."

And what of the day that is dying?
"A green blast, full of flowers.
And for his feat of flying,
a little bird gathers his powers."

And what of tomorrow, blessed one?
"The powerful, sparkling sea.
The sea unveilled, beneath the sun,
rejoins infinity."

- e. bronte,
a frenchman
and me.
meditations beneath the rain

the kiss of the rain in the provencal garden
leaves a troubling rhythm on the leaves of the trees
and the serene smell of the wet earth
fills our heart with vague sadness

the mute horizon unleashes a cloud
in the sleeping mirror of the fountain fall
droplets - like a shower of pearls
ripples radiate trembling shadows

the melancholy evening unveils my chagrin
the garden employs itself in fading tenderness
oh lord, must i suffer from this loss ?
that soft loss that is whispering in the leaves ?

all these starry echoes i hold in my soul
will they serve me one day when my form dissolves ?
will death unveil my true spirit ?
and all my thoughts be taken by shadows ?

oh the peace of a garden beneath the rain!
all this chaste decor and my heart trembling
a rumor of thoughts - grey and sad
i hear the flutter of dove's wings

here comes the sun again

the garden bleeding, yellow
around me simmers a smothering pain
i feel the anxious nostalgia of childhood,
my desire to be bigger, to love, and the passing
moments like this one, contemplating
the melancholy rain.

little red riding hood

will return to the woods ...
the fairy tale is finished. before the disturbing lesson
which is of selfish love, a question born in me :
oh lord, must i suffer this loss ?
that sweet, soft loss
that whispers in the leaves ?

it starts to rain again
the wind has brought the clouds

lorca, jan. 3 1919
belamich, 1954
mahar, 2009