Feels like poetry tonight . . .

A glass of wine to ease the way

A cup of red scented sweetly as bruised roses

Warming the flesh and humming along bones

Alive with memories of days long past.

The storm came and drenched the road,

Ragged clouds harried before by mighty wind gusts

emptying torrents of rain on the blanching grasses

and jewelled leaves still clinging to the trees.

There is a waiting about the air,

A pause in the atmosphere,

A stillness in the movement of time and tide

while the planet hurls itself through space.

The season changed, but the earth resists,

delaying the fall into barren branch and frozen earth

as a woman plucks her silver hairs

as a man fights the aches of age.

Waiting for the Perseids — a poem

With time to kill under the darkening sky,

I stoke a fire with cardboard and dried rosemary,

Listening to the crickets and frogs and loons,

and the distant rumbling of the night train.

The fuel catches and flames churn upward,

Flickering in broad leafy columns, never still.

Grey flakes wander lightly down through the evening air,

Harbingers of the long winter yet to come.

The chugging roar of my fire echoes the train,

air conditioners and rooftop fans nearby.

So bright, the flames, my yard is illuminated,

In the cool darkness, the heat is welcome on my legs.

When the rush dies down, the smoke is scented

sweetgrass and thyme rising and falling about me.

More stars speckle the midnight dome above

than I could ever hope to count in a lifetime.

And the Perseids come.

Am I imagining the streaks of light?

Brief lines of white?

Are my eyes, adjusting, playing tricks?

Or have I been welcomed by the universe?

I recognize satellites, and familiar patterns in stars,

as my head rests against the top of my chair.

And then — out of nothing — a bold lashing white

As a piece of a comet’s tail burns into our world.

glad I came: a poem

Belly laughs until the tears are falling

Splashing in rolling frothy waves

Board games in the waning light

Floating in tubes along the glistening sunset waters

Lunch in the shade of elms and oaks, talking

Movies in pyjamas

Sharing space companionably

Dares and stories and memories…

Sleepovers are not only for children,

And vacations are not couples-only.

When two friends meet for days of R&R

Even Nature smiles.

 

Reflection (in poetry) on Rehearsing The Comedy of Errors

I spent most of today in a long professional development workshop, learning about our new school board-issued iPads, and for the most part, helping my colleagues who were struggling to set things up or learn how to use features. And then this evening, I got to spend time in rehearsal with adults I know as volunteers and teenagers I know from my classroom — which rather felt more like professional development than the other. I’m not in charge in any way, shape, or form, in this production. I have to memorize my lines and portray my character using the director’s suggestions, decisions, and feedback. I have to work in tandem with the rest of the cast, rather than giving orders (as is my usual role with a production filled by student actors). And I have to practice the skills that might normally be teaching. For years, I have advocated teamwork, laid out how to prepare for a performance, taught projection, advised young people in how to memorize their lines. Now, it seems as though I must put my money where my mouth is — walk the talk — in order to help this performance shine. It is an effective challenge. It’s both intense and great fun. Only six nights of rehearsal remain until the official rise of our metaphorical curtain. This poem is composed of some of my thoughts and reflections while in practice tonight.

Unknown-10edging closer to opening night

concentrate

preliminary blocking complete

focus

the lines are fragments still

pieces

that i stretch to bring into order

sequencing

with timing and emotion

fit

for the work of the Bard

*

a handful of days remaining

intertwining

work and play both demanding effort

time

dedication to the words

pages

markings by ink, scrawlings of lead

repeating

copies of what has come before

cycling

through years and decades

teaching

actors who are students who are actors

*

watch the young man memorize while

struggling

to also write paragraphs and reports

receiving

feedback that he uses to grow

performing

while i struggle to memorize while

balancing

grading and exams and reports

ending

what is the beginning for them

*

the play is the thing

connecting

an exercise in hearing and listening

talk

patiently gathering wisdom

experience

the student is the actor is the student

adult

wondering if they see me as i see them

learn

our positions change

Ode to the Procrastinating Student

Guzzle the coffee, chug a can of energy,

the deadline is just hours away!

Stay awake through the night, alone in the dark,

while your family dreams of summer days.

What happened to promises of time better spent?

Calendars marked and alarms put to use,

spreading out tasks in workable chunks,

to avoid the last minute push, as you do.

Eyes bleary and sore, neck tight and cracking,

fingers numb and wrists ache while you work;

your shoulders get knots, you can’t feel your bum,

no extension from your teacher, the jerk.

The word count is your focus, not spelling or grammar;

she probably won’t even read this, you think.

If I make the font larger, and increase the space —

please don’t let me run out of printer ink!

I’ve been where you are, dear procrastinator,

writing on essays until the light of early dawn.

I know the pressure and the rush of success,

and the pain when you save but your work is gone.

Beware the computer crash: save often, use the Cloud,

and next time, do your work ahead of sched.

The adrenaline’s addicting, the bragging is fun,

but you’re better off using your head.

Remember that kid relaxing, playing games ’cause he’s done?

That could have been you, had you tried!

Instead you’re hunched over, losing sleep, stressing out,

and tomorrow you’re going to be fried.

I appreciate the effort, you’re doing your best,

believe me, I’ll pore over your every sentence.

Think of your teacher with her piles of assignments,

and know that I’m stretching my own patience.

When the sun is hot and the sky is blue,

the last thing we want is to be staring at pages.

We have that in common, pupil of mine,

because summer comes to school in stages.

Denial: there’s lots of time to finish up!

Anger: what happened to the rest of the year?

Bargaining: can’t I have until the very last day?

Depression: this desk will never get clear . . .

Acceptance: I’ve got to get moving and finish the job

or repeat the damned class next semester.

The good news for you, kid, is when you pass, you’re gone,

while I’m still going to be here.

So stay awake and complete what should already be done,

hand the work in, then hit the beach.

Take the break that you’ve earned, even if it’s last-minute,

celebrate the goal that you’ve reached.

A Poem about a Lilac Tree

The lilacs are blooming

sweet perfume so thick in the air

you can almost touch it.

Bunches of pale purple pink white

Thumb-sized bees bumbling over

and around

and through

slick green leaves and twisting branches.

But mine

My little lilac did not survive the winter.

Two years planted

Two years growing

One month too long in deep snow

One week too long in deep cold

One day too long without . . . something

Wrapping

Warmth

Light

Too late.

I saw buds try to sprout, valiantly pushing

points unfolding

tips reaching out

Not enough.

The branches reach emptily to the giving sky

Withered twigs holding still

Frozen still

Nature’s artistic impression of cracks in stone

Lightning reversed in its bolt and encased

like Medusa’s victims of old.

All else is blooming and green and fragrant

My lilac tree shies away

lost in the background

embarrassed

unnoticed

grey and colourless

no new shoots

but weeds all around

waiting for new purpose —

its shape to be adapted in form.

Shall I rebirth it as a tiny house

and furnishings for my garden fae?

Weave the narrow branches

into a picture frame?

Soak and twist its fibres

braiding

combining

binding into place

what once was living wood into a case

for holding precious memories —

for the giving of gifts —

for the nurturing of seeds?

If everything has a purpose

meaning

fate

my lilac tree’s journey has not finished

at the end of my backyard.

And now, a poem (’cause it’s been a while and I am grumpy)

Most mornings it is a mound

A heaping pile of glistening pebbles

Pearly white or shining ebony

(depending on my mood)

I feel it brimful, topped up, an hourglass ready and full,

but often I awake and it’s already half-gone.

The sun moves across the sky

shadows shift and winds change

And each pebble drops noiselessly

Softly

Inexorably

Down.

It leaves not a vacuum, not empty space

Only pressure

An empty weight that presses down

pushing the next pebbles forcefully through

Their shaft opening greasily, yawning wide

until the bulk of the pebbles fall

and I am left with pressure alone

that bends my shoulders and curves my back

lowers my brow and grinds my teeth

furrows the lines from nose to mouth

picks at my cuticles and tears at my nails

exhaled in sharp breaths and paining my stomach

I take deep breaths

inhale

count to four

blow out slowly

count to seven

isolate the tension

be mindful of surroundings

one or two orbs pop gracefully back through

comforting ease like small hands on my skin

they wobble and fall as easily

tentative balance broken

I bend, cracking, creaking, groaning

counting the minutes until I can collapse

and let it build again.

It helps to be held at the end of the day

or in the middle.

Arms around me bring the pebbles up

patting them back into place.

Freeing my lungs

Lightening my feet

And I can take the load again

Answer the questions

Find the sought-after

Give the instructions

Laugh and enjoy

until the pebbles sink low

tide ebbing

temperature rising

edges sharper

tinged with red

gripped harder

breathe in

breathe out

have a cup of tea

read

rest

put the pebbles back

one

at

a

time.

Byron said “She walks in beauty” —

He mentions no worry

or guilt

or frowns

I wish I were she.

Relaxed and fulfilled

Accepting and ready to embrace . . .

I try to remember what it was to be small

To be young and new

Everything massive and frightening and free

If I can see light through their eyes

Remember the joys and heartbreaks

Confusion and revelation

Competition and pride

The pressure lessens as the hourglass refills

in defiance of physics.

Every year gravity gets stronger

though.

Harder to resist.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Rest

Read

Savour the small moments of peace

that allow the pebbles to surface again.

Find solitude

Find company

Tomorrow the struggle returns.

3030000-poster-p-1-3030000-first-isnt-always-best-when-patience-pays-off

On a rainy lunchtime walk to the store: a poem

Went for a walk in the lunchtime rain

No umbrella, went out just the same.

Cool drizzle quickly coated my hat, my jacket,

Coating my glasses, bathing my skin,

but though I feared aching hands and frozen feet,

the soft air between the raindrops soothed.

Rain on my face and birdsong in the air,

no music but the soft rhythm of tiny drops on the trees.

Their branches still bare, buds waiting to bloom,

slender fingers reaching receive the water

so long expected from the sky.

The mixed blessing of rain brings up the worms,

frees insect larvae and floods snow-melt streams.

The rain drips from my nose, soaks into my jeans

Wets my shoe-tops and I feel the damp,

but moving forward keeps me warm, my coat dry inside,

and my body embraces the clean air.

Another Poem: Song of the Cricket Wrangler

Poor little crickets,

in your box you sing;

You’re doomed to be eaten

Within a week, I think.

Poor little crickets,

I feel a little guilt

You only want to eat and mate

But you’re my dragon’s kill.

Hop, little crickets,

enjoy your life of ease.

You are Gladiators

But there’s nowhere you can flee.

Scramble, little crickets,

find a place to hide.

The dragon waits to find you

and crunch your tasty sides.

Life’s a circle, little crickets

And your place in it is clear.

You’ll nourish my little dragon,

who puffs up her beard.

You are bred for death, little crickets,

like rats and mice for snakes.

Sadly my pretty beardie

likes a raw insect steak.

I see you, saucy cricket,

crawling on her head.

Your insolence is noted,

in moments you’ll be dead.

But your song, little crickets,

it’s gentle and it’s sweet.

Sometimes it makes me sad

that you’re what my pet must eat.