Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Then morning showed
Infinity's proportions, 
The proper height of the sky.

Becoming small
We were grown again."

from Growing up
Dorothy Livesay, Selected Poems [1926-1956] 

Helen began taking one of the dogs on a longer walk once she retied. 
Now that I am also home we can all go out at once taking long daytime
walks thru the neighborhood enjoying the small parks and the lovely 
mid-60's houses. Monday was a day of bugs and blossoms.


Tuesday was a horse of a different colour. When I let the dogs 
out I quickly joined them with a camera, initially not 
even bothering with a shirt. It was a unexpected treat with
snowflakes on the tongue and heads poking thru the snow.
I did eventually get dressed and leave the yard but it was the 
first glimpses that proved the most enchanting. When I came
into the house I knew I would turn to my slender volumes 
of the works of Canadian poets to look for quotes. although
 when I did I was attracted not to the poems about snow. 
But the poems about youth and magic.

"When the day bends over backwards
to bring forth the light
I must know by whose permission
I inhabit this place
in the holy congregation of animals
 and mortal stones."

from Magic Animals, 1972-1974
by Gwendolyn MacEwen 

Monday, May 4, 2015

"The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows
Some hidden purpose, and the gush of birds
That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows,
Have nested in the trees and undergrowth.
Seeking their instinct, or their pose, or both,
One moves with an uncertain violence
Under the dust thrown by a baffled sense
Or the dull thunder of approximate words."

from On the Move 'Man, You Gotta Go.'
by Thom Gunn

In many locations a Blue Jay would not be noteworthy
but here I do not see a lot of them. I suspect the Magpies
may fill a similar niche. But I have been stuffing the feeder
with peanuts just to lure the jays. Once they arrive you can 
certainly tell they are there, the house resounds with their
raucous calls. They are such a beautiful blue.

And a quote from an old favorite.

" Forked sticks upon the air,
Half-dead trees, where two
Blue jays shriek the summer sky
To a deaf world, their blue
The only water here.

The sun is axeman among dry
Slashing: he would clear
Kindling from these rocky hills:
The logos as belated pioneer,
One cry with the fanatic jay. ..,"

                          Blue Jay in Haliburton
                               D.G. Jones

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mezzo Cammin

"Half of my life is gone, and I have let
   The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
   The aspiration of my youth, to build
   Some tower of song with lofty parapet.
Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret
   Of restless passions that would not be stilled,
   But sorrow, and a care that almost killed,
   Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;
Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
   Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,—
   A city in the twilight dim and vast,
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,—
   And hear above me on the autumnal blast
   The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So I am officially retired,  from working, not blogging.

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

"This is the life I wanted, and could never see.
For almost twenty years I thought that it was enough:
That real happiness was either unreal, or lost, or endless,
And that remembrance was as close to it as I could ever come.
And I believed that deep in the past, buried in my heart
Beyond the depth of sight, there was a kingdom of peace.
And so I never imagined that when peace would finally come
It would be on a summer evening, a few blocks away from home
In a small suburban park, with some children playing aimlessly
In an endless light, and a lake shining in the distance."
from In the Park
by John Koethe

“And beyond the Wild Wood again. he asked:
Where its all dim and blue, and one sees what may
be hills or perhaps they mayn t, and something like
the smoke of towns, or is it only cloud-drift.
Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,"
said the Rat."And that's something that doesn't matter,
either to you or to me. I've never been there,
and I'm never going' nor you either, if you've got any
sense at all.”

from The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame

Friday, April 3, 2015

" But when I came to stop
Below a hill that marked one end of the valley
That had pierced my heart with terror, I looked up

Toward the crest and saw its shoulders already
Mantled in rays of that bright planet that shows
The road to everyone, whatever our journey.

Then I could feel the terror begin to ease
That churned in my heart's lake all through the night.
As one still panting, ashore from dangerous seas,

Looks back a the deep he has escaped,"

                       Inferno from Canto 1
                                    Dante Pinsky trans.

 Our weather which has been unseasonably warm was 
interrupted by a skiff of winter snow last night. So I took 
these photos while out in the yard with the dogs on the
morning of Good Friday. My poetry selections are made
because I remember something that seems apt or because
I am reading some particular work at the time. Today
it is both, I have several translation, courses etc of Dante's
Divine Comedy and have been collecting
materials on him for years. So this afternoon while 
looking through Pinsky's translation I found a passage
 that seemed to fit my present mood. Eventually
it occurred to me that Dante sets the first Canto of the 
Inferno  on Good Friday of the year 1300. These connections
are one of the great joys that literature can bring to my life.
It was while looking through Longfellow's note to his translation
that I found the passage below on one of the end pages of my  
Routledge edition.

"How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Sunday, March 29, 2015

"When you wake to the dream of now
from night and its other dream,
you carry day out of the dark
like a flame."

                      from The Dream of Now
                             by William Stafford

Still no current photos so I found some from a
Sept. walk to the pond in the Research Park. 
Leaves on water, a theme I have loved since I
received Eliot Porter's book In Wildness is the
Preservation of the World.

There have been evenings when the light
has turning everything silver, and like you
I have stopped at a corner and suddenly
staggered with the grace if it all.

                        from Waiting in Line
                           by William Stafford

And every walk, a happy dog.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Even in a country you know by heart
it's hard to go the same way twice.
The life of the going changes.
The chances change and make a new way.
Any tree or stone or bird
can be the bud of a new direction."

from Traveling at Home
by Wendell Berry

I have not been taking a lot of pictures lately so I decided to
finish off the photos for our trip to visit friends in Oct.
 I guess I have sort of missed winter this year. I find 
preparing to retire a bit more complex and stressful
than I expected. But all change is that way and by the 
end of April it will be time for new adventures and I 
have to say I am ready.

Again I love the rolling hills and the sky.

A prairie town in autumn, it's history, one snapshot 
in the life of the region, commemorated in a 
few iconic building and some lovely murals.

Looking forward to being an old dog in the sun.

" I know what I valued.
Last night I heard a coyote howling off the ridge
and went to the window.
In the darkness behind the glass
I saw myself, and behind my eyes the stars flew
into the pines."

                              from Last Nickle Ranch: Plains, Montana
                                           by David Bottoms

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Which of the horses
we passed yesterday whinnied
all night in my dreams?
I want that one."

from Stories from Kansas

More photos from our trip in Oct. these are our friends horses.
 All the quotes are from William Stafford's
Stories That Could Be True New and Collected Poems.


"While the earth breaks the soft horizon
eastward, we study how to deserve
what has already been given us."

from Love in the County

"The wild keeps telling us something 
we want to pass on to the world:
Even far things are real.

from Whispered into the Ground