Sunday, November 27, 2011

"The birds are in their trees,
the toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.

They are at their windows
in every section of the tangerine of earth-
the Chinese poets looking up at the moon,
the American poets gazing out
at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise."

                                            Billy Collins

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A fellow blogger and poetry lover
from the lovely blog
"Beyond the Fields We Know" .
( see my favorite blogs for a link)
Suggested after my last post that the
Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge should
be more widely read. I have to agree.


You build a house for your soul,
and wander proudly
in starlight
with the house on your back,
like a snail.
When danger in near,
you crawl inside
and are safe
behind your hard

And when you are no more,
the house will
live on,
a testament
to your soul's beauty.
And the sea of your loneliness
will sing deep

Olav H. Hauge

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Now I build in the nearest pine
and each morning when I wake
it threads its needles with gold."

                            And I Was Sorrow
                                   Olav H. Hauge

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday it was fairly cold but I trundled down to the
library to pick up some books by A. R. Ammons.
First I passed  the front door rabbit who often sits bum
against the spruce at the foot of our front stairs.
Then I looked to see how my neigbours gardens
had fared in the new snow. It was one of those
days when I had a long to do list and no ambition. 
I still have a long to do list.

The burdens of the world
on my back
lighten the world
not a whit while
removing them greatly
decreases my specific

                         A.R. Ammons

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A grey day -20C -4F with steamed up windows
dripping condensation. I am glad they replaced
our exterior doors last week and not today. But
continuing with my plan I am posting another
photo from last week.

"One day something came to the window.
Work was dropped , I looked up.
The colours fared. Everything turned around.
The earth and I sprang toward each other."

                                            Face to Face
                                                   Tomas Transtromer

Friday, November 18, 2011


" If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.
- God, teach me the language of sleep."

                         - When They Sleep
                                    Rolf Jacobsen

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This week we are only flirting with the idea of
winter, little skiffs of snow, darkness in the morning
and again in the early evening, warm to cold and back.
Last week it was more autumnal. So my next few
posts will be photos from last week with some
favorite Scandinavian poets.

"Houses, roads, skies,
blue inlets mountains
opened their windows."

           The Journey
                  Tomas Transtromer

Monday, November 14, 2011

I have seen sparrows and the occasional Magpie
at my suet, but I was not expecting such an elegant
visitor when I looked out today.

"There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere."

                                      A Dream of Trees

                                                    Mary Oliver

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Science Books

As a child I loved science books especially anything dealing with nature.
Two of my favourites were the The How and Why Wonder Books, and
A Golden Science Guide series from Golden Press I still pick them
up whenever I see them and one day I will have to sit down order
a few more. I still like to flip through them. I understand that the
information is out of date and that the internet has lots of sources.
But for me books will always be key and I still have many books I
pored through as a child. Also the internet has perhaps too much
information. Talking to a friend the other day we reminisced
about the eye popping pictures that could be provided by a
National Geographic article on New Guinea. For children with
no internet and 2  or 3 TV channels showing westerns, musical
variety shows and hockey this was a real revelation.

Remembering my love of these books and some of my other
much loved toys (a favourite memory is a birthday cake covered
with plastic dinosaurs) I now give family children Papo Dinosaurs
( these are great, really detailed ) and the book Dinosaurs by John Long.

My old friend the White-Tailed Jack Rabbit.

When the information is out dated because of recent discoveries
I can take it in stride. When the changes are the results of our
own diminishing of the world we live in I have more trouble
accepting it. I think, in my childhood I perceived may things as eternal
at least for my life time. It appears that will not be the case.

"Summer fading, winter comes--
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children's eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

We may see how all things are
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies' looks,
In the picture story-books.

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?"
                                                  Picture-books in Winter
                                                                    Robert Louis Stevenson


Friday, November 11, 2011

I was off work today for Remembrance Day and I was glad
to be home when it was light outside. I went out first thing to fill the 
heated birdbath and the feeders. Soon we had  some action.

I managed to get pictures of most of the guests. A Robin forlornly skulked
around by the frozen pond but did not come close enough for a good photo.
I am not sure why it did not visit the birdbath. A Magpie cast a disdainful
eye on the assembly but found nothing to it's liking and quickly left,
if I had put out cheezies it would stay ( I have done that  in the past so
visitors can see one close up )  but I don't like feeding junk food.
Otherwise we had the usual suspects.


My Blue Jay experiment is working well. I mentioned earlier
I never had them in the yard so I put out peanuts. I was
excited when I got one, then a few weeks later I had two,
today I had three at one time!!!

Someone else likes peanuts.
Someone was a little piggy.

Click to enlarge "please"

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them. "
         Laurence Binyon
                           For the Fallen

"Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth
countries since the end of World War I to remember the members
of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Remembrance Day
is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I
on that date in 1918; hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the
11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice
("at the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 a.m.)"

                                                 from Wikipedia

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday we had our first snow. It did not amount to much.
Nothing like the snowstorms down East. When I
crossed the parking lot for coffee the usual gang
was there.

It might be my recent exposure to all the paintings in DC
but I saw our White-tailed Jackrabbits as characters in
paintings. These two shots made me think of Japanese
nature paintings of the EDO period.

I am sure this one knew Albrecht Dürer.

Our Mountain Ash are stubbornly holding on to their leaves.
They provide a really beautiful shot of colour for the city.

The snow has stopped and the sky is blue.

" God how we doubt the flames of our beauty!
now grow in the burning and demanding city
seeds of our excellence, reasons for phoenixes,
rake ash from our bodies for a new anatomy!"

                                           Magic Animals
                                                 Gwendolyn MacEwen

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In a previous post I wondered whether reading my
favorite poets leads me to observe and appreciate nature
more or whether nature comes first and I turn to poets to share
their enjoyment and reactions as I watch the nature unfold
around me. I have decided a simple answer is best.
The answer that came to me is the obvious one that
nature comes first to all of us and we respond in many
ways indifference, violence, affection. Having experienced
something of the wonder, mystery and horror that
nature can display I have chosen to respond to it
through science, art and poetry. The most important thing
is to live in the moment enough to appreciate the enjoyment
nature brings.

"Let the bucket of memory down into the well,
bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one
stirring, no plans. Just being there.
This is what the whole thing is about. "

Just Thinking
                        William Stafford


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I mentioned in my last post that I was pondering
which was the chicken and which the egg, whether
I look at nature differently because I am reading
my favorite poets or whether I read them because
they help me place what I have seen it some
kind of context. I know they are an important
refuge for me.

"Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."

                  Wild Geese
                                       Mary Oliver

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I have been thinking about my/our relationship with
nature and reading what some of my favorite poets
have to say about it. I am not sure whether I am talking
cause or effect here, whether reading them makes me
think about nature or I turn to them as I watch the
seasons change and the animals move through them.

"Though the beech is golden
I cannot stand beside it
mute, but must say

"It is golden," while the leaves
stir and fall with a sound
that is not a name."

                                  from The Silence

                                              Wendell Berry