Sunday, December 31, 2017

How do you know that the pilgrim track 
Along the belting zodiac 
Swept by the sun in his seeming rounds 
Is traced by now to the Fishes’ bounds 
And into the Ram, when weeks of cloud 
Have wrapt the sky in a clammy shroud, 
And never as yet a tinct of spring 
Has shown in the Earth’s apparelling; 
 O vespering bird, how do you know, 
 How do you know?

from The Year's Awakening
by Thomas Hardy

Thursday, December 21, 2017

“Come in, -- come in! and know me better, man! 
I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me! 
You have never seen the like of me before!” 

from A Christmas Carol 
by Charles Dickens

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Much is missed if we have eyes only for the bright colors. 
Nature should be viewed without distinction… She makes no choice 
herself; everything that happens has equal significance. 
Nothing can be dispensed with. This is a common mistake 
that many people make: They think that half of nature 
can be destroyed — the uncomfortable half 
— while still retaining the acceptable and the pleasing side.”
 – Eliot Porter

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

“Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.” 
– Eliot Porter

Saturday, December 9, 2017

“Big Ben was beginning to strike, first the warning, musical; 
then the hour, irrevocable.” 

from Mrs Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf

Saturday, December 2, 2017

“Our memories are like a city: we tear some structures down, 
and we use the rubble of the old to raise up the new ones.” 

from The City's Son
by Tom Pollock

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

“It doesn’t do to read too much,’ Widmerpool said. ‘
You get to look at life with a false perspective. By 
all means have some familiarity with the standard authors. 
I should never raise any objection to that. But it is no good 
clogging your mind with a lot of trash from modern novels.” 

from A Question of Upbringing
by Anthony Powell

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.'
He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathèd
In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world."

from To Winter
by William Blake

Friday, November 17, 2017

"Polaroid by its nature makes you frugal. You walk
around with maybe two packs of film in your pocket.
 You have 20 shots, so each shot is a world."

Patti Smith

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"On the high prairie
are only horse and rider

 wind in dry grass
clopping in silence under the toy mountains
dropping sometimes and
                  lost in the dry grass
                  golden oranges of dung"

from The Cariboo Horses
by Al Purdy

Saturday, November 11, 2017

We knew it was coming.

"With a host of furious fancies
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world's end::
Methinks it is no journey."

from Tom o' Bedlam

Monday, November 6, 2017

“They got up steam and proceeded calmly to the north - 
where there seemed to be no people, but only mountains, 
lakes, reedy snow-filled steppes, and winter gods who played
with storms and stars.” 

from Winter's Tale
by Mark Helprin

Halloween was wet and cold but we had 35-40 kids, a record. 
Winter then came with the turn of the calendar's page.

From Nov. 1 to Nov. 4, Calgary has already officially recorded 
17 centimetres (6.6 inches)  of snow, surpassing the monthly average.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Tourist

“It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London.
It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, 
or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.” 

Henry James

Sunday, October 29, 2017

“As a cloud crosses the sun, silence falls on London; 
and falls on the mind. Effort ceases. Time flaps on the mast. 
There we stop; there we stand.” 

from Mrs. Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A New London Rising ?

“London has the trick of making its past, its long indelible past, 

always a part of its present. And for that reason it will always 
have meaning for the future, because of all it can teach about 
disaster, survival, and redemption. It is all there in the streets. 
It is all there in the books.” 

from Imaged London: A  Tour of the World's Greatest

Fictional City

by Anna Quindlen

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know,
 than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world."

Samuel Johnson

Detail of a painting at the National Gallery (London)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

So how can you tell me you're lonely, 

And say for you that the sun don't shine? 

Let me take you by the hand and lead you through 
the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind 

Ralph McTell; Streets of London Live

Friday, October 13, 2017

Home again, home from our trip to London. 

"By seeing London, I have seen as much of life 
as the world can show."

Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment

that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way."

from The Last Picture in The World
by Al Purdy

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"You're the one who flew down
to that river from the heavens,
as if your form alone were the only
holy message needed."

from Stone Bird
by Pattiann Rogers

Monday, October 9, 2017

"But its real strength lies in the quiet tension of isolation   
And living patiently, without atonement or regret,
In the eternity of the plain moments, the nest of care   
—Until suddenly, all alone, the mind is lifted upward into   
Light and air and the nothingness of the sky,   
Held there in that vacant, circumstantial blue until,
In the vehemence of a landscape where all the colors disappear,   
The quiet absolution of the spirit quickens into fact, "

from There Late Wisconsin Spring
by John Goethe

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Went to Kew today. Nowhere near Natural History Museum. We are fine.

"I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
… walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows"

W.S. Merwin

Friday, October 6, 2017

"When despair grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things"
from The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The moon drops one or two feathers into the field. 
The dark wheat listens. 
Be still. 
There they are, the moon's young, trying 
Their wings. "

from Beginnings
by James Wright

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"I seem to hear a bar of music float 

And swoon into the west; 
My ear can scarcely catch the whispered note, 
But something in my breast 
Blends with that strain, till both accord in one, 
As cloud and colour blend at set of sun. "

At Sunset
by Pauline Johnson

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"And as I take my body back 
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap 
as if to make amends."

from I Am Learning to Abandon the World
by Linda Pastan

Saturday, September 30, 2017

" Let us live for the beauty of our own reality. "
Charles Lamb

Friday, September 22, 2017

We left the cabin last week, fall was just entering the stage
but plans for travel meant, that this year at least, we could
not stay for the change. Now that we have a wood stove,
we may give it a try next year. When I think of the seasons
I always, eventually think of Edwin Way Teale.

"We would see a thousand moods and facets of the season, 
We would see new birds, new lands, all in the surroundings
of fall."

from Autumn Across America

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn,
time seems speeded up. What was is not and never
again will be: what is is change."

Edwin Way Teale

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. 
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."

Edwin Way Teale

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Garden pond at the farm.

"2 A.M. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in a field. Far off sparks of light from a town,
flickering coldly on the horizon.
As when a man goes so deep into his dream"

from Track
by Tomas Transformer

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Summer girls they sure are fun 
Get so golden in the sun"

from Summer Girls
as sung by Blue Rodeo

Faded flowers and the last of the summer girls
at a family BBQ Tuesday night.

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."

from The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

""Nostalgia is a wound that we refuse time to heal," Asa once wrote"

from Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts
by Ken Liu

My wife and I have found the early spring and early fall weather
a bit chilly here so we added a wood stove, which I have named Lincoln
Logs for no particular reason. We were able to do a lot of the
installation ourselves with the assistance of Helen's brother Ralph
in getting it into the cabin. Ralph also put the chimney up through
the red metal roof which he so lovingly installed in 2011 with Helen's
other brother Brian. The last act of our inspection was to remove a tree
that was too close to the chimney. Ralph duly arrived with his chainsaw
and home made tree jack and removed not 1 but 3 rotten poplars which
over hung the cabin. Much as I hate to remove trees, unlike the beavers that
continue to besiege us, they had to go. However this means that I will no
longer be eye to eye with the local swallows that have claimed the cabin,
while I am standing at the living room window.

For the last three years we have walked the dogs through the 
hayfield to the gate and back. Every year we see a number
of snakes on each walk. We also see a few by the cabin.
This year we have seen only a few in the hayfield and none
by the cabin. Until today, I was about to step on the deck when a 
large garter snake sailed past me it's front 4 or 5 inches erect,
it was dangling a small frog or toad in it mouth. Wow, small
as it was it encapsulated every film, documentary or story
I have ever seen or read about snakes. Quite the sight.

"Securely sunning in a forest glade, 
A mild, well-meaning snake
Approved the adaptations he had made
For safety’s sake.

He liked the skin he had—
Its mottled camouflage, its look of mail,
And was content that he had thought to add
A rattling tail."

from A Fable
by Richard Wilbur

Sunday, August 27, 2017

`And beyond the Wild Wood again?' he asked: `Where it's all blue and dim, 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 me. I've never been there, and I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"Then he started to write another poem

a short time before death, 
about drinking wine again in the village —
He was working on the poem when they buried him, 
so that half a line protruded from the earth
                                 in wind and weather's hearing —
With sunlight touching the first young syllables, 
the last ones flowering from a dark coffin: 
                      "marketplace the in/drink more One"

from Lu Yu
by Al Purdy

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


"From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through 
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, 
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding 
The last tumultuous avalanche of 
Light above pines and the guttural gorge, 
The hawk comes. 
 His wing 
Scythes down another day, his motion 
 Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear 
The crashless fall of stalks of Time."

from Evening Hawk
by Robert Penn Warren