Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill, 
         Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree; 
Another came; nor yet beside the rill, 
         Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; 

"The next with dirges due in sad array 
         Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him borne. 
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, 
         Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn." 

from Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

URSULA K. LE GUIN Passes Monday January 22, 2018 (Age 88)

"What will the creature made all of seadrift do on the dry sand of daylight; what will the mind do each morning. waking?"

from The Lathe of Heaven

Yesterday my wife mentioned that Ursula K.Le Guin had passed away, we read and enjoyed her science fiction and many years ago took the opportunity to attend a talk she gave in Calgary. She was a thoughtful and compassionate voice within the libertarian sea infesting much of science fiction. I hope to post a discussion of my favourite of her novels, The Lathe of Heaven on my science fiction site, I will post a link when it is completed a later this week.


Helen supplied to this link to a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation with Le Guin by John Freeman which appeared on The Literary Hub.

My Last Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin
// Literary Hub

"These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth or girl, man or woman. Night falls; the traveller must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas."

from The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Monday, January 22, 2018

"My heart is sad and I am in sorrow 
For the only one I love 
When shall I see him?
 Oh no, never, till we meet in heaven above"

from Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow Tree

Saturday, January 20, 2018

I love the music of The Band and it is time for a cow day.

Some great work by Garth Hudson here.

"Without your love, I'm nothing at all

Like an empty hall, it's a lonely fall
Since you've gone it's a losing battle
Stampeding cattle, they rattle the walls

And the sun don't shine anymore
And the rains fall down on my door"

And it Makes No Difference,  The Band


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Past

    My parents lived through trauma of the depression, followed by World War Two. They raised four children from the money that my father earned in an automobile factory. Money was saved for each child's education after high school so they did not have to work in the factories as well. As with many of their generation this necessitated a certain frugality that persisted their entire lives. I do remember a momentous occasion when we got a "new" suite of matching furniture, chairs, coffee and end tables, a record player and radio in a cabinet, and the families first colour television in a matching cabinet. New was a big deal, although their nature did reassert itself, when the tv broke down the cabinet was fitted with doors and remained in our lives for years. 

The bathrooms were more typical of the frugality and homemade ethos with which they lived. They would often contain a decorative soap, hand painted with a decoupage image of flowers and legs made form pins and beads, the spare toilet paper roll would sit beneath hand some knitted cap (sadly never a poodle), on the wall maybe a reproduction of some well known painting picked up a A&P for buying a certain number of groceries and sometimes a hooked rug made by my mother. As an adult (and long since moved away), I gave my mother a crude pottery bowl I had made, it appeared in the bathroom with hold extra soaps etc. 

So recently when I wanted something to hold the toilet brush, I went not to the store but to the basement. I know they would approve. 

Please note: This can was selected because of the size. We have Scotland on our want to visit travel list.

So Much Unknown

But who shall so forcast the years
and find in loss a gain to match?
Or reach a hand through time to catch
The far-off interest of tears

Alfred Lord Tennyson 1850 In Memorian

Riffling photos so much unknown; 
unasked, the dog’s name, the smell of the park 
the colour of a hat now lost, no eyes to see, 
when so many days lay ahead; but 
the tunnel ends, alone now with cast off bags 
no one spoke, when there is time to hear
your friends name, the make of the car
All orphans to the world suddenly alone
Questions for empty rooms, empty mirrors
but who shall so forcast the years.

A legacy of things holds freight
a story of a first this or that
weddings, service, gifts cold things 
warmed by a breath of life
Held now as your absent hand
For memory, words, stories meaning attach
to the humblest thing, the simplest occasion.
Identity itself is risked in every loss
and life itself will clutch and snatch
and find in loss a gain to match?

Or in gain a loss to hatch
For each day is not a puzzle to unravel
And some nights, peace is best
Every occasion is not greater
Then the sound of dice in your hand
Sometimes from the present we detach 
new memories for old a warm touch for cold.
Like a child with a favourite book reread.
Striving with every moment to stretch
Or reach a hand through time to catch

a moment once wasted now wanted.
It seems that age can only embrace
what comes it’s way regardless.
Each loss, each parting 
each cold alone awakening.
Those unanswerable fears.
change callow youth to miser 
hoarding half remembered days.
Some long delayed reckoning nears
The far-off interest of tears

This version Sept4/05
form Glosa

Monday, January 15, 2018

Time to bring this blog back to what it was meant to be, a celebration of nature and poetry. A reaffirmation of life and a buffer between a world that is to much with us.

One of our friend Laraine's horses.

These books came today and I am chuffed, I see the complete poems as a record not just of his best poetry as his collected poems are, but as a record of the fullness of his career and his life. A.R. Ammons was a poet of so many things, the weather, the seasons, time, motion, shapes, forms, the changing natural world and the ultimate inconsequential reality of the individual in a vast universe. 

"We praise the mind for
how high it goes
without losing hold
and how wide
it goes without
and for how sharply it can 
relish a particular
without losing the 
dispositions in this
fine war-zone
between the great energies,
this narrowing that 
allows life's widest play, "

from For Robert Penn Warren
by A.R.Ammons

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


"What is the most important lesson life has taught you?"

"Nothing is just. Everything leads to something else."

from an interview with Jennifer Hudson in the Guardian.

Photo of the gate to Holly Village on the way to Highgate Cemetery.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Beaver

I first came to Western Canada to participate in an archaeological excavation at a Northwest Company post. I stayed for three months living in a canvas tipi and came to love the parkland. Every summer at the cabin I try to read books (often shared with my mother-in-law) about the fur trade and the Native People of Western Canada both pre and post contact. I am trying to learn a history other than my own, I find it interesting, and it seems the least I can do.

"The slow current
of the life below tugs at me all day.
When I dream at night, they save a place for me,
no matter how small, somewhere by the fire. "

from Remembering Mountain Men
by William Stafford

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"When for too long I don't go deep enough
into the woods to see them, they begin to
enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the
pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life
full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each
animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches
then lifts away from the ground."

from The Faces of Deer
by Mary Oliver