Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Winter Prairie #4

"It was the hand that caught in me
Sudden as a beast the blizzard
had whirled on us   was gone
as quick over the hill and howling
through the next village  whose spire
could be glimpsed blotting out now 
in a grey fury"

from Arrivals 
by Earle Birney

Mcclelland and Stewart, 1964

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Winter Prairie #3 (Right eye seems to have gone well)

"Past that frost-cracked rock step
twist yourself through
skew trunks and old coat-hook branches;
ground once dug and thought of and
never intended for those toadstools. "

from Old Property
by Milton Acorn

NC Press, 1975

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Winter Prairie #2

"We dream of the big world we cannot enter
and we have no money and we turn into winter;
when the next spring comes we will melt until
we run like rivers down the high free hill." 

from We are Sitting on a High Green Hill
by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Macmillan of Canada, 1974 
CPL book sale, the good old days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Winter Prairie #1

I am not taking a lot of photos at present. So I thought I would posts a series of photos I took earlier this winter on trips to and from Saskatchewan.

While in Saskatchewan I was also able to purchase some lovely books by Canadian poets that I want to feature as well. And maybe I will sneak in a few others from my shelves. 

"So all the photographs like children's wishes
are filled with caves or winter, 
has acted as a filter,

from Photos of a Salt Mine
P.K. Page

McClellan & Stewart Limited, 1967

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Farm in Summer

I have put together some wintery posts for the next couple of weeks while they see to my cataracts. 

But before that let's have see summer for everyone that is just a wee bit tired of the snow and cold, the flowers in Helen's mom's garden at the farm, one of my favourite places. 

And another favourite, a farmey (sp)  poem.
Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
     In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be 
     Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
     In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
     And playing, lovely and watery
          And fire green as grass.
     And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
     Flying with the ricks, and the horses
          Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
     Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
          The sky gathered again
     And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
     Out of the whinnying green stable
          On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
     In the sun born over and over,
          I ran my heedless ways,
     My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
     Before the children green and golden
          Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
     In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
     I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
     Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Old House

“But you—are you the one . . . ?”
Then the line will be gone
because both ends will be home:
no space, no birds, no farm.

My self will be the plain,
wise as winter is gray,
pure as cold posts go
pacing toward what I know.

from Farm on the Great Plains
by William Stafford

Monday, February 11, 2019

Flicker at Suet Feeder

-24C/-11F W 34C-/-29  7:30 at  a.m. in Calgary today.

"Those in the vegetable rain retain 
an area behind their sprouting eyes 
held soft and rounded with the dream of snow 
precious and reminiscent as those globes – 
souvenir of some never nether land – 
which hold their snowstorms circular, complete, 
high in a tall and teakwood cabinet."

from Stories of Snow 
by P.K. Page

Despite the cold this flicker showed up Sunday morning for suet.
Flickers used to migrate further south in winter, but apparently the
introduction of suet feeders encourages them to over winter. My 
friends in south Calgary have no luck with suet feeders as they are 
stripped immediately by magpies. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

-29C/-20F WC-41/-41.8 at 6:00 a.m. in Calgary today.
But we have power and no where to go today but the library.
And maybe the beer store, bank, the British Pantry all close. 

"Down in the west
The brimming plains beneath the sunset rest, 
One burning sea of gold. Soon, soon shall fly 
The glorious vision, and the hours shall feel 
A mightier master; soon from height to height, 
With silence and the sharp unpitying stars, 
Stern creeping frosts, and winds that touch like steel, 
Out of the depth beyond the eastern bars, 
Glittering and still shall come the awful night." 

from Winter Evening 
by Archibald Lampoon

Saturday, February 9, 2019

-27C/-16F WC-38/-36 at 8:00 a.m. in Calgary today.

"People worried the world was about to end. 
A fish believed to have been extinct for seventy million years 
Came up in a fishing net off the coast of South Africa. 
I lay in my crib as the days got shorter and colder, 
And the first heavy snow fell in the night. 
Making everything very quiet in my room. 
I believe I heard myself cry for a long, long time." 

from Nineteen Thirty-Eight
by Charles Simic

Monday, February 4, 2019

An awakening came. What a wonderfully complex thing! this simple seeming unity — the self! Who can trace its reintegration as morning after morning we awaken, the flux and confluence of its countless factors interweaving, rebuilding, the dim first stirrings of the soul, the growth and synthesis of the unconscious to the subconscious, the sub-conscious to dawning consciousness, until at last we recognise ourselves again. And as it happens to most of us after the night’s sleep, so it was with Graham at the end of his vast slumber. A dim cloud of sensation taking shape, a cloudy dreariness, and he found himself vaguely somewhere, recumbent, faint, but alive. The pilgrimage towards a personal being seemed to traverse vast gulfs, to occupy epochs. Gigantic dreams that were terrible realities at the time, left vague perplexing memories, strange creatures, strange scenery, as if from another planet. There was a distinct impression, too, of a momentous conversation, of a name — he could not tell what name — that was subsequently to recur, of some queer long-forgotten sensation of vein and muscle, of a feeling of vast hopeless effort, the effort of a man near drowning in darkness.

from The Sleeper Wakes
 by H. G. Wells

Saturday, February 2, 2019

" An obsession is a pleasure that has attained the status of an idea"

Balzac (Cousin Pons)
Quoted in Packing my Library, Alberto Manguel