poem

Solstice and Christmas

Here is a poem from a few years ago. It’s not really jolly-holly, but I think the featured image above makes up for that.

 

The Gardener In Winter Night

Cold rain drips from branch and twig,

Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum

Sullen,

Slow

From edge of roof.

Yellow jasmine lights went dim at dusk,

The garden cloaked in absence and night.

The sky flattens,

The soil accepts.

Ailanthus

The eye sees black.

Pond water steeping leaves,

Tree shapes flat against grey sky.

The gardener in negative space,

Opposite of summer’s exaltation,

Contemplates…

Snowdrops soon to raise their elfin spears,

Violets wet and secret within dark green,

012

Crocus and tulip bulbed in earth,

Honeysuckle buds held tight by leaf to stem,

Blue poppies crowned in tattered leaves,

Rose canes studded with ruby nubbles,

Moss velvet green between reposing stones.

Remember snow,

And hope.

Consider sleet,

Believe.

Return to rest.

cosmos

Image from Pixabay

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A Different Kind of Story

I have recently discovered a radio documentary that first appeared as a podcast by the CBC (Canada’s national broadcaster). It’s called Someone Knows Something, and describes a revisiting by independent filmmaker David Ridgen of the disappearance of five-year-old Adrien McNaughton in 1972. The boy vanished on a June day while on a fishing trip with his family at a small lake in eastern Ontario. Forty-three years later, Ridgen contacts the family, examines the search procedures and interviews people who were associated with the family and/or the search.

Each half-hour episode concentrates on various aspects of the case: the family’s memories, the theories around the disappearance (drowning, animal attack, kidnapping), consultations with psychics, artistic renderings of what Adrien might look like as an adult, searching the scene with cadaver-detecting dogs, and re-diving the lake.

Unsolved cases of vanished children are compelling and heart-wrenching. Ridgen’s take on the case of Adrien McNaughton unfolds slowly and methodically, revisiting and lingering on the scene at Holmes Lake, discussing the details with those who had participated in the extensive search, probing their memories for clue fragments.

All eleven episodes of Someone Knows Something are available on the CBC website. A bonus is the theme music created for the series by Bob Wiseman, and performed by the composer with vocalist Mary Margaret O’Hara. It’s wistful, heartbreaking, and a little weird — perfect for the subject matter of the series.

Listening to (so far) seven of the eleven episodes, I have been thinking how a story like this could inspire others — writers, poets, artists — to create new works. All art is rooted in some sort of lived experience, transforming it into something unique that adds to the shared entirety.

Missing

You did not say goodbye,

No door closed behind you.

You did not look back and wave

Before the world took you away.

The eye of the lake gazes at the sky,

The trees point upward and sway

As the wind shakes their limbs.

Snow falls, snow melts.

The small birds return.

Does the earth keep you close now,

In a deep embrace?

Or do you walk the days somewhere,

Wearing your own face, and a different name?

We do not know.

We do not forget.

November 9, 2013

Winter Solstice

The Gardener In Winter Night.

Cold rain drips from branch and twig,

Sullen,

Slow

From edge of roof.

Yellow jasmine lights went dim at dusk,

The garden cloaked in absence and night.

The sky flattens,

The soil accepts.

The eye sees black.

Pond water steeping leaves,

Tree shapes flat against grey sky.

The gardener in negative space,

Opposite of summer’s exaltation,

Contemplates…

Snowdrops soon to raise their elfin spears,

Violets wet and secret within dark green,

Crocus and tulip bulbed in earth,

Honeysuckle buds held tight by leaf to stem,

Blue poppies crowned in tattered leaves,

Rose canes studded with ruby nubbles,

Moss velvet green between reposing stones.

Remember snow,

And hope.

Consider sleet,

Believe.

Return to rest.

Winter Jasmine

Winter Jasmine

Grey is Good

We have had more than a week of grey weather — quiet, cloudy days with a little rain — and I love it. Especially now, at this quiet time of year, and when I’m not in the best of shape (aches and pains). Sunny, bright weather brings on anxiety, makes everything seem more urgent, and if I’m not up to meeting that challenge, it’s a bummer. Much better when the day is grey and undemanding, and I can stay inside and read, or think, or do nothing at all.

I’m reminded of this poem by Robinson Jeffers:

Gray Weather

It is true that, older than man and ages to outlast him, the Pacific surf

Still cheerfully pounds the worn granite drum;

But there’s no storm; and the birds are still, no song; no kind of excess;

Nothing that shines, nothing is dark;

There is neither joy nor grief nor a person, the sun’s tooth sheathed in cloud,

And life has no more desires than a stone.

The stormy conditions of time and change are all abrogated, the essential

Violences of survival, pleasure,

Love, wrath and pain, and the curious desire of knowing, all perfectly suspended.

In the cloudy light, in the timeless quietness,

One explores deeper than the nerves or heart of nature, the womb or soul,

To the bone, the careless white bone, the excellence.