Sep 22, 2017

The Shadow On The Stone
by Thomas Hardy

While I really enjoy Thomas Hardy’s poetry, I have to admit I’ve never read any of his novels and I don’t believe I’ve read any of his shorter fiction either. Maybe one of these days I’ll look him up on Project Gutenberg . That site has everything. ;-)

In the meantime, for today’s passion for poetry I’d like to share my favourite Thomas Hardy poem. It was written shortly after the death of his first wife, Emma. He wrote a whole series of love poems for her, regretting how much they had grown apart in the later years of their marriage.


The Shadow On The Stone

I went by the Druid stone
That broods in the garden white and lone,
And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows
That at some moments fall thereon
From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing,
And they shaped in my imagining
To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders
Threw there when she was gardening.

I thought her behind my back,
Yea, her I long had learned to lack,
And I said: ‘I am sure you are standing behind me,
Though how do you get into this old track?’
And there was no sound but the fall of a leaf
As a sad response; and to keep down grief
I would not turn my head to discover
That there was nothing in my belief.

Yet I wanted to look and see
That nobody stood at the back of me;
But I thought once more: ‘Nay, I’ll not unvision
A shape which, somehow, there may be.’
So I went on softly from the glade,
And left her behind me throwing her shade,
As she were indeed an apparition—
My head unturned lest my dream should fade.

Sep 18, 2017

Mockado Monday

mockado ~ inferior quality woollen fabric

So ... the blame for the return to the summer-like weather rests totally on the hubby’s shoulders. He declared summer over last weekend and closed up the pool. So naturally, in typical Canadian fashion, the days started getting warmer and soon the nights were getting warmer too.

The weekend was downright hot, and this week is supposed to be even hotter. The weather is nicer now than it was in June and July. Go figure.

The coyotes have moved on again. How do I know this? The abundance of squirrels at my bird feeder. It’s a big feeder, but the squirrels and starlings can empty it in less than a day. Which is why I’ve taken to leaving seeds out in a dish on the table on our deck, along with the peanuts for the jays. It gives the little birds a fighting chance.

Unfortunately, it looks like my sparrows and chickadees have been frightened off, but I have a pair of cardinals that visit at dusk and dawn. And one afternoon I was sitting on the desk reading and a little chipmunk climbed up on the table to check out the dish. I love chipmunks. So after that I started leaving peanuts on the deck for him when I put peanuts out for the jays.

In other news ... I have my desk.



It’s not exactly the desk I wanted, but it’s the desk I needed. Sometimes our dreams just aren’t practical and we have to let them go.

One of the reasons I want to move across the hall is for the view. My current office has a northern exposure and the other room has a southern one. I’ve often said I’m solar powered and the view from the southern exposure is more energizing than a northern one.

The dream desk is big. Too big for the room I want it for really. And there’s only one place I could put it where my back wouldn’t be to the window and at that I’d only have a partial view.

We drove up to Ajax on Wednesday night to pick up this desk and my first thought was that it wasn’t deep enough for my lap top. But the hubby was positive he could fix that, and he’s actually already done so. He took the very top off, which had some water damage to the finish, and cannibalized it to add to the depth. Now he just needs to fit a new top on it.

I don’t have as many little cubby holes as the dream desk had, but I have more drawers, which is even better. Not as many as it looks like in the picture, there’s actually only two down each side, but the ones on the bottom are deep enough to hold file folders and I’m hoping to talk my ever so handy hubby into making removable trays for the two upper ones.

It needs new drawer pulls, which means I get to go to Primitive Designs and indulge in some fancy ceramic ones. And the amazing part? It’s exactly the same height as the window sill. And the bookcase I have against the desk in my current office will fit exactly in front of the new one.

Now the search is on for a chair to go with it. ;-)

Sep 15, 2017

The Poet Tree



About four years ago I was invited to join a group of poets who were giving eulogies to a tree. Yes, that’s right, a tree. This wasn’t a protest, this was saying goodbye to the last elm tree in Victoria Park before it was cut down. The occasion was even videoed and uploaded to YouTube. Good luck finding it. ;-)

Afterwards we tucked our poems beneath a string wound around the tree so that passersby could read them. I just recently saw in our local news that the first of several benches made from the wood of the tree are ready to be placed in the park. Apparently the wood needed to season before it could be used.

At any rate, this is the poem I came up with for the occasion:


The Poet Tree's Tale

Hear my tale that you may see
The dream I dreamed beneath this tree
Whose rich enchantment captured me;
While I was sitting in its lee.

There was a sweet tranquility
Of visions that were sent to me
By this majestic poet tree
Whose life is filled with history.

Ages of serenity
Years passed by in harmony
Such innocence and purity
It caught me up, then set me free.

"But peace no more," alleged the tree,
"The world has changed, and so have we.
Life is just uncertainty -
A storm is coming, wait and see."

"Earthquakes leave behind debris,
Earth and fire, wind and sea,
The heavens weep unnaturally,
For what is past and still to be."

"The warnings come by two and three
Ignored by those too blind to see.
And you, the guardians, meant to be
Abandoned us, ignore our plea."

And when I woke, beneath the tree
I wept for what would come to be
I wept for all life's frailty
And the dream I dreamed beneath this tree.

Sep 11, 2017

Meditabund Monday

meditabund ~ absorbed in meditation

What do you think? Do you think we’ve seen the last of the summer weather? Not that we saw a whole lot of it during the summer - it was rather wet and cool. But when I woke up yesterday morning and it was only 8 C (about 45 F) I think it’s safe to say we don’t have to worry about a heat wave any time soon.

Now that all the vacations are over - mine, the brother-in-law’s (which necessitated the hubby going in to work an hour earlier), and the hubby’s - I’m slowly easing back into a routine. At least as far as the morning goes.

So naturally my subconscious is trying to throw a wrench into the spanner. I fully intend to reclaim the workroom (across the hall from my office) as my new office. Actually, that room is more a return to my office. It started out as my office pretty much from the day we bought this house.

Back then I had a big old secretary’s desk in there, very similar to what I have in my current office. But I really don’t need all that space, and a smaller desk will allow for a new bookcase under the window (like the one I have in my current office).

Here’s where it gets a little complicated.

There is a grey lounge chair in the rec room that really doesn’t fit - there’s just no room for it. Rather than give it away or throw it out, we’d like to put it in the work room. Of course at the moment there’s no room for it there, either.

What there is is a futon covered in cat hair because one of the cats has claimed it for his own. Other than that it’s in great shape. Certainly it’s in better shape than the one that followed the daughter through her university years, and now resides in her basement. Do you see where this is going?

She’s going to get rid of her futon and take ours, which gives us enough room in the workroom for the grey lounge chair and a new desk. Now despite the fact The daughter has not gotten rid of her futon yet, putting events in motion, I’ve been looking for a desk. But not just any desk, my dream desk.



On a whim I checked out Kijiji, an online buy and sell classifieds site, and I almost wish I hadn’t. Kijiji had my desk. Actually, it had several versions of my desk and they were all affordable. And some of them were within doable driving distance. So I emailed several of the most promising ones and ... I still do not have a desk, just a large dose of frustration.

A couple of the desks were already gone, a couple of emails went unanswered, and the two emails that sent me replies did not reply again when I asked for a few more details about their desk, like measurements to make sure it would fit in the back of our SUV.

The nice thing about Kijiji is that new items are always being added and you can narrow your search by item and price. I have a folder on my desktop for the desks I’ve bookmarked and sent emails to show my interest. Now that the weekend is over I’m going to delete what’s in this folder and start fresh Thursday night.

The search continues.

Sep 8, 2017

Dreaming

I was actually going to try to write something new for a change, only, well, it was late when I started this original post and my brain was not fully in gear. In fact, it took several tries before I rooted out even an old poem to use.

I’m pretty sure I was around thirty when I wrote this poem, which is kind of funny when you consider the subject matter. But just to give you a little perspective on the way my mind works ... I have a sister who’s ten years older than me, so when she turned thirty I was only twenty and I thought thirty was positively ancient. She has never forgiven me for the hard time I gave her. LOL


Dreaming

If I could live another’s life, my world their point of view
Oh, how happy I could be to do the things they do.
Instead of drab existence, a life more richly led
A wish fulfillment fantasy - another’s path to tred.

If I could have the romance that others seem to find,
The passion everlasting, the closeness so divine
The happiness I would derive from such a life as this
Seems to me the best that I could ever hope to wish.

If I could find adventure, the kind others seem to find
How exciting life would be - a mystery to unwind
Flights of fancy lead me to far exotic lands
Filled with wondrous peoples and vistas ever grand.

If I could see the dreams I dream come to life at last
The way that others seem to do then when the dreaming’s passed
I could look back upon a life and see what others see
And feel the satisfaction, that dreaming caused to be.

If I could live my life once more now that I’m at the end
I’d live a life that’s real this time instead of one pretend.
I’d do the things I dream about and when my life is gone
There’d be no regrets, as there is now, for things I’ve never done.

Sep 4, 2017

Malacoid Monday

malacoid ~ made of a soft or fleshy substance

Wow, hard to believe it’s September already. Just last week it still seemed so far away, but here we are, Labour Day weekend. The last long weekend of summer.

Not that we really had much summer this year. It was mostly wet. Sometimes it was cool and wet, sometimes it was hot and wet - and there were only a handful of days that it was hot enough to complain about. While I could have lived without the excessive rain over the summer, the cooler temperatures were quite nice.

As has been my tradition for most of my adult life, the end of summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Canadian National Exhibition. Or as most people call it, The Ex. When the daughter was little it was our mommy/daughter thing - the highlight of the summer.

I tried to take a few pictures on the way there of traffic volume and the drive along Lakeshore Blvd which is like driving through a tunnel with all the roads criss-crossing above it, but my phone updated the day before we went and my settings got all messed up. By the time I got it working again we were already at the Princess Gates.



Actually, considering it was the Friday of the holiday weekend, traffic wasn’t too bad at all. And going home the traffic was even lighter - almost unheard of when driving in Toronto. After wandering around the main building for a bit, we decided to get something to eat, and as we made our way across the top edge of the midway, who should we run into but my sister and her family. They’d already eaten so we made plans to hook up for supper (although they tired out quicker than us so by that time they'd packed it in to head for home).

Some of the sights we enjoyed were an amazing sand sculpture exhibit:



If you’re on my Facebook page there are more pictures of the sand sculptures. And there was Rock Valley:



It’s amazing watching the artist stack those rocks with such precision. Unfortunately this was his last year for it. And we got to see the impressive Quilt of Belonging:



This quilt was so big I couldn’t quite fit it all in one picture. It’s 10 ½ feet high and 120 feet long, made up of 263 quilt blocks. It was designed to portray the cultural legacy of Canada’s First Peoples, and it does so in an amazing way. If you’d like to learn more about it, go HERE .

And my personal tradition when going to the CNE is to buy one completely frivolous item. Past purchases include embroidered kimonos, a silk skirt, a witch ball, a didgeridoo, a carved wooden chest, and a large rain stick. This year’s purchase just might top them all, a plasma light dragon:



By the time supper time rolled around we’d pretty much seen everything there was to see. Sadly, the CNE just isn’t what it used to be. The International Marketplace has shrunk down so that it fits into the same building as the domestic market, along with the outlet shopping. You used to be able to walk across the avenue in the grounds to the Automotive building to see the cars on display and A Taste of Country, but that’s no longer there. And they no longer have the horse show in the indoor arena - the daughter and I loved to get our food and sit to watch the horses.

Being a week day the crowds weren’t bad, but they were bad enough, and people were rude! And the noise was pretty bad too - it was almost impossible to carry on a conversation outside of the buildings. To be honest, I don’t know how eager I am to go again, unless it’s with the grandbaby.

Maybe I’m just getting old. :-D

Sep 1, 2017

Terzanelle

Well, would you look at that, I actually remembered to repeat my poetry post this week. :-D

This form is a little ... shall we say ... challenging. It was invented by Lewis Turco in 1965, and for those of somewhat familiar with poetry forms, it combines the villanelle’s refrain with the terza rima’s end line patterning. What truly makes it challenging is the number rules for it:

1. It is a fixed form of 19 lines - five triplets and a quatrain.
2. The body is comprised of tercets that each refrain the second line of the preceding tercet for its third line.
3. The first line of each of these tercets is rhymed with its refrained line.
4. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are refrained as the second and fourth lines of the closing quatrain.
5. The closing quatrain refrains the second line of the last tercet as its third line and rhymes its first line with that refrain.
6. Lines may be in any length or meter within reason.
7. Terzanelles may be written on any subject.

Got that now? There’ll be a test later. ;-)


Dragonflight

The wind is sighing through the trees,
The warmth of summer shimmers ‘round;
Magic‘s found in days like these.

A forest pool, a wild playground,
Where water lilies are abloom,
The warmth of summer shimmers ‘round.

A wafting scent of rare perfume;
The air is soft with ambient light
Where water lilies are abloom.

Who directs your soaring flight,
Free spirit wandering where it will.
The air is soft with ambient light.

You dip and weave and fly with skill -
I’d follow if I only could,
Free spirit wandering where it will

I watch you flitter through the wood;
The wind is sighing through the trees.
I’d follow if I only could -
Magic is found in days like these.


If you’d like to learn more about the Terzanelle, try one of the following links:
Shadow Poetry 
Writer's Digest 
The Poet's Garret  
Popular Poetry Forms 

If you give it a try, I’d love to see what you come up with. If you email it to me at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com, I’ll post it on my writing blog next Wednesday and here on Friday. And if you don’t, then you’re going to be stuck reading a couple of poems that survived junior high school.

How’s that for incentive? :-D