for Maggie post 2

Rest easy, Maggie

I lost my lovely wee Maggie last week. She took her leave as sweetly and bravely as the day she came to us as a rescue years ago. She was 10 – and it was heaven having her every day of those years.

Rest easy, sweet lassie.

 

Missions

 

Crabs can rest a little easier now on Bahamian beaches,

with the little white four legged pest gone.

They were never truly at risk.

Sorry, Maggie,

you were fast, but never as fast as them.

The hunt was your delight in and of itself.

You’d look up from your dig,

bedevilled,

your wee nose sand-covered, twitching,

before diving down time and again,

up and down the shore, irrepressible,

resolute,

until all light had left the sky.

and I called you home.

 ***

 

Ebb. Flow.

 

The tidal pools down the beach

will remain relatively undisturbed now.

Future visitors there would be wise to follow the moon

to discover them at their warmest,

their most inviting.

 

There was a woman who did so once,

frequenting them with her two little white dogs.

She dressed all in white too,

making them a matched set.

I watched them once from afar, wading languorously

among those becalmed shallows just offshore,

their very own roman baths.

 

They stepped gingerly among the rock and coral

that contained them,

distracted in their reverie by only a rogue wave

or a dark cloud scurrying overhead.

 

I think the woman was a poet.

They were terriers, I believe,

Scottish like her.

I heard once that she loved her dogs well.

 

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While cleaning out a bookcase.

For Richard Blessing

There is a poet I’m reading
After being surprised to come upon his dog-eared collection
While cleaning a bookcase.
I had forgotten even owning it.
His name won’t mean anything to you, never famous or fashionable,
But it draws me after all these years,
His slim dusty volume so callously abandoned.
How quickly I am reminded of his sublime voice,
Like that of a long forgotten beloved friend,
Resurrected now line by line,
Rising off the yellowed pages
In the slate gray light of this autumn afternoon.

His father’s nurse says she’s too tall for marriages.
The younger poets are ample in their margins.
The migrating salmon leap like sparks from some windy chimney.
The sound of his son’s bat on a baseball, as sweet as any teacake,
the ball’s leaping arc making the field small.

It’s gratitude I feel to find him once again,
Someone I didn’t even know I had lost,
Relieved to have unearthed his particular genius, restored it to my life.

I won’t be rich or famous, you said, sad on your birthday.
I don’t have a baby. Now it’s too late.
I pull you close. We have missed nothing. This is our only life.

And just when I think he can give me no more
Comes his closing prayer, this long dead poet
With no name you would know:
May grace be drawn to our ill-suited hands.

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Labour Day

Funny word for the quietest day of the year.
It’s time to be adults again.
No more ice cream for dinner,
meandering conversations,
late nights of poker and rom-coms,
sleeping until noon.
Time’s up.
Set your alarms.
Back to work.
Will you get serious?

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The Pen in your Hand.

A story by the poet Ann Kestner I read this morning… I wanted very much to share it.

“My father worked with wood and metal and concrete. I work with ink and paper and metaphors.

It is not a far stretch between engineer and poet. We do the same work.

My father is almost 80. He worked 20 years for Otis Elevator before the layoff came and then he found employment here and there and then over there – for nearly 45 years he worked as a mechanical engineer. Nothing he designed carries his name. No one knows it was his mind, his imagination that engineered the freight elevator of the fallen Twin Towers and countless other things. His creations are all credited to the companies he worked for.

The pen in your hand, the hubcap on your car, your front door – Everyday we live our lives using things imagined by people whose names we will never know.

As poets, we may not be paid well or at all, but at least our creations carry our name.”

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Reading my poetry in Whitevale, Ontario.

I am honored to be the first artist to appear at the Whitevale Arts and Cultural Centre with a reading of my poetry on Saturday, October 17 at 7:30 pm. (This is the building that housed the town’s former Public Library.)

Check out the venue’s new website at http://www.whitevaleacc.ca/about-us.html for more information.

Meanwhile, a favourite quote from the poet Claire Clube.

“Poetry is the long rope to heaven.”

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A Sad Child

I love how Margaret Atwood manages to let go here – utterly – and yet still retain perfect control. It’s what she does best, I think. She gives the reader a breathless exhilarating free fall in her poems and all the while we know we are in expert hands.

 

A sad child

You’re sad because you’re sad.
It’s psychic. It’s the age. It’s chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.

My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you’re trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.