Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chaos in her life


The new bookkeeper looks disheveled
– she is about my age but her eyes are tired.
She smiles at times
but it appears forced.
For the most part, her expression is less
– expressionless;
and as she sits like that
the corners of her mouth turn down just slightly
– enough to suggest some complacency
and slight unhappiness.
There is no real effort.
Janet Jarrell

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Poesia Torta

With special permission, I am posting a beautiful poem from Kenia, a fellow avid blogger, writer and poet (not necessarily in that order). The following poem, much to my absolute delight, was dedicated to me. I shared the poem with my children on Thanksgiving as a little toast during our dinner.

Kenia has a gift. She has the ability to express truth beautifully through words; what more could be asked from a writer. I love visiting her blog, reading her words, and seeing my own thoughts expressed skillfully in her poems, both in Portuguese and English. For a little taste of her inspiration…

Vou usar seus olhos alegres
Como armadura
Quando minha imagem no espelho
For difícil demais de olhar
E buscarei neles a bravura necessária
Para travar minhas intermináveis batalhas
E chegar em casa em tempo de
prepara-te o jantar

- Porque é exatamente isso
que as mães fazem
e você não ouse esquecer
que por trás de todo o metal
há um coração que pulsa por você.

I’ll wear your smiling eyes
As an armour
When my reflection on the mirror
Becomes too hard to look at
And I’ll seek bravery inside them
To fight my daily everlasting battles
And be home on time to make you dinner

- Because that's exactly what mothers do
And you don't dare to forget
behind all that heavy covering
there's a heart
that beats for you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Listening To Myself

see myself staggering through deep snow
lugging blocks of wood yesterday
an old man
almost falling from bodily weakness
- look down on myself from above
then front and both sides
white hair - wrinkled face and hands
it's really not very surprising
that love spoken by my voice
should be when I am listening
yet there it is
a foolish old man with brain on fire
stumbling through the snow

- the loss of love
that comes to mean more
than the love itself
and how explain that?
- a still pool in the forest
that has ceased to reflect anything
except the past
- remains a sort of half-love
that is akin to kindness
and I am angry remembering
remembering the song of flesh
to flesh and bone to bone
the loss is better

Beyond Remembering - The collected poems of Al Purdy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

September by Helen Hunt Jackson

THE golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tractor by Karen Solie

More than a storey high and twice that long,
it looks igneous, the Buhler Versatile 2360,
possessed of the ecology of some hellacious
minor island on which options
are now standard. Cresting the sections
in a corona part dirt, part heat, it appears
risen full blown from our deeper needs,
aspirating its turbo-cooled air, articulated
and fully compatible. What used to take a week
it does in a day on approximately
a half mile to the gallon. It cost one hundred
fifty grand. We hope to own it outright by 2017.
Few things wrought by human hands
are more sublime than the Buhler Versatile 2360.

Across the road, a crew erects the floodlit
derricks of a Texan outfit whose presumptions
are consistently vindicated.
The ancient seabed will be fractured to 1,000 feet
by pressuring through a pipe literal tons
of a fluid — the constituents of which
are best left out of this —
to tap the sweet gas where it lies like the side
our bread is buttered on. The earth shakes
terribly then, dear Houston, dear parent
corporation, with its rebroken dead and freshly
killed, the air concussive, cardiac, irregular.
It silences the arguments of every living thing
and our minds in that time are not entirely elsewhere.

But I was speaking of the Buhler Versatile 2360,
Phase D! And how well recognized it is
among the classics: Wagner,
Steiger, International Harvester, John Deere, Case,
Minneapolis-Moline, Oliver, White, Allis-Chalmers,
Massey Ferguson, Ford, Rite, Rome.
One could say it manifests fate, cast
like a pearl around the grit of centuries. That,
in a sense, it’s always been with us,
the diesel smell of a foregone conclusion.
In times of doubt, we cast our eyes
upon the Buhler Versatile 2360
and are comforted. And when it breaks down, or thinks
itself in gear and won’t, for our own good, start,
it takes a guy out from the city at 60 bucks an hour,
plus travel and parts, to fix it.

For further reading about Karen Solie’s latest book Pigeon, see what The Globe and Mail had to say earlier this year.