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Paul Simon reunion

Approaching train

…Can’t you hear that hearts-and-bones / train in the distance…

Paul Simon reunion

Duncan, my dear, take me to the Mardi Gras
to the outrageous hurricane eye
for the mother and child reunion.

Just because I was not born under African skies
not born in Puerto Rico doesn’t mean I don’t belong
in that Kodachrome Graceland of peace like a river.

Wartime prayers sung to an American tune—
there was something so right about that song
sung by Darling Lorraine.

You can call me Al if you like
the obvious child hearing spirit voices of father
and daughter—still crazy after all these years.

Can’t you hear that hearts-and-bones
train in the distance, while we sit here stranded
in a limousine of the late great Johnny Ace?

You be the boy-in-the-bubble
born at the right time, slip slidin’ away
into the cool, cool river. Adios Hermanos.

It’s late in the evening. He’s gone at last.
Now it’s just me and Julio down by the schoolyard
imagining what they’ll say:

“He was quality.
She was last seen wearing diamonds
on the soles of her shoes.”

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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A lovely surprise phone call from the contest administrator of The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS) delivered the news that “Paul Simon reunion,” above, earned an Honourable Mention in this summer’s Sparkle and Shine Contest.* Another entry of mine (“Christmas on the Wet Coast”—of which an earlier version was published on this blog, but prior publication was okay) earned a Judge’s Choice award. Both will find their place in the Sparkle And Shine Anthology due out later this year.

I was especially thrilled at the placement because the contest’s judge was Jan Wood, a friend of mine (no worries about favouritism hanky-panky though, as there was no I.D. on the poem entries) who is an amazing poet and a frequent winner in all kinds of Canadian places.

TOPS runs many contests, with reasonable entry fees, quite a few open to non-members.  Check out the list of upcoming contests HERE and join in the fun!

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by kids’ poet extraordinaire, Amy LV at The Poem Farm.

(And what, you may be asking, is a “Sparkle and Shine Contest”? The theme list on the contest guidelines almost reads like a poem itself:

Poems to be about fame, glitz and glamor,
poems about astronomy, astrological poems, horoscopes,
space travel, silver and gold coins or body or face paint, fireworks,
poems about fashion, celebrations, parties, start-struck poems,
poems about prisms, poems about shooting stars or falling stars,
poems about polishing shoes, glass, leather, furniture, silverware & tea services,
famous people poems such as actors, singers, politicians,
sports figures and authors and gem poems, such as diamonds, rubies,
emeralds etc. whether in a natural setting or in a jewelry setting. )

 
13 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Found, Poetry Friday

 

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Conspiracy of Light (review)

Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. LewisConspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis by D.S. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There is, then, creative reading as well as creative writing” said Emerson. Canadian poet D. S. Martin has read. C. S. Lewis creatively over years in order for us to now enjoy Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C. S. Lewis. From the first lines of the first poem:
“A glance over your shoulder / assures you you can always get back” to the final “Destination” it is a magical trip.

Martin takes us in 77 poems through seven sections that include poems that look at the role of the poet, riff on ideas and lines from Lewis’s writings, explore his fantasy settings, muse about communication, the vastness of God and the final state to which we aspire.

You may wonder, do readers have to be familiar with Lewis’s writings themselves to get these poems? No. They stand very well on their own, though Martin has included an acknowledgment section where he names the inspirational source of each poem.

Lewis’s (and Martin’s) philosophical bent is seen in many of the ideas on which Martin expands. What proves something is true?

“Some things are only known
once you step in” from “Proof” p. 5.

What is real? From “The Poet Weaves Three Worlds”:

“The marvelous he believes …
The marvelous fictitious fantasies …
The world his eye perceives …
The poet twists from these
a three-strand cord of truth” p. 35.

Many of these poems whisper eternal truths that we pick up in echoes from Bible texts like these ending lines from “The Sacred Fish”:

“Better is one day in his boats
than thousands elsewhere” p. 19.

and these bits from “The Dogs” (obstacles, challenges, troubles):

“I want to tell them to move
to pick them up and throw them into the sea
like a mustard tree
or a handful of mountain” p. 26.

What I like about these poems is the way Martin has made the ideas his own by bringing in elements of his generation. In the poem “Something” (about music) the title evokes the song by the Beatles and the poem contains the line “his guitar gently weeps” p. 36.

In “On the Latest Impending Doom” which, the notes tell us, got their inspiration from Lewis’s poem “On the Atomic Bomb’ Martin gives his dooms a 21st century feel:

“So you’ve found a new engine of doom
running on fossil fuel …
Who needs new science to kindle dread
whether coastal cities be blooded or simply left behind” p. 66.

Most of the poems are free verse. There are a few sonnets (though not of the traditional rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter variety) and one very traditional rhymer. Still, Martin’s crafting fascinates me. He uses lots of rhyme—perfect and imperfect within and at the ends of lines that sing to each other across stanzas unifying the piece as well as making it a pleasure to read aloud. “After Evensong” is one such that I thought had an almost lullaby quality to it:

“Like cranky toddlers we can fight
so long not strong enough to stay vertical
or resist rubbing our eyes
although wise men know darkness is deep
& in the end the dark is right

For soon we all are ravished by sleep…” p. 63.

I could go on about the titled sections and the way titles of each are hidden within poems, the whimsical wordplay within many of the selections and the wonderful note of hope on which the book ends. Having found so many goodies on a quick read-through, I now want to return and reread to see what other surprises this collection will yield in both the categories of idea and technique.

Conspiracy of Light reminds me of the moon. In reflecting the sun’s light, the moon shows off its own topography. In the same way Martin’s poems reflecting on the brilliance of Lewis, reveal the man who wrote them.

(A shorter version of this review was first published in Faith Today.)

View all my reviews

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Conspiracy of Light is part of the Poiema Series of poetry books from Cascade Books of which Martin is the series editor. It also includes Scape by Luci Shaw, Gold by Barbara Crooker, Second Sky by Tania Runyan,  and Particular Scandals by Julie L. Moore.

You might like to try writing a poem for Martin’s blog The 55 Project. Poems need to connect in some way with Isaiah 55. Visit the blog and look in the right sidebar under “Join The Project” for contact information.

D. S. Martin also blogs Christian poetry from all eras, featuring a new poem and poet every Monday at his blog Kingdom Poets.

 

 
 

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Dawson Trail Tanka (2)

As I mentioned in part 1, Dawson Trail, in Dawson Creek, B.C. is lined with granite boulders that have tanka engraved on them. These poems celebrate the seasons, flowers, birds, and critters of the area. If you missed part 1, it’s HERE.

Dawson Trail Tanka

One of the Dawson Trail tanka in its natural setting

 

Here are four more poems you’ll find on the Dawson Trail. If they leave you shivering, just know that winter is long in these northern parts. It’s no wonder the cold gets an extra poem or two.

maple keys covered with snowWind sculpts drifts across

Fawn in grass

Fawn, seen on one of our drives in the Dawson Creek area. (Mother and Fawn #1 were too quick for my camera.)

Bees small deities

 

sunrise through branchesMorning drive to work...

 

Snowy path

Dawson Trail in winter

Frenzied bare branches...

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As I mentioned in the last tanka post, I don’t know who wrote these poems. Will give credit if/when I discover their author.

Poetry authored by Donna Kane, Marilyn Belak, Megan Kane, and Rebekah Rempel.  A big thanks to reader Donna Smith who unearthed this document with the information about the poetry stones and their authors (p. 17).

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by MsMac at Check It Out.

 

 

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Nature, Poems by others, Tanka

 

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Dawson Trail Tanka (1)

Dawson Creek - Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway

Dawson Creek – Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway

We got back from our vacation in Dawson Creek, B.C. at the end of July. Dawson Creek is a town in northeast B.C. Near Alberta’s western boundary, it is Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. Our daughter’s family moved there some months ago, and this was our second visit (the first was this winter/spring).

One of the things hubby and I like to do every day at home or on holiday is walk. Though I explored part of the Dawson Trail earlier in the snow, my broken hip brought an end to that. Now that I’m walking again and it’s summer, I was able to explore the full length of this trail that follows Dawson Creek’s meander through town.

Part of the trail is lined with granite boulders onto which poems have been engraved. I found eight of these. All the poems are tanka, celebrating the seasons, flowers, birds and critters of the area.

I’m posting four of these today and will do the next four in another post soon. I hope you enjoy this taste of the four seasons of northeast B.C.

Tanka stone in on Dawson Trail

Tanka stone on the Dawson Trail

Pussy WillowsPussy willows pop...

 

Canola fieldsThin wind carries grit

 

spider webAmber light suspends

 

winter - seed podssparrows

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I wish I knew who wrote these delightful poems. If I find out, I will certainly give credit.

Poetry authored by Donna Kane, Marilyn Belak, Megan Kane, and Rebekah Rempel.  A big thanks to reader Donna Smith who unearthed this document  (p. 17) with the information about the poetry stones and their authors.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Oops, change of plans. Robyn is injured and so that Poetry Friday doesn’t have to go missing, Irene Latham at Live Your Poem has taken up the slack. Thank you, Irene!

 

 
 

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Ant

Ant on clematis flower

A clematis must look like a pink park to an ant!

Ant

“…the ants switched tasks. They switched in some directions but not in others. The general pattern is a flow of workers into foraging from all other tasks. The flow seems to originate with the nest maintenance workers, and once an ant leaves nest maintenance work, it will not go back.” – Deborah Gordon, Ants At Work, p. 126.

I have graduated
from feeding the pupae and the antlings
repairing and tidying
thoroughfares and tunnels
to the outside
(thank God I’m not a captive queen)
where I mount patrol
make rounds of Facebook, email, Twitter,
monitor technology and trends
forage freelance information
broadcast on the billboard of my blog.
But such a promotion
does not mean I get to skip
doing the domestic chores
in my egalitarian colony.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly

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Interesting creatures, ants! Smart too. Who would guess they have a work hierarchy.  Actually, I enjoy tending to the domestic chores of my little colony. Especially when there are antlings around!

Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Nature, People, Poetry Friday

 

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Holidays

Summer wildflowers

Summer wildflowers–more summer coins

Holidays

Another newly minted coin
rolls from the satin purse of night
adds yet more hours of wealth
to the collection
of summertime perfection.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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We’re recently back from holidays, which can sometimes feel other-worldly and too good to be true. We are also in the middle of a fabulous warm spell, with day after day of sunshine. I hope that you are also enjoying the rich abundance of summer!

You will also find me at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ blog Today’s Little Ditty with a haiku growing in her Haiku Garden. Thank you, Michelle for featuring my poem!

Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the always-up-for-a-poem Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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August

purple starfish

Purple starfish on a Salt Spring Island beach, August 2012 – Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly

August

Here already
—with your brown lawns and leggy baskets
blushing tomatoes and blackening berries,
hairy, husky ears of corn?

Your arrival means it’s time
for our last summer fling
on ferry boats to azure islands
where we’ll walk beaches
with nervous crickets and hungry wasps
hunt shells, snap starfish
read in the dappled shade

Back home I’ll shop with you
braving the hordes of moms and kids
with their lists of ruled and unruled,
Crayola and calculator,
for you are the time
to stock up on marked-down
Five Stars and boxes of Bic
gel technology and fluorescent sticky notes.

Before you slip away
we have a date to stand in line
for Super Dogs and the Musical Ride
the Logger Show and flying bikes.
Later with hands mini-donut cinnamon-scented
we’ll muscle our way through crowds
lined up for massages
from the back rub machine,
clotted in front of barkers
hawking magic cloths and unblackable pots
to the table of framable prints.

So hello, dear August.
though your coming caught me by surprise
please don’t be in a hurry to go
for you could never overstay
your welcome.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

 
18 Comments

Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Nature, Personal

 

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