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Shannon Falls Haiga

My sister takes amazing nature photographs. When I saw these on her Facebook profile yesterday, complete with haiku she’d written (her first she says), I told her she should write more and my thought was, I’ve got to share these with other lovers of nature and poetry.

Poetry Friday is the perfect place. So here for your visual and reading pleasure is a suite of Shannon Falls Haiga – photos and haiku by Bea MacPherson (shared with her permission, of course).

Shannon Falls Haiga

SF-1SF-2SF-3SF-4SF-5SF-6SF-7SF-8

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Kiesha Shephard at Whispers from the Ridge.

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Collins and Canada

I’m delighted to be joining the celebration of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and his 76th birthday on March 22nd. (Thanks to  Heidi Mordhorst and others for the suggestion and heads-up on this!)

Though I don’t have any complete books of Billy Collins’ poetry, I’ve come across many of his poems online and have heard him read and lecture on YouTube. I always enjoy his work. To me it has a Seinfeld-ish vibe—poetry about little inconsequential things that are almost nothing, but in his hands become big, consequential metaphors of life and relationships.

The Poetry Foundation is where I found the poem of his that jumped out at me for today’s celebration. We in Canada are celebrating too. This year is our 150th Anniversary as a country. I’m helping to edit, for our local poetry society, an anthology in honour of that birthday, so I’ve read quite a few poems about Canada lately and was delighted to find a poem of Billy Collins’ called “Canada.”

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Canada Bag – Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly

Canada

– Billy Collins

I am writing this on a strip of white birch bark
that I cut from a tree with a penknife.
There is no other way to express adequately
the immensity of the clouds that are passing over the farms
and wooded lakes of Ontario and the endless visibility
that hands you the horizon on a platter.

I am also writing this in a wooden canoe,
a point of balance in the middle of Lake Couchiching,
resting the birch bark against my knees…

Read the rest…

I used Collins’ “Canada” as a mentor poem for my own Canada poem:

Canada

– Violet Nesdoly

I am writing this on a beaver tail
that my camera captured
beside a dammed prairie stream
under a canopy of blue
that sets off bordering quilt blocks
of yellow, brown and gold.

I am also writing this in Tim Horton’s
where I have just rolled up the rim
to “Please Play Again”
and am thinking of ordering
another coffee along with more hope
of a CRV, TV or even a Tim’s card
to help colour the long white winter.

O Canada, as the anthem goes,
scene of massive mountains
and mosquitoey lakes,
you are the memory of Mountain Lake,
the one-room school on the Saskatchewan prairie
where I learned to skate and spool knit
play Rook and binge read
sumptuous fare: Pookie and Old Yeller
My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead
Caddie Woodlawn, White Fang
Pat of Silverbush and Mistress Pat
which wondrously arrived
from time to time
in a traveling box.

O Canada, I want to be friends
as long as my memory lasts
to snap the bluebells in spring
and herons in fall,
cool off with Iced Capps® in summer
hibernate with poutine in winter
knit toques and pick Saskatoon berries
with only the occasional foray
over the line.
See that north-moving row of cars
approaching the Aldergrove crossing?
The woman in the passenger seat
of the blue Honda
wiping Edaleen ice-cream off her hands
before she digs for her passport
is me.

© 2017 (All rights reserved)

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins (and Heidi Mordhorst, who also has a birthday in March)!

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Heidi Mordhorst and her blog My Juicy Little Universe.

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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Poems by others, Poetry Friday

 

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Vancouver Island

Today (July 1st) is Canada Day! A Happy 149th Birthday to Canada, the country I love. As you can imagine, the birthday celebrations this year will be eclipsed by celebrations next year when Canada turns 150. (Our poetry society is planning to publish a book of poetry to commemorate the event. Our members are busy writing about Canada. That bit of writing is also on my to-do list.)

Today, a poem about one of my favorite places in Canada to visit. Though it’s just a 90-minute ferry ride away, Vancouver Island is a special place full of memories of the wonderful times we’ve spent there. The accompanying slide show lets you see just a few of its features. Of course the best part of any place we visit is the friends we have there.

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Vancouver Island

Ninety-minute crossing meanders between Gulf Islands
from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay
slows us down to island speed

Drive roadways lined with rocky outcrops and arbutus trees
that shed their trunks in curling rusty flakes

Shiver in bone-cold Port Hardy fog
Breathe air that feels thick as a milkshake.

Watch whales breach, sea lions sunbathe
on a brilliant Telegraph Cove morning

Spend a day wandering Chemainus
camera in hand gathering murals

Gawk at Buddha statues and goats
on the roof of the Coombs market

Stroll past Victoria’s Parliament Buildings outlined in lights
to the skirl of the bagpipes of buskers

Talk with my friend till late
Wood fire embers snap a sleepy goodnight
as I head to the guest room

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Poetry Friday

 

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Nicomekl Nightlife (NPM ’16-Day 26)

My poetry buddy, Laurel, and I walk different sections of the same path—a gravel and asphalt trail that follows Nicomekl Creek. Her yesterday’s poem, “Nicomekl’s Regulars,” about the people that walk the path,  was pitch-perfect.

But the path—at least the section of it that my husband and I walk—has another  cast of characters with another life, a night life. Though we’ve never walked it at night, we’re left with lots of clues of nighttime activity.

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The jettisoned mattress – Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Nicomekl Nightlife

After dark the trail’s dog-walkers
spandex-joggers, stroller-mothers and duck-feeders
give way to Nicomekl nightlife.

Hoodie-clad gangs with aerosol cans,
attracted by fresh paint and the already-graffiti’d
bridge underbelly, leave their mark.

Lean, weathered man rattles cart
over gravel to sheltered spot, jettisons mattress,
unrolls sleeping bag, curls up for the night.

Metal-hungry scrounger drags TV prey
under the bridge to eviscerate.
Leaves skeleton and innards for dead.

Roving tribe of tent-dwellers appear—one night
on the stream-bank, the next almost hidden
in new-leafed shrubs, the next under spreading oak.

Night ladies leave a trail of boots, pink bags, frilly tops,
night men—jeans, ball caps, jackets, undershirts.
Somehow a shopping cart lands in the stream.

A plank on the wooden bridge greets morning
black-charred. Across the creek
a blanket-nest lies abandoned.

Restless night segues too soon
to birdsong-raucous day.
Path, exhausted, dozes under returning

and happily predictable dog-walkers,
spandex-joggers, stroller-mothers, and a greying pair
that stride along every morning between 8 and 9.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
 
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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in People

 

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Elgin Park

In my post yesterday I wrote about DELIGHT. Today a poem about one of the places I love which gives me great delight—Elgin Park in South Surrey. Over the years we’ve walked the paths dozens of times and in every season. I always find something wonderful here!

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Elgin Park

The forest path lures me
into a wood lush as a Rousseau painting
with wild Bleeding Heart
pink heads drooping like jilted lovers
and Salmonberry blossoms
petal-lamps of rose-stained glass
lighting the way
through tangled shrubs

In this wood I have seen
cityscapes of mushrooms
built on bluffs of log stumps
sturdy Dame’s Rocket, chaste Trillium
levitating Cranesbill and flowers so dainty
they could scarcely bear a name.
Today ferns everywhere
are growing nests of fiddles.

In the open I pass the gravel patch
where once Killdeers
in natty turtlenecks
played a game of flirt and fetch-me.
This day Lupins hold umbrella leaves
against an April sprinkle
biding the day their purple spires
spike the flat contour of meadow.

The stand of adolescent Poplars
are still in conversation
their slim, lithe trunks retain
the lilt of teenage limbs
graceful and self-conscious.

At the tide-temperamental Nicomekl
Heron stands his lonely guard
over exposed bottom of craggy oysters.
He hates for me to watch him
takes indolently to the air
croaking complaint.
A Loon has jumped my dollar coin
is diving near the boathouse by the pier.
Further along the Greenwinged Teals
play front-end loader
in the mud.

© 2008 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Donna at Mainely Write.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Nature, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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SJT – Home (Missing Home)

The farmhouse where I grew up - Photo © 2009 by V. Nesdoly
The farmhouse where I grew up – Photo © 2009 by V. Nesdoly

Missing Home

I remember squeaks and slants
in the floor of our last home
can picture the gouge
in paneling beside my desk
the crumbing rubber
on the patio-door seal.
In the shed I see
rust-freckled freezer top
shelf of garden powders and poisons
boxes of canning jars
tangle of camping stuff
all familiar—like loved homes are—
as my own hands and feet.
So the other day
when I couldn’t remember
if there was a slanted ceiling
and a south window
in my childhood bedroom on the farm
I felt as if I had taken off my sock
and found I was missing a toe.

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly (First published in Picking Flowers – a Fraser Valley Poets Society project.)

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Top to bottom L-R: top two - Destroyed kitchen; 2nd row - We ate a lot of breakfasts and lunch on the balcony; The living room; Row 3 - Living room restored; Kitchen restored.
Top to bottom L-R: Row 1 – Destroyed kitchen; Row 2 – We ate a lot of breakfasts and lunches on the balcony; The gutted living room; Row 3 – Living room restored; Kitchen-dining area restored.

Thankful for Home

As you probably pick up from the poem above, I am a homebody. I love to travel but I love to come home more. I like a social outing but home is where I feel most comfortable, relaxed, and happy.

In the summer of 2014 we came home from holiday to a flooded house. All the main floor flooring of our townhouse had to be redone, along with much of the basement den. Witnessing the change of my cozy living room to a bare shell with a splintery chipboard floor, the devolution of my functional kitchen to cupboards stacked helter skelter in the middle of the room was almost physically painful for me.

And so my heart goes out to the refugees we see on the news, streaming across Europe—homeless because their homes have been bombed, their familiar towns and cities not safe to live in any more. I can only imagine how it must feel to have no home.

We eventually got our home back, better than ever. But since our flood I have stopped taking my home for granted. Often now when I sit in my cozy living room or work in my functional kitchen I marvel at how they were brought back and say, “Thank you, Lord!” And my prayer for refugees everywhere is that may they find homes again too.

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning. Today the theme is THANKSGIVING FOR HOME.

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week for Spiritual Journey Thursday

 

 
 

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