Category Archives: Poetry

Katherena Vermette on the Wall

the breakKatherena Vermette came away from the Manitoba Book Awards with three prizes for her novel The Break.  She received the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.  Although I would encourage you to buy her novel as well as her book of poetry North End Love Songs a taste of Katherena’s wordsmithing skill is available to everyone even if they can’t afford her published work. 

I pass one of Katherena’s poems almost everyday as I walk through Winnipeg’s downtown area.  It is called pieces and is inscribed on a wall at the north end of Portage Avenue flanked on either side by the work of local artists. 

pieces by katherena vermette

Other posts………..

Spring and Love

Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

The Comfort of a Poem 

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Spring and Love

spring by louis bako

The red Chinese character is for love.  It is superimposed on the green character for spring.  I’ve walked by this painting on a Portage Avenue wall a hundred times but finally decided last week to stop to photograph it. The work is titled Spring Over Love Under and is by Louis C. Bako a Winnipeg artist who was born in Hungary.

The painting brings to mind a line from Le Miserables by Victor Hugo.  

If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.

Other posts…….

It Must Be Spring

Inspiration to Speed the Coming of Spring

Hope

 

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He Watches. He Listens. He Thinks. He Writes.

Paterson is calm and thoughtful.  It is almost impossible to upset him.  He follows basically the same routine every day.  Gets up. Has cereal for breakfast. Drives his city bus route. Listens to his passengers talk to one another. Listens to his supervisor complain about his life. Goes home. Eats the supper his wife has prepared and listens to her tell him about her latest creative project- decorating cupcakes, making curtains or learning to play country music on the guitar.  Takes his wife’s dog Marvin for a walk. Stops at the local pub for one beer and a chat with the bartender.  Goes back home. Goes to bed.  

patersonBut while Paterson is doing all these seemingly routine things he is also intimately observing the world around him, carefully considering every little thing he sees and listening thoughtfully to what people say. And then he writes poetry about his observations and reflections in a small brown notebook he keeps with him almost all the time. He rarely shows his wife these poems, never shows them or reads them to anyone else, and despite his wife’s constant urging never makes copies of them.  

Paterson was the main character in a movie we saw last Sunday.  The film moves quite slowly but in doing so invites the viewer to become calm and watch the story unfolding on the screen in the careful, patient, observant way of the film’s protagonist. 

In  conversation with my brother who saw the film with me, I realized that although my personality is quite different from Paterson’s we have some similarities.  I also like to observe, listen, think and write about things I encounter each day. But unlike Paterson, who keeps his writing to himself, I have a need to share mine with others. Hence this blog.  

Other posts…………

Warms Your Heart and Makes You Laugh Out Loud

This is Just to Say

The Poetry of Boxing

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Filed under Movies, Poetry

The Comfort of A Poem

Today is World Poetry Day and so I offer you a poem from Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Ring of Endless Light.  This poem brought me immense comfort during perhaps the saddest time of my life when I experienced a series of pregnancy losses.  

The earth will never be the same again
Rock, water, tree, iron, share this grief
As distant stars participate in the pain.
A candle snuffed, a falling star or leaf,
……O this particular loss
is Heaven-mourned; for if no angel cried
when this small one was tossed away as dross,
The very galaxies would have lied.
How shall we sing our love’s song now
In this strange land where all are born to die?
Each tree and leaf and star show how
The universe is part of this one cry,
Every life is noted and is cherished,
and nothing loved is ever lost or perished.

What poems have made a difference in your life? 

each tree and leaf and star……….

Other posts……

The Poetry of Boxing

Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

Dancing in Shangri-La

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My Love is Like…I Loved My Creative Students

When I taught high school English one of my quick write assignments was to read the first stanza of this famous Robert Burns poem and then write a new version. 

rose-creative-commonsBurns wrote……..

My love is like a red, red rose
That is newly sprung in June
O, my love is like a melody,
That is sweetly played in tune.

While cleaning out some old school files I found these versions my students had penned. Amazing what they could come up with in just a few minutes .

Oh your love is like a mirage
Looks great from far away
But the closer that you get to me
The more grows my dismay.

Your love is like a nice warm lap
A place for me to hide
Your love is like a watermelon
Plain rind but rich inside.

Your love is like a sequoia
That towering, invincible tree
Your love is like a magic wand
That sets my spirit free.

Oh your love is like a racing train
My life all filled with smoke
Oh your love is like a cherry pit
Small enough to make me choke.

Your love is like a cookie
Decadent, rich sweet dough
Your love is like a leech
It never lets me go. 

Our love is like a glass of wine
That sweetly intoxicates me

Our love is like a fire
So passionate are we. 

Somedays I miss teaching and the stunning creativity of my students. 

Other posts…..

The Poetry of Boxing

Aunt Vi’s Autograph Book

Poetry and Teenagers

 

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This is just to say….

wall in the hague william carlos williams creative commonsThis famous poem by William Carlos Williams is imprinted on a wall in The Hague. 

When I taught high school I used to ask my students to write their own poems using the Williams poem as inspiration. The Williams poem is said to be based on a note his wife left on the fridge for him. I asked my students to think of place where they might leave a note and what they would say. 

Here is a sample I wrote for my students about a note left by me on student work ………

This is just to say

the F

on your assignment

is for real

I’m sorry

you probably thought

I wouldn’t

figure it out

but you plagiarized

and I am

smarter

than you think

Other posts………

Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry

Dancing in Shangri-la

Poetry and Teenagers

 

 

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Filed under Education, Poetry

Blood Upon the Rose

I See His Blood Upon the Rose
by Joseph Plunkett

winter in exchange district winnipegI see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

flowers-on-the-beachI see his face in every flower;                   
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.

waves on rocks costa ricaAll pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea, 
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

The choir I’m part of this Good Friday morning is singing this poem in an arrangement by composer Hugh Robertson. It reminds me of St. Bonaventure who said that every piece of creation is another footprint, another fingerprint, another revelation of the mystery of the divine. The whole universe….. it’s all sacred.

Other posts……

Thinking About Mary on Good Friday

A Life That Adds Up to Something 

 

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Filed under Holidays, Poetry