Monday, April 12, 2021

Countdown... Earth Day, April 22nd. The theme for this year's observance is the all-too-urgent call to "Restore Our Earth". 

Yes, I try to do my small part in looking after the planet. Drying linens on the line means I don't have to use electricity to power the dryer. Instead, it's what I like to think of as backyard wind power. And oh, but I do love the bonus scent of those sheets that have danced in the breeze on a sunny afternoon! 

This year I am hoping for a bigger kind of restoration to begin, one I'm calling Restore the Peace

I'm imagining crews of workers employed at what's still called 'Site C' -- only they're not building a mega-dam -- they've abandoned that folly and are working to restore the land as well as the currently-diverted Peace River. 

They're planting trees to replace those that were removed and while they wait for those trees to grow, they've established a 'forest' of wind turbines.

If this sounds like a dream, yes it is. But it's a dream I believe we need to make come true. 

While many of us believe that every day should be Earth Day, the official one is coming soon, so yes, I'm embarking on a countdown and hoping you'll join: Ten, nine, eight, seven...

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Poetry all over the place

National Poetry Month -- is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the great reasons (besides the gradually improving weather) to be glad it's April. This year's theme, resilience, seems right for the year we've had (and seem to be continuing to have) under various stages of lockdown and social distancing. 

As a constant reader, I tend to poke around in genres. And it seems, even when I'm putting my focus on poetry, more than one genre insists on being present. The three books above serve to illustrate this. 

The one on the left, Scratching Initials, is a self-published homage to the author's sister. It's a blend of poems and black-and-white drawings, quite a lovely little book that contains a nice range of poetic forms -- prose poems, ghazals and haibun

The one on the right, burninghouse, is a taut collection by a writer whose work feels firmly grounded in Atlantic Canada. Feminism is the guiding principle in these poems -- a book worth taking the time to find -- or at least that's my opinion

The one in the middle, 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, does much more than the title suggests. Each of the 100 poems in this anthology is accompanied by a short essay that enriches anyone's reading of the poem. And it isn't so much that the author, noted poet Edward Hirsch, offers ongoing heartbreak; his words -- and the poems -- provide solace, something I suspect so many of us are now in need of. 

And if you're ready to celebrate National Poetry Month with poems of your own, here's a link to a list of inspirations that might get you started. Or, for more detailed instructions (note: they change, day to day) here's a blog for NaPoWriMo (which has added 'Glo' to its name, indicating it's now National Global Poetry Writing Month) with amazing suggestions -- including one, for a 'deck' of word cards which seems actually to have been part of the method Linda Pearce used in Scratching Initials

Once you've started writing poems, I hope you might work up enough courage to enter this year's 2-Day Poem Contest, an adventure that's always interesting (to put it mildly -- try it and you might see what I mean). Although the event takes place April 23rd to 25th, the deadline for registering is April 16 -- soon. 

The choice of how to celebrate is yours, and no doubt there'll be more poetry-themed posts during this glorious month that celebrates this dear-to-my-heart art form. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

It's hard to imagine...


..just how the City of Surrey managed to wangle its recently-announced designation as a "Tree City" as when I look around I see small forests and big trees coming down, down, down.  

One of the most reliable spokespersons for the trees -- for years now -- is a woman named Deb Jack. When she speaks, our know-it-all mayor offers his usual lip service and then votes in a way that shows he's yet again ignoring the things she says.  

The photo above shows one of a batch of trees that bordered the edge of a property where a little old house was torn down, no doubt to be replaced by a giganto, absurdly big one. 

I'd have thought that trees that close to the property line would not have had to be chopped, as there are some limits (too small, but they're officially there) as to how much clearance there needs to be between the building and the line. Besides, the next door 'neighbour' is an elementary school, so the 'natural fence' provided by trees would have meant shade, privacy, and a cushion from the noisy play outside of a school.

The "Tree City" designation requires a city to show a plan for evaluating specific trees, for having a policy that requires replacement of trees that have been removed -- and yes, Surrey has these, but they're plans as thin as the paper they're written on. They're often ignored, and as for replacements -- huh? How does a 3-foot cedar shrubbery replace a tree that's over 50 years old. 

I'm not the only one who feels our Council's approval of trees falling everywhere is unacceptable, but with the current 'representatives' sitting, neither we nor the trees seem to stand a chance. 

Surrey: good for making promises as hollow as a tree gone rotten with disease.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Share a poem today

Sometimes it seems that there's a designated 'Day' for just about everything. 

Yesterday was (and it came as news to me) the International Day of Happiness. That seems like a day we could use more often than once a year. 

Today is another such observance. In 1999 the United Nations declared this date World Poetry Day. Some years, a specific theme is declared. In 2017 the theme was 'Freedom'. 

This year, while there's no specific theme, the preservation of languages plays a role. 

Since I don't write much in anything but English, the best I can offer for a poem today is a small piece particular to this challenging year we've been enduring. 

Haiku in isolated times

sitting at the table

so many days together

we remain in love

Thursday, March 18, 2021

They're heeere!

It's always a glorious day when a box of new books arrives. Especially when they're my very own latest, Glorious Birds

Looking back over this less-than-glorious year, with its various stages of lockdown, I feel lucky that I found myself engaged in a project where I'd not only learn so much, but where I'd have such a great time. 

And now, on to the launch event, happening later this very day. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Maybe it's time...

...that God needs a new pronoun too. 

My uncle often used to lead a prayer when we sat down to eat. And I loved that he generally began, "We thank thee, blessed Father/Mother..." an opening that acknowledged a being beyond the boundaries of a single given gender. 

On this day when we recognize one of the most intense complexities of mathematics, pi, it seems like a good time to grant a broader expansiveness to that most complex of all human constructs, the idea of God. 

And, if we're the sort who sometimes offers thanks to such an entity, we need to be grateful for Their (rather than Her or His) generous ways.

Sunday, March 07, 2021


Tomorrow is International Women's Day, a day when I'll be celebrating with a reading from my book about Amelia Earhart, Flightpaths

Her accomplishments as an aviator would be enough to make her a worthy mentor, but I admire her as well for her courage, especially in the many ways she stood up for and spoke out for the rights of women.  

Even though she was speaking about opportunities (or rather, the lack thereof) for women in the field of aviation, this statement of hers from 1934, sadly remains somewhat relevant today: "If and when you knock at the door, it might be well to bring an ax along; you may have to chop your way through." [from Susan Butler's excellent book, East to the Dawn]

The photo above is one of the monuments to her in Atchison, Kansas, the town where she was born. They like to celebrate their most famous citizen by having a festival in her honour every summer (every summer except 2020, of course; fingers crossed for this July). 

This weekend's edition of the Globe and Mail offered an interesting idea for a way to celebrate Women's Day. The article made the suggestion to read a book by a woman author. While that doesn't sound too radical a thought, the article reminded me that men don't always read books by women writers. 

This is something I've wondered about before, as women and girls certainly aren't afraid to read the works of men. Is this just another of those double-standards we continue to live with?

Tomorrow -- and by that, I don't mean only tomorrow, March 8th -- but all the tomorrows on into the years when things can only continue (we hope) to improve for women around the world. Onward!