Thursday, December 31, 2009

Champagne - A New Year's Eve Poem







,







Champagne

In a beehive, imperfect spheres,
baroque pearls
swarm into the mystery of a fluted glass.

You’re there, your presence a quiet drunkness,
a shell both timid and transparent -
love nautilus that spirals itself  away among madrepores
towards lands of unknown frontiers.

I’m here, a whisper in the lull of your words
rebellious lips,
preparing myself
for the final second of this year of grace
which will pass
before I’m able to explain your love
in a funnel of fireworks and fleeting clocks. 



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Poetry Frayed At the Edges


My head, lopped off my neck by an invisible guillotine of metaphors, rolls to the floor.

 I’ve been submerged in poetry books for the past few days and it feels as if I’m at the  bottom of a dark cauldron bubbling over with icy waters.

So, where do I go from here - after  reading through blogs, magazines and  tortuous palimpsests – only to absorb the treacherous moods inside haunted forests of words?

The handful of poems that I’ve been combing through look somewhat frayed at the edges tonight and my glasses are fogging up already.

But I acknowledge that there is possibly an even more difficult state of mind. 

That other state of mind we call ‘reality’.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Poetry Press Review - Southern Poetry Review # 47 :2


Issue # 47:2 of the Southern Poetry Review (SPR) is a collection of poems orchestrated through subtle transitions of poetic themes, carefully engineered by its poetry editors.

The issue commences with a group of five poems, followed by « Slow Fuse Around the Cranium » by Elton Glaser, a poem that was awarded the 2009 Guy Owen Prize.

“Slow Fuse Around the Cranium” is a poem written in a vein of humour and lyricism, whose final may be construed as the fulcrum of the poem:

« The future might ring in the rich bronze
Midnight tone of some Mongolian death gong… »

Or maybe not.

Perhaps a few other key points are made (and hidden) in the preceding stanzas where rhetorical questions are asked:

« …when I can
Flay myself in the doldrums of my own home? »

A poetry of surprising metaphors and themes, found on page 17 of this issue of the Southern Poetry Review is « Cleaning the Mermaid » by William L Ramsey.

I should mention that I personally view this poem as a unique artistic achievement in the context of a string of poems of high poetic calibre within the collection.

« Cleaning the Mermaid » by William L Ramsey dazzles through its imagery and poetical treatment.

With no intention to give away the gist of this poem, since its poetic tension can hardly be rendered ‘second hand’ , I would like to quote a few lines, that might provide an inkling as to the  poem’s theme, weaved in over three stanzas.

Here is the beginning of the first stanza:

« What to say of it, the fish part,
    that does not sound like
    any fish »

To note that this forceful beginning is followed by a second stanza, where cascading metaphors are sequenced out in a dramatic crescendo that take the reader to a mountain-top of poetic exhilaration.

Once having reached the high altitude where William L. Ramsey’s poem has taken us, it becomes increasingly difficult to put up with run-of-the-mill poetry.

Fortunately enough, other poems in the collection continue to maintain this altitude.
Among them: « Burning Down the Camper » by Mark Jay Brewin, JR.

This poem is a miniature symphony, in which the abrasiveness of reality yields, in its final, to an opening, an aperture into what poets of a different era would call ‘the ineffable’ or ‘the sublime’.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Inunnguaq - A Poem



               Inunnguaq 
 

Moss,
whispers of hidden waterfalls


a sleepy Inunnguaq shifts petals of granite specks
into my sight
 

seconds swim by – captives in an insect eye,
a rift of indecision, a calm bequeathed in off-white
colors.

I am at a  crossroad.
The Inunnguaq smiles, perched on the axis of its movement.

I’m trekking north towards the pole, without a compass, 
eye on the weathervane of lakes and forests swirling in the hail,
led by the shadow of the snow sphinx,

- an Inunnguaq.



Posted on  ->The Inukshuk

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Inukshuk - A Poem for Students and Children

      
                 A poem for students and children. 


                  Inuksuk 

                             
I have heard you murmuring a story to the robin,
whistling it rather ,
among rustling maple leaves.

I have seen you shifting
the balance of your shoulders at dawn, 

when clouds move like small pebbles at the bottom of a creek,   
snaking out towards rivulets in the sky.  

I have felt your joy – your skin made of rock
caressed my palms through snow
and early morning mists crawling across the stillness of the lake.

Your faceless head rested over my shoulder
when you were sad.

We were once one and the same, my inukshuk friend.

Time has given us different shapes.
Cast in stone, you keep the roads safe.

Alive and restless, I write about your dreams.



____________________________________
Posted on  ->The Inukshuk

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Dialogue in Poems

Simply wanted to note a short dialogue in poems that is taking place in French between the author of the website http://www.lezardes-et-murmures.com/- Loran - and me on the website http://poesiecanadienne.blogspot.com/.

This dialogue, if you will, is a fencing exercise of a poetic nature and is something spontaneous. 


A lot of back and forth in poems.
Here are some of the poems I have written.

1.     L’IdentitĂ© Algonquine  (the Algonquin Identity).

2.    Lampe d’Aladin (Aladdin's Lamp).
3.    Coup de canon (Canon ball) .

4.    Roture

  You can follow this dialogue in poems on Loran's website http://www.lezardes-et-murmures.com and on my web site
http://poesiecanadienne.blogspot.com





Friday, November 20, 2009

Inuksuk, Inukshuk , Inunnguaq



Inuksuk, Inukshuk , Inunnguaq

Westbound on the 401, I caught a glimpse of an inukshuk
right at the tip of the fusing asphalt lane.

Over my right shoulder
in the boreal green haze of the mid-June afternoon,
suspended on heaps of granite rocks,

amid the fumes of the drizzle evaporating & eroding the air.

A cairn in the shape of a faceless man,
a tentative ledger in lieu of shoulders, balancing the weight of a larger burden
made of quartz and limestone:

his identity.

Seized up in a stone soliloquy
the inukshuk’s precarious balance
reached out to me,
in the fast  counterpoint of the advancing day.

The faceless man
asked me who I was on this road.

Whose words did I hold on my own terrace of songs?

Thirty miles east of Kingston –
 & the question followed me home,
among the curving boughs of the road

filled with looming maple shades and white poplar fluff
carried by winds to glacial and oblivious lakes.
 

The question stands – who am I?

Inuksuk, Inukshuk , Inunnguaq.


___________________________________ 
Posted on  ->The Inukshuk

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seabed


On some days, I feel as if I barely float above a sunken seabed, among madrepores, coral reefs,bored  fish and seashells.
 

Some sort of deep sea algae, verdant and scintillating, hungry for an undercurrent that can move me towards a new marine settlement among crawling crabs and shards of amphorae. 

This undercurrent is a poem, ready to shift my shape from among rippling sand dunes. 






Monday, November 16, 2009

Three Reasons for Reading Poetry In Winter

       
1. Winter is made up of stillness. Words echo in the distance and their meaning, amplified by the frozen void, carries further away and deeper towards the fringes of our understanding.

2.The ground is covered by snow. White is an ‘all or nothing’ color. Everything appears to be at a standstill - where nothing is possible anymore and bleakness overwhelms us.
It’s also the point where the tide begins to turn, from the rock bottom of despair.
Often this new beginning is brought about by random verses or snippets of songs.


3. Winter is musical - an icy symphony made of spikes of sound.
A poem takes this reverberation and circles it into a cloud of syllables that can make us happy for the rest of the day. 

Niska - A Cree Word



Plumes and lenses of waters
Catching the waves of autumn leaves – afloat.

A vibration of syllables cached inside a
Soft, gliding movement muted by distant oars –

Niska.

A Cree word for the goose of the North.

Hockey and poetry

                                        

                                Puck  
 


Ice.
Scarred by serrated edges and
the harshness of blades, moving fast, crisscrossing, 
light hollows out,

skating towards a no-man’s land of winter
and empty gradins
 

towards the puck.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Three Reasons for Reading Poetry


1. Poetry is multi-faceted, a rotating insect eye that brings forward unexpected angles on reality. 

2. Poetry focuses the mind on the nuances and clarity of meaning, it purpose and its structure.

3. Poetry uncovers hidden layers of the psyche, proving an occasion for self-exploration and healing.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Short note

    “Ride the wave!” they had said.

      And my back was against a grain of sand - caught between an oyster and its shell.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    The Eye of Poetry


    Browsing through some of Seamus Heanney’s poetry tonight, I sense the importance of seeing in his poems as one of his cardinal themes. 

    This can be understood, even by noting some of the  titles of his books:
    ‘Seeing things”, “The Haw Lantern”,“Door into The Dark”.

    An excerpt from the poem The Haw Lantern:

    "…a small light for small people
    wanting no more from them but that they keep
    the wick of self respect from dying out
    not having to blind them with illumination"

    might point us  further towards some of the attributes of this sense of vision: clarity, classical balance and  fundamental harmony. 
    His sense of vision is an allegory of seeing - and  it is the vision of poetry itself. 

    Monday, November 09, 2009

    An Invariant of the Poetic Language


    There are a few invariants of the poetic language, no matter the time, place and manner of writing.

    One of them is silence. 
    Poetry is equally made up of silence and of words. 

    Pauses, voids of sound and letters, eddies of quiet split-seconds & respiros break up and re-construct the interior rhythm which is the shell of poetry. 

    Whether such pauses might be commas, full stops or dashes, blank spaces, line breaks and/or foreign symbols is left to the imagination of the writer. 
    A reader perceives silence, in his/her own stride, as he/she is called upon to grapple with the harmony and meaning of words.  

    Silence is the interval  between two  heartbeats and, in writing, an equivalent of pizzicato.

    Sunday, November 08, 2009

    Tall Lantern Man


    This is a post where poetry becomes  a reason for being able to breathe, and for being anchored in (some sort of) reality.

    Reading through Henry Gould's poetry:

    flame-orange origami-construct, or
    Romany barge ('mid scalloped shallop-swarm)


    from Lanthanum Road 4.18

    and

    Brink's
    truckloads-full of Scythian bird's-eyes


    from Lanthanum Road 3.17



    Chair

    "Noise through a sleepy window
    will change a chair into something more present
    than love."

     A quote from the book of poetry "Noise from the Laundry" by the Canadian poet Weyman Chan.

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Door panel


    A thought trailing from the post on Antoine Watteau.
    Poetry is very much like a door panel: it adorns a passage way. 

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009

    Antoine & The Coloured Chalk


    I had stumbled upon a book on Antoine Watteau - Watteau” by Iris Lauterbach at the S. Walter Stewart library over the weekend.

    Things that can be gleaned from the book:

    1.    Antoine drew mostly with chalks of three colours – red, black and white.
    2.    Antoine drew dessus de porte (door panels) and wall panels – some of which are in Valenciennes, his native city.
    3.    Several of his paintings depict the character Mezzetin/Mezzetino – from Commedia dell’Arte.

    Leafing through the book, I began to see his paintings through new lenses: the obsessively perfect and nerve-wrecking Dutch school minutia of leaves and trees with wisps of clouds in the background. The passion for rich burgundy hues in “The Party of Four.
    Clothing cut in Flemish style.
     

    The moon-lit and sfumato scenes of fĂȘtes galantes appeared to be still there, though. Everyone was still leaving for Cythera, the Greek island considered to belong to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

    As walked out of the door this morning and in the rain, the sidewalk was glistening, covered with pools of  rain water and traces of red, black and white chalk.


    Sunday, November 01, 2009

    "Watery Flowers"


    Radiating outward from Monet’s water lilies in the previous post to Robert Frost’s poetry.

    The lilies in Monet’s paintings are sprawling, darkening webs of shadow and wetness, of reflected harmony on prowling gimlets of color.

    Here is a realm of affinity with one of Robert Frost’s poems “Spring Pools”:

    “These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
    The total sky almost without defect,
    And like the flowers beside them chill and shiver.”

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Oars

    "Halt, muddy river! Rest awhile among your reeds.
    Make way for a lover in a hurry,


    for you haven't a bridge or a chain-ferry,
    to take me across without oars."
     

    (From Ovid's Amores - Book 3- translated by Guy Lee.)
     


    This is as good a description as any of the sense of ‘crossing’ one experiences in the entanglement of new emotions.


    Captivity

    End of October in East York.


    Sun rays slowly breaking through gray cupolas of off-white clouds lit up domes of secret Tiffany lamps in the trees covering the ceiling of light.


    Red maple leafs descend unhurriedly, spiraling down towards the patchy front lawns.


    Dark green yew leaves swaddle bungalow walls, crisscrossing still unsuspecting dogwood clusters.


    Scraping off the scent of ash trees, poplar fumes and beech tree bark, yellow hues tinge off a webbed, glittering glance towards the colors held captive inside a day spent in East York.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    A Matter of Breathing

    "For every period of art , there is an intimate rhythm, as natural and instinctive for it as the rhythm of breathing can be."


    From Julien Gracq's "Reading Writing" (En lisant en ecrivant) translated by Jeanine Herman.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Frieze

    The poetry that I dream of , however, is quite different from Hamlet’s.

    Mine is made up of muffled sounds and white friezes of dried flowers, rendered transparent by an Aegean light.

    It’s harmony within shores that contain a sea of untamed senses.

    (Here and there, a whiff of burnt incense.)

    Skull

    Poetry is held in balance by strange words and arrogant assonance.
    Here is Hamlet – “where be his quiddits now, his quillets” he asks in the first scene of Act V.


    Words that sound and feel like pebbles or small bones inside a skull.

    Weight



    The weight of poetry.


    Feathers scattered on a beach, grains of wet sands held in balance by a small coin, in its turn burnished by dying sun rays, just before the evening sets in.


    Shards of seashells, wisps of algae and mother of pearl grays.


    A sunk sundial, if you will, pointing to the beginning of a receding sea.







    The Netherworlds

    This day had trapped me in its funnel of mists.


    My eye lids are heavy, as if I had been swimming in a pond of visual metaphors, filled with Monet’s water-lilies – wisps of inverted colours, mauves sinking in a silt of grey moss, white dissolving within the boundaries of a porous horizon.


    It reminds me of a river bed undercut by icy currents, basking in yet un-negotiated hues.


    A cone of flowers and water, haunted by reflections of shapes on stilts, moves gently in a rippled echo.


    Dawn is near.


    Caught within the gorges of this fluidity, I find my own thoughts trickling downwards, through the funnel, into the netherworlds.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Cliff

    I found myself in a dangerous zone.

    All of a sudden I started to believe that my poems are part of reality.

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    He Who Saw Everything


    He who saw everything.

    Gilgamesh.

    He who saw everything had not seen the love I had for him.

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