Everything

You may recall

in years to come

this feeling, this place –

home, yes,

(we all think of home)

but I mean home right now,

today;

at some vague, future time

something like these sweet smells,

brandy-soaked fruit (Christmas cakes)

and the lingering memory of breakfast’s bacon,

might bring you back to now,

you might hear the comforting melancholy

of winter jazz playing quietly on a radio,

and recall the way the winter sun infused everything

as it slanted through a filter of snow-clouds and bare branches,

you might feel the deep warmth of home,

of us, here, together.

*

Oh, right now

I know it’s just another day

a regular, lazy Sunday

a day of idle movies

of someone somewhere cooking –

peripheral,

hardly worth noting.

*

But if ever you ask me then

whether I remember now,

I will smile slightly and say

I remember, and

it was everything.

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Autumn commute (but also, Ireland II.)

Even at this early hour, the deep, jewel-blue of evening is already fading to night’s darker hues beyond the buildings. Still in the city’s small heart, though, the sky glows and refracts between windows, brightened by the lights from inside, the street-lamps outside.

There is a quickening, an energy as commuters move away from the centre, a flow that pulls us all along for a block or two until the shift to calm that comes with the transition to neighbourhoods.

Then it is dark, night descends quickly, a blanket sprinkled with the twinkling of porch lights. The cold wind refreshes, blows nostalgia at me through a small park; the scent of fallen leaves.

This is home. It is familiar. Canadian.

I love this about where I live – the familiarity, the nostalgia, the ease of moving around here, of knowing what to expect, season after season.

And yet, the other half of my heart continues to tug me, as it always has, toward Ireland.

The Tree

In wanting to re-mould this gentle tree 
(its branches danced and swayed once, elegant
though shaded all the garden’s blooming plants)
he aimed to trim and shape its crown of leaves.
Departing from sweet natural beauty
an architect’s design he sought to grant
imbued with his own flair, vision – his stamp
and an elegance almost Japanese.
But she favoured a fairy forest wild
from ancient memories of land untamed
inspired not by plans, nor tagged and named,
left free to grow like wonder in a child.
‘Tween wild and pruned a compromise was made:
sheared branches leave the sun on plants to smile.

A sonnet about garden wars for NaPoWriMo day 23 and the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Home is a city that doesn’t exist

In my dreams I still visit
the stories of this city.

She is a gathering of villages
grown and spread and near obsolete,
woven together
the ghosts of her founders lurk, people the shadows
of tree-dappled parks and streets
and river paths overhung with iron bridges.

I wander down the Pottery Road
where the abandoned brickworks lie crumbling
scooped into the crook of the Don River
and along the banks the Algonquin paddled
their ghosts long-since driven,
then up and down her streets again
past shops and bars and cafes like no other.

This city lives on in my memory – just dreams
built on history, fed with art and promise
no concrete jungle here, not yet,
the four seasons still colour-cycle through
her canopy, this vestige of the land’s ancient glory
lining now the roads and avenues
trails the first peoples once tread.

The pictures on all the postcards
tell of a great lake and lights twinkling
stretching away into the night
but I know her skyscrapers grow and multiply
crowding the lake-fed sky
shadowing the brick-red houses
of earlier times left behind
and I still remember the day
the tallest tower first stood
with a hundred children’s names signed to it.

In my dreams I still visit
the stories of this city.

I thought I would live my life there.

 

 

 

The prompt from NaPoWriMo day 16 was to fill out an “almanac questionnaire” about a specific place, real or imagined, and to then write a poem inspired by one or some of the answers. Without giving it much thought, I began answering the questions about my hometown. It didn’t take long for me to get lost down memory lane, eulogizing my favourite parts of the city. As the poem formed, I had to admit that this place I think of as home is both real and imagined – and though it’s been 23 years since I lived there, I still dream about it, still call it home.

Night Kitchen

Moonlight slivers across the kitchen floor;
an empty bottle stands sentinel
its warmth spent, diffused into reflection;
the last of the dish foam floats in hazy-softness;
alluring in the darkness,
this silent emptiness invites shadow-lingering.

 

Not quite about food, which was the NaPoWriMo day 6 prompt, but close.