Poem A Day Challenge April 23, 2019

Writing the story of my family's journey north, has set me to thinking about stories about my grandparents. Here is a picture of them with their first four children and my grandfather's mother. 




Grandma and Grandpa

Walter was a logger,
a large man
with large hands
who spent
time in camp
falling timber
with saws and axes.

Belle worked hard
alongside her parents
in the hotel they ran.

His best pal
was walking out with
her best friend.

Baseball was the passion of the day.

They came to know one another 
during outings to games.

Belle was ten years younger.
Thought he was handsome,
but she was to young for him.
Walter admired her looks 
and liked her spunk,
but he was to old for her.

When Belle was 16, 
her mother died.
Her father, 
always fond of drink,
sunk deep into despair,
and even deeper into the bottle.

Strange men visited the house,
consumed copious amounts of drink,
played poker and
roamed the premises.

Belle stuck knives 
in her bedroom door
to keep those men out,
and her virtue safe

On a trip home from camp,
Walter discovered what was going on.
Married her to get her out of there.

One year later,
Belle, not yet pregnant,
worried she was barren.

It’s a good thing she was wrong
or my mother,
the last of their seventeen children,
wouldn’t have been born,
and neither would I.






Poem A Day Challenge April 22, 2019

Today is Earth Day. 

Last Saturday, while Hoyoun, Ada and I were out walking, we admired a lot full of dandelions. It was eerily silent without the buzz of bees. For the rest of our walk, we searched for them in every clump of flowers. Eventually we found one. I have been trying to come up with a poem for dandelions and the missing bees ever since. I ended up with using a dodoitsu format you can read about here


Spring is here. Dandelions
In golden abundance, wait,
Wondering, just like we do,
What happened to bees?


#IMWAYR April 22, 2019

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.



Happy Earth Day!

I'm planning on posting a poem that is part of a collection of poems about climate change, but a lot can happen between now, as I write this Sunday evening, and when I wake up Monday morning. 

As a nod to Easter reading, I picked up a couple of books with egg related themes when I was at the library Saturday with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law. Otherwise, we didn't make a big deal about the season this year. I made dinner and dessert of pavlova with lemon curd. Our house has been chocolate free! 

POEM A DAY POSTS LAST WEEK

15. Hold On
16. These Hands

17. Cherubs

18. drought

19. journey*

20. Politics

21. A Poem For Lost Glasses

Hurrah! The poem a day challenge is almost 3/4's over. 

PICTURE BOOKS


4 stars
Little Cub by Olivier Dunrea

I am in the middle of an obsession with Olivier Dunrea's picture books. My grandchildren are a bit young for this one as it has more text, but I am sure that slightly older children will love this story about a little bear who is on his own. He doesn't like being alone and wishes he had someone to take care of him. Old Bear is also alone and doesn't like it. He too wishes he had someone to take care of him. I'm now waiting to read Old Bear and His Cub.


4 stars
Gus (Gossie and Friends) by Olivier Dunrea

I enjoyed this little board book more than my granddaughter did, but maybe it was just not the right time for her. Gus is a thoughtful loner spending his time watching the world around him. Then he discovers a clutch of eggs.


4 stars
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett

I might be more dark and twisted than I thought, but I loved this book. All the other birds have laid eggs except Goose. Then he found an egg and fell in love with its beauty, certain it was the best egg ever. Long after all the other eggs had hatched, goose waited. It’s quite the surprise when the egg finally does crack and open. I was sad that the end papers were covered in my library copy. I had to work hard to find the final, hilarious surprise!


3 stars
This House, Once by Deborah Freedman

This is a kind of house that jack built, only it references where the different parts of the house came from. The illustrations are divine, but I was confused by what was going on at times.

NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS


5 stars
I Am NOT a Dinosaur! by Will Lach & Jonny Lambert (Illustrator)

This book introduces readers to numerous animals often mistaken for dinosaurs. I loved it for many reasons. First, the main part is written in poetry. Second, it's nonfiction. Third, Jonny Lambert's art is equal to Steve Jenkins work. Fourth, the back matter is full of additional information about each animal. There is a section titled, What is a Dinosaur? It also includes a timeline showing the epochs each animal existed.

POETRY


5 stars
My Dog Is a Carrot by John Hegley

These poems are pure delight! They are also twisted and somewhat warped. I'm looking forward to sharing some of them with students this coming week. The section of poems on glasses inspired me to write my own poem this week! You can read it here.

NOVELS


5 stars
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan & Kyle Riley (Narrator)

The writing in this novel is exquisite. It's the story of black Jazz musicians living in Europe at the time of the second world war. It's a powerful story about betrayal and redemption. The list of awards this book has won, or was nominated for, tell you how potent it is.
Esi Edugyan is Canadian.

ADULT NONFICTION


5 stars
Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy by Manjusha Pawagi

This memoir deals with the time the author was diagnosed with leukaemia and the treatment regime she had to endure to get rid of it. It's loaded with gruesome details, truly wretched experiences and episodes of black humour. I knew that the treatment for cancer was harsh, but before reading this book, I really didn't understand what that looked and felt like.
It is beautifully written. I stopped and wrote out a number of passages.
Throughout this memoir, what struck me most was the strength of the relationships she began with, and those she forged during her horrific marathon. I leave you with this quote from the book.

“ Love is not a tree, because trees die. Love is a rock. And not stone that crumbles into dust. It’s the Canadian Shield itself, granite as old is the Earth, solid and unwavering beneath my weak and unsteady feet.”
Manjusha Pawagi is Canadian.

CURRENTLY

I am listening to Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny and reading, with my eyes, Girl in Pieces by by Kathleen Glasgow. The latter has been on my #MustRead list for the last couple of years. I am so glad to finally get to it.

UP NEXT

The next audiobook will be Property of the Rebel Librarian (if it becomes available.) I'm eyeing Ash Boy: A CinderFella Story as a break from the intensity before starting Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MustReadIn2018 11/25 1 in progress

#MustReadNFIn2018 6/12 

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 7/25

25 books by Canadian Authors 23/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 138/333

Poem A Day Challenge April 21, 2019

This poem was inspired while reading My Dog is A Carrot by John Hegley. He has six poems in it about glasses that tickled my fancy. While reading them, I remembered an episode in my teen years when my sisters and I lost our glasses. I let the idea percolate for a bit before sitting down and starting writing. John Hegley's poetry is full of humour. In his honour I've tried to write a poem that might make you smile. 

A Poem For Lost Glasses

High ho! High ho! High ho! High ho!
Into the mountains we did go.

We chanced upon a clear clean lake,
and so a stop we did make.

The day was hot and so were we.
Off went our clothes, one, two, three.

From the wharf we all did dive,
leaving our glasses there behind.

Three pair sitting on the edge,
till someone knocked them off that ledge.

Down, down to the deep they went.
A lot of money the folks had spent.

A reward was offered for their find,
while we meandered nearly blind.

Those glasses never were retrieved,
leaving our parents poor and aggrieved.

We all learned forever more
to leave our glasses on the shore.

Somewhere still on that muddy bottom,
our glasses are there but not forgotten.

Here is a link to blogs of other participants in this challenge. 

Links to my previous poems can be found here

Poem A Day Challenge April 20, 2019

A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favoured). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged.) The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The Skinny was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University in 2005. They are poems about social issues. 
With the recent elections of right wing political parties here in Canada, here's mine.

Politics

What do we lose when they win?
more
powerful
corporations
wanting
more
poverty
prisons
partisanship
more
What do we lose when they win?


What do we lose when they win?
less
hospitals
libraries
schools
less
diversity
planet
protection
less
What do we lose when they win?



Here is a link to blogs of other participants in this challenge. 

Links to my previous poems can be found here

Poem A Day Challenge & Poetry Friday April 19, 2019

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. Make sure you read her ongoing story poems about John and his dog, Betsy, and check out her page for links to more poets sharing work today.

In 1958, when I was five years old, my parents and other relatives set out on a great adventure north. I have been writing bits and pieces about that time for a while. Over the last couple of years, and as I write more, I interview remaining family members for more details and stories about their experience. To motivate myself to write, I plan to post bits and pieces of their saga here every Friday. They might not be in any kind of order. I'm just hoping to get some kind of reasonable drafts out there. I hope for feedback both on the construction of the poetry, and more details from family.

This is the third instalment. You can read the first one here and the second one here.

journey

they set off north
abandoning
the grey green shades
of cactus,
grease wood,
sage and
darker hues of
lonesome

ponderosa pine

left behind
irrigated 
lowlands and
orchards ripe with fruit

hoodoos and
silt cliffs
saluted them
in the early morning
light of their leaving

took the ferry across
Okanagan lake
where Ogopogo
is rumoured to swim

saw terrain transform
from orchards
into ranch land

drove
through town
after town
when main street
meant something

reached the interior plateau
and headed west
through Kamloops
to Cache Creek
traversing
a desolate landscape

hills so barren,
the dried grasses
on their exposed bones
wearily waved them on

continued north again
up Highway 97
to Clinton where
they stopped,
rested,
spent the night
with family

Peggy and Maurice
welcomed them
fed them,
and sent them
on their way
the next day

onward they pressed
deep into the heart
of the Cariboo
passing through
country lush with lakes,
following the old gold rush trail
in search of a different kind
of riches

through
100 Mile House
William’s Lake
and Quesnel

mile by mile
groves of white and green
aspen attended them,
bearing witness 

open grasslands
merged into
northern pine forests

that second evening,
arriving in
Prince George
they halted
overnighted with
family again
Alma and Red,
mom’s eldest sister
had fresh baked
huckleberry pies
waiting for them

next morning they set out
northeast across the rockies
on the last
leg of their journey
into what would become
their new homes
their new lives


Links to my previous April poems can be found here.


Here is a link to blogs of other participants in the poem a day challenge.

Poem A Day Challenge April 18, 2019


This is part of collection of poems I've been working on since last summer. I'm not saying I'm finished with it. Desperate to get something out there today might be closer to the truth. 

drought

day after day
through a
carbon charged
atmosphere,
the sun god
radiates,
desiccates
the earth

plants,
her once fervent
worshipers,
whimper,
whither,
dry leaves curl into
thirst dreams:

dewdrops
rivulets of rain
cool sweet streams
and raging rivers

desperate
for damp,
roots extend,
tendrils splay out
seeking respite
seeking life

offered only
dry earth
crumbling into dust,
hope
is abandoned,
death
is embraced

arid winds
whorl
dried leaves,
brittle roots,
stems
and topsoil
into space

day after day
through a
carbon charged
atmosphere,
the sun god
radiates,
desiccates