Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rainy Night

Rainy Night

Rain has washed the city
Leaving streets slick
City lights
Look brighter
As the rainy haze lifts

The ground drinks
Feeding the grass
Once winter white
Then sepia spring
Now green growth appears

April showers
To end the month
I am looking to May
With hopes of flowers
And sun to warm them

And here ends my month of poems - it has been quite a challenge. There are some I feel good about - others missed the mark. But each has been a way to push me to write, to imagine and to share.

Now I am hoping for that May weather so I can get out more with my camera and concentrate on the photographs.



Glass blowers like alchemists
Transform one thing into another
Melting glass until it flows
They blow in life
To create new forms

Heating and cooling
Twisting turning
Adding layers of colour
A thing of beauty emerges
Each piece unique

Day 86: Hand Blown Glass

Transparent opalescent
With a lightness
Forged in hot furnaces
Each glass artist
Finds his style
Beauty born of fire

The bottom piece was bought at Robert Held's studio some 35 years ago. You can read about glassblowing from his web site

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Book Case

I love to dive into a book
Mostly fiction
Explore ideas
Visit other cultures
And linger over
Well-chosen words

My library is brimming
With stories, mysteries,
And tales of the  lives
Of those who have gone before

I can pore over an atlas
Imagining great adventures
Or visit the work of artists
And try to see the world
Through their eyes
One shelf is full of advice
Psychology for living

Trees flowers stars
A book for each
And photographs to
Wonder at this world of ours

My tablet is my new library
An annex to these shelves
I can carry with me
The Complete Works of Shakespeare
Or my latest books to read

I'm not ready to give up
On real world books
Turning pages
Or just flipping through
Always new discoveries
And a reason to stop a while
Time to go read

Monday, April 28, 2014



A post dinner coffee
Finer than dessert
The frothy milk
Feels like decadence
An end to a meal
With time to linger

A morning jolt
To start the day
I like mine dark
Corse and bitter
Fair trade
Rich taste

No hundred mile
Diet for me
My coffee needs to travel
Its aroma fills my kitchen
One of life's simple pleasures

for an ode to coffee, listen to Bach's Coffee Cantata
and here are the lyrics with English translation

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring Rain

Spring Rain

Outside the spring rain falls
Working its magic
Greening the grass
Winter's dirt begins to wash away
The air smells fresh

Inside I sip my tea
And bury my nose in a book
Alice Monroe for company
Simple pleasures
On a dreary day

Outside the buds begin to burst
Hints of leaves to come
All around
Growth is speeding up

Inside I wrap a blanket
Around my shoulders
Pour another cup
A day for slowing down


Kitchen Stuff

I'm feeling dated
I lived through avocado green
A mixer sat on my counter
Beside my harvest gold stove

Almond was a relief
From those murky shades
For my next kitchen
I happily bought white appliances

A riot of colour is back
As silicone tools take over
I balk at this brilliant rainbow
of clothes I wore in the seventies

My metal appliances
and wooden spoons
Sit proudly on my counter
No need to change
I know this is just a passing fashion

Friday, April 25, 2014



Searching for my muse
I wander the neighbourhood
Looking for inspiration
Some days I'm stumped

I have extolled the welcome spring
Waxed poetic over new arrivals
Birds and flowers
Marvelled at music

I play around with words
Is lack of muse amusing?
No wit, no gems
That percolate

A day without Erato
To stimulate my pondering
Perchance she'll visit later
To illuminate my wandering

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The Centre

Note: the photo just made me think of Titania sleeping in a flower - a little homage to Shakespeare

Four hundred and fifty years
To celebrate Shakespeare's life
His words are still spoken
Around the world

He spun the English language
Inventing words to fit his rhythms
And to best express his thoughts
We use them still

Ideas still fresh
To the modern ear
His plays do not grow old
Their messages ageless

So great bard
I salute you on your birthday
Four hundred and fifty years young
And still going strong

First Flowers


Scylla are naughty flowers
Not content to grow
In the confines of a garden bed
They spread where they will
Playing outside the lines
I love their saucy attitude
Small but determined
They bring colour
To the sepia of early spring.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring by Vivaldi


Notes painted on ceramic
Those notes paint pictures
Vivaldi used his colour palette
Bows not brushes
To create a canvas
Of the story of spring
Sounds evoking nature
Spring is upon us

Spring played by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Here is Vivaldi's poem:

Springtime is upon us. 
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sweet Spring Sounds

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

Sweet sounds as the birds
Newly arrived
Sing their pleasure
At the warm spring day

A red-winged blackbird serenades
Its song returned from another tree
Back and forth they sing
A merry melody on my walk.

Tree SparrowI

My eyes flit from tree to tree
Trying to trace the source of the singing
Birders with long-lensed cameras
Share their knowledge identifying species


Soon nests will be built
As more new arrivals move in
Quacks and squawks join the songs
A chorus celebrating spring.



What is real
It is sometimes hard to tell
As imagined possibilities
Loom larger than life

Shadowy thoughts
Can consume us
While the realities
Seem murky

We need to see those shadows
For what they are

Learn to play with perhaps
Dance with the shadows
Spin them into positive prospects
New perspectives

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Sunny Yellow

These hardy flowers flourish
In early spring's chill
Their sunny disposition
Announces spring's arrival

It Starts

Spring is determined
Shoots push their way up
Through barely defrosted ground
With low growing flowers showing their faces


Scylla dances out of the garden
It loves to play outside the lines
First green on the winter matted grass
Spreading the joy of a new beginning

And so begin the rapid growth and changes
Spring sets in motion
As the plants awake
From their long winter sleep.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Eating Ethically


It's harder and harder
To eat with a clear conscience
Asparagus from Peru
Travels more than I do
And sucks the land dry
So the locals can't grow food

I read of chickens crammed in cages
Barely able to move their entire lives
Buy organic to assuage my guilt
Ethically treated animals
I like to think their lives
Were not so confined

And fish
So many endangered
by overfishing or poisoned
By man caused problems
mercury, pesticides
Environments destroyed
by trawling

Chocolate too
That essential of life
Harvested by children
Forced into labour
How does their despair
Flavour the end result

I try to walk gently on the earth
Fair Trade Organic
Ethical Farms Eat Local
Do I stray off this path
Most definitely
But life is not perfection
One can only try

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Battle


Winter and Spring are in a fight
Each wanting to dominate the city
Spring pulls Sun onto its team
Chasing away the snow and ice

Winter retaliates
With its icy winds
People huddle into their coats
Hats and scarves

Spring sends rains
Washing the city of signs of winter
Warning off Winter with thunder
And bolts of lightning

Winter rallies the north winds
To dust the city once again with snow
Flowers once opened
Close their petals to hold in warmth

But the sun is strong
It is gaining the upper hand
It looks like Spring
Will once again win the battle

Train Passing

Train Passing

Train passing
Full with commuters
Homeward bound at the end of day

Back and forth
Along the tracks
Starting at Lucien-L'Allier

Vendôme Dorval
Just some of the stops along the way

Trains passing
No matter the weather
Carrying passengers every day

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Spine Poem

Bookspine Poem

The best laid plans
After midnight

In transit
The best of life

Monday, April 14, 2014



A musical weekend laced with food
Feed the brain to make it function
A hearty brunch is always good
To help us play with joy and gumption

Coffee to help us concentrate
For our muscles good protein
Vitamin C in the fruit is great
Now we are really keen

Life without music would be a mistake
Said Nietzsche long ago
Put music with food and friends  and cake
Then the music will really flow


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” 
― Plato

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Part of a Collection

A magical weekend
Of music
and laughter
Always learning

Add a recorder coach
Italian music
We played our way
Through three centuries
Exploring different styles

Don't just play
the notes on the page
How to add grace
We're learning to improvise
In the spaces
Learning the style of the time

Like mastering a new language
We explore the nuances
The flourishes
The accents
Not just notes
But a way of speaking


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music

-Aldous Huxley

Learning to Improvise

Friday, April 11, 2014



What is life without whimsy
The muppets frolicking
Fairy tales
Silly poems
and voyages
Through the imagination

I cannot imagine
life without Alice
and her wondrous adventures
or Chagall's floating people
No talking animals
or magic carpets to ride

I hope always to see
The fun and folly in life
To find the whimsy
And look with the eyes
of my inner child



My mother always made her cakes from scratch
No cake mixes from boxes
Nor store bought creations
She lovingly stirred in fresh ingredients

I longed for a doll cake
Displayed in the window at Woolworth's
A cheap plastic doll
Surrounded by tasteless cake
She stood
In her super sweet icing decorated dress
My six year old self
Thought she was lovely

But I got homemade
And learned that a fancy exterior
Does not mean goodness inside

Now I stir in fresh ingredients
Laced with love
No GMOs No trans-fats
Our home is infused with the scent of cinnamon
I make it - homemade

My mother long gone
Guides my arm as I stir
Homemade is best I learned long ago
It's the only way to stir in love

Spelt Zucchini Breads

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

To Market

Fruit Stand

Off to the market
To shop But also
To savour the sights
And aromas

Off to the market
To shop where the merchants
Smile and chat
And remember you

Flowers for Sale

Off to the market
To spoil myself
With flowers and cheeses
And fresh baked bread

Chocolate Chickens

Off to the market
To smile at seasonal delights
And sit with a bowl of coffee
Enjoying the moment

Off to the market
To fill my bags
And bring them home
To savour the goods from the market

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Cloth People

Looking In

Like the Chinese terra cotta army
These cloth wrapped creatures
Seem to guard buildings
In the neighbourhood

Facing the windows
They check on those inside
Standing faithfully at their posts
All the winter long

The Cloth Figures

I dare not pass this diminutive gang
Constantly on the watch
Strength in numbers
They seem to say.


Not all seem pleased
with their assignments
As they huddle in a corner
Caught in conversation

The weather is warming
Soon they will throw off their disguises
And stretch their branches up towards the sun
To enjoy the new growth of spring

I have featured wrapped bushes before on my blog.
You can see some here and here

Monday, April 7, 2014

Walking in the Old Port

Towards the Jacques Cartier Bridge

Walking in the Old Port
I watched videos in an app
Telling stories of the port
From past to present

Bonsecours Market

Looking through the layers
of history
Seeing the changes

On de la Commune

Traces of the past
Words on a building
New uses for old places
Constant change

Old Grain Elevators

Former glory now tarnished
Once a major hub
When ships were king
Now rust sets in

Office of the Port

Still a port
Ships sail into the seaway
Then far into the great lakes
It still connects to other lands


Now too a place for walking
cycling skating learning
fishing boating
New uses for old places

It lives again

1: Looking towards the clock tower and the Jacques Cartier Bridge
2. Marché Bonsecours - once an actual market, now filled with shops with Quebec merchandise
3. Once warehouses for the goods that arrived in the port. Shop fronts were on the street behind
4. Grain elevators - no longer in use. With the opening of the seaway in the early 1950s the loading of grain onto ships moved further inland closer to where the grain was grown.
5. Harbour Commision Building built 1874-78
6. Ship in the harbour

Old Port app

Old Port Wintering app

Old Port site

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Ready for Semele

Sunday afternoon at the opera
a local performance
in Semele
young musicians playing, singing

Even on a sunny afternoon
music lovers convene
time to enjoy
the sweet sounds of Handel

I happen upon the grandfather
Reading the synopsis of Semele
Oh, he says,
My grand-daughter is going to die

Bursting with pride
That she plays that role
Mid aria he pokes me
to give a thumbs up

An afternoon well spent
with music


 Note: This is the lid of the harpsichord - taken off for the production. Harpsichords are often highly decorated. The inscription: Dum vixi tacui. Mortua dule cano means While living I was silent: dead, I sing sweetly. You can find out more about harpsichords and inscriptions here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

In the Conservatory

Winter's Dirt

Outside the snow slowly recedes
A winter’s worth of dirt
Newly uncovered grass
Is soppy sepia
Colours still stripped
From the city

Tulips   Tulips

I step inside the conservatory
Into spring
A riot of colour
Shocks my winter weary eyes
Tulips in every shade
The lush yellows of the daffodils
Exude the warmth of sun.

Tulips   Daffodil

I wander through this oasis
Each bloom beckoning
Begging to be admired
Focus my camera
Catch their beauty
For all to enjoy

Riot of Colour

Slowly meandering
Not ready to go back
To the lingering winter
A delightful respite
To be savoured

There are signs outside
That once again
This display of colour
Will spill outdoors
And spring will take hold.