Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

Archive for September, 2020

BRUCE’S LATEST POEM – THE PLAGUE SEASON

My son lives in Vancouver and each morning buses to the Gallery Gachet which has been relocated to Hastings Street on the Downtown Eastside. Strangely and thankfully,  amongst the addicted and mentally ill who roam and sleep upon these desolate streets, the Covid 19 virus has not appeared in proportion to the seemingly unprotected  population that reside here.

PLAGUE SEASON  

 I.

In this plague season

Black crows high on the wire

Look down on what we’ve created

From the dreams exuded

Like sweat from our bodies

From the visions in the blood

Of our outpouring

We weep to see our children

In times of sickness

And tribulation

We cannot even trust the breath

At our lips or the space between us

For there is absence -of wanting

And desire

What have we made of our lives?

How we have chased the ghosts

In the light -we have

Heard the thunder and lightning

In the cloud -we have seen

A wave rising on the ocean

Even so there are reasons to live:

There are trembling stars

In every lung -there are diamonds

Caught in the back of

Every throat

How we withstand all the devils

Of hell -and we resist

The inclination to give in and

Surrender  -in the plague season

We come together

In the worst time it brings out

The best in us

 

II.

 

Oh, and if we grow flowers in

The garbage and we erect stones

On every hill

There is a dying star in the dark

Corner of the sky

There is a comet with a tail of fire

Flashing in the night:

These are signs that we see

As we look up into space

And some of us are packed and

Ready to go -we hear the call

For surely this the time

Of judgment

Oh, but I will be left behind

With my dirty soul -as I hold

My cup in my hand

For a fool will not be forgiven

I am the unbeliever and

Heretic -I’ve eaten the wild fruit

On the mountainside

I’ve stood at the gates of the city

In my beggar’s rags

I’ve been in the mouth of a

Wilderness -and I’ve been

Educated by the wolves

Now is the day of the cruel

Disease that comes:

It is like a force that moves in

Assimilating and taking over

Ever hungry and covetous

In it’s nature -it over’comes

What is a illness that doesn’t kill?

What is the rose without any thorns?

What is a tiger with no teeth?

 

III.

 

And so it is now early Spring and the

Cherry blossoms are blooming

On every tree  -the branches are full

Of birds that sing

These days are full of sunshine

And laughter  -Oh, but in the bright

Light the shadows lengthen

Underneath heaven is hell’s shadow

The angels pretend to be devils

And a stranger come’s like a friend

And he opens up his hand

There is a knocking on our door

In the middle of night

We are cloistered in our houses

Like priests -we are isolated as we

Wait -pursuing our fears and living

With them as possibilities

Even so on these streets there is

No paranoia -in the places where the

Visionaries and dealers live

There is business as usual -I see the

People who sleep in the doorways

And the ambling madman who raves

As he stands on the corner

I know the desolation and seperation

that lives here -the disease

Is very faraway from here -there are no

Traces of the flue -just the sickness

Of heroin and cheap whiskey

And so I think on this as I walk

These dark avenues alone

Is a disease only for rich men?

Or is it just that currency carries

A virus as it is spread?

Oh, even so we are made equal

In the legacy of destruction

And pain -how we learn mercy

From the angels

How we are instructed by the

Spirits as we hear their voices

And in the plague season

We know the wind of madness

That blows

 

IV.

 

You cannot kiss your lover’s lips

You cannot take your

Children into your arms

You cannot touch another’s face

Or join your hands together

To walk in the rain

For now is the time of reckoning

And the day of the cold sun

And what did you see when

You looked straight into the light

Was it heaven or hell?

Who are these doubters and losers

Who walk the ancient highway?

Tug on the chains as you pray

Pull on the rope as you offer up

Your soul

 

V.

 

How you come to the river’stream

That in time only flows

Downward

You look up at the moon and the

Many stars -it is said that if you

Drink deeply of the sweet wine

You will live forever

Now is the season of testing

And proving -there is prophecy

Murmuring on the waters

There is faith crying out it’s tears

As we dig at blackened roots

And we reach up to the tree’tops

Of silver branches

Oh, and we look for protection

In our society of believers

Oh, and we surround ourselves

With the light of darkness

And the darkness of light

Oh, what is a disease to God but a

Mist upon the lips of a pilgrim?

What is a disease to the devil

But a cleansing of energies?

Oh, in my time I stood on that hill

And I saw the fires burning

In the valley

Jewels were suspended from

The sky -and I saw reflections

On the river that flowed

 

VI.

 

Oh, now is the plague season

And black crows high on the wire

Are gazing with eyes

As black as night -how we sit

At the table but don’t eat or drink

In this time of great upheaval

We don’t make love or sing songs

For now is the age of verification

Even so we do not wait for the

Consequences -this is not a time

To give in -and this is not a time to

Shout from the rooftops

 

 

 

Musings from the Nineteen-Eighties

Musings from The Nineteen-eighties. [Before I Joined A Religion]

I discovered these lines on yellowed scraps of paper in a bundle of musings I had typed out on an old manual typewriter back in about 1983. I had been following the writings of Charles Lindbergh, world-famous pilot, and in later years, an environmentalist. His writings had been featured in serialized form in the Readers Digest magazine. I had also been reading books by a woman named Vera Stanley Alder about what she referred to as “The Ancient Wisdom.” All interesting stuff for a woman like me, raised in the bush, and never having paid much attention to any kind of philosophical or religious idiom. But I did consider myself as a Christian, after having read parts of the Bible from time to time.

Organized religion is often regarded with fear and/or distrust. The distrust stems from the tendency of the church elders and priests to dictate certain rules and to solicit money from its members. The fear is invoked by the mysticism shrouded around the interpretations of the religious writings. God (or Gods) are most often depicted as all-powerful beings who are somehow situated in a spot above the earth where they can peer down upon us and keep track of each, and every individual mistake made by man.

Language is a poor communication tool, and many words have changed in meaning over the years. I strongly believe the word “fear” in “fear the Lord” (from the Bible) is meant to mean “respect”

My dictionary says one definition of fear is: “The reverence or awe felt for God.” If this is so, the whole idea of being afraid of God and intimidated at the thought of punishment for our sins, is wrong. It may even be the cause for the wrongdoing of those who are naturally rebellious and have, for one reason or another, gotten their kicks from defying authority of any kind.

My favourite book in the Bible is Ecclesiastics. There is one word in there that is frequently used, but I believe is not meant to be interpreted as it is. The word “meaningless” reflects a note of despair in modern day usage. I think the phrase “without meaning” or “without importance” would be more in line with what the author intended to convey. The message in Ecclesiastics is meant to be a comparison between what man generally regards as of importance, and the insignificance of it compared to the spiritual way of life; of living as we are meant to live (in harmony with one another and all other creatures.)

My youngest daughter refers to God as “a feeling.” I believe her definition is apt. When God is referred to as “Him” it is not meant that He is a male being. (My trusty dictionary – one definition- defines He to be: “one of unspecified sex.”)

God is sometimes referred to as “Mother Nature” but the term does not denote femininity as such.

The word “Mother” is apt in one sense. It can mean: “that from which others have sprung” (Oxford dictionary) and denotes a sort of completion, which in my mind is what God is.

God is a completion, but his various components are in a constant state of change. God is the Whole: The Spirit which abides in each one of us (animals, vegetables, mineral, etc.) We are the pieces of a 3-dimensional jig-saw puzzle which, because of the 4th dimension (time) are in a constant state of change in relationship to one another. Each change necessitates changes in adjoining pieces of the puzzle….

PS would love some feedback on this blog. Thank you. By the way these musings are not necessarily what I believe now. But I do like the metaphor of the jig-saw puzzle…

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