Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

April poems from the Cariboo

Chimney smoke clots the nostrils
I can feel the beginnings of a sneeze, a snort
A wheeze.
Air is heavily laden with moisture
Black smoke sifting down
To the ground

An Old Log House

Old log house built
In 1927
Still habitable
My brother’s friend
Lives there along with his dogs
Carl and Tessie
And a black cat
With an attitude.
We visit the resident human
My brother and his dog
Named Rusty
And the dogs visit too.
So many old buildings
In the Cariboo
Abandoned for decades
Still valiantly upright
Roof shakes missing
Floor boards rotting
Logs lustrous with age
Nice to see an old log house
Still occupied

Log House in the Bushes

Built after the First World War
When hope enveloped the world
No more wars
No more epidemics
Time to reach out toward the wilderness
Leave the city. Take the train.
Wife, children, parents
Walk, ride horseback
Into the great unknown.

When Siblings Converse

We talk and we differ
In thought and perspective
Based on experience
Suppositions reflective
We walk through our childhood
Adolescence and youth
I married young and he was not couth
Now we are old in a state of decline
We chat and we chat
Until it’s past nine

Easter Sunday

For Easter Sunday dinner
We had salmon and creamed corn
A store bought pie and Cool Whip
And some coffee left from morn

Jack sang a song about Jesus
‘Twas fitting for the day
We launched into our repast
Listening to old tapes he played.

April 8th and 9th poetry challenge:

I just returned from the Cenotaph where a small group was commemorating The Battle of Vimy Ridge, a hundred-year-old Canadian triumph in war history. People spoke and it was enlightening and a positive experience for me. On the other hand The Battle of Verdun in 1916, the previous year, had been a lesson in abject futility.

The Battle of Verdun- 1916

On August 21, 1914, my great-uncle
Charles Holland Haynes
Left Vancouver on a troop train
For military training
In Valcartier, Quebec
Brittania Ruled the Waves
Was the catch-phrase
Of the times
Those upstart Germans
And their allies
Daring to compete against
The British Empire and France
Taking over lucrative
World trading markets with
Cheaper inferior wares.
The first fatal shot
Had been fired
And every good Colonial boy
Was preparing to fight
For the Mother Country
Two years later on June 3,1916
My great-uncle Charles
Was reported “Missing in Action”
From The Battle of Verdun.
He was officially presumed
To have been “Killed in action”
In March of 1917

Historians refer to
The Battle of Verdun
As the “Greatest and lengthiest
Battle in world history”
Nine months of bloody
Conflict.
More than
Seven hundred thousand
Dead, wounded, missing
The battlefield less than
Ten square kilometers.
No place to hide.
The devastation carrying on
Long past
Any reasonable conclusion
Ultimately degenerating
Into “A matter of prestige
Two nations fighting
Literally
For the sake of fighting…”

The school gym packed to capacity.

An entire town guffawing, snorting,

giggling helplessly,

with barely enough time to breathe

before convulsing into another

throat muscle spasm.

Hilarious performances

pertaining to

people we know

and places to go

in our “Still Standing”

community.

JUST AN ORDINARY MAN

April 6 Poem:

JUST AN ORDINARY MAN

An Ordinary Man
That’s what he was
Just an ordinary man
Never got no medals
For doing what he can…
He excelled at many things
I admired him for that
He also had some issues
That were wrong and that’s a fact.
But an ordinary man
Can be better than the best
Once addiction and compulsion
Have been faced and passed the test.
Just an ordinary man
Never asked for credit
For the good advice he’d shown
Enjoyed it when the children
Embraced life when they left home
If they encountered trouble
He’d say “Hold your head up high,
For sure you will get through it
When circumstances go awry.”
Just an ordinary man….
Musician pals were precious
Pleasant melodies in mind
Friends and family playing tunes
Guitar strumming in behind
Unpretentious, unassuming
For himself he’d do without
He’d prefer to be out hunting
Or fishing for a trout
And if you were out there with him
He’d be happier than you
If you were to catch “the big one”
And he only caught a few.

An ordinary man who was
Married to an ordinary woman.

Men’s World Curling

Curling’s a sport that’s becoming well known
And even some Chinese rocks have been thrown
Canada’s skip who’s from Newfoundland
Is playing the team from The Netherlands

The Dutch are new at playing on ice
Water don’t freeze when it leaks from a dike.
Their team is gradually learning the game
And soon will be forming some ice in their veins.

The shot rocks are red but now they are yellow
You just cannot beat that Canadian fellow!
They don’t seem to mind their loss to the West
‘Cause losing to Canada’s a loss to the best!

THE ART SHOW
I went to the Art Show
looked around
and it was like
music to my eyes
food for my soul
Such a mosaic of colours
shapes, sizes, textures
It filled my inner sanction
with gobs of sweetness,
spiciness and even saltiness
Tiny pieces of fabric
sewn together to compose
a colourful landscape
Musical instruments
taken apart, carved
painted, re-glued
to create new beauty
from metal and wood
Glass, bits of rock and metal
heated and spun
into various shapes, sizes
and intricate designs
Paintings in delicate, lifelike
colours alongside bolder
more esoteric scenery
Drawings studiously etched
into authentic sketches
of children and buildings.
Multimedia excursions
to create memorabilia
both harmonizing
and contrasting
Photographs of animals,
flowers, birds, posing
in pleasing and diverse fashion
My inner sanction is satiated
ODE TO A DEAD TREE

 

A dead tree in a gravel pit
its skeletal bones
clinging tenuously
to a gnarly spine
Something about that
dead tree
comforts me.
It’s endured weather
extremes
from blistering heat
to bitter cold
wind gusts swirling
about the huge open
wound carved by
bulldozers
cutting away sections
of earth from the hillside
leaving only rocks, scrub
brush, and the old dead
tree,
reigning King of the Hill
arrogant and not about
to topple over
anytime soon!

I wrote the following poem in August 2015. I wanted to commemorate the minor miracle of how a group of “artsy” folk in the Village of Fraser Lake was able to pull off the first successful Fraser Lake Festival of the Arts- in the pouring rain yet!

There’s a long rough road ‘tween hope and change
When you are all alone.
But with a roomful of folks from various walks
And a positive correlation of talks
Similar passions and interests arise
To rearrange, change and prioritize.
Hope for the future begins to unfurl
A group of like-minded can change the world!

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