Sunday, June 30, 2013

before bed meandering

Although the day has almost expired and the night is bustling about in his black gown and he is holding the candle of the moon up high so as not to trip as he putters about, the fact is I am just getting lively. The cool breeze from the outside makes me hopeful that my mind is not mush but simply overturned by the massive heat wave.
I am going to write until I fall asleep. It is probable that my brother and his family will be at our house every day because my parents are not the most active companions and although I am no marathon runner, I do move occasionally from my potted plant place at the computer.  My brother will yap about his life which is as boring as mine, the sister in law will drink tea and we might shop; the nephew and niece will sit in close proximity to younger boy while older boy will ignore the tadpoles for he has outgrown their small pond and is about to be a toad of a man.

I will write until I fall asleep because I have done no writing of any productive sort. I have blathered and postured but certainly I have not sat before a single image and made some interpretations of the flush and glow of it.   While I did photograph the garden, it was mostly because I was interested at the flipping over of the bare places into weed cities. Every place that I had soil in from last year has somehow filled itself with a multitude of weeds or legitimate plants from the previous year.  The pots are bristling with new life and I didn’t plant most of them. 

The hanging plants I did put up are not doing very good and I suspect that they want food. I have set them out and forgot to water them as well so perhaps they are dried out and can’t grow luxuriously as my front neighbor’s Petunia pots are growing. They are making absolutely obscene spectacles of themselves and I am jealous of how healthy they appear compared to my wilted, thin Petunias that longingly extend begging hands to the front neighbor’s Petunias in a futile call for transfusions.

What was this post about? I am so sleepy that I have lost track.  Let me go look at the start of this work. I was talking about my brother and his family. They are very much like us and do not do very much but certainly they do more than we do as both the nephew and the niece are mad about hockey and play on teams. It is odd that the Canadians in the USA are playing hockey and the Canadians in Canada are avoiding hockey but I did not see any reason to put the boys in the line of attack of a puck.

I feel like going to bed now.
The books are on the bed as well just in case I have a morsel of energy to read as I head off to sleep.
When the night comes to say his prayers beside my bed, the moon candle will be snuffed out and the books will from uneasy lumps in my bed. My mind will shovel the words out that all day were put there. After I sleep, the books under my pillow will send out tentacles and pierce the eyes and ears. The words that they push through the syringes of their lines  will float into the innermost part of me. I will be infused with the rich broth of these readings. I will begin metamorphosis. Or at least this is why I read books—to leave the stage I am in and enter the next one.  It may not happen of course. I could still be a grub.

book mania

Because I have cleaned a part of the floor where I had put the new books I have bought I was forced to confront the terrible numbers of new books I have acquired. Although I haven’t stopped reading, I haven’t also caught up with the books I have bought and the new rubber container filled to the top with books that I have not even listed on the blog fills me with both shame and a sort of ecstatic greed that only the dieter given  an entire Christmas cake might feel (that is if she loved Christmas cake).  The box is full of books that I wasn’t planning to buy. And yet here they are.

Why does a woman who has a house full of books collect even more of them? Is she mad?  My husband certainly thinks so.  I think I have a reasonable expectation of getting through all the books I have in the house. I don’t know if the reading of all these books will make me capable of writing anything comparable but certainly I will know a great many minds in short sections—paraffin embedded bits of brain will float before me and I will capture them on the slides of my own brain to fix, stain and examine at my leisure.

The great fear of this book collector is not that I have too many books, but that I have missed books in my lust and passion. While scrabbling over mounds of dusty books in second hand stores, have I inadvertently missed a beaten broken book somewhere in the junk heaps?  Have I been turned off by the cover of a book that I wanted but that simply seemed too decrepit to last?  Did I buy three copies of one book for a sane reason?  Why are there books on the floor still?

Why do I collect books?
If you are poor as a child --or almost poor---and certainly I can’t say I was poor but not as well off as most children I knew-and books were a rarity because my father was always studying year after year—first medicine itself, then pathology and then in Canada, medicine again to reboot as a physician here—well you get to a point where you understand that books are rare and precious matters.
Because my parents had five children and it was more important to feed and clothe and house us –the fact is –books were rare and precious indeed in our family and when I got a book it was invariably a fat and gross thing—that would shut me up for a while.
When we came to Canada and I finally got to visit a place full of books in the form of a public library my parents never saw me again.
Of course we still did not have money for books.
In fact, it has only been recently that I have had enough money for books.
Even though I could buy the newest books, I don’t.
I don’t happen to like most of the newest books.
I want classics and I don’t mind the torn children’s books.
I collect what I find at a far cheaper price at second hand book stores.
I know this doesn’t help the writers but I don’t care.
I figure the writers should know that no one buys their poetry and they should have a back up job if they had any brains.
The world does not revere writing.
A writer must have a partner who works or work herself at a part time job in order to spend time with her habit. Writing is that terrible habit that won’t be cured in a writer. And buying books is the other part of the habit.
I haven’t been able to cure myself of either the writing or the buying of books.
While some of the obsession is due to the lack of books in childhood surely there is enough books now to end that childhood loss?
But no, it seems a childhood lack is always persistent and this one will last until I am dead.

Books fill the rubber containers outside my bedroom door.
The boys have grown up with a basement filled with books on bookshelves that are never dusted.
They understand that a bonus room is not for them to play in but to hold more books.
They go to bathrooms where books are everywhere.
When they go to the rental house in Calgary there are rooms in the basement filled with boxes of books that I have yet to do something about.
When they look in my bedroom they find books on every surface.

Why the obsession?
Will it ever end?
How shall I explain it to my grandchildren?

I will buy a book and read it to them.

when I go

Great Blue Heron

Photographed at Clayton Beach. He was fishing at the edge of an ebbing tide and as I approached flew away.

when I go
let it be with the reflection
of the great blue heron before me like a promise

let me rise
when Death approaches with the summons
let me go with  the wings of a heron   over the river of darkness

let the wings work hard
to take me to where you are waiting for me
let me use my reflection as the route to you

let me be powerful in death
as I would be in life   let me not curse the ending
but vividly live until the route itself disappears and you are found

let me rise up
without fear or the desire to remain   
let me go when the signal is sent   following my own reflection


the roses have covered your grave
and the willows twist tie above your face
you are silenced and bound in another world
in the dirt     the coffin is pierced by the apple tree roots
that glide like probes    about your bones
you no longer come to me
or stand in your photographs with a smile
wearing the blue dress as plain as the knot of a bun you wore 
the words and woman are gone
I am sewing memory on the cloth of the poem I work upon
I put down a letter and then another to spell you back to me
these letters add up to your name only
they carry roses in the spined arms of the bushes of memory
I see the bushes filled with yellow buds and the scent rises up    I see the roses in the rain
you seemed immortal to me
and your words were always kind as were your acts
I cannot see your face any more     the photograph fades   the voice is gone


I have puttered in the garden watching the peonies. I have taken too many photographs of the flowers for any sort of elegance in any of them. Most of the photographs were blurred.  Some had parts of the flower next to bits of other plants.  Some had my shadow menacing over them.  

It is hard to get one good photograph of the many I took. Also I don't know how to put them up on the blog. Older boy showed me last year, and I wrote the instructions down and then I lost them. So now I don't know how to transfer the pictures to the computer and then to the blog.   I will get older boy to help me to put them on the blog. But for now I will shower the pages with the exotic complexion of the flowers. The peonies of course are shameless now and their dresses are wicked verses of poetry. They prance on tip toe to catch my lips and the ants are excited by the many labyrinths; they climb higher and higher.

After spending an enjoyable amount of time copying the world, I got the supper ready and we all gathered to have a meal that was zipped through to end up with vanilla ice cream cones.  Really it was hot and we needed something to cool us all down. It was a perfect end to a good meal of plain simple food; and everyone had enough to eat.

After supper, I dropped my handicapped sister at the extended care. The room at the extended care was feverish and I got the air conditioning working. I will take a fan to her tomorrow so as to circulate the thick clotted air in the room.

I must admit I do not want to live in a room in an extended care.
It is nice to be home in my nun’s room with the  hot air from the window screen like a small puff of smoke from a cigarette. I have the weak fan close to me making an attempt to wake me from somnolence.

I have rearranged the mess in my room. Now there are bills on top of the readings for city council. I have a stack of library books next to me and the blankets are piled on the bed. I haven’t yet got through all the laundry but I did a fair bit.  Two plastic tubs of clothes wait for folding and putting away on the floor. While I never seem to finish everything, I still get through something.

Something is always better than nothing in my mind.
And if you don’t attempt you will have a blank in the area of trying.

I feel virtuous because all day I have cleaned a house that needed the mopping and tidying.  I can’t say my bedroom is pristine but the rest of the house has got up to a low standard of organization that was entirely missing. The rest of the day was spent shopping for food and making it.

Although the day went by as fast as all such days go, at least I had something to show for it. A meal with the extended family.    A sense of danger.  Maybe  the feeling that our extended family is moving away from us. My dad has aged quite a bit since he turned eighty. My handicapped sister worsens. My mother never even made it to the BBQ and so I sent some of the pasta salad home to her for a snack. The nephew and niece are rather elongated and exotic; they are becoming more American every time I see them. Now they are becoming taller than I am.  My brother and sister in law are in better shape than my husband and I.

But there you go.
Work is all that keeps us on the road to the end which is something we try not to think about.
And when the first cards are laid on the table –and taken away what are you to do?
How do I prepare for the deaths of those I love?
And seeing the slow erosion of their beings –how am I to help them?
And not feel as if my own life is being taken?