Wednesday, 15 November 2017

another November 11th … come and gone

I notice a woman selling poppies at the door of the mall and marvel
that a whole year has come and gone, since the twins’ last birthday

there is not much chance of forgetting their birthday – November 11th
Remembrance Day ... not that I could forget that recurrent occasion ...

a liturgy at the town cenotaph, standing in snow in northern ontario gusts,
watching the laying of wreaths with my family and grandparents

bitter winds … flanders fields … abide with me … prayers … the last post …
my grandma … a hanky to her eyes …. talk of her two dead soldier boys

and then, the “girls” were off to early holiday shopping … and the men …
to the legion to drink away their remembrance and wonder at their survival

November 11, 1983, was not so … I was giving birth as the 11th hour approached
… my grandparents had all passed away … one by one … dust to dust …

and my dad had died six days earlier … I had sat, rather ridiculously,
at his graveside in a lawn chair … ashes to ashes … too heavy to stand

so many changes in my life, but THAT November 11th … when the boys were born  ...
that day … after the birth, I felt so overwhelmed … my body – so heavy, still –

so crushingly heavy … I could barely lift myself up … the weight of birth …
the weight of death …  the weight of change … the weight of remembrance –

I stop to buy a poppy and think about asking the boys for supper…
our little tradition … a November 11th tradition … a gift and a light repast

Photos:  Dad on his Bike, 1940 – shortly before he enlisted – ANON; 
Birth Day – Nov. 11, 1983 – ANON 

© 2017 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 10 November 2017

Good Acre Lake Revisited - A Tanka Prose Piece

I have called this piece – Good Acre Lake Revisited – but, really, I probably could have called it:  The Joy of Sharing Pictures and Words.  The picture above and the words below, came out of a email from my daughter following a visit Mike and I took this past summer, to Victoria, to visit her.  I love the City of Victoria.  Mike and I had lived there, briefly, over forty years ago and, while there, I had one of the most transcendent moments of my life, during a walk by Good Acre Lake. 
I was very affected by my daughter's note and pictures.  I tend to think of life as a journey, without a destination.  Along the path we take, are pictures and words.  The best ones hang like tapestries before us – for awhile.  Sometimes they break free from the place, they were fastened – when we first came upon them – and come to us … tossed and tattered on the winds of time.  Sometimes they flutter by our loved ones.  They recognize them because we have described them ... in all the glory they had held for us ... and they know that they are precious.  But, like all things that are time-worn, they are altered – often, so much so, they are ragged and faded – almost gossamer in places.  And yet … they work their magic – in a different way – and lift us up. 

each sweet memory
we share with a child ...
in the garden
at the end of the path
~ ~ ~

Thank you so much for the visit Mom.  It was a real highlight of my life to share this experience with you and Dad.  The fantastic dinner at Harbour House was such a wonderful cap on the evening. I was going to send a card, but I thought you might like these pictures I took of the Stone Bridge in Beacon Hill Park, instead.  I remembered your story of the swans and tried to capture them for you. But alas - only ducks.  So much love to you and dad! B

 ~ ~ ~

Thanks for the pix, B.  It was really thoughtful of you.  One of the first poems I ever wrote was about the arched Stone Bridge that spans Goodacre Lake, in Beacon Hill Park.  It was a long time ago so, of course, it is rhymed.  As I've mentioned, your Dad was with me when this happened, but having another person in the poem didn't translate well, poetically ... so he had to go. ~ lol ~

p.s. I tried to capture them, too, B.  Love to you.  - Mom

 (if you wish, you can click on a link to the poem)

Photos:  The Swans in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, British Columbia – B. Bourke and W. Bourke 

© 2017 Wendy Bourke