Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

Archive for the category “Poetry”

The Long, White Struggle

It’s a long, slow slog;
this stuttering transition
from winter to spring

with hopes of greenery
thawed and frozen all along
the dirty, white way

until you cave in,
like a collapsing igloo,
and believe the ice

age has come for you;
encased you eternally,
one hand on the box

labelled ‘Spring Clothing”
the other on your down filled coat,
desperate with hope

even through nightmares
of hard, white piles crushing
your warm breath to mist.

“It’s supposed to get up to plus eleven by next Friday” he says.
I’ll believe it when I see it

Like a Bird

Your heart, like a bird
fluttering, testing the winds2018-04-03-Like a Bird
of change in your soul

before taking flight.
Breath-taking fibrillation
shocks us to the now

where a breathe can hang
like mist in the frozen air
then crash to the ground,

tiny icicles
shatter, chime through the silence
“it’s time to go home”

 

Aubade to Spring

A nervous twitch of heavy curtains,
a wary peering into first light.
What song will I sing? A trill
of joy thrilling at a pool of sunlight
warming my bare
feet or a dirge for dreams
of spring, battered
by northeast winds and smothered
in yet more snow.
Is it all bad?
No, today the sun shines and, at least
for a while, it is ‘aubade’.

Frozen Pride

There’s a northern sense of pride
in battling winter and surviving
minus forty, minus fifty,
icy fog and snowy drifts. We
soldier on in our uniforms;
long underwear to keep us warm,
and scoff at tender souls who live
in milder climes and shake and shiver
at minus five and have to close
the city down for an inch of snow.

We post the current temperature;
a brag of what we can endure;
a challenge to post a lower number,
to northern soldiers in other bunkers.

Year after year we earn our stripes
through furnace fails and frozen pipes,
when trucks die and the power goes out
you discover what cold is all about.
We’ve fed the woodstove through the night
and melted snow by candlelight.

We’ve earned our medals in the ice and cold
but the years roll on and we’re getting old
and we’ve paid our dues and we’ve fought our fight
and we just want a little bit more sunlight.
It’s not retreating, just retiring
to a place where the temperature is higher.
I leave the struggle to the young
who have the strength to carry on.

Old soldiers who’ve battled winter and won,
Deserve their moments in the sun.

 

Ashes

I forgot to post this poem – it was written on the 6th as we were travelling through the Cariboo. The haze made the background seem two dimensional.

 

ashes-smallTreed mountains, layered in smoke,
recede into the haze; cut-out silhouettes; mere jagged,
misty dreams of the real terrain beneath.
And in the foreground emerge the trees, clearer now,
more defined, more detail in their sweeping boughs and
pendant moss; skeletons of their ancestors propped up
in their arms, standing witness.
There is a sense of waiting in the air
and a taste of ashes on the tongue.

Cheaper Gas and Greener Grass

Apparently smoke isn’t going to be the only issue in our trip down south. Now the fuel prices in the lower half of the province seem to be skyrocketing! Okay, time to do the research… now a site that reports the price of fuel at different gas stations in British Columbia has taken its place in the ‘Favourites’ folder along with ‘Drive BC’ (for road conditions), Environment Canada’s ‘7 day forecast’ (for weather), ‘Air Quality Advisories’ (how bad is the smoke?) and, of course, a listing of every sani-dump in the province.

I don’t remember doing this kind of cramming for a holiday before. Is it just me or has the world become a more complicated place to navigate? I remember previous trips to the coast being, basically, toss the suitcases in the truck, fill up the tank, buy some munchies and start driving. Yes, we encountered high prices that we didn’t expect and flag people with stop signs; we just didn’t know where they’d be ahead of time.

So is it a good thing to be this ‘prepared’ or does it just end up focusing your attention on all the things that could go wrong? The element of surprise is always waiting around the next bend in the road, so, in the end, is it worth it to do all this advance research? Do I run the risk of concentrating so hard on finding the lowest fuel price that, eyes on the webpage or the map, I miss the beauty along the way. Bill doesn’t have to worry about that, he’s driving so he’s aware of his surroundings at all times (at least I certainly hope he is!). But how easy it could be for the passenger to become an obsessive navigator.

I’m going to have to watch out for that.

IMG_3106.JPGAre we seriously considering moving south? Well, it’s September fourth and Bill just came in to tell me the frost f***ed our corn. You figure it out, sigh…
Greener Grass

They say the grass is always greener
On the other side of the fence
and I’ve agreed and thought the adage
made a lot of sense.

Until recently I realized,
much to my chagrin,
that I can’t see the colour of the grass
when the snow’s up to my chin.

 

 

Retrospect

Sometimes,
as the old name ghosts
through the new label.

Sometimes,
as I empty the folders,
shred the contents.

Sometimes,
as I delete them
from database and list.

Sometimes,
the mortality is deafening

Oh, To Be

2016-07-10_Oh To Be_Thomas_Corsan_Morton_-_The_gypsy_caravan

Oh, to be a nomad and walk away
without a backward glance
knowing home is not a place on a map
but a tent I pitch over my heart, wherever I roam.

Oh, to be a gypsy and ride away,
heart dancing ahead, beckoning me onward.
All that I need I carry with me,
it is a peace desire could never bring.

Oh, to be a traveller and drive away
with a soul big enough to encompass all.
Why scrabble for a scrap of soil freehold
when I can hold the world for free.

Oh, to be a wanderer and drift away,
footsteps light and eager on countless pathways.
To leave behind the heartache of change
and our inability to accept the pain of it.

Oh, to be
just to be.

 

(painting -Thomas Corsan Morton “The Gypsy Caravan”)

Ghosts

Does the scent of the rose garden, aflutter
with wayward petals,
waft  through your open door?
Does it bring back memories of wild roses in June?

You stand silent in the historical village,
a transplanted log cabin complete with furnishings,
a lonely anachronism waiting
for familiar footsteps at the back door.

Few tourists will climb your steep stairs.
Some whisper of a face they’ve seen,
peering from the second story window, curtains twitching.
Ghosts may linger in this house
but I feel only peace.
Peace with a touch of sadness.

I imagine seeing my life, my home,
through an outsider’s eyes as they shake
their heads at the wood cook stove,
the gas lanterns, and the crank telephone.
“ How did they live like this” they ask each other.

And I hear the ghosts cry back “Well.
We lived well.
By the strength of our own hands
we cleared the land, built our home, grew our food.
We worked, we sang, we danced.
We cried, we laughed, we loved.
All else is meaningless.”

And I smile and nod as the silence flows
back into the corners of the room.
Be content ghost.
I hear you.

My Mother’s Garden

Sometimes, in dreams, I wander
half remembered woods.
Sunlight casts flickering shadows of light
over the forest floor.

I am searching for the flowers;
the wild flowers and the tame flowers.
Flowers from every garden she ever grew,
blooming together in unlikely harmony.
I stoop, I pick, I fill my arms with the fat, fragrant blossoms.

Especially the blue ones.
She loved the blue ones.
I am picking this bouquet for her.
My life is a procession of flowers and memories.
A patchwork of the things she taught me
as we worked in her garden
Weeding, culling, training the vines
in the way they should go.
Training me
in the way I should go.

And I know she’s gone
but still I wander half forgotten woods,
content in the cognitive dissonance of dreams
that one day I’ll hand her that bouquet and
she’ll smile and say
“Well done.”

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