Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Howard Nemerov, Poet Laureate

ABC Wednesday

The letter is N and I have chosen Howard Nemerov to represent this letter,

partly because he is of the same generation

partly because of Nostalgia (although an American he was once a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force)

but mainly because I admire his poetry.

Howard Nemerov was a Leap Year baby, born on February 29th, 1920.  He obtained a Batchelor's degree from Harvard in 1941, and then during the war he joined the RCAF, later transferring to the American Air Force .

After his discharge he moved to New York with his wife to complete his first book before he turned to teaching, at various Colleges.  He was Distinguished University Professor of English and Distinguished Poet in Residence at Washington University in St. Louis from 1969 until his death in 1991.

His novels include The Homecoming Game, Federigo: Or the Power of Love, and The Melodramatists.

The Collected poems of Howard Nemerov won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize.

He served two terms as Poet Laureate from 1988 to 1990, and at his death in 1991 the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award was instituted to honor him.  By 2008 about 3000 sonnets were entered annually in the associated competition.

Two of his poems which are representative of Nemerov's style.......

A Primer of the Daily Round  ("demonstrative of his prosodic creativity")

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives to town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z.
    Who happens just now to remember A
    Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

Because you asked about the Line between Prose and Poetry 
 (frequently taught as an example of an Ars Poetica  "as it describes the nearly imperceptible change  between rain and snow while still maintaining the formal poetic elements of rhyme and meter"

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned into pieces of snow
Riding as gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn't tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.

For more of the ABC Wednesday meme click here
  - with thanks to Roger, Denise and all helpers.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

In my mail box, first thing this morning, - before I had time to look at the sky, to fall into the soft white clouds, to face the day with gratitude.

It caught me unawares....

A poem by Patricia Campbell Carlson

Each day I'm a little crazier with missing you
The dog still snores on the couch, her paws
dancing through a dream-lit field.  The sun
sets as usual, illuminating the red-frilled edges
of newly emerging wild-rose leaves.  The veins
on the backs of my own hands run like ancient
rivers towards the depths of the body.  Why
do I feel I need you so much more than these
ordinary beauties, as if heaven slipped up and
poured everything sacred into one single vessel,
leaving me wildly aware of the way clay shatters?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Musical Muppets

ABC Wednesday

The letter is M

for Muppets 

 (because I am still painting the picket fence while the sun shines and I mustn't take time to try to be intellectual,   I will just let the Muppets entertain you and hope you will enjoy three Minutes of Musical Mahna Mahna and that wild and wonderful Mane of hair that I am sure was familiar around the house in the 60's and 70's)!!

If you wish something more educational to represent the letter M
click here to visit ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise, Roger and all who help to 
maintain this great meme.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Painting the picket fence, tender leaves and buttercups

I only do this job in bits and pieces, and have started with the inside of the fence, the part we see from the window that was all dingy, even though it wasn't too noticeable when the birds were gathered on the ground and around the bird feeders, and your eyes were not focused on the fence.

But when you put on your 'company' eyes, oh my, - it called out for some attention!  And so I went to the Irly Bird store and bought a couple of gallons of white recycled outside paint, and doing a couple of hours at a time over the last few days I have it looking quite respectable.  From the house side......

From the street side, where walkers and talkers pass by, it still has patches where the paint has worn off and it looks sad, shabby and neglected, so tomorrow, when it is warm and the sun will be shining, I will pretty up those pickets that are seen by the world in general!

Painting in patches often leaves you with extra paint in the bottom of the can, and I have been using this up on the steps and the garden furniture, and to clean the brushes I have been squeezing out the last bit and decorating the wheelbarrow.

And I spruced up the coffee bench and table with a new coat of blue paint....

I know this sounds quite mundane, - what is exciting about painting the picket fence??  Huckleberry Finn passes through my mind......  Mark Twain certainly did well by writing about painting fences.  However, I must be content with finding a great deal of satisfaction in welcoming spring this way, and look forward to lazy summer days when I can potter around or read, or day dream, without being nagged by raggedy tagged fences and unhappy looking benches and tables

So after a few days of brushes and paint buckets I welcomed an invitation to have Sunday brunch at the Grist Mill with an old friend and her daughter, and a further invitation to accompany them on a drive south through the Chapaka Indian Reserve to the U.S. border.

I was amazed that even ten miles south of us Spring had set up an encampment, planted buttercups along the roadside and tenderly opened the green leaves of spring on poplars and willows and small bushes.

Foliage at the Grist Mill.   Changes as we travel south.....

 Past vineyards  and high peaks beyond the Similkameen mountains that tower, snow covered.

To where the river winds under the Red Bridge to the Reserve

and along the meadows  - not cattle in the distance but bee hives,
 wintering on the Reserve

We reach the small Roman Catholic Church that lies close to the Border

I couldn't get the square bell tower into the picture from the back seat of the car, and would have
got out to take a better picture, but there were people there and I didn't want to intrude.

Here is a small picture with all the car paraphernalia included.......

and here are the buttercups, although I know you will have to search to find them and my
Photoshop skills aren't great enough to make them more visible.  And I really mucked up 
the blues and greens trying!!!!!

It was a lovely afternoon - we came home and had tea and exotic shortbreads from the Bakery.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Linden Gardens

ABC Wednesday
April 2nd, 2014

The letter is the elegant L, which stands today for Lovely Linden Gardens

Located about 10 minutes south of Penticton in the orcharding community of Kaleden, Linden Gardens was a pioneer fruit farm.for seventy-five years before the 1990's. 

Now it is a most resplendent nine acre garden with flowers and trees and shrubs, ponds and streams and winding pathways, and at its entrance The Frog City Restaurant which serves home made bread, soups and salads for a snack for garden lovers and wonderful full course meals for celebrations!  A perfect spot for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and reunions!

The Class of '42, (Penticton High)  before its numbers diminished, held their last two annual reunions there, and these are pictures taken in May of 2012 as we wandered through this beautiful acreage.

And some of the graduates of the Class, seventy years on, - still dear friends bound by memories and close association through the years.

I think small town schools are perfect places for fostering Long Lasting Liasons, and I count some
of Charles' classmates of '42 amongst my dearest friends.

Many thanks to Roger and Denise of ABC Wednesday.  Visit here for more interesting L's!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Different Pathway Home

I rose early this morning with thoughts of baking uppermost in my mind.  The recipes were laid out on the kitchen table, and some of the ingredients.- I was making 'squares' (or do you call them 'slices' ) for a funeral reception tomorrow.  Because I have passed the time when I can scurry around with the younger ladies, setting tables, making sandwiches, feeding multitudes and cleaning up after I now concentrate on leisurely baking goodies, and usually promise two.  So this morning I made a nice lemon concoction and a pan of rich chocolate brownies.

But what  has really been on my mind the last few days is a wonderful trip we ( son Sid, and I) made through the hills and lakes above Okanagan Falls as we wended our way homeward after seeing the bone man who did such a marvelous job in mending my broken wrist.

There is the quick way to get home from Penticton, along the highways, but there are also a few ways that are even more of an adventure, where small lakes appear beside roads winding through the hills before they connect up with the highway, and we chose one of these lovely drives on Tuesday.

As we turned off the highway we looked back upon the meadows and mountains of the Okanagan Valley.

and soon came to Green Lake, still rimmed with the beautiful dried grasses of autumn and swimming with Mallards who came closer to shore as we stopped to admire the clear green spring waters.

Some of the hills have been turned into vast vineyards and there are vestiges of old homesteads, 
built by early settlers.

We came eventually to Mahoney lake, located on the Mahoney Ecological Reserve and protected by a post and rail fence from damage by motor vehicles.

Mahoney is an extreme Saline Lake, well known around the world in ecological circles.    It is 18 m deep and occupies a kettle basin of glacial origin - a 'meromictic lake' in which much of the water remains unmixed with the main water mass and which fails to have the typical spring and fall overturns. A layer of purple sulphur bacteria extends completely across the lake at about 7 metres in depth and it is said to be the finest example of a purple sulphate bacterial plate known to occur in the world.  There is a small opening in the surrounding fence to allow 'foot' visitors to read this information on an information plaque

Continuing on we reached the Willowbrook Road, a more inhabited agricultural area where the roads join, but further on is the White Lake Ecological Reserve where we stopped to take a picture of the Lake. 

 As we rolled down the windows of the SUV we were delighted to hear the first Meadowlark song of the season, - not just one meadowlark, but a conversation!!!!  Marvelous!  It is a family tradition that he/she who hears the first meadowlark of the spring is mightily blessed!!!!  As we intrude on the meadows with our homes and tightly planted orchards the meadowlark is not as plentiful or generous with its beautiful melody so this really warmed our hearts!!!

Off in the distance lies the White Lake Observatory about which I have posted in the dim past,
 and likely will again, sometime.

We pass by typical rock formations and follow the winding road that borders Twin Lakes and the golf course of many memories.....

I miss the wonderful leisurely drives Charles and I used to take, along with the camera, but I appreciate the generosity of time. the conversations and the empathy our sons show in traveling with me 
through the byways and back country roads.  Good fellows all....!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Keremeos Columns

ABC Wednesday
March 26th, 2014

The letter is K for Keremeos Columns

Picture by Sid Finch

The Keremeos Columns are tall columns of basalt resulting from Volcanic activity 
some thirty million years ago,  located in the Similkameen hills and
overlooking the town of Keremeos.

They are thirty meters high and form a l00 meter-wide cliff with more or less regular fractures of basalt which followed further cooling of the already crystallized liquid lava, 
just like mud cracks after a puddle has dried.

These  volcanic monuments of slowly cooled lava with the characteristic vertically hexagonal columnar jointing of basalt  loom out of the surrounding forest.

This is the same geological phenomenon that has formed the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland
and the Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

It is possible to drive to within fairly close proximity to the Columns, 
but permission must be obtained from the owner of the gate that accesses the road.

If you choose to walk it is a three to four hour hike through forest and meadows,
uphill all the way!!!

The spectacular view of the valley below, and the grandeur of the columns themselves
makes it all worth while.

For more interpretations of the letter K klick here to visit
ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Roger and Denise
and all their visiting helpers.