Andrea Bunt Percy, 24 November, 2018
My heart is nudging me awake again.
It has something important to say.
I close my ears.
It's illogical, impractical, not of this world,
My heart weeps.
I've always called this weeping
Why do I know better now?
Why do I know enough to listen?
To embrace my soul, my heart?
~ Andrea Percy
Ken Husband: This Dream
Leaning on the door post
Of my dreams
Is a mystic dressed in tails
With a flicker of movement
To her left
To her right
She sets the scene
She dims the light
A light that brought with it
A sense of being floating on the edge
Of something worth seeing
If you don’t know where you are going
Any road will take you there
How long will it take?
Sometimes we just
In the stillness of sleep
Immersed in a dream
Our lives can unfold
Yet never be seen
Take a deep breath
It is the breath that divides
Our time before
And our time after
moon sinks low
And dawn is fast breaking
How restful it is
When immersed in a past
To know that its over
Then a harlequin lover
Appears at your shoulder
And whispers its quiet goodbye.
Ken Husband's "Secrets"
Adrift on the inner sea
Of every human heart
Is a secret’
Come beckons the fatal shore
Come die on my white sands it says
And we do,
No one can explain
They are their own mystery.
If to keep a secret is wisdom
then nothing makes us as lonely
as our secrets,
some thresholds are just to wide
to be taken in one stride.
In our heart there is a secret
That answers to the vibration
Of our being,
knowing how to love,
knowing how to be loved
is to trust someone entirely
because in love there is no other way.
Its gentle whisper
brings us back to life
then rises and leaves
with no goodby
with no look back.
Secrecy carries its own price
and has a shyness of the truth
but even if almost unspeakable
secrets are in everyone
all waiting to be announced
one tiny spark on a dark stage.
"Silence" by Nel van der Grient
Today I pulled a Zen card, partly out of curiosity, and
partly hoping to find a lead for today’s writing. The writers’ guild was meeting today, nothing came to mind what I could write about today. Maybe one word would help. The word on the card was “Silence”. Not quite a word that I have
every given a lot of thought. On my way to the meeting my mind remained silent, and during the first fifteen minutes nothing came. But then to my surprise I remembered different occasions and quotes having to do with silence.
Do I like silence? Yes, I do, especially when I am surrounded by very loud noises, voices and music. The silence that follows, after I turn the loud noises off, or walk
away, feels like a blessing. Silence can come in many different ways; it is full of answers. Being in perfect silence when meditating can bring perfect peace.
Then there is uncomfortable silence. You are hoping to hear back from someone important to you, and there may be many reasons why they are silent. George Bernard Shaw quoted “Silence is the perfect answer to scorn.” Don’t I know!
In hindsight I should not have spoken in anger or judgment, and let things rest in silence.
Mother Teresa wrote on silence “God is the friend of silence, trees, flowers, grass which grows in silence – see the stars, the moon and the sun – how they move in silence.
This reminds me of something my mother took upon herself. Like all mothers, she did not always agree with the way her adult children lived their lives so different from the way my mother thought they should, or raised their children. How she would have loved
to tell them, buy never did, knowing that it would cause friction. She told me, ”I never said anything! I have taught my children to speak, and now they teach me to be silent!” I practice the same thing now with my children. And it’s great
to just step back and let them do as they see fit without comments. Silence – what would be the opposite word for silence? I do treasure the silent times I have, even though life always seems so busy. I often spend time in total silence, either creating
stained glass pieces or recently – drawing and sketching. Those two activities have given me much joy, were in challenging times a lifeline, and brought back the peacefulness I needed.
I see people around me rushing from one day or activity to the next – do they ever long for silence? Do we all have an underlying fear of silence to come when everything filling our days will come to an end?
"Surrender" by Doug Aldworth
Surrender to the light
Surrender to the waters
That wash over the decks
Inviting you into the depths
to the present moment
Where thought, word
Can move this world
Surrender strategic mind
To the depths of soul
Where purpose and destiny meet
And you find out, you’re
where you Need to be
Surrender to life
The wild unmistakable calling
To lament what could have been
But is not
Surrender to decay
As leaf changing colour
Falls back… back to Earth
To feed the living
Surrender to the inner voice
That knows you
By your true name
And comes back to claim you
Despite your best efforts
Doug Aldworth: "And Still I Wonder"
And Still I Wonder
I sat with the lake yesterday, after a long day of manual work. Taking out pipe and tobacco after finding a bare patch of rock, I sat down and watched the horizon creep-up towards the sun. Lake, still frozen over with that steel grey
glossy ice that comes when winters’ grip tightens once again after a thaw. I could hear red wing black-bird in the river-mouth, amongst stiff cattails and alders. It was here, I came to listen and watch and feel winter unravelling under the
steady gaze of sun. It was here I paused to wonder and be.
If a person is gripped by ceaseless striving and never pauses
long enough to be caught-up in wonder, does that person begin to lose something of his/her humanity and place in the natural scheme of things? What is a man or a woman who has not suffered and died a thousand times to their own self-importance?
Is this what constitutes original sin? Putting self at the centre rather than divine being or god or mystery or whatever the jargon of choice used to describe the indescribable in relation to being human?
Pulling breath through pipe, I wondered what was wrong with the world? I could find nothing wrong. Even though in this present age of extreme human-centred development
and exploitation, as the natural balancing agents of nature are in full swing and human-kind is becoming increasingly more isolated and dislocated from life rooted in the rich soils of wild nature, something, everything seems on the surface to be wrong.
Still I wondered, what would happen if humans chose integration instead of isolation from nature? What would happen if the human species were to voluntarily step down from their self-proclaimed apex of creation and occupy a position of equality rather
than mastery? Is human-kind past this point of decision, this fork in evolution where we choose to re-engage an indigenous perspective with our wild nature? Do humans know their place in this world? Perhaps the human species in its adolescence,
is coming to grips with its own mortality and place in the natural world? Is there anything wrong with that?
Aldworth (March 18, 2017)
Linda MacNamara is a member of our Algonquin Highlands Writers' Circle. She wrote this poem during our most recent meeting, and brought us face-to-face with the
reality facing us on October 19.
In my growing up house
Dark tales were told
That surged in my head
Hansel and Gretel's hungry witch
Chasing me through a forest
To the pounding
Heard loud inside my head,
Amplified by earaches
With oozing infections.
Along with my body,
Darkness of tales and visions
From books beneath the bed,
Read late and in secret:
Then 'Mein Kampf',
Hitler's ideal Germany.
Uncoiling from some
Forgotten inner well
This dark feeling has returned,
Moulding into an archetype
As we near Canada's election
And the waking possibility
Of losing our
To a true north strong and free,
That the years my father
Slogged through trenches
Over land and seas
Will have been for naught:
Do not vote for Steven Harper.
A Liminal PLace
Margarita is a wife, mother and grandmother living in Dublin, Ireland. She is a former teacher at All Hallows Colege in Dublin
One of the pleasures of studying theology in All Hallows in the 1990s was the expansion of my vocabulary. At an early stage in my studies I heard the term ‘liminal’. It was explained to me as an in between place,
sometimes a place between one state and another. The term made a lot of sense to me and indeed I recall writing a long essay on the liminal aspects of Holy Saturday. However, I think I thought of liminal as a narrow place, temporary, transitory
In the last few years I have had to re-think my definition of the liminal state both personally and socially. Five years ago my husband was
diagnosed with cancer which was already metastatic. Without treatment there was no hope, with treatment he might have some time. I recall him saying that he had decided to ‘take whatever they can throw at this’, and take it he did.
Since that day he has radium, chemotherapy, a couple of minor surgeries and three major surgeries and he has indeed been given extra time. During that time he has battled the side effects of radium and chemo and clawed his way back to physical
well being after the various surgeries. His life has been changed from one of well being and health to one where he tires easily, has to plan any activity like family visits or late nights and where he works very hard at retaining some level of fitness.
During that time he and I have been blessed with the support of family and friends who have done so much to help. It has been a journey which we have undertaken
as a couple and as individuals. Recently I realised that, in a peculiar way, those long months of supporting my husband through his various treatments were ‘easy’. In this case easy is a relative term. The long weeks of nursing
and caring for him were certainly tough, both physically, mentally and emotionally, but they were easy because I could ‘do’ something for him. Nursing him, cooking something to tempt his appetite, finding ways of making him comfortable all
took a lot of ‘doing’; I am a doer. We also spent long hours listening to each other as we travelled through the long days and the longer nights. There were times of triumph as my husband reached mile stones we never expected to see.
Joyous occasions of new grandchildren and their mile stones and all the while we have known he and we are on borrowed time. Now, however, we are in a different place. It’s definitely a liminal place.
Another joy of doing theology in All Hallows was the campus with its beautiful chapel, trees and greens and Drumcondra House which lies at the centre of the campus. Built between 1726 and 1727
it is one of the finest examples of early Irish Georgian architecture. Many of the rooms have what I can only describe as double doors. There is a door which opens into a small, liminal space about two feet in depth, then another door which opens
into the room proper. I have no idea what this liminal space was designed for by Lovett Pearce the architect of Drumcondra House; perhaps it was a way of excluding draughts or perhaps a servant would stand there ready to enter the main salon on the bidding
of the master. Whatever the use I have become more and more aware of the metaphor of liminal space in my life and I often think of that space between the doors in All Hallows.
Far from being a fleeting or transitory space it seems to me that my husband’s illness has brought us both to a semi-permanent liminal space. He has not died from cancer, he is living with it but living in a very different
way to the way we imagined these years. Our life together, as we knew it, has ended. We have a different life. It is a life of regular hospital appointments, ongoing chemo, sudden tirednesses, a life where there is little spontaneity.
Living with cancer means that while he is not very ill all the time neither is he very well for much of the time. We are also at a place where I can no longer ‘do’ a lot of things to help. Medication helps but I am no longer busy with
the chores of nursing and caring because he is not very ill and we thank God for that. We stand in this liminal place, this metaphorical place between the double doors. The door to the past is not quite closed. We can look back but we cannot go
there. I have been amazed at the grace with which my husband has accepted the limits which his illness puts upon him. He doesn’t complain or speak longingly of the past, he lives very much in the present of today. The door to the next stage
of Frank’s illness is not quite open and neither of us is rushing to that place where death awaits, and yet, we know it’s there. Today, some people would encourage us to kick down the door to the future, to take charge by way of assisted
suicide, Dignitas or some such place. That will never be a choice, life is sweet even in its limits. It seems to me that our task, right now, is to find love and joy in this small liminal space. Of their nature liminal spaces are not
large, they don’t lend themselves to crowds or to lots of decoration and beauty. They are just in between, on the way to and from other places. But, that is where we are and that is where our life together is calling us right now. To live and find joy in the in between.
New Day by Kenneth Husband
(For the Truth and Reconciliation Commission work)
A shadow crawls across the ancient land,
from the east,over the shield and vast forests,
high up into the arctic,down to the great plains,
and on to the west,place of the tall cedars.
Everything that it touches will change forever,
the shadow growing darker as it creeps
in a relentless silent spread.
Perched atop a giant pine that covers
much of our land,
head cocked to one side affording her
to see the sun and moon together.
From the beginning of time,Crow has watched
as our shadow slowly
covered the land
like a fog that did not stop,
until it had taken the children
to a place they could never understand,
to a place where many would not return.
Making sure that they would never forget,
they where left with a scar
from the searing
bite of a viper,
to carry for the rest of their lives.
Crow has dwelled in two worlds,
She has seen the shadow of false spirit,
and the destruction of many generations.
Yet she stands, ever vigilant at the gateway
between shadow and light,
watching for the darkness to receed,
Watching for the soul, that is beginning
And then, with her beckoning call,
black wings touch our face,
and we journey with
Flying from the night of denial,
and acknowledg the beginning of the new day.
Tundra, by LInda MacNamara
(For the little white rescue dog from Attawapiskat, May 2015)
When did the wind begin to blow in all directions?
Why does one leash a thing that knows where it is going,
Sniffing for live food and silent competitors
Like a canine sheriff arriving from a town
Where starvation and bullets are dog control.
How is she to settle into the softness,
The boredom of this safety net?
What will she do with her longing
And eight milky teats
Dragging on foreign ground?
She has survived danger and depravation,
And I feel no fear in her.
Later, under the stars
She howls a mournful cry:
From somewhere in the darkness
Tension on the leash lessens, like she's made contact
With a spirit I seek from long ago.
We wait a long while
Before going into the house
Where she sleeps on my bed
And I breathe
To her heartbeat.
Deep Breath by Ken Husband
Are you there
can you hear me
in the morning
As I stand in the pre-dawn and gaze skyward
it feels as if I am carried
to an unknown place.
A place where I no longer understand the language.
The language is still spoken there,
in sparrow song,wind sigh and leaf fall.
Ocean still whispers the song that originated there, and if you listen to the longing in your heart,
you may hear the sacred song as well.
There is a community of beings within the welcoming cosmos.
The ancient ones, they have left their finger prints on us,
their soft whispers,gentle nudges,
rituals,songs and dances.
Trees that are alive and have personalities and have a voice noless
than we humans.
Every breath we take,we take from the cosmos.
We inhale its air,
we speak with its breath
we are its poems,
we are its dance,
are its rythems of music and writing.
I still may not understand the words being spoken to me
I can dance the dance,write my words
and sing to the rythem.
Are you there
can you hear me
in the morning
Rev. Allan Reeve: THE SHIFT
the saints have been sleeping
under blankets of deep snow
their prayers frozen solid silent
at the end of the months-long winter’s night
they begin to dream in dawn’s first glowing
their rapid eye movement
the first fluttering of life deep under all
they dream of places where even god has never been
they dream of things not yet seen this side of the moon
they dream up songs both ancient and new
and slowly, slowly, slowly a melody rises from the pores of rock hard ground
the returning birds sing it first
sun offers a slow strong bass beat
the swelling creeks accompany
and it wakes the sleeping bear in you
these songs have never been heard
these songs await lyrics that only you can write
these songs have a chorus we’ve heard before our birthing
and now is when we are called to sing
something’s broken the frozen heart’s secret hold
rising with a sweet surprise
and not too soon
we’ll see the saints dancing
with the seventh generation’s joy
(spring equinox 2015)
"The News" by Doug Aldworth
It’s being streamed in now
We hear it live
The news makers
Have our attention now
With their punk, rhythm and jive
Oh- yeah the weather
It’s so nasty out there
Gangs in the streets
Put your armour on
Duck down, go
Lines are being drawn
The proverbial us and them
Wait, clear my throat
Masticate the words
Clear the pflegm
And we watch
Voyeurs of the world
Licking moist lips
We watch someone’s
Life become unfurled
“Thank-god that’s not me”
Says the Loyal One
Or rather…maybe it’s
“If only that were…”
Ratchet it up another notch
I’ve heard it myself
Watched and listened
With furrowed brow
Another cash cow
in self loathing
Yes, you know what I mean
News of the world
Falling apart at the seams
Piped in trash
Dow Jones falling
Keep it safe, offshore
Everybody’s hidden stash
Damned, why didn’t I think
The information factory
Gutted of all the wisdom
A Thousand years of Ancestral learning
Can bring to the masses
Coffee for the masses
That’s it for sure
Inject a thousand calories of Tim’s
Wash it down
Streets, arteries, movement slow as molasses
Illusions of hyper speed
No dead air
Keep the direct stare
Engage the audience
Set the trap and trip the snare.
from Doug Aldworth, a longtime member of our Algonquin Highlands Writers Circle:
With all edges knocked-off
I walk, snow-shoes getting a grip
I am a two legged
Traversing frozen pond
Through hibernating forests
Tracks of four leggeds
Fox, Coy-wolf, Hare, Martin and Deer
Criss-cross my way
Wind and cold dictating pace
And there is Sun
Earth, gradually tilting
To face the warmth
And all this
Softens my knees
Slows the cadence of footsteps
Opens me up
Losing my edges
I become malleable
So the Creator can work
Not, work with
I cannot resist
A will that causes me to cease and desist
And I shed the cares of this world
The tasks that cry-out
“What about me!”
Feeling lighter with each step
Quiet and poised
A still vessel of being
With a body born
of this dynamic universe
Entering the flow of this day
Replaced with resilience
And a knowing, I am part of all this.
D.A, Feb 2015
This page for guests
I will be adding here the poems and other writings from friends and colleagues who share my love of writing and do not have their own websites, so my usual readers can enjoy