Category: Travel

WRITING THE AUSTRALIA TRIP

WRITING THE AUSTRALIA TRIP

We went to teach, we went to learn
we did a lot of both and more of some

We met amazing people – they met us
perhaps none will be the same again

Details I leave for further poems
which I hurry to hurry to write

before the ripples rippling out
are lost
clockwise and counter clock
down the toilet bowl of time

GRANDFATHER’S MOUSTACHE

GRANDFATHER’S MOUSTACHE

The moustaches
of my grandfather and Carl Jung
(Twins separated at birth)
have lives of their own

Jung’s stays in Switzerland
combing the unconscious

My grandfather’s travels to Brazil and Canada
gathers rainforest moisture, dirty thirties dirt
and remnants of strong cheese and pipe smoke
(Carl’s certainly contains some of that too)

When grandfather sneezes, I get to share it all

ON THE OTHER HAND

ON THE OTHER HAND

In Haifa
we visited a home
with original paintings by Chagall
(You know how he can always
make you feel like you can fly)
and a bomb shelter
under the stairs

Stopped at a wall by a bus stop
with one stone for each child
killed in the explosion

And looked down on the harbor
across the order and beauty
of the gardens of the Bahai

Looked out across the water
to Lebanon where the last
rockets flew

A MOBIUS TRIP

A MOBIUS TRIP

Always an emigrant, never an immigrant
one foot in each country for thirty years
more running from than running to
more neither nor than either or

Always abandoning in some way
family, friends and dependable plans
and any constancy demands

Half desperate, always in search
for new ones who will give enough
and not demand too much

I keep my Canadian in Canada
and am careful when I pack

I stow my Texas twang at the border
and pick it up on the way back

Flying from Calgary to Toronto, Eda asks
“How come you’ve started to talk in a drawl?”

Just as the captain comes on the blower to say
“In order to avoid a big storm on our left
we are now flying over North Dakota”

Staircase – Faculty of Architecture at Warsaw University of Technology, Poland


The Möbius strip, also called the twisted cylinder, is a one-sided nonorientable surface obtained by cutting a closed band into a single strip, giving one of the two ends thus produced a half twist, and then reattaching the two ends.

INDIAN RIVER, ONTARIO 2004

INDIAN RIVER, ONTARIO 2004

Above waterfall
In circle of highest pine
green showers down

By the waterfall
body rests in hammock
cells rush to the sea

Below waterfall
power beyond soap and rub
washes off city

Lying by the bank
trees holding blue hammock
lift it to the sky

Indian River
Great Blue Heron stands
wise Tibetan monk

DON’T WORRY MATE

DON’T WORRY MATE

Up North working the neighbour’s calves

One of those mixed farm forty cow
no corral kind of operations
good folks though and they help us out

Were branding and cutting and vaccinating
in a lean-to off the barn eight inches deep

No room for a horse or a rope
so you just have to grab those calves
and throw them down right side up
so they’re dry enough to brand

The farmer’s son loses his grip on a catch
and the calf tries to bold past me

I turn quick, grab the head and come ‘round
fast to where the farmer stands flat footed
with that big syringe in his hand
needle pointed forward

Into my shoulder, skin, flesh and the bone
dumping the whole shot of multi-task
vaccine

The next day the arm hurts bad
and it doesn’t look too good

So we drive down to Mossbank
to see the old Aussie flying doctor
who must have gotten off course
to land in Saskatchewan

He gives me some medicine
and says come back in three days

I say I’ll probably be fine by then
and its sixty miles round trip

He says “don’t worry mate
you’re vaccinated for shipping fever”

And I’ve been traveling ever since

CHARTRES CATHEDRAL MAY 9, 2001

CHARTRES CATHEDRAL MAY 9, 2001

Standing at last
in medieval thought made visible
one hundred and seventy three of the most
beautiful stained glass windows in the world
ten thousand figures in glass and stone

Feeling the light and form form feelings

Dorsey and I drift apart
pulled for a moment by different magnets

I look up I have no words
I beckon her over she crosses the rough stone

I kiss her gently hold her a moment and
point to the small center window
high in the west side of the south wing

Where light breaking through cloud
throws fractured beams
through centuried dust
in an exact way and at an exact angle
that it has never slanted before
and will never slant again

We wander in awe
together and apart
light candles, marvel at the art

Famous labyrinth where penitents
crawled three football fields on their knees
Without knowing it had once been there
I miss the Minotaur in the middle

As evening falls I sit on a stone step
by the central altar
watching
for a long time the sun as it sinks
rising in the West Rose Window

From the center
each ring moving outward
moves towards me in explosion 3D

Again I have no words

The words are

From the unquestionable hand
of the undeniable God
a universe flung forth
in crystal cacophony
and order

THE BELLS OF LE CROTOY

THE BELLS OF LE CROTOY

In the little village by the Baie
bells still wake you every day

And since not all the churches agree
we wait while each has its pretty say
then snuggle back for a little nap
because a bell is just a bell
and we’re on holiday

If we had really listened
we might have have heard them say

We are the bells Jeanne d’Arc heard
breaking over walls of prison stone
the morning of her walk to Rouen
and then never heard again

We are the bells Jules Verne heard
rattling rough shuttered windows
get up lazy writer and grasp for that pen
you have leagues to write ‘fore you rest again

We are the bells that the fishermen heard
on the mornings behind their names
on the monument to men lost at sea
heard last before going to sea