Thursday, 22 February 2018

it is what it is

again last night I dreamt ... I was lying in a little boat
that was tethered to a dock ... the cold waves – somehow
I knew they were cold – slapped the sides knocking it ...
over and over, against the pilings,  in repetitive jarring
bumps that shuddered down my spine,  so that I sat up

it was then, I noticed my aunt sitting on an old
spindle-back wooden chair trying to pull a fish hook
out of her finger ... I must have made a face for she said:
you'll have to learn to be tougher than that ... and smiling,
she continued:  you'll see – most of the time, you've just
got to get on with it, as best you can ... it is what it is

she had learned that lesson, well  –  one of the strongest
women I ever knew – as head night nurse in a gritty
northern mill and port town ... she'd seen it all and tended to
just about everything human beings can do to mind and
body ... she was amazing ... she was kind, in the subtlest way ...
she was skilled and patient and tenacious in the face of crisis ...
and she had, absolutely, no use for histrionics and drama

the last time I saw my aunt was when I went back to that
northern town, for my mother's funeral ... I asked her
how she was doing, and she replied – waving in the direction
of her walker:  as you can imagine, getting around is a drag –  
and I'm told I've got ... I've got ... damn ... alzheimers ... 
she grinned one of her rare grins, and added:  you'd think
they could have come up with an easier name to remember, 
than that, but anyway, you know how it goes ... it is what it is

photo: It Is What It Is- W. Bourke

© 2018 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 16 February 2018

Hot House - A Senryu Prose Piece

Back in early days – when my now-husband first began dropping by my parents home, in winter – he was astonished by the subtropical temperatures of the place.

“How do you stand it in there,” he queried – at a loss to square how a family of mortals could moil on, day after day, in a brick (the house was red brick) oven.

“It’s one of the few things they actually agree on – so best, not go there,” I told him.   "It’s very well insulated.  Whatever you can do in a house to create heat and keep it there, has been done in that house … Lots of research … Lots of cost estimates … I’m talking:  new furnace … new roof … the basement windows have all been replaced with glass blocks … Everything you can weatherproof has been weatherproofed … the windows, the fireplace, the chimney … stuff you've never even heard of – all weatherproofed … Then, there’s steel polyurethane core double doors:  back and front … attic and wall insulation … even the measly electrical outlets did not escape an upgrade … The heat in that house, is my parents crowning achievement at least in commerce ... It fills them with a level of pride that they seldom – if ever – experienced from any of their offspring … It is one of their main topics of conversation – and certainly the least contentious one.  They endlessly remark on how quiet the heat is … how clean the heat is … how it responds – immediately – at a touch.  It makes their day – everyday.   People from all over this city seek them out to soak up their wisdom and advice on products and price and dealers and warranties. They are like heat gurus.  Where else have you seen that level of post-purchase fortification and consumer bliss? “

“But it’s intolerable.  The heat in that house is intolerable,” he lamented.  “And then, when the oven is cranked up for a couple of hours, for the weekly roast, and the stove in steaming along full blast, with pots and pots of food, that one is expected to ‘put away’ between bouts of heat prostration …...”

“But It makes the loveliest frost patterns on the windows, don’t you think … So beautiful … I find I can just get lost in them.”

                              overheated house …
                              the simmering temperatures
                              providing scant warmth

photo:  Frost on Window (a photo taken from my window and enhanced with various photo editing programs) - W. Bourke

© 2018 Wendy Bourke

Wednesday, 14 February 2018



first kiss

the kiss came  
none too soon
under the stars and gypsy moon
waiting, in orchard breezes,
for the other to proceed:
a preemptive peck to signal 
they were set to do the deed

both wanting to appear sincere and not  
improper – or imply – 
that they were the kind person
to kiss any girl – or guy

murmurs amongst the quivers  
til, she heaved a breathy sigh

then fell

a bashful velvet kiss
her cherry lip-balmed lips . . . 

like magic . . . floating by.

flitter-flutters  flitter-flutters
'neath the WHAMMO, WHAMMO SKY !!!

note:  First Prize:  The Ontario Poetry Society Sparkle and Shine Poetry Contest, 2014.
photo:  Cherry Red – W. Bourke
© 2013 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 9 February 2018

the mountains of vancouver

life in this whirling town
plays out upon
a storybook backdrop

good life, hard life,
end of life … it all
twists and twirls
and slogs and flutters
against the white turreted
pinnacles of the
mountains of vancouver

they enfold the place
like a kingdom

I look to the mountains
a lot … they are omnipresent
and demand to be seen
with awe … every now and then

they are poetry …
and give pause
to thoughts of time …
to all that has gone before ...

to all that those mountains
have reigned over

millennium …
unto millennium …
unto millennium

to where we are now ...
and to where we are heading

always … at some point …
I don’t like what I’m thinking 

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, 
but by those who watch them without doing anything."
Albert Einstein

Sketch:   The Lions Mountains of Vancouver (a sketch I did 5 or 6 years ago and tinted in Picasa) - W. Bourke

© 2018 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 2 February 2018

white magic - a tanka sequence

white magic memories
of the days of spirits bright …
conjured forth
by a winter holiday photo
emailed by my son

I still recall
white magic in the falling snow ...
in a world suffused in sparkle dust
each snowflake ...

I still recall
the miracle of brown woods
cloaked in white magic
I still recall
the fragrance of winter

I still recall ...
in the enchanted mists
of childhood ... the spell
of white magic ...
cast upon me

a lifelong feeling
that has no name …
in the picture … my son and grandson
skiing together ...
wonder full in white magic

photo:  Big White, Kelowna BC - M.T. Bourke

© 2018 Wendy Bourke