Friday, 6 December 2019

a good place under heaven

oh ... for the days
when I floated
down wilderness paths …
I unfurl my arms-to-wings

... still ... this sky ...
lifts me from the mortal coil ...
all impediments and doubts
eclipsed by the profundity
... of being ...

there were tall green grasses
and cathedral trees ...
there were mountain trails
and dolphin blue seas ...
now ... in mind's eye

the days I embraced ...
the voyages I sailed ...
my life's passages ...
is it not so? ... all of it ...
has led me to this good place

under eternal heaven
far ... far .. beyond
the dissever of minutia ...
surely ... this is spiritual ...
for it confers ... such peace

 photo:  The Pacific Ocean photographed from Qualicum Beach – W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 29 November 2019

Rut Busters

I've been thinking a lot about ruts, lately ... life ruts ... not road ruts. Perhaps, that is because of the in-between season we are in ... in-between seasons seem to foster rut development ... both kinds ... though my ruminations have centred around the ruts of habit and routine.

Ruts and lethargy go together like kittens and cuddles. Ruts have a way of taking the gleam out of inspiration and the enthusiasm out of a day.  Once you are tapped out of OOMPH ... it can be a very alusive concoction to replicate.

Staying up most of the night, reading or writing or sewing is a small act of defiance against the natural order of activities … and can offer, temporarily at least … a somewhat altered perspective ... outside the rut. Music ... reminiscent of a lighthearted time ... can go a long way towards making spirits bright. And I have found that gardens ... private and public ... are magical rut reducers … with their ever changing canvases of coloured leaves ... stark bare branches pinned against a gothic winter sky ... rebirth ... and ...

Needless to say, we all have our own very personal little ways of reminding ourselves what a gift life is ... when we need reminding. Mine is fudge ... mostly it's about making it for others ... though I do indulge myself in the odd piece. It was my Mother who introduced me to fudge ... She loved fudge .. and often, I suspect when she felt she was in a bit of a rut ... we'd smell that unmistakable aroma wafting from the kitchen.

Then she'd start to joke ... “I don't smell anything” ...“I never said I was making fudge”. She loved to tell the story of how her parents once ran a country store, in the 30's ... a 'just-the-essentials' kind of shop. Kids who had ridden their bikes for miles to spend the l or 2 cents they had earned doing chores, were so disappointed when there was nothing there for them, that my Mother began rising early to make fudge that she cut into pieces, wrapped in wax paper and sold for a penny. I am reminded of that when I make fudge for my own family ... a precious memory ...

A very precious memory ... which, I have come to discover ... combined with doing something nice for others ... out of the blue ... is the best rut buster there is.

photo/drawing: This is from a little doodle I did, years ago, while thinking back on my Mom's fudge – WB

©2019 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 22 November 2019

Beautiful Lives

Usually when I am having a disturbing dream ... I awaken (mercifully) because words and deeds have become so wrong ... the narrative no longer makes sense.  In response to wild deviations from norms … I begin thinking along the lines of ...

this is too crazy to be real ...
this could never be true ...
I must be dreaming ...
oh, wait ... I am ...
hallelujah ! ! !

Alas, these days, it would appear that freakishly strange mutations-of-truth … endlessly emanating from our phones and T.V.s … does not set off the same alarm bells in wakefulness … that alert us, in slumber.  The preponderance of lies and alternative 'facts' that pass for news-of-the-world … is troubling (to say the least) … so much so that I have come to remarking …

this is the part
where I usually
wake up

half way through a news broadcast.  And while most of the mendacity I am witnessing now (on a daily basis) is coming from 'on-high' ... from governments and rulers and certain media and 'organized' haters ... I do worry about the trickle-down effect ... especially upon the children of this global village … whose values are a work in progress.

Ultimately, all lives come to an end,  That 'truth', for me ... begs the question ... what do most people want their life to have been about ... (and by extension) how do they want to be remembered ... and how does that jive with the burgeoning exposure to 'pretend reality' we are currently being inundated with. Not surprisingly, these existential of all existential questions have been studied. I've looked into some of the results of this research and ... I have wonderful news … 'truth' is hanging in there, as the measure of a good life. The vast majority of humankind … universally ... echo (with minor variations) fundamentally similar responses. Most of us ... want to believe that we tried to do our best with the life we were given ... that we are seen as a decent and honest person ... and that we are remembered as such.

Moreover, beyond one individual's existence ... the fate of every living thing on this planet would be far improved if we all went forth in the spirit of 'doing the right thing' ... the epitaph ... the great-lot-of-us claim to aspire to. For most mortals ... that is the pinnacle ... that is the ideal ... that is the beautiful life ... lived. Now ... if we could just ... 

~ WAKE UP ! ! ! ~

remembering that ... treasuring it for the virtue that it is .. and demonstrating the good of it ... to the children of this earth.

photo:  Meditation – W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 15 November 2019


yesterday .... truly ... was frabjous ...
in that fabulous, frabjous fine way ...
it was joyous and stirring and mellow ...
A Great ... Great ... Great ... Great Frabjous Day

it was frabjous ... it was wonderfully frabjous ...
on a trek through the evergreen trees ...
the weather was fair … everywhere
... everywhere ...
simply rippled ... with wafts of pine breeze

there was kind-clever-sharp conversation ...
there was hot, steamy citrus-spiced-tea ...
and then there was dinner ... and candlelight
... 'FRABJOUS' ...
wine ... music ... and good company

it was thoughtful, sublime and engaging ...
it was brilliant ,,, and fun and ... happy ...
it was out-and-outstandingly frabjous ...
just as frabjous ... as frabjous can be

at the height of these November Doldrums

note: a bit of fun today ... I haven't done a rhyming verse in quite a while, and was feeling the need of it on this November Doldrums Day.

frabjous:  (pronounced FRAB-JUS) - I came across this little word gem - and love it!  Originally it was a nonce (coined word) that first appeared in Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky in 1872 (probably, as a blend of fair, fabulous and joyous) and has come to be listed in dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster.  It goggles as a synonym for:  wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, superb, sublime, spectacular, lovely, excellent, fine, delightful, enjoyable, pleasurable, super, great, amazing, etc., etc., etc.  (All these many years spent amongst words … and I - almost - missed 'frabjous' … which has, totally, got me thinkin':  'I gotta read Jabberwocky ~ smiles ~ )

photo:  Frabjous – W. Bourke 

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Strange Beauty

There is often a strange beauty to this hour ... and once again, it comes to me as such. Earlier, the day was clear and sunny ... brilliant coloured leaves hung from the knotted branches of giant sentinel trees splashing scarlet-ochre-amber patches across a cornflower-bluest-blue sky ... And then ...

in the time it took to nosh down a good-sized apple ... contemplatively ... the painting transformed before my eyes ... from strokes on linen ... to the vespertine velvet shades that enhance the mood of evening with a wisp of the mysterious. The leaves – now – ­look much older ... the grand trees – more wizened in the dusk. I feel sporadic drops of rain as twilight falls. It is time for me to go ... to give the place back to itself as it glides from the carefree youth of day to the quiet still of night ... in the strange beauty of this hour.  Perhaps ...

it is a acquirement of age ... discerning a strange beauty, where once ... it was not recognized. Strange beauty ... in the subtlies that mark the passages of time ... or those small acts of survival we encounter every day ... a blade of grass, poking from a sidewalk crack ... a rainbow, at the cessation of a storm.  Perhaps …

we grow to find a gentle pleasure ... to find beauty ... in the ebbs and flows and sounds and sights that have accompanied us, through our life ... a capacity, that waits to unfold with time in the young. Would it surprise them to know now that one day, many of the books and movies and music they enjoy, will come to occupy an even more impassioned place in their hearts, as those 'old' things take on the patina of their 'glory days' ... imbued with a strange beauty that nothing else can duplicate. Will they come to discover, as I have, that even worn out party shoes can cast their own enchantment ... or find the strange beauty that shines from ancient faces ... especially when they smile. I have no doubt that they will ... for that, I believe ... is the rare gift that comes with age.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,

that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

- John Keats (1820)

photo:  Strange Beauty – W. Bourke 

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 1 November 2019

Faking It

A couple of weeks ago M. and I were offered tickets to a pro football game and I suggested that my daughter-in-law go in my place. “You might as well go,” I prompted. “For the life of me, I still don't understand that game.”

Noticeably gobsmacked, she managed to eek out a dumbfounded, “You don't understand it?  What about all the Grey Cup and Super Bowl Games you and M. have hosted ... You looked so happy ... like you were really into it.  And the boy's high school games ... You went to games.”  At this point she began to laugh. “And cheered your little heart out, too.”  

“I know, eh ... sometimes, even I forget I haven't got a clue what's going on. It's just that I've never had any real affinity for the game ... well, let's face ... sports in general. But I didn't want to come across like Killjoy-Cranky-Pants and ruin everybody's fun, so I just kinda, ya know ... faked it.  Looking back, I think the sham began, in earnest, in high school when – while working for the school newspaper – I was assigned to cover 'The Big Game'.  I told the faculty advisor that I didn't understand football, and I truly believed in my heart-of-hearts, I never could ... it simply wasn't in me.  He advised me to: surprise myself and insisted I cover it in spite of my misgivings: a good reporter finds an angle and works it.

“As I recall, I got the starting line-up correct.  At which point my coverage moved on to an in depth description of the uniforms ... of both teams (let it never be said I demonstrated any journalistic bias) … where upon, I zoomed to the final score ... ending with a hearty tribute to the sportsmanship demonstrated by the two legendary adversaries ... Yep, that was definitely my baptism by fire, alright.  After that – there was no stopping me – I was ready to fake my way through football for the rest of my life, if need be.”

“Does M. know?” my daughter-in-law inquired conspiratorially?

“We never speak of it ... but yes, he's known for years.  When we watch a game together, he hollers out plays, and chastises players.  I suspect he's long since given up all hope that one-fine-day, I will learn to love his favourite game, as he does ...  though, I'm not sure he knows the degree to which I-know-nothing and care-even-less about it.  As I mentioned:  we don't go there.  Anyway, these days, I think it's become more of an atmospheric thing ... He enjoys the game more when he's yelling at the TV ... and seems to be less inhibited when I join in ... so we just leave it at that.”

“But how do you know what to say and when to cheer and when to holler at the refs?”

“Piece-of-cake.  You will observe, I never lead the charge.”

“Does everyone in the family know?”

“Well yes, by now, I think everyone's figured it out ... But you know, we all do it ... with a myriad of different things.  There's almost always someone who is lukewarm-at-best about something the rest of us are up for ... though you'd be hard pressed to spot who it is. That's because nobody wants to do anything that might rachet down the enjoyment level of everyone else. When there is a good time to be had ... all of us want it to be the very best it can be ... because ...

even if you aren't
exactly on the same page
if you are happy
spending time with family ...
it's all good”

Photo:  Patrick (our uber football kid) after a Game (30 years or so ago) – W.K. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

another life

at the edge of the park ... there is a little
copse of trees ... which ... over the years …
has taken on the personalities of dead relatives

the ones that had gone to graves are buried
far far away ... some of them were cast to the winds ...
and some of them moved ... or passed ... when I was but a child
and I know not what became of them ... before
they found their way ... to the copse at the edge of the park

all who have gathered there ... are from another life ...
from a time that was louder and softer … 
richer and frugaller ... kinder and harsher … 
and climate change was not yet invented

I must like that they are there ... for it is I
who summoned them close to me ... perhaps
I sought comfort in their continuation ... as trees

and though I never actually speak to them ... sometimes ...
I think with them ... could they ever have imagined ... 
I often wonder ... that I would grow old ... to worry so ... 
about our precious planet ... and how my heart would break
for those I will leave behind ... what would they have done
with that ... if they had known ... what do I do with it?

Photo:  Tree Talk – W.K. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 18 October 2019

the poetry of water

I have always found my way ...
to waters' poetry ... for I am drawn
by inspiration ... to brooks
and springs ... that I can step across with ease

I am drawn ...
to capricious creeks that vanish and return
to rivers-of-change ... as constant ...
as a mountain range ... though in winter ... shrouded ...
beneath ... ice and snow

I am drawn ...
to lakes and to lake ponds and to lagoons ...
to oceans ... to the deep abiding sea

I have always found my way ...
to waters' poetry ... and go there still ...
and often now
it comes to me

I close my eyes … remember … and it comes to me
in the purl and ripple of a phrase
in the crash and swirl that stirs expression 
in the ebb and flow of lapping waves

upon a jagged shore or sandy beach
along a stony bank or tall grass knoll
beside a crooked creek or vast blue sea
I close my eyes
and I am there ... in waters' poetry

Photo:  Twin Island Blue – M.S. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Thursday, 10 October 2019

view from a rock and a hard place

I had gone looking for the whimsical in nature ...
 for the week had been a slog

and had found a bit of comic relief
in the crooked smile of an ancient oak tree knot

from somewhere in the distance ... I heard the laughter
of young children ... as if it tumbled from another time ...
and then

I sat down atop a whopping big rock ... which took a choreography
of contortions to climb aboard ... and although ...
an inelegant ascent … nothing else close by
seemed remotely suitable … and so …

 I persevered and, at length, succeeded ... smiling,
after-the-fact, at the peculiar sight I must have made ... but ...

for all that ... I felt ... as I looked out from my agreeable slate perch ...
far more ... a forest being ... than I had previously felt, when I walked
the path ... for now ... I had a home ... albeit a briefly borrowed one

the sanctum played its own notes ... which were periodically interspersed
with the sounds of children ... the children I couldn't see ... and I thought
… since, by then, we were all in the story together ... 
maybe ... they were magical ... like me … because 

with only the forest creatures for company,
I was invisible ... weightless in the enchanted woods ...
and I floated in the lightness I had come to that place ... seeking

photo:  End of Summer Foliage (framing the City of Vancouver with the Pacific Coast Mountains in the background) – W. Bourke 

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 3 October 2019

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 !!!

notes:  Winner - First Prize: The Ontario Poetry Society. Sparkle and Shine Poetry Contest, 2014.

Sherry and I had a wonderful conversation this past week at Poets United about 'What to do with all that Poetry'.  Our fellow poets joined in and, together, we touched on subjects such as:  publishing, self-publishing, archiving, audio poetry and social media.  If you missed it, and have been wondering about ' What to do with all that Poetry' check  it out at 'What to do with all that Poetry'.  A lot of awesome info was exchanged and, personally, I learned a lot.

photo:  Cherry Red – W. Bourke
© 2013 Wendy Bourke