Friday, 20 September 2019

magic carpet

dawn awoke weeping
as muddy gray formations began to
materialize into smog enfolded silhouettes

but-by-noon ... the rain had ceased
and brisk whisks of sunshine had swept the fog away

leaving me feeling mildly gladdened
as one is apt to feel when a gloomy day
exceeds low expectations … though ...
it is a fairly recurrent pleasant surprise
in this ever-changing season

just now … I notice that the space
beyond our yard is covered with
an autumnal rug of kaleidoscopic leaves

… remarkable ...

where ... earlier this week the land was bare
there … is a vibrant tapestry 
woven in threads
of russet and golden orange and ochre
and reds … that ruffles in wind ripples
as if raring to take  off … and sail into the sky

… I picture that in my mind's eye ...

and smile at the magic of recall and evocation
and how a spark of memory
can lift us up and colour in
the pages of our story

… gloriously ...

photos:  Scenes from Stanley Park, Vancouver BC – W. Bourke 

© 2019 Wendy Bourke  

Thursday, 12 September 2019

on the road that rings around round lake

rambling downhill
on the road that
rings around round lake

on an enchanted, mystic stretch
rollicked by the rolling wind
in early morning verdant scent

I was dazzled
by a stirring in the forest
by a shard of glint that winked
by the sunlight drips and gleams
that blinked ... as eyes ... of fauna blink

when a great gust caught
and tossed me
like a tire tube at sea
so that I bobbed amongst the billows
there ... between the lines of trees
and bobbed and bounced
and bounced and bobbed
guffawing rip-roaringly

and stumble-flew
in a medley of blue
and sparkling blings of green
and lifted up and plopped back down
and flapped my arms-to-wings

euphoric and elated
as if dreaming … yet awake

I danced on down ... feet off the ground ...
the road around round lake

photos:  The Road that Rings Round Retta Lake – W. Bourke 

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 5 September 2019

I choose to be

the weather has struck the perfect
creature comfort temperature ... and
I bask in the blade and leafy scent

the flora is gently animated in elfin breezes
that tickle down my bare arms …
like ripplets on rillets …
like the casting of a spell ... as befits
the clouds above ... which reveal
their own folk tale ... in white

yesterday came and went ... and left
bad news to roll over and over and over
until ... I heard a chickadee whistling
its distinctive 'Hey Sweetie' call … a lilting birdsong ...
which always signals the end of angst ...
at least for a time

and so … at least for a time … the hard rock
I have come to rest upon is commodious and soft …
the air I breathe is light and sweet … the woods are playing
the loveliest of music and … I choose to be happy

note: Chickadees have several calls that they employ for any number of reasons. Throughout most of North America the Black Capped Chickadee's 2 or 3 note 'fee-bee' call is also known as their 'Hey Sweetie' call. (If you listen for it, it really does sound a little like 'Hey Sweetie' ... you gotta REALLY listen for it, though ~ smiles ~ that is because it is a mnemonic device:  a pattern of sounds chosen to aid the memory in distinguishing one bird song from another.)

photo:  Snickett Park, Sechelt (H. Bourke)

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 22 August 2019

park bench

in the park ... there is a bench ...
perfectly placed ... away from the thick of things
... where ... the wind tosses through tree branches
in euphoric whooshing billows and effusions
of pine scent and flora

it sits at the half-way point of a pleasant park trail loop …
as if midway through a happy-sad story

it is far-flung enough that quiet contemplation is
unlikely to be disturbed … and private conversation ...
unlikely to be heard ... it is a good place for an apology ...
or a breakup ... or a confession ... or a secret ... and is used thus

as the deleterious accoutrements to human misery that
… periodically ... appear between the seat slates ...
sadly confirm ... for me ... at such times as these

it is the locus of a thousand contrasts that span
the spectrum of mortal existence … for even as …
I peer down upon a recently deposited relic of sorrow

off in the distance ... from the playground ... comes ...
the laughter of children in the loveliest of notes
in the rollicking trills of the innocent
as spontaneously as
effervescent bubbles ... bursting …
to the top of a filled-to-the-rim glass … full 

photo: Park Bench - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 16 August 2019

The Good Ones - a tanka prose piece

I have come to realize that I choose, how I wish to be in this world ... more, by the influence of what I don't like in others ... than by, what I admire in fellow human beings.

What I do like about others, wraps me in a blanket of calm positive energy. It is as comfortable and safe as life can be, at any given time ... it fits ... and it is as natural as breathing.

I don't bristle ... I don't imagine myself being beamed sci-fi – entifically away ... Words like 'narcissist' and 'control-freak' and 'greed' don't pop into my head like crossword solutions ... And I don't feel my heart sink as I put-it-together:  I've just come upon, yet another one, who doesn't have a heart.

The simple truth is ... it is easy to take the goodness in good people for granted ... until ... their steady, pleasant, empathetic, honest, inclusive presence ... is no longer there.

Then... as if intrinsic to the character of the like-minded souls that remain ... IT IS THERE.  And so, they seek each other out ... knowing who they are ... even as benevolence is as unobtrusive as the sky ... they know who they are ... for they have felt it from their earliest acquaintance ... though, it passed without conscious thought ... still ... they know who they are ... as they come together ... away from the others ... the ones who know nothing of kindness and love ... and tell each other

"We lost one of the good ones.”

~ ~ ~

 in the way of humankind ...
when it becomes known
a light has gone out -
the power of love
is at its most illuminating

~ ~ ~

photo: Two of the Good Ones (This is a picture I took in 2013 of my husband, Mike, rocking our Grandson to sleep.)  - W. Bourke

©  2019 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 9 August 2019

where meaning lies

the leaves have begun
to stir, in gladding flutters
... once again ...
and I think the smothering heat wave
has abated

I have
spent these past lost days
in hot flat lethargy
willing it to go

so much so
that now
the reemergence of typicality
appears miraculously
heaven sent

... the world is beautiful ...
in the halcyon glow of summer

though, ordinarily, I would, probably,
not notice
for it is unexceptional

even as
this day floats
on petals of contentment
like apple blossom petal boats
upon a breeze

in the unremarkable, remarkable

where I am sure
that meaning lies ... though I
have only ever felt it stir

photo: Osoyoos Lake,  B.C., in the Heat - H. Bourke
© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Saturday, 3 August 2019


In my linen closet there is a homemade linen holder. It contains bits and bobs that my mother, her mother, her grandmother – and so on – embroidered, crocheted, smocked, appliqued and tatted, over the years of their lives. Beautifully handcrafted, they are now considered to be old fashioned ... though I do take out the odd piece, from time to time, and add it to a tea tray or a display of flowers. 

Occasionally, in the course of my rural market outings, amid the fresh produce, fudge logs and homemade jams and chutneys, I come upon stands displaying 'olden' things. Often, there amongst the shabby kitchen paraphernalia, ancient tools and rumpled school readers, I find exquisite hand stitched textiles lovingly sewn, long, long ago.

Invariably, I am struck by the give-away price tags on these works of art and see it, as a metaphor for the value that has - historically - been placed on women's work … though I suspect that no price could come close to reflecting the real value of many of these items, for they harken back to a time when women sat and sewed.

At such times as those, conversation rolled along as seamlessly as storybook pages. Inquiries were made into the day's spelling bee. Friendships were discussed. Plans were envisioned and plans were changed. Budgets were rejigged. Good times were recalled and spirited praise for jobs-well-done was bestowed.

The stitches of women's work ... creating and mending ... required that time slow and allow for heart-to-heart sharing. Indeed, I remember it, still, from my own childhood.

So much so that … always, when I lift a doily or dresser scarf or lace edged napkin out into this modern day from its place in the past ... I think of that. 

~ ~ ~

note: This is written for Magaly Guerrero's Pantry of Prose to the prompt of:  writing a short story from an old poem, which fits the theme of 'stitches'. My original 'stitches' tanka being: 

sometimes a simple truth
falls upon a moment
as clear as a mending stitch -
noticeable ...
in a good way 

photos:  Sewing Room in the Roedde House Museum, Vancouver - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Thursday, 25 July 2019

passage to eventide

softly ... from far away ... the sound
of train on track ... rattles across the first bridge 

it is the hour of the passage back to eventide

the clatter of locomotion ... briefly pauses ...
in the shift ... from focused occupation
to the slowing of pursuit

the muses are most apt to climb aboard then
and are arrayed ... in a plethora of ever changing shades ...
I never know what they'll shake loose

in the whirling clickety-clack ... as the train
barrels down that … old old end-of-day fast track

 … to … the last bridge along those rails ...
and so begins the curl that wraps
round a deep, enduring, visceral exhale

... the sum of strung together vestige breezes ...

of the odysseys … to nowhere
of good journeys spent  to get there
on and under ancient bridges
in the tune of whistling byways ...

to wait and see at boarding stations
 and embark to follow lost trails ...
courses that came to naught
yet find me still

… the sum of strung together vestige breezes ...

that stir and light the way … on the passage
to the near and far that comes at end-of-day

photo/graphic: passage to eventide - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 19 July 2019

golden rule

this day is full of meanness ...
and I'd ... much rather ... it was kind

perhaps I'll add some sweetness
to the words that tumble down this page …
or let the air out of
... the mournful sighs and sorrowful rage ...
that float, unseen, between the lines of this poem ...

as if fluffery can take heartache away …
and lassitude can keep … 
all the sad plights of man … at bay … no … 
there is no way for me, to stem the grief
from the human suffering I see

… still ...
I can write of values such as empathy
and scruples and inclusion ... still … I can do
an act of kindness ... better yet ...

ten acts of kindness ... I can try harder
to be kind ... to keep that simple credo
at the forefront of my mind ... always,
at the forefront of my mind ... 
and fight for what is right

might I find the hours brighter, if I tried …
… for I must try … because ...

the days become more cruel
and I am … no where near ... resigned
to throw the towel in on kindness ...
and give up on humankind

Do unto others as you wish others do unto you. Confucius circa 500 B.C.

note:  The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as oneself would wish to be treated.  If you google the maxim/phrase, you will find a variation of it (in some form or other) in virtually every religion and almost every ethical precept around the world. Although, occasionally criticized on the grounds that all people do not, necessarily, want to be treated in the same way, I think that is a very literal interpretation. I believe it is fair to say that all people want to be treated humanely, with compassion and dignity. Thus, I believe the spirit behind the maxim, is to guide your behavior in the same general manner towards others, with which you would want to be treated – that is to say: humanely, compassionately and with dignity.

note on photo:  In 2014, one of my sons was privileged to be involved in building two homes in East Africa to house babies and children orphaned as a result of the AIDS crisis.  It was a life altering experience for him, on many levels - though he was particularly struck by the fact that, in the face of tremendous adversity, the bright, articulate people that he met there, were happy and welcoming.  He queried an African University student about this and the student explained that there is a saying there:  "Be comfortable in your discomfort".  Such a profound outlook and really, perhaps, the answer to many of our global problems.  Maybe if each of us could learn to live with a little less - endure a bit of discomfort … there is hope for our planet, yet.  

photo: Light in the Global Village (a picture of my son, Patrick 'caught' doing unto others) – submitted by P. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 11 July 2019

to rest

I rest now
a breeze is wafting through the window –
it smells of grass and from the street
the sounds of voices float ... an errant scene
from a short play – that I envision in my mind

here where I rest
there is no paper that is due ... there is
no test to study for ... no teething baby –
who kept me up for hours and hours –
is threatening to commence that punishment,
once more ... there is no work that cannot wait …
and there are minutes to be spared, for there is no job
to which I can't arrive a single minute late ... so I can rest

and thus, I rest
for rest ... has got to be the very very best
and brightest thing about the escalating tick of time, to death …

on my short list of all ... of what is wonderful
about becoming old ... blessed rest ... is, by far, the best –
at least for me – for there is time to ... finally ...
stop ... oh what scrumptious luxury ... to stop
and give a thought ... and give a thought

and as I rest
perhaps I'll add soft music to the hour ...
a line of poetry is drifting ever closer
and if I stay-this-way ... it just may find me yet ...

soon ... the 'to-do's' will call my name ... but until they do
... far from the hullabaloo ... I rest

photo photo-edited: I rest now - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke