Thursday, 29 June 2017

White Origami Cranes

I will be trying something a little different over the next 4 posts.  Summer is a much busier time of the year for me, and I find myself stressing over being able to find the time to come up with new material.  So, I thought it might be fun to dust off three of my personal favorites (each week) – as well as my most popular poem – and repost them with a wee bit of commentary.  Hopefully, this little reprieve, will allow me to get somewhat ahead in my writing – and with my photography.
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The first piece, I have selected, was written in 2014 at a time when my husband, Michael, and I were dealing with a couple of medical issues, that have since, pretty much, resolved themselves.  I said to him one day:  I have a poem percolating and I’d really like to wander around an older section of town and just drink in the ambience.  I’m on the lookout for one of those great old style apartment buildings with a bit of an art deco vibe.  I want to find some architecture that conjures forth a bygone time – a simpler, pleasanter time (at least in looking back); something solid and enduring – albeit wistful.  Our little ramble through Yaletown was lovely – capped off with a light repast of tea and sticky buns – and I actually was able to find THE DOOR, that I had pictured in my mind.   I was quite tuckered after such a long walk, but that evening, when I sat down in front of my computer, the poem wrote itself in minutes.  Poems are special to us for different reasons.  I think ‘White Origami Cranes’, is special to me because of the memories it holds – both from the long ago past, and of the day that I wrote it.  It always reminds me, how precious – how finite – are the hours spent with loved ones.

To this day . . .

I am sure,  
a poem lay hidden 
that afternoon,

beneath the white . . .  
blooming stipple ceiling sky  
enveloped in sandlewood wafts.

I remember thinking, perhaps,  
I should begin to fold 
one thousand white origami cranes

but stopped,  
when you brought me scrambled eggs 
and mandarins . . .

And anyway . . . 

it felt then, that we would stay, forever,  
in those golden hours
sailing on billowing white sheets

far, far away from all earthly woe.  

And that, sickness and old age 
would never find the place, 
we had come to . . . together.

notes:  Honorable Mention:  The Ontario Poetry Society Open Heart 9 Poetry Competition, 2015.

In Japanese ancient tradition, it was believed that if one folded 1000 origami cranes, one's wish would come true.

photos:  Day of the White Origami Cranes – W. Bourke 

© 2014 Wendy Bourke


  1. A poem to capture and hold a magic moment. But it did more. It reached out and touched one of mine. Thank you

  2. A fine poem well worth the re-visit.. i hope you are well now

  3. Such beautiful unfolding of cherished moments!

  4. In our lives there are a few magical moments such as the one you write about. How precious they are as they my underline the love we have for a person or place that remains in our memory for ever. Beautifully written.

  5. Oh, this is indeed a good one, Wendy. Sometimes we do indeed have to wander a bit for the words of the poem to come...and with your wandering it seems you found a kind of peace and momentary happiness, which - though in our hearts we know won't last forever - is golden that afternoon. And when we are with one loved, the savoring is golden as the day! (I will look forward to your favorite poems these next few weeks!)

  6. I love this post, Wendy. Your photos are wonderful, and i resonate with the wistful note of wishing to stay where sickness and old age cant find you.

  7. It seems so many poem require their own special purpose. We need a "walk-about", a special treat, special paper, "i love you."

  8. Love this, the way the poem forms while watching. Maybe there is poetry in just being... The use of ellipses is so wonderful, like that silence I so love in poetry... and the thousand cranes...

  9. I can't even begin to tell you how much your poem has touched me!! Beautifully penned!

  10. This was soothing. what a nice read on this Fourth of July weekend here in the US. brilliant. what a sweet place to be.

  11. I love how the poem was born. I love that you've shared the process with us. I love that this poem is a living thing--born on a day kissed by sickness, to be enjoyed in health (and always). I love the ease of the lines, in their treatment of motifs that aren't easy at all. I love that it is real. I love so much about this piece.

  12. I like the repitition of white imagery.

  13. A lovely idea! And I loved your back story nearly as much as the poem.

  14. A beautiful poem and lovely memory.

  15. This is among my favorites of yours. I especially like your opening and the scrambled eggs/mandarins stanza.

  16. Awesome blog, i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing!
    Thank for your very good article...!