Thursday, 6 July 2017

gods and roses

The second piece that I have selected to (re)post, during my little summer hiatus, is another poem, which holds a lot of memories for me.  (I’m starting to realize that my favorite poems are about times that I actually lived through … h-m-m … interesting.)   Like most folks, I love summer.  But summer hours spent cooped up in an office can really drag.  And so, when his schedule permitted, Michael would make a picnic lunch and carry me away to Burnaby Mountain for a interlude in the middle of my day.  I discovered, though, that even the sunniest of interludes come to an end, and  I always felt so sad and lonely going back to work – often wondering, if it would be better to not interrupt my day with something so lovely and happy and free.  Those times are gone now and, in their place, wonderful idyllic memories of that time.  So yes, it is always better to stop … and smell the roses. 
he picks me up,
at the strike of noon,
and carries me away

from the office jumbled
politics and jungle of machines

and we drive
to the mountain park
and eat avocado sandwiches


amongst the totems
and the green
in the playground of the gods

we talk
and munch on kalamata olives
and walk
and smell the blooms
in the rose garden

then as the minutes fall away
we pack up
and say good-bye
to the gods and the flowers and the feast

and drive, silently, back and sit
quietly in the car,
with my head on his shoulder

until just before the hour is up
and then, I tell him that I love him
and walk back into the concrete box:

feeling as lonely as a wet stare

note:  published in Firefly Magazine Issue Nine, Jan. 2017.

photos:  All 3 of these photos were taken at Burnaby Mountain Park.  The Totems of Burnaby Mountain Park were envisioned by Toko Nuburi, an Ainu woodcarver.  The Ainu are an indigenous people native to northern Japan.  The heart of traditional Ainu territory is the Japanese island of Hokkaido.  The city of Kushiro, on that island, is a sister city to the City of Burnaby, British Columbia and the Totems were a gift from that City to Burnaby.  The pieces are erected in an area of The Park known as "Playground of the Gods".  Overlooking the Burrard Inlet, The Park is within walking distance of Simon Fraser University and – and with its panoramic views and beautiful rose garden – is a favorite picnic spot for University employees – W. Bourke

© 2012 Wendy Bourke


  1. Wow! What a wonderful memory/moment. (a great example of time slowing down) You know that I truly appreciate that you shared this.

  2. This is beautiful, Wendy. You have captured the feelings about this experience well. How lucky you were to be able to have such wonderful getaways at noon; and alas, how difficult to go back to work afterwards. I feel the love in this poem, and I really can understand why it is one of your favorites!

  3. I love the idea of a picnic in the middle of the days. Summer in office is something so different - especially if the office is empty. I will surprise my wife with a picnic I think,

  4. as lonely as a wet stare.. wow, a striking line! Love the idea of a picnic on a work day though!

  5. I have done this too. However I felt a great satisfaction in doing so, recalling that last kiss in a Botanic park.

  6. lovely pleasant-trips away from drudgery well contrasted with the final line.

  7. Walking back to the concrete box sounds like a very trapped position - I'm glad there is some reprieve in lunch time

  8. 'feeling as lonely as a wet stare...' this is such a poignant image.

  9. those are some delicious meals you mentioned. And I love your getaway...very soothing and cultural. beautiful.

  10. What delightful memories....I often find my lessons in those times when I was unaware....they come back to me now...the final line is so telling of how office jobs can feel. Lovely!

  11. May we never lose sight of just how important--how incredibly vital--stopping and enjoying the (not so) little moments actually is.

    Of the poem, I love the details... You show us everything that goes on, in and out of the mind. I am there, enjoying the food, feeling the loss of the moment when it comes to an end.

    And your introductory note is a poem in itself.

  12. What a delicious escape from the "concrete box", and what lovely memories. Thanks for sharing.

  13. A wonderful memory captured. Beautiful!

  14. Live for the moments that matter. Love this, Wendy

  15. I like that you played where the gods play. This is such a lovely piece Wendy. I can relate to the feeling of having to go back to work, though I never spent a lunch hour in such a beautiful place. The photos are wonderful. Thank you for this.

  16. I see why your husband was a keeper, Wendy. Wow, what gorgeous memories. I havent been to burnaby mountain since 1972.

  17. "As lonely as a wet stare" will stay with me a while.

  18. such impact in your words of mixed emotions in a beautiful backdrop- agree with Rob - that last line stays with me too

  19. Yes, I agree, summer at the office isn't easy, but a picnic for lunch sounds great!!!

  20. That's very sweet of your hubby ~ I would find it very sad indeed to go back to work after that wonderful picnic lunch ~ Love the idea of picnic lunch date ~

  21. You've hit the nail on the head - captured the moods and changes in moods so well.

    As always, beautiful photos as well.

    Enjoy your summer!

  22. Ahhh...this is lovely. The image of Mike + Wendy carved into a tree came to my mind as I read this, seriously! And, yum, avocado sandwiches and kalamata olives--you are speaking my food language.

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