Third COVID letter: winter, take-out, books, cat, community, polity, poems, perseverance
Third Letter Covid-19 Letter to Family and Friends
While we are having rather pleasant April weather in Eastern Canada, there are parts of Canada still in ‘late Winter mode’. We are fortunate here to be able to take walks at least a few times per week. COVID-19 is still severely with us. I have found it gratifying to be able to reach out to family and friends by phone, email and by land mail. Peter has been so supportive. He has done the shopping, and I’ve been treated to 'take-out', which he chooses to pick up, rather than have it delivered.
My favorite bookshop has closed for the rest of April, but hopefully, will open for books ordered by e-mail or phone to pick up or deliver, by May. I’m getting low on books. While I have been composing and writing poetry, creativity comes in spurts, so there are many ‘dramatic pauses’ in between.
Our cat’s rash is finally clearing up. He’s had it for almost two years. It seems that the latest hypersensitivity diet food has finally worked, and we can give him more variety in his diet. He’s now just over ten years old.
I will include some more inspirational poems and articles in this letter and items from our local newspapers ConneXions, and the one for which I formerly wrote. These articles inform you just how much Ottawa is on the brink of big changes in city planning, design and priorities for developing better, more integrated communities. A community is a much more effective tool for democratic processes and integrative and interactive success than a neighbourhood. The two are quite different. Our own neighbourhood: Overbrook, is to be one of the areas which will be slated for much improvement. We have a wonderful councillor, Rawlson King. He is the first black alderperson to be on City Council. He has been a ward and neighbourhood leader here for many years. He’s socially progressive, and a really good listener! Our new neighbourhood council chairwoman is also a really good leader. Thanks to my being able to contact her, I was able to get our neighbourhood newspaper revitalized, up and running. Yes, I can be a real pest sometimes, but being the ‘squeaky wheel which gets the grease’ is sometimes a good thing.
Now for some happy, inspiring poetry by others and some of my own poetry:
by Alicia Ostriker
The optimists among us taking heart because it is spring skip along attending their meetings signing their e-mail petitions marching with their satiric signs singing their we shall overcome songs posting their pungent twitters and blogs believing in a better world for no good reason I envy them said the old woman The seasons go round they go round and around said the tulip dancing among her friends in their brown bed in the sun in the April breeze under a maple canopy that was also dancing only with greater motions casting greater shadows and the grass hardly stirring What a concerto of good stinks said the dog trotting along Riverside Drive in the early spring afternoon sniffing this way and that how gratifying the cellos of the river the tubas of the traffic the trombones of the leafing elms with the legato of my rivals’ piss at their feet and the leftover meat and grease singing along in all the wastebaskets
Source: Poetry (February 2011)
Poem of the Day: Spring
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
By Billy Collins
If ever there were a spring day so perfect, so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary's cage, indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out, holding hands and squinting
One of mine-from my Fedora Collection
What I’d Deliver at a Commencement Ceremony for Today’s Grads
by Diane Stevenson Schmolka *inspired by Jimmy Cagney
When I was asked to speak to you folks today, I was horn swoggalled when I graduated over 50 years ago, I heard how special we all were that because of our degrees, we were so powerful that our dreams would come true because we were the heroes and it was our duty to improve everyone because the world was our classroom
I’ve reached the stage where my gumshoes are wearing thin but I can never settle back on my heels I’ve put my foot in my mouth so often, I had a huge overbite and after shooting myself in the foot so much my toes have taken a beating
I made the mistake of taking eloquent oratory seriously most of it is pompous misguided rhetoric sounds like a 30’s movie in a crazy dream
I am trying to get through those bubbles you’re in now trying to plow through the crazy-making phrases the empty patronizing compliments which will leave you more alone as though you were in a strange city where no one speaks your language
You are no more special than any other person in the world Your piece of paper is not worth more than the dignity afforded To each person breathing in this world
To be successful with your education is to realize yourself fully and then put as much into the meaning of your life as you know how to pour into your interaction with your co-workers all that you can give from all you’ve ever known heard seen or remember
Within you there is an ocean which has carried the pasts of all your beginnings the possibilities of all your endings and the fragilities of all your Imminent presences
You are a cistern while your consciousness is only a sailboat traversing the waves of time.
If you think you can get away doing a song-and-dance act, tap your way to power or sing your way to success without taking painful steps of continual learning, you will dehydrate saturated with salt nowhere to put it.
Like the ocean you need every element every cell every living being because you are only as equal as they are like an ocean, you will always struggle but you will be supported by buoyancies of air whispers and sibilants of winds strokes of rain, sambas of sand waltzes of trees songs of whales and dances of all your creatures
A gumshoe’s life is often lonely but one of the most important things I’ve learned is that without each of us on this earth life is an empty screen so whenever you do get a job put what your oceanic elements gave at your birth
Whether it leads anywhere rationally or not whether you end up learning what you thought you’d never need
Some of the best gifts are never wrapped they sometimes appear or feel as though they were dumped on your doorstep or presented as an insult to increase your struggles even so look them in the eye tell them the truth and say thanks
After all, we writers are the scavengers of life’s experiences we not only eat crow we get published for presenting it as the best gourmet cookbook anyone can read
You never know where your experiences can lead trust your enthusiasm keep your hearts and minds open like the ocean and your lives will be full
by Diane Stevenson Schmolka (written Dec. 1972).
note droppings pigeon-toed on my eyes beckon me to scrape them into shape. Beginning, their tiny shells entice me to ascend plateaus as black keys lift me to Everest and the intervals climax in my hand as the melody slips away back into the page...
I hope this post uplifts you. I hope you write or phone me or e-mail me if you possibly can. I think we have another couple of months of this pandemic, and when we come out of this, our whole world will have been changed - not all for the worse, but some things for the better. We might have to look for the positive clues to discover what is now better from this horrific experience, but by searching for those constructive and positive ciphers, we’ll be able to gradually build a better world. It will take much patience and perseverance, I believe, but it will be worth it.
With my love and deep wishes for your health to remain good, and your inner spirits to continue to appreciate that we each and all, are alive and loved!
Page last modified on March 24, 2021, at 01:28 AM