Best Described as Vermilion 

The pear tree, planted three or so years ago, seems rather poor at producing pears, a typical issue this far north. What it lacks in fruit production it will certainly make up for, eventually, in autumn finery. 

Every August I marvel as this rather placid little tree turns its leaves the most beautiful shade that is best described as Vermilion. 

This scene from my front window view is rather typical of Canadian urban—cars, pavement, many homes visible. Newer areas often look different, but this area was built in the 70’s so it has typical homes of that era. Larger yards than the new homes have, but still, too close of density for me to ever feel I have my own slice of privacy. How people live in closer proximity puzzles me. I think being raised in the country left me feeling claustrophobic in the city. I see quaint shots from other parts of the world where people truly live in close quarters & it can look sweet—images of old Italian towns & picturesque French villages comes to mind, & I think, I would love that. But here, I find after a decade living in the same house, with mostly the same neighbours, we ‘know’ each other just enough to talk vaguely, but never really like or trust each other. Classic North American suburbia. 

Your proximity makes you aware of each other but not close enough to really know anyone. It’s like you know you’re never in private, but have only a vague facade of community. It’s a strange thing, one that makes no sense to me. We shelter in our homes six months of the year during winter & come summer, we catch up with everyone, then hibernate again. 

Anyway, the point is, I like privacy. I like trees, & fences. I’d like a whole countryside to myself, but that is a dream that has faded like the memory of the old rail-fences on my childhood farm. When we bought this house it had a lovely mock plum with beautiful blooms in spring & leaves that turned from purple to green then in fall to red, but, it was as old as the house & as it goes with most northern trees, the life span was short, thirty years, so it was dying & diseased so we had to cut it down. 

A Mayday, a most weedlike growing tree, had naturally seeded where the Plum tree had stood, and so we are letting it grow for now to give us some quicker privacy. But, also, a Japanese maple, a super slow species has naturally seeded & I look forward to that as well in the fall in the years to come. I noticed, an Oak has also seeded itself in the Juniper shrubs as well, it can stay too. All three of these have varying life spans & growth rates, the Oak being the slowest but longest life span. 

In the mean time, I planted both an Apple & a Pear tree, before I realized there was a Maple or an Oak, thinking they will be my official front yard trees. While they’re growing from seedling to tree, the Mayday will do, and then, when they’re big enough I’ll cut down the Mayday, which is lovely but too common & a massive allergen in the spring, seriously, I think everyone is allergic to Maydays in Alberta. 

The Pear, was my least favourite of these. The blooms are beautiful, but so delicate & fine, a strong spring storm will blow them all off before they can even be pollinated. So, last year we managed three or four really tiny pathetic pears off it, but this year, none. I have kind of regretted this pick of tree because it just doesn’t seem worth it. But, then, every August, as the nights grow darker & colder, it pushes forth the most gorgeous colour. I imagine what one day will be a full sized fruit tree, Vermilion outside my front window, blocking out the pavement view, & I think, yes, it was a good pick, to have this lovely splendor before the six months of indoor life. 

In the morning light, it is so beautiful it can literally make me stop everything & just stare. A small small fragile perfect thing. They say to stop & smell the roses, but stopping to stare is also a small joy in life. 


Despite This Long Despair…

I fear I am full of so many redundancies—a corpse spewing scent of death & rot. 

How can I become something changing & sweet & new & becoming, yet be the same. Always the same. 

I spill forth like life, not death. 

That washing light of sunrise; the closing scene of dusk; the cleansing tide, wave upon wave. Flowers that have bloomed fresh, fifty springs, yet it’s never one too many. The awe of yet another moment, never paling the last—awe & a breath & a gasp. 

How lovely & how rare.
Redundancy of hope,
despite this long despair. 

Wake Me

In what some would be tempted to call Summer all I saw was smoke & the heat was eaten by this intense gloom—vagueness with a sickened yellowy thinness. 

All the greens muddied & all the pinks lost their pop. All the blues murkied & the sky grew thick & slow like the North Saskatchewan. 
Smoke & parched grass & thirsting trees yearning for a last glimpse of summer rains—but they were lost, both rain & desperates, perhaps along the foothills, perhaps along the Great Divide, perhaps somewhere high & howling, where the air is even thinner than here, & where the forests & meadows & mountain flowers are burning. 

So often now, the summer is a haze & a wall of flames, with everything birthed in spring, weakened & blazing. Sputum & air condensing & spilling out in huffing gasps of breathlessness. 

What is the sun, & where does it live now? Surely not in the horror of Harvey? There is no sun found there. Not in India, Bangladesh or Nepal where it seems all the water of the earth is to fall. 

So while we weep in the dryness & burn & burn, they weep in the water & drown & drown. I fear seeing their soft, swollen bodies pillowed up—where is the escape from flood or fire or death. Death is hungrily mawing at us all. 

How far can you run & what refuge will you find?

Life takes one more step closer, & the tiredness steps into the weary foot. Wake me when the rains come. Wake me when the rain stops. But wake me. Good God, wake me. 

Wartime Poetry

“In my faith,
I will always stand firm, . . . On my own I could never remain.
With my life, I will even stand firm,
And as I my last breath confer,
You should with that dying gasp hear: I stand firm”
—Franz Wohlfahrt

The story of neutrality is one seldom told or understood & frankly, I don’t think in today’s politically rife atmosphere, appreciated. 

Very few understand that neutrality is a different stance against the powers that be. It is not a lack of seeing injustice. The fighting of injustice tho, can be a strange monster filled with paradoxes, an endless maze that again can lead you back to becoming the problem. 

Seeing how Jehovah’s people the world over refuse to stand for one government or another, that is part of what gives us our unity. Refusing to stand for a cause humanity of the day has deemed worth fighting for prevents us from fighting each other. Seeing that history has proven, there is no winning side in war, that death & anguish are the main victors of all war, and that inevitably, bad rulers return, this has become such a reminder, to remain neutral. 

This is difficult in the face of injustice. My heart yearns for justice as equally as another’s. But, to know the true source of justice, and to patiently await His timing in procuring it, that takes a faith & a courage that must be cultivated everyday. 

The stories of our brothers & sisters imprisoned in various places & at different times is so faith strengthening. 

The acknowledgement by some of the great injustice that was done to Jehovah’s people who refused to participate in the Nazi reign of terror, willing to die to remain neutral, is faith strengthening. In the Allied countries, we were thrown in prison as well, and actually, truth be told, here in Canada, we were sent to work camps as well, tho gas chambers & guillotines didn’t await us here. 

Here tho, post World War II, the Witnesses were a major component in legally establishing freeness of speech & religious freedom. Before their battles that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada religious freedom & free speech, was not legally established in Canada at all. The main stream religions, Catholicism, along with the main Protestant faiths, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, United, seemed to be the main religions of the people, and very entwined with governmental affairs. It was a step away from traditional religion to be politically neutral, and to follow Jesus example of being “no part of the world.” 

It seems, that tho other “Christian” religions claim to follow the Bible they forget Jesus reaction to the people wanting to make him king while he was here on Earth, & they forget what his response was when Pilate asked him about his kingship. Christ himself said his Kingdom was not a part of this world. So, since Jesus Christ is our king, we as well, do not support the kingdoms or governments of this planet. We follow our King’s example & we await the time when he will establish his kingship over the whole globe, correcting the problems mankind seems to flourish at creating. Jesus, while on earth, healed the sick, cured the blind, fed the masses both physically & spiritually, and even raised the dead back to life. This was an appetizer to what awaits us in the future when he becomes king over all the earth. It seems a very foreign concept to these so called Christian faiths that they should not be embroiled in the conflicts of this world currently under Satan’s rulership, that as well is a biblical teaching, that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” 

One thing I know for sure: neutrality tho not easy, marks me as being no part of this world. I love people. I hate injustice. It literally is heartbreaking when you hear the bad things that happen to good people. But humans cannot fix this mess. They’re going to try. But thousands of years has proven they cannot fix a world under Satan’s rule. Only Jehovah can appoint a King that will rule us well. His choice, not only has been given the power to fix things, but also the compassion by being sent here to live as a human as well. What a wise choice. Until then, to remain neutral is both a challenge & a joy. 

Read a brief article on how one Austrian town recently commemorated the stance of neutrality by Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Nazi reign of terror in their community. 

Ear to the Hole

I set my ear to the hole—how there the ocean rages on in violent little whimpers 

But what is said, what whispers, in the space between the ocean & its crushing tide? 

Only the moon knows. Only the moon. With all its glitter, all its pale pristine, all its faultering purity, its revolutions, its waning, its humble wailing, it listens to all the oceans of the universe—these whispers of storm & turning tides, how lovely to sit in silence on this precipice. Just listening, watching as night bursts forth, shadows & soft light. 

Cesspool Poetry

…having been awake, having said a prayer, now what am I to do?

Poetry has its way of pouring from the cesspool of drained sores…

The quiet smoke in the dawn

The rustle of the birds in the tree

The silence of the sky

Turbulent as the sea

So you gape open, as do I

This is what it is to be a part,

Oozing as it is, of humanity

I Cannot Raise the Gun…

I cannot raise the gun with you. I cannot shoot down the wicked. There, they stamp, tall busts bellowing, a holler against some imagined injustice. Yet, I cannot raise the gun with you. I cannot shoot them down. Like splintered roots, the weeds, they rise, they rise. For every fallen, five rise. 

Have you seen the blood upon me? 

My face is torn open. I’ve the skull inside, the flesh giving way to its hardness. Inside, I’m alive & dying. My eyes have seen the lamp shade skins of the dead. I’ve seen that the hatchet can dive in & yet Death, that fickle friend, may leave you crawling to the grave. I’ve seen such spitting hate, spewing as the bath bares the soul to Sheol. 

My skin, every so slightly raised to golden from the sun, warm & beckoning, but never dark enough, it glows. Ghostly. Or ghastly. All in stunned aching silence but for this: let them scream. 

Let them raise their anger. Let them spit. Let them holler. 

…and this, the forest of me, does not hear. 

Inside, peace came washing over me. Inside, the young girl, brown & curled hair, & lips whispering in prayer, I heard none of it. My ears have refused to hear. Inside, the young girl, pale & blonde, grabbed the other’s hand, and we walked, souls as they are, complex & intwined, we are one little girl, & neither of us will listen. 

…and when you raise the gun I will ask why—fortitude is a passive courage, despite the possibility of rage. Rage leads to rage. I must resist the hunger & the pain, the cold. Against that, what is there to oppose? 

You raise the gun. The shot, I did not hear, but felt. It lays, lodged in my chest & I’m asking, what of my silence has offended you? Was my refusal to feed this fire your fuel? Fight your evil! Fight it then! Watch, as it consumes your heart & soul. Watch as it creeps from the justice within you to become the administer of what you hate. Watch as you shoot down, bleed out, fall, & rot all the heathens as the emerge, one by one, millions upon millions. How heavy the toil, the toll, the tumult. Fight it and become it. 

I sank…my lips still so silent, but for the gasp of surprise. My eyes, they will stay locked, and they will haunt you. I promise. You will see them when you die. 

Autumn’s Onset

Tho light spreads forth 
i feel the falling sun—
the smoke choking the morning glow
the subtle way
nothing feels quite right
but surely, nothing is wrong

i keep the quiet in my throat
as i feel autumn’s onset, heavy
with its strangling cold
but, oh, so lovely,
oh, so strange
oh, so silent this nearly
imperceptible shift

…and the corpse of summer
falls, against autumn’s chest
this is the slow slide to all
that is dead, all that is cold