A Canyon Year

This month’s blog is written by BPS member Jennifer Sorensen.

December 2020.

A canyon year.

A tightrope year.

An acrobat year in an empty tent.

Evidence that time is not a line

but a pool

and we are swimming in it alone

together

stressed, over-drunk explorers,

observant, this year, of the purple lips on the weeds beside our homes

the flowering bud held sacred within its green praying hands.

Hallelujah to the pregnant seed.

This a December when the candle is held by tight hands in the wind.

The train arrives as usual and carries its passengers in more quiet.

December 8th:   Bodhi Day, the celebration of Buddha’s enlightenment.

December 10th:  Hanukkah, a festival of lights and a commemoration of Jewish history.

December 21st:  Winter solstice, pagan festivals that mark the turn of the darkest day in this dark year.

Dec 25th: Christmas, rebirth and giving.

Dec 31st: we pretend things change and start all over again.

There’s no stopping the train.

What do we celebrate?

How do we honour?

Candles, dance, gifts, reverie?

Poetry

our frankincense and myrhh.

Our torch to idea,

holding glass to the sun so long

it burns.

We all do this in our kaleidoscope ways.

Hold a glass to the sun.

Be a glass to the sun.

Festivals, celebrations

holding glass to the big beyond

to the ocean light that touches the inside seed

and withdraws.

Or that we touch

and withdraw.

Pulling to leave us with the golden sunset yearning

for what else?

for what love?

December

The darkest month.

The treasure chest month.

And poetry sitting inside us too like that secret seed,

like the thousand Christmas lights on a suburban lawn.

    Lit up

    Lit up

    Lit up.

Be parade

Be winter

Be the single clean shirt in the laundromat

just when I thought

I had nothing to wear.

**

Quite apart from these words to honour poetry, the season, and this difficult year…

May I add too a mindfulness that many have lost much this year; loved ones, employment, friendship, value, safety.

So I add a reverent prayer for those who have endured losses of any kind.

If you would like to donate and find a way to help, this site offers lots of options:

Poetry in the Time of Corona

This month’s blog is by FJ Doucet

The last half-year has seen tremendous change sweep the world, and we at the Brooklin Poetry Society have not been excepted from the upheaval. After the inception of quarantine, it became clear to us that meeting in person would be a health risk to the group and we, like many other organizations, elected to hold our meetings via Zoom. In some ways online sessions proved more efficient, with otherwise busy members able to attend as they might not have in person. Naturally, however, the move was also disheartening. We missed the familiar milieu of our beloved Brooklin teashop, The Goodberry,

its airy lightness and uplifting fragrance, as well as the chance to escape the sometimes too-familiar walls of home. 

Those walls would become even more familiar, at times oppressively so, over the spring and early summer, as we sheltered in place for the public good. It was not until Stage Three of the quarantine was ushered into Durham Region that we were able to make plans for another in-person meeting. This was finally held in early August, and outside in Grass Park, Brooklin, rather than in a restaurant, to mitigate the continued possibility of infection. It was a delightful, open-air exchange of poetry and ideas, perhaps more enjoyable than most given our long anticipation, but not without adjustments, such as a need to sit far apart.  

We also experienced a significant change in the group’s leadership. As she wrote in her last blog post, our hard-working and exceptionally talented society president, Renée M. Sgroi, decided that the time had come for her to move on from the BPS presidency. She enjoined me to assume leadership of the group, and I agreed to do so with her continued guidance. I headed my first meeting on that bright August day, and we planned for a second with optimism. If all goes well, we will meet outside again on the 13th of this September. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the news for outbreaks.  

Some may say that in such dangerous times, poetry is a mere frivolity and not worth the risk, but I would not be one of them.  I am all too aware that we live in a moment of profound uncertainty, of crisis suspended between a comfortable past and a murky future, yet I believe that the beauty and contemplation of verse may provide peace of mind sufficient to carry us through another strange and disquieting day. For this reason, we plan to continue to provide that solace and hold our meetings consistently. Whether amidst the ornamental clink and perfume of the teashop, in the fresh air of the park, or the convenience of the virtual connection, we will be there, and we invite all of you to join us.  

Finally, I also encourage you to visit the website of our esteemed past president, here. Renee’s debut full-length book of poetry, life print, in points, is now available for order through erbacce press out of Liverpool, England, and we are all immensely proud of her.