So We’ll Go No More A Roving

Post written by FJ Doucet, BPS President

Friends, Romans, Countrymen (in the words of Shakespeare’s Marc Antony), lend me your ears:

For its fortunate members, Brooklin Poetry Society has been a guiding presence in our writing lives. Most certainly, the society has helped me personally in discovering the ins and outs of the writing process–not only craft, but how to submit to a magazine, what is common practise “in the field,” and how to network, critique, and make friends of fellow writers.

Yet how many things have changed for us all, these past two years. The world has moved on from the one we knew and, so too, has the world moved our poets onwards to new opportunities, new projects, new ambitions. Only before we turn the page, we extend our greatest thanks to everyone who ever supported us in BPS: all of our fellow writers and creatives, as well as the City of Whitby grants that allowed us to maintain a professional WordPress subscription.

Let it not be said that we left the society or that it left us, rather that it passed, as all things must pass.

And every passing is a kind of death. So the poets write of this, too.

So We’ll Go No More a Roving

by Lord Byron

Though the night was made for loving,

   And the day returns too soon,

Yet we’ll go no more a roving

   By the light of the moon.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Season’s Greetings!

Every part of this month’s blog was composed by BPS member Connie Pompilii, including her beautiful artwork!

Just when the beauty of Autumn ends, the wonder of Winter begins. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, the month of December brings with it a sense of peace and joy.

A December’s Walk

The winter winds blow

as glittery flakes dance

across the pale blue sky.

Icicles glisten from snowy rooftops

as frosted windows glow.

Crimson red berries peek from

beneath snow laden branches

as woodland creatures gather underneath.

Pinecones drip off trees

as I breath in the evergreen air.

Some Poets Born in December:

Rainer Maria Rilke

John Milton

Emily Dickenson

Harriet Monroe

Thomas Gray

Happy Poetry!

On a June’s Day

The last blog before our summer break was written by BPS member Connie Pompilii. Connie is also an artist, and the creator of the lovely, summery pictures accompanying the blog.

The arrival of June brings with it a gentle reminder to enjoy the simple things. Whether it’s having a cup of coffee on the front porch, reading a book under a shaded tree, or walking in the park, June, like poetry, is full of many treasures just waiting to be discovered.

On a June’s Day

In fields of green

dandelion wishes appear

as

morning glories rise

to greet the sun.

Rows of lavender and marigolds

grace the garden

as sweet cherry tomatoes…

Tra La It’s May

This month’s blog writer, Gail M. Murray, explores the month of May as it appears in both history and verse.

 May reminds me of Scarborough Music Theatre’s production of Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot. I’m securing silk daisies in my hair before bursting on stage to perform our dazzling production number “The Lusty Month of May”. As members of Lady Guinevere’s court, we frolic among the flowers, as we go a-maying. Guinevere, more sensuous earth goddess than regal queen, meets celibate Lancelot at the end of this romp.

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty month of May                                             

          That darling month when everyone throws self-control away

          It’s May, it’s May that gorgeous holiday

          When all the world is brimming with fun, wholesome or un-

Earliest known May celebrants…

An Acorn in the Desert

Just as we move into another Whitby spring, we get one last gust of winter, with snowfall this April first. Appropriately, Patrick Meade‘s blog for this month is the deceptively simple and wonderfully charming tale of a little Snowflake falling from Earth to sky and living a thousand lives all the way down.

Hey, Little Snowflake, what are you up to?

Hi, Grand Snowflake. Not much. Like you, I’m just falling.

I know you’re falling, but what else are you doing?

Oh, nothing. Just waiting, I guess.

For what?

Until I reach Earth.

Would you like to play a game while we’re falling?

Sure, which one?

How about a game of What If?

Oh, I like that. But do we have time?

Sure, we have plenty of time, Little One, before that happens.

Who goes first?

YOU, LITTLE SNOWFLAKE…

We offer refuge

The blog for March is written by veteran BPS member Jenny Sorensen

I remember some years ago listening to an interview with an acclaimed literary critic on CBC radio and he pointed out something both simple and true:  books – and literature – provide companionship.

The Brooklin Poetry Society, by its very nature, offers companionship.

Through words.

Through ideas.

With the evocation of feeling in poetry, the walls are down.

We can create a tapestry of meaning out of who we are anytime, anywhere.

This has always been the shaman in the human.

This ability to transcend, to reinvent, to overcome and recreate– we are bird, fish. We are river, rock, history and future.

The Buddhists speak of sangha, a community of the devout, where we take refuge. In this sacred place, we take refuge. I like that–this sense of sheltering in something.

Everywhere, life seeks its soil, its air, its water, and we, we lift ourselves, long needles seeking meaning. How we thread it through our lives–the patterns, the threads we choose, the gaps and material we bring together. The cable and satellite we string with face and voice and thought. We weave a blanket with our reaching.  Far and wide. Near and present.

when the moment is quiet and still in the mush of night and the slide of day when you look inside the fabric you have made this is the blanket here is warmth here is sacred here is companionship here is shelter

March is upon us, that time of year when we feel and see that even that which has been closed, that which has been dormant, hidden, has seeds and life and potential, waiting to sing. It surrounds us

each and every single bud on the great tree

the individual in the sacred

woven together with presence and intention

even when we feel alone, birds fly overhead

trees grow in the space between leaf and limb.

There is a lift in in the fabric we are part of, the spaces inside the weave full of hope and faith, intelligence, need and ambition, kindness. We take refuge. We keep each other warm. I am in this. You are in this. We stand not part of it, but within it. All around us, this great, leaping, deeping happening is our refuge.

If we were to take a moment and think about what we value, what’s important, here are some dates to consider for this month:

  • March 3rd – World Wildlife Day
  • March 6th – National Oreo Day
  • March 12th – World Sleep Day – why is that on a Friday??? 
  • March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 21st – World Poetry Day
  • March 27th – Passover
  • March 27th – NAACP Awards
  • March 28th – Palm Sunday

Five Minutes a Day

The blog for February, 2021 is written by our own Past President, Renée M. Sgroi.

I was in a Zoom meeting the other day with a group of beginning writers, and was asked about providing some advice for those just setting out on a path towards something that could be called capital W, “Writing”.

I think as writers, everyone comes to “Writing” differently. For some, writing is a hobby, or one they have returned to after an absence of many years.

For others, writing is something they have continually done all their lives, but inconsistently so, sporadically, while for others, writing is a necessity, a passion, the source of all inspiration.

While I make no claims to being an expert on living a “writer’s life” (whatever that may be, in any case), being further along the path than some of the participants in the meeting, I offered the following suggestion.

Especially as poets, perhaps one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to be consistent. That is, to write every day. And yes, right now, that might be an even greater challenge than it was in a pre-pandemic world, for so many reasons.

So what if you only have five minutes to spare? That’s okay! Five minutes a day is five minutes towards a person’s engagement with their own creative practice. The world’s greatest poem may not be written in five minutes, but then, ignoring one’s own creativity won’t produce that poem either.

And that five minutes can be whatever you want it to be. Freewrite, focused writing, journaling, whatever. But the more consistent it is, the easier it will be to write, to flex that part of the brain that loves to write, that can write.

Fortunately, I think poetry lends itself to shorter time frames. Not because poems are shorter than other types of writing, but because the economy of language that a poem relies on, means that those five minutes could be spent on just one line. Think about that for a sec: one day, one line.

So as we head into a February still circumscribed by pandemic restrictions, try it out. Take advantage of a solid five minutes each day. You might be surprised by what you will create!

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

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.

Creative resolutions

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words” — Mark Twain

Over the holidays I have been thinking about my involvement in the arts over the years. I have been a visual artist and art teacher for many years, and have turned to poetry within the last decade. My experience teaches me that the imagined accolades I have at the beginning of a project do not necessarily materialize at the end of the undertaking. There is a hollow feeling that follows the months or years of daily focus on a creative project that some people have compared to postpartum depression.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So what is an artist to do? Well, creating art is a part of the life we chose, or, for some of us who have come to art later in life, creating art is something that we are newly in the process of forging. Either way, we should enjoy the journey, enjoy the pleasure and joy of being in the moment, of exploring, of creating something that never existed, something no one else could have brought into the world but ourselves. No amount of monetary reward compares to watching a person react, perhaps a stranger moved to tears, by something you, the artist, have created.

The creative life after all is about discovering the artist within, whether as a painter, a poet, a dancer, or a musician. It is about paying attention to the spiritual experience the inner and outer worlds offer.

I leave you with a quote by M.C. Richards:

Appreciating poetry is probably like appreciating anything else. It means having the generosity to let a thing be what it is, the patience to know it, a sense of the mystery in all living things, and a joy in new experience.

Wishing you all a very creative 2020!

by John Di Leonardo

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