nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for February 2016

‘within easy reach’ – why did I write these poems?

with 9 comments

Later this spring I will have a book of poems and drawings in publication – ‘within easy reach’.  The poems and art in the book are about gathering local, mostly wild, foods. I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful publisher, Chapel Street Editions, interested in books about the natural history, human history, and cultural life of the St. John River Region of New Brunswick, Canada.  http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com/about_chapel_street_editions.html

~

As a botanist, I loved making this book. Identifying plants is a skill learned in university and during years of enjoying the out-of-doors. Many of the plants are found on my own property, but my husband and I travelled throughout the region to find some species. We found edible trout lily along the banks of the Dunbar Stream, salty orach on the beaches of Saint Andrews, and dangerous-to-eat water dragon in a wetland on the Renous highway. On our own property we tried to out-smart the squirrels for hazelnuts, tapped twelve trees for maple syrup and discovered partridge berries growing in the woods behind our house. As you can see, part of my enthusiasm for the subject is about spending time with my husband!

~

IMG331_crop

~

I also did a little time-travelling to write these poems. Although most of the plants I write about are found in the St. John River Region, I looked into my own past to remember some edible plants in other parts of Canada. This included eating cactus berries on the Alberta prairie, buying cloud berries from children along the Trans-Canada in Newfoundland, and picking blueberries with my Mom and Dad in Nova Scotia. I also looked to the diaries of my Great-Aunt to get a glimpse of the growing and gathering habits of an earlier generation.

~

I am sure many of my poems will echo memories of your own experiences with local foods.

~

Eating near to home has so many benefits – these foods are often free and have not travelled far to your table. Many wild foods go unharvested although they are ‘within easy reach’. Just think of those apples in the abandoned orchard at the edge of town, the dandelion greens on your brother’s lawn, or the choke-cherries growing along the fence down the road. Although you should use care when eating wild foods, many are easy to harvest and can add variety and taste to your meals.

~

img248 (2)

~

In my next post, I’ll say more about why you might enjoy reading my book. And very soon, I’ll be starting a count-down on my blog to let you know how many days you have to wait until publication. I’ll have a contest and a give-away. Shameless self-promotion!

~

Copyright  Jane Tims 2016

‘within easy reach’

with 6 comments

This spring, I will celebrate the publication of my first book of poetry!

~

‘within easy reach’ is a result of my 2012 project ‘growing and gathering’ supported by artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board). The poems focus on harvesting and eating local foods, especially wild foods. My book will be published by Chapel Street Editions, Woodstock, New Brunswick.

~

The book will include about sixty poems as well as some of my black and white pencil drawings. These are poems about picking blackberries and blueberries, eating coastal favorites like goose tongue greens and samphire, buying smelts from a truck at the roadside and fishing for landlocked salmon. Every poem is based on a personal experience of harvesting and using local foods.

~

During the next few posts, I will tell you more about my book and its poems and drawings. I can’t wait to show it to you!

~

IMG193_crop

‘fiddleheads’ – a wild food eaten every spring in New Brunswick

~

Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

in the shelter of the covered bridge – a line of pigeons

with 2 comments

~

img246 (2) (2)

~

keeping watch

~

Florenceville Bridge

~

~

pigeons swim through air

fill gaps on the ridge line

~

perch on the shingled roof

scrutinize the traffic

the squeeze of half-tons

on the bridge

the kissing of mirrors

~

pigeons quit the ridge, glide

to the shingled shore

~

river winds shiver

hawkweed and sumac, displace

blankets of wild cucumber, billow

the skirts and Tilley

hats of tourists

~

~

published previously in a post on September 11, 2015

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

February 5, 2016 at 6:59 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – vantage point for planets

with 2 comments

If there are clear pre-sunrise morning skies this week, we will be able to see a rare view of several planets in the morning sky – Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter.  For a description of the event, see http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

~

Last year, on February 21st, we saw the conjunction of Mars, Venus and the Moon. On that evening, as my husband and I drove through our local covered bridge, we startled a hare.  I will never forget its long-eared shadow as it fled the bridge. The conjunction of planets and moon, and snowshoe hare and truck, were inspiration for a drawing and poem …

~

March 1, 2015 'conjunction' Jane Tims

March 1, 2015 ‘conjunction’ Jane Tims

~

~

conjunction – February 21, 2015

~

Patrick Owens Covered Bridge

Rusagonis River #2

~

~

planet and moon light scamper

into crevasses in the covered bridge

Venus and Mars, chin velvet

and sickle of mid-winter moon

~

headlights of the half-ton enter

overwhelm planet shadow

startle a winter hare

erect on haunches, paw lifted

~

frosted by sky-gaze, worshiping

the sliver of moon, dismayed

at desecration, round glare

of the truck’s predatory eyes

~

fright to stop a heart

or flight to mobilize

hind- legs straighten

before fore-legs turn

~

and long ear shadows

quit the length of the bridge

ahead of whiskers, nose

and rabbit wisdom

~

~

previously published in a post March 2, 2015

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

February 3, 2016 at 7:45 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – drawings

with 2 comments

As I complete my manuscript of poems ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’, I am also working on the drawings to accompany the text. I have made a list of the visuals presented in the poems, so I have a specific idea of what drawings I need. Many are completed since I have a large portfolio of bird drawings, for example …

~

IMG354_crop

~

Others are still to be done. This morning I completed a rather delicate drawing of the two kinds of roses growing beside the Darlings Island Covered Bridge and captured in my poem ‘tangle’.

~

img245 (2)

~

I love to draw. For me, it is like watching a movie as I see my hand lay pencil marks on paper. It is not a calm activity. Perhaps because my hand and arm are moving, I get quite agitated when I draw and I imagine my blood pressure rising as the work progresses.

~

In order to have a body of work to choose from for the final manuscript, I aim to have more than forty drawings. I have completed nineteen. Lots to do !

~

Copyright  Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

February 1, 2016 at 7:23 am

%d bloggers like this: