nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for January 2018

ordinary magic

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Is there magic in your life? In mine, there is magic. Not the kind of magic where the course of events is influenced by mysterious forces but rather, a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, in a way that gives delight.

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Although I am a biologist and understand that even the magical can usually be described in concrete terms, I prefer to not try to ‘puzzle out’ at least some of the ‘magic’ in my life. After all, what is more delightful and truly mysterious than a six-sided snowflake, the pattern of veins in a basil leaf, the smell of lavender at bedtime, the pungent, cold-busting taste of turmeric, or a line in a movie that brings tears to your eyes.

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When I wrote the poem below, I was playing Dungeons and Dragons regularly and keeping watch for the magical in life. I still have the small blue jar with the magical false bottom.

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ordinary magic

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small blue jar

emptied of face cream

has a false bottom when held to the light

a bright inverted inner shell

hovers untouchable

~

the peel of an orange

spurts flammable oil

cantrips of fire

~

press a shell to your ear

murmur of ocean

~

~

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

January 31, 2018 at 7:22 am

Pokiok Falls

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Pokiok Stream, about 2011

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On one of our family summer excursions across Canada, my parents stopped along the highway in New Brunswick to see the Pokiok Falls near Nackawick. I remember the white churn of water below me, so steep it looked like the water was falling into a pipe. In 1967 the Mactaquac Dam submerged the falls and now they are only a memory, visible on old post cards and in photo albums.

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For a fictionalized account of the changes resulting from the building of the Mactaquac Dam, read Riel Nason’s excellent coming-of-age book ‘The Town That Drowned‘ (Goose Land Editions, 2011).

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Pokiok Falls

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my mother held me at the railing

to see the Pokiok

plunge

from highway

to river

granite pipe

roiling water

~

later, when the dam went in

they moved the churches

to higher ground

so the church bells

wouldn’t gurgle

when they rang

~

now the river slips sideways a notch

to fill the round drowning of the falls

~

water cannot fall within water

~

I cried when I left

I hadn’t seen the pokioks

I said

~

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2018

free book – Meniscus: Crossing the Churn

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Want a quick read? A chance to explore a distant planet with two spirited characters? The first book in my science-fiction adventure series Meniscus: Crossing the Churn (Kindle version) is available for free for the next five days on Kindle.  From January 27 to January 31, you can meet Odymn and the Slain, and learn about their meeting and their first travels together across the landscapes of planet Meniscus.

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From the dangerous streets of Prell-nan to the dark woods of the Themble, this is a dystopian adventure, set on a planet where Humans are slaves to an alien race. Their only hope for freedom is to work together, foraging for their food, running from the nasty Dock-winders and battling the wild life. The only way to survive will be in their growing love for one another.

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A sample from the story …

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She watches the fire,

the space where flames

feign glowing eyes.

 

The creature speaks and she startles,

then knows the words are the endless friction

of two close-growing limbs of banyan.

 

High pitched squeal, low grown.

 

She peers at the Slain.

 

“I’m Odymn,” she says,

points to the place

between her breasts,

the now-charred microchip.

 

Points at him.

“Who are you?”

Emphasis on ‘who’ and ‘you’.

 

Unwavering stare.

His eyes not black, but amethyst,

dark rings around the iris.

 

At the edges a pale film,

nictitating membrane.

Long lashes.

 

 “Odymn,” she says.

“Named by my father.

 

“Rare earth metal, Neodymium.

Atomic number 60. Silvery,

soft, tarnishes in air.

 

“Common as copper.

Makes a reddish dye,

colour of my hair.

 

“Now you,” and points at his chest.

 

Blue sparks snap to the tip of her finger.

Faint vibration through hand, along arm,

deep into torso.

 

Penetrating stare.

Lazy double blink.

Membrane and lashes close and open.

 

“OK. I’ll choose a name for you.

Daniel. Or James.

Not quite right, too common.

 

“You need an alien name.

Something deep from Dock-winder mythology.

Amblyn, god of fire. Or De-al, water-weld.”

 

Steady stare. Double blink.

One hand lifts. One finger raised to lips.

Be silent.

~

To get a free Kindle version of Meniscus: Crossing the Churn (from January 27 to January 31), just click on the book icon in the margin. This will take you to the Amazon website where you can get a free copy downloaded to your Kindle device.

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If you like Meniscus: Crossing the Churn, you will love the continuing adventures of Odymn and the silent Slain – Meniscus: South from Sintha, Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb and the newest book Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days, available January 31, 2018.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

ghost stories

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Although I hesitate to write this post, I am trying to go through my older poems and think about them a little. The next one on the list (I am working backwards through the alphabet) is called ‘visitations’. The subject matter is a bit ghostly.

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I do not generally believe in ghosts although I do believe in phenomena if that makes sense. A phenomenon is defined as a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.

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I have experienced many phenomena in my life. Odd things that seem to have some particular significance at the time. My mother, who also had such experiences, called them “comforts from heaven.”

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Here are a couple of examples from my own life:

  • After my mom died, a little yellow bird came almost every day to peck at our windows (not a goldfinch, in spite of the drawing below). After that year, I never saw it again.
  • Once I bought a handmade quilt at an auction and laid it over our upper loft railing. One night I came out to the hall in the dark, touched the quilt and heard the following words, quite distinctly: “Henry, come in to supper!” I don’t know anyone named Henry.
  • When she was alive, my aunt and I had a contest to see who could lose the most weight. My aunt told me to pick an item from her home as the ‘prize’. I know she was disappointed when I chose a little framed picture of a waterfall she had won as a prize in Sunday School in 1937. Neither of us lost any weight so the prize was never claimed. After her death, we retrieved some boxes from her estate. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the box in the trunk of my car and the little picture of the waterfall was the top item.
  • Once when I was staying away from home, I heard the front door open and footsteps, crossing the tile floor. I expected to see someone else and instead a little girl with ringlets came into my view, reached up for the doorknob of the adjacent bedroom and went inside. There were no children in the house at the time and I was terrified.
  • My husband had his own weird experience on our local covered bridge. He was crossing the narrow bridge one day in our truck and was alarmed to see another car enter the bridge. He was certain there would be a crash but the other car, an older V-8 model, squeezed right by. My husband, knowing there was no way two vehicles could pass in the bridge, had to stop the truck at the other side of the bridge, he was shaking so hard.

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Now every one of these experiences could be explained. Probably a vivid imagination is part of that explanation. But I do believe in the phenomenon. Have you had any experiences of your own?

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visitations

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moonlight on birch

stark shadows

words precise on the page

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her tread heavy

she reaches for the door

opens, ringlets close as a spring

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lengthen, what else is possible?

hand touches a quilt, a voice asks

a practical question, distilled in velvet

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a small yellow bird

at the window

every morning for a year

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~

 

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

 

Written by jane tims

January 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

herb growing in winter

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For Christmas, my husband bought me an Aerogarden – a way to grow herbs and other plants hydroponically. My garden has been set up for 19 days and has five plant pods underway – two basil, one parsley, one mint and one thyme. The sixth pod is having some troubles but is now replanted with more basil. I will keep you up to date on my garden’s progress!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018 

Written by jane tims

January 24, 2018 at 7:00 am

Posted in garden

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spirit guide

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As a biologist, I believe that human beings are fundamentally connected to the natural world.  We are part of that world. To live, we need to eat and drink and breathe. We respond to the cycles of climate and weather.

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I believe, to be whole, we need to experience nature on a daily basis.  In winter it is so easy to hide within our warm houses and pretend we are immune. But when I have hibernated for a few days, I start to long for a snowflake on my tongue, the glimpse of a bird, the sound of ice cracking on the lake. I need fresh air, a moment spent counting the sides on a flake of snow, the dripping of maple sap into a metal pail, the chortle of a black crow, flying overhead.

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Call me crazy, but sometimes I am certain our connection with nature is one of communication. I am stopped by the knowing look of my cat staring at me as if she cannot understand my lack of understanding. I ask for a prayer to be answered and hear the low tremolo of a loon from the lake. I am startled by the constant return of a yellow bird to the window in the months after my mother dies. I watch my hand painting detail in a landscape and am amazed at how a white line can capture the essence of a leaf.

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I also feel kinship with a particular animal. Some days it seems to express my disgruntlement with life. Other days, my joy. When I think of sound, the first sound I remember is the beat of wings on overhead air.

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spirit guide

~

after the proper length of fast

after the proper exposure to fire

I open my eyes

but I see no animal spirit

only black

~

I listen

silence

unless you count the compression

of a single beat of wing

~

I stretch and feel the atmosphere

detached

partitioned by sharpened feather fingers

and the zigzag trail

of some multi-legged crawler

~

my mouth is filled

with the down

of fallen angels

(also feathered black)

~

the stink of burning quills

~

where is a crow

when you need to experience

more than the characteristics of crow?

~

~

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

Written by jane tims

January 22, 2018 at 7:22 am

renewal

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Here we are in chill January. Days of snow and freezing rain, bitter cold and flooding and loss. Days when we don’t get enough sun to fill our requirement for Vitamin D.  Days when summer seems so far away.

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As a retired person, my days are neither hectic nor sorrowful. My hours are filled with writing, painting, drawing, time on social media and an occasional meeting. I can go outside any time I want to get my dose of sunshine (if available). My stresses are few.

~

Once life was not so easy.  I worked long days and often came home tired and in a bad mood. But my husband and son made my days wonderful. I found this poem in my files, a testament to the way our families can inject hope into a slogging day! I wrote the poem in 2010, a couple of years before I retired.

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Renewal is possible

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I am entirely new today

some aspect of morning

has cast just-born skin

on me

the song sung by the kettle

the taste of the tea

the forecast of snow

the way you said goodbye

more like the promise of hello

~

most days lately

have tears at all the edges

too much to do

too little time

late nights

mugs of coffee, half-gulped

clocks and messages despised

~

through the day

I have waited for

old disappointments

to discover my face

but my noon coffee

has a hint of chocolate

and all my emails

are smile-embedded

and one of them from you

~

~

my husband getting pussy willows for me …

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

January 20, 2018 at 7:00 am

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