nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

garden escapes: where did they come from?

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When I find a plant in a ditch or roadside where it has no business to be, I wonder how it got there. Of course, the mechanism is usually plain. Some plants have arrived by seed, others by horizontal roots. But how did they get into the garden if that is where they came from?

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This weekend, we found three plants which made me wonder how they arrived in the community where they now grew: bouncing-Bett (Saponaria officinalis), white sage (Artemesia ludovinciana) and harebell (Campanula rotundifolia).

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escapes

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Where did they come from?

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33 bouncing bett cropped

bouncing-Bett (Saponaria officinalis)

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bouncing-Bett, common soapwort

Saponaria officinalis

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pink blur along the road

fills the ditches

perhaps she loved colour

or needed mild soap

to wash delicates

gloves sullied in the garden

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6 Morehouse Corner white sage cropped

white sage (Artemesia ludovinciana)

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white sage

Artemisia ludovinciana

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hugs the edge of the road

a slash of silver

in a matrix of green

perhaps he sought

smoke and smoulder

sacred odour of the smudge

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20 Wiggens Mill harebell cropped

harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

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harebell

Campanula rotundifolia

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in the margins of the road

harebell catches

found among the grasses

perhaps they wished to play

dress-up with lady’s thimbles

reminded them of home

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Be safe, wear your mask.

All my best,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

August 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

garden escapes: having fun

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I have been working at my garden escapes project for almost a month now. Many of the poems are simple free verse, usually evenly divided in stanzas of four to seven lines, often consisting of regular numbers of syllables. I have also tried some other forms, the pantoum and the ghazal. And most fun of all, for a few poems, I have tried shape poems, using the lines of the poem to create shapes reflective of the subject matter.

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Here is a poem that goes a step further. The shape shows the shape of lupins growing in the ditch; the colours are the colours of the flowers.

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lunpins Giants Glan

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And, a poem about chokecherries, in the shape of the hanging blossoms or berries.

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I will continue to work with these, perhaps aiming to make the poem read sensibly no matter which way you approach it.

I’d appreciate any comments, positive or negative!

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best,

doing my best to stay in my shape,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

July 27, 2020 at 7:00 am

Rebecca

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'blackberry afternoon'

 

Rebecca

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in black

Gothic

advances

down the middle

of the street

oblivious to traffic

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dark mists

and Avalon

the perfect rupture of sky

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from her fingers

black threads

spin skirt

and widow’s weeds

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black painted nails

blackened sockets of eye

her lips black also

from a feast of berries

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All my best.

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

June 26, 2020 at 7:00 am

Strawberry Kool-Aid Hair with Ribbons

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'nearn' (3)

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Strawberry Kool-Aid Hair

with Ribbons

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strawberry Kool-Aid hair

with ribbons

she pushes the button

to cross Dundonald

serious with her boyfriend

her backpack heavy

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she is like

the student on roller blades

skilled with traffic

not slowing near the top of Regent

reckless to the river

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or the man

a block from here

a man with a briefcase

leaning across the fence

making a bouquet

of pussy-willows

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All my best.

Stay safe.

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

June 19, 2020 at 7:00 am

heroine

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rose heroine

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heroine

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her hair

is a stroke of pink

on the brown audience

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more compelling

than the script

or the decorated stage

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not surprising to see

her name on the program

Rose

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in black but for the hair

even her lips

implore the audience

to pardon the difference

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she, the heroic one

not Romeo

or Juliet

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not the dead

but the left-behind

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All my best.

Staying safe,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 12, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series: the illustrations

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For the last two days, I have been in a drawing mood. Not many authors illustrate their books (not including those who work on graphic novels), but I love this part of the process.

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I have had lots of discussions with readers about the right and wrong of illustrating. Some think it takes away from the reader’s wonderful ability to imagine characters and scenes. Others think the illustrations take a reader deeper into the author’s intentions. As an author, I think drawings help get my ideas across. Since my books are told as narrative poetry, my words tend to be vary spare and I think of the drawings as extensions of the narrative.

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I include two types of drawings in my books: portraits of the characters and sketches of the action.

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The portraits are useful to me as a writer. They help fix the character’s face so the image does not migrate from book to book. I am really proud of the portraits and looking at them inspires my writing.

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I am also proud of some of my drawings of scenes from my books. When the drawing is close to the idea I want to portray, sometimes it suggests new details in the text. Some drawings are not so good but I rarely re-draw. Instead, I think of these as representative of the weirdness of planet Meniscus. It reminds me of a line from my favorite TV show Lost. Daniel Faraday, on his first visit to the island says,

The light… it’s strange out here, isn’t it? It’s kind of like, it doesn’t, it doesn’t scatter quite right.”

On Meniscus, the pencil doesn’t behave quite right.

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In every book, there are 23 +/- 4 drawings. Some are portraits or repeats of earlier scenes. Today, I did two drawings, both unique to Meniscus: The Knife.

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All my best,

staying home

and staying in my two-family bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 11, 2020 at 7:00 am

reading in isolation

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For a writer, retired from the daily commute, living in isolation from others has not been very hard. I have kept in touch with my family by phone, with my writing groups by Messenger, and with other friends through Facebook. When I am not writing, I watch TV or read aloud to my husband and we occasionally go for short drives. I’ve also taken an on-line writing course on Monday and Thursday evenings. Sometimes I sew, sometimes I blog. Rarely I take on my cleaning duties. There is always lots to do.

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Reading has been a true solace in these times of isolation. I have a Kobo for bedtime reading and a Kindle for the living room. And there is always a stack of books by the reading chair. I love British detective series like those of Ann Granger, Anne Cleeves and Elly Griffiths. I also love Science Fiction, most recently Vicki Holt’s Hunted on Predator Planet.

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What’s a comfortable chair without a book?

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So what is it about reading that is so involving? Part of this is setting, being transported to the misty sea-bound Shetland Islands, or the tentacled and mucky landscape of a distant planet. Part is about characters, getting to know people who face heart-pounding danger, or who solve mysteries by fitting clue to clue. Part is about story, a mix of circumstance and fate with twists and turns and an ending you never see coming.

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I have been known to lose myself in a good book. Once I settled in my car at a local park to read and forgot to return to work!

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Other people are reading lots too. I have seen a bit of a spike in book sales on Amazon. It is one of the pleasures of being a writer, knowing that I can bring a bit of escapism and solace to my readers.

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If you want to lose yourself in a book series, try my Meniscus Series. It’s a bit different. The stories are written in narrative poetry in a style that is compact and accessible. There are maps, a glossary and an alien dictionary in each book. All my books are illustrated.

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The Meniscus Series is about humans trying to overcome a dystopian reality on an alien planet. The story unfolds over several books and the theme is building relationships, building community.

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All my best!

Stay in your bubble! Read on!

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

illustrating poetry

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I am in the process of creating several books of poetry from the many poems I have written over the years. I am now working on the third book, poems about life on my grandfather’s farm. The title will be ‘blueberries and mink’ since these were the main products of the farm.

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There are about forty poems in this collection. I have decided how I will order the poems and done much of the formatting. Since I illustrate the books I write, the next task is to pair the poems with drawings I have done.

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For some poems, as I wrote, I had an image in my head that my hands could draw. A good example is the poem ‘patience.’ One of the lines describes ‘staring down a cow.’ The drawing was fun to do.

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outstaring a cow paperback

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In some cases, a drawing I did for another purpose will find a home in my ‘blueberries and mink’ manuscript. An example is the drawing of old pop bottles I did for a blog post a few years ago. These bottles look much like the ones that used to sit on a window ledge in a shed at my grandfather’s farm.

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old pop bottles cropped

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Once I have inserted the formatted drawings into the book, I have to make sure they are distributed evenly through the book. Sometimes a poem and its drawing can be relocated. Sometimes I have to do another drawing to fill a gap.

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Next, from the drawings, I have to pick one for the cover of the book. I want the covers for these books to be similar in style with the book title and author name superimposed.

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A couple of the possible covers I am working on are shown below.

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poetry books

alt cover

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all my best,

staying home,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

ice

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As I go over the many poems I have written over the years, I find a lot of poems about ice. Ice is very poem-worthy. It glitters and drips. It is cold and changes form. Icicles make great popsicles (if they are dripping from a clean surface). Ice can be a metaphor for emotion, life experience, change, danger, and so on.

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Today we had a high of 7 degrees C and all the snow and ice are melting. Not really sad to see them go this year.

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river ice

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builds in shallows

at the rim of river, incremental

embellishment to transparent sheets

of glass, ice envelopes winter

remnants, reeds and willows

thickness increased as frost

penetrates, sharp edges

cauterized by cold

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branches and icicles paperback

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freezing rain

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trees, bare branches, wait

wood snaps in the stove

budgies peck at cuttle bone

pellets of rain, tossed

at the skylight

a second transparency

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bare twigs turn in wind

distribute their coating

in these last moments

before temperature turns

the snowpack on the picnic table

shrinks at the edges

shoves over, makes room

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branches gloss so gradually

candles dipped in a vat of wax

over and over, acquiring thickness

the sky, through the skylight

dimpled tile, rumpled mosaic

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rain stipples bark as narrative

appends to memory, pane here,

light there, layers of glass

cedar twigs turn downward

as fingers, ice builds

layers of skin

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All my best

(staying home!)

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

organizing writing files – what to do with scores of poems

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Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about the poetry I have written over the years. I have two traditionally published books of poetry and will publish, independently, a small volume later this month. But scattered in the memory of my computer are hundreds of other poems, written over the course of forty years. Quality varies, but they are all mine, an expression of what it is like to be ‘me.’ Someday, when I am dust on the wind, someone is going to scan my computer and push delete. My son would not do this, but if I leave them in this state, they will become part of the clutter of his life.

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So, if I have had success at publishing my own work, and have the skills, why shouldn’t I ‘save’ the poems it took four decades to write.

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My approach has been to find the poems and assign them to one of five files. Each of the files will be the contents of a book of poetry, independently published and produced in a few copies. I have no intention of marketing these books. I may give them to family or friends, perhaps submit them to a few contests and just enjoy them myself.

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The five files will be:

1. ‘niche’ – poems about the spaces occupied by plants and animals

2. ‘myth and mystery’ – poems about strange occurrences in life

3. ‘lakes’ – poems about lakes and rivers in New Brunswick

4. ‘my grandfather’s farm’ – poems about my memories of the farm

5. ‘journal poems’ – poems about specific times in my life

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This is a slow process. First, there are multiple copies of some poems. Second, I have not been consistent with the naming of files. One outcome of this project will be a tidier computer.

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When I have the files in folders, then I will work to organize the poems, revise them, format the manuscript and produce a book.  A huge task, but as with all things, I will see the project through in stages, working on one part at a time.

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UPDATE: I now have the files organized! It has taken about a month of work, off and on. I am now working on the poems for ‘niche.’  There are 66 poems, taking about 110 pages. Next post, I will write about organizing the poems into a readable manuscript.

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All my best,

and staying home,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 2, 2020 at 11:56 am

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