poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘metaphor

black ice

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black ice – a transparent coating of ice on a road, usually asphalt


Winter comes with its driving challenges. Heavy snow, slippery roads, poor visibility … a good driver is aware of them all. Black ice is particularly challenging … it’s hard to see, often unnoticeable until you are trying to navigate across it. It may look like bare pavement, smooth sailing all the way! Black ice can be a metaphor for any dangerous encounter in our lives.


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your eyes glitter

crystals of salt

I think you are


your charm a veneer


black ice only shows

in a stray beam

of moonlight

or when headlights are switched

to high



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Drive with care in every incident of life!!!



Written by jane tims

November 21, 2018 at 7:00 am

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn – alien insects

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It won’t be long and we will be plagued by mosquitos and blackflies here in New Brunswick.


On the planet Meniscus, the setting for my sci-fi series, there are no mosquitos and no blackflies. Life there is hard enough!


However, I have populated the Meniscus woodlands with elginards. These are small wingless insects that drift on the breezes. As the book says, they are “… purposeless, ephemeral …”.

The inspiration for these creatures is the wooly aphid. In the late autumn days in New Brunswick, wooly aphids float like flakes of snow on the air.




Elginards also remind me of dandelion fluff.  The elginard in my book is a symbol for a purposeless life, lived at the whim of circumstance.



To read more about elginards, have a look at my book ‘Meniscus: Crossing The Churn’ … available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats …


Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 14, 2017 at 7:37 am

 a stone wall

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a stone wall

On one of our countryside drives, I watch for this stone wall. Built with care, it serves so many purposes. It provides boundaries for a property and a home. It keeps people out. Perhaps it keeps children safe, away from the highway. It adds beauty to the property, curb appeal. It reminds us of our history.


Most of all, I like stone fences for their value as metaphor. In life, fences can represent so many experiences, circumstances and challenges – imprisonment, protection, change.


Fences are barriers, keeping one space separate from another. They are also boundaries, transitional, liminal. Just climb over. The fence is a way to transition from outside to inside, from vulnerability to safety. Perhaps a little way along, there will be a gate. Perhaps the fence – a stone fence in particular – is permeable. There are spaces between those solid, expertly-positioned stones. Spaces for insects, water, wind or sound to cross over.


Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 7, 2016 at 7:00 am

growing and gathering – picking berries with friends

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As I am deciding how to organise my poetry manuscript on ‘growing and gathering’ local foods, I am considering the themes of the various poems.  I think these themes will become the sections in my manuscript.

One of the first themes to emerge, perhaps the easiest to examine, is about ‘relationships’.

Although I have often picked berries alone, my best memories are of picking berries with members of my family.  Both my Mom and Dad loved to pick berries.  My Dad was a fast picker and I was always in silent competition with him to pick the most berries… I never won.  My Mom picked berries quickly, but took the time to enjoy the fresh air, the blue sky and the expanse of the berry field.  When I think of picking berries with her, I feel calm and a little lazy.  My relationship with my mother-in-law was also shaped by our many berry-picking experiences; when I pick raspberries, I hear her quiet laughter in the breeze.

As I write poetry for my ‘growing and gathering’ manuscript, I have explored my relationships with the various people in my life.

Some of these are based on real experiences I have had picking berries or gathering greens.   Examples include poems about trying to find an old berry field, now grown over, or how changes in a relationship can be observed over the years in the annual picking of berries.  Although most of the poems are about plants, I have included production of other local foods – so a poem about beekeeping, for example, explores how two people interact during a small emergency.

In other cases, the gathering of local foods is a metaphor for some aspect of a relationship, whether good and bad.  At least some of these metaphors are related to the characteristics of plants or animals – for example, the serrated edges of leaves, the slipperiness of a trout, the gentle feel and fragrance of Bedstraw, or the bitterness of taste common to so many ‘salad’ greens.

Some of the metaphor is based on the place where plants grow.  Examples include the seclusion of many berry-picking spots, or the physical spaces created by rows of corn plants.

As I look over the Table of Contents for my manuscript, I realise some poems will be stronger if placed within another theme.  So I have moved, for example, a poem about picking berries over a three-week period from the theme on ‘relationships’ to a theme about ‘change’.

This consideration of the themes in my poetry has given me a good start to organising the poems, and identifying gaps I have to fill.  I know now there are lots of gaps, and many poems yet to write!



Bitter Blue


of all the silvery summer days we spent none so warm sun on

granite boulders round blue berry field miles across hazy miles

away from hearing anything but bees

and berries

plopping in the pail


beside you I draped my lazy bones on bushes crushed berries and

thick red leaves over moss dark animal trails nudged between rocks

baking berries brown musk rising to meet blue heat

or the still fleet scent

of a waxy berry bell


melting in my mouth crammed with fruit sometimes pulled from

laden stems more often scooped from your pail full ripe blue pulp

and the bitter shock of a hard green berry never ripe

or a shield bug

with frantic legs

and an edge to her shell


Published as: ‘Bitter Blue’, Summer 1993, The Amethyst Review 1 (2)

Published on on July 31, 2011

© Jane Tims 2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
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