nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘seasons

A place to be still

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I love to be outside but my knees do not always cooperate. So, I make certain I have a place to sit on my walk-about. I love my concrete bench. I get a great view of the yard. In spring there are crocuses. At this time of year, a huge patch of sensitive fern. In fall there will be red maple leaves. But the bench is cold. Not a place to sit for long! Not a place to linger.

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A place to be still

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Cold concrete,

embedded, still,

where leaves

of purple crocus

press through turf,

sensitive fern

overtakes lawn,

autumn builds

layer on layer.

Cold concrete,

embedded, still.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 11, 2018 at 7:00 am

a muse takes over – telling a story through the seasons

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In New Brunswick, the passage of time is measured in part by the seasons. Right now we are in winter, in the midst of another snow storm and taking a lot of care when walking on all the ice. Soon it will be spring with crocuses blooming on the lawn and water in every hollow. Then summer, days on the deck and keeping cool. Finally, my favourite season, autumn, colourful leaves and starry nights.

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Since I am a writer embedded in the winter-spring-summer-fall cycle, it’s natural that changing seasons are an important part of my sci-fi novel. Although weather is often a factor in story telling, I find many books ignore the changing of the seasons.

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Seasons on planet Meniscus occur in a cycle of four, as in the northern and southern latitudes of Earth. On Meniscus the seasons are the result of a changing heat regime as once per ‘year’ one of the twinned suns slips behind the other. Whether the physics of this makes much sense, I can’t say. “I’m a biologist, Jim, not a physicist!”

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Book One, Crossing the Churn, begins in summer. Foraging for food is easy. As the days pass, leaves begin to fall and soon the characters wade rather than walk through the forest.

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Book Two, South from Sintha, finishes in autumn, as the days grow colder.  New characters in Book Two are looking for a home before winter sets in.
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Book Three, Winter at the Water-climb, takes place in a world of ice. The plot focuses on the coming of cold weather and shorter days. Foraging for food is difficult since everything is hidden under snow drifts.  Survival depends on what has been put into storage.

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Book Four, The Town in the Themble Wood, celebrates the coming of spring and the vibrancy of summer. The Slain and Odymn scout the Themble Wood for a town-site and help the other Humans establish a new community.

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Book Five, so new it has no name, will take the characters back into autumn. In many ways this book will be a race against time as winter approaches and the Slain must find Odymn and other characters who have been lost after a crisis.

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Including seasons in my story adds to the possibilities for describing setting. The cinnamon scent of trees in the autumn Themble Wood, tracks in the snow of the new town, and melting water-springs add to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes my writing can explore.

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The progress of getting my first book into CreateSpace has been hampered this week by the appearance of ‘The Blue Screen of Death’ on my computer. It is fixed now, but I am sure the folks on Meniscus have never faced such a challenge!!!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 8, 2017 at 7:04 am

growing and gathering – years and seasons

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As I work on my collection of poems about growing and gathering, I am aware of the passage of time.  I am in the revision stage.  This means my manuscript will soon be ‘complete’.  I will worry over it and list the last things to be done.  I will prepare my final report to artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board), the source of my Creations Grant, and send it away to them for approval.

The project will be over, but there will still be work to do.   I will have to decide what poems should go in the final manuscript, re-order them a few times, do some more revisions and them send them away, to a publisher, hoping I will be able to get a book from all this work.

Then I will be at the end and facing a new beginning, a new project.  I have a few to choose from, so I won’t be relaxing for long.

In all this is the dimension of time, with its deadlines and unforgiving rush forward.  Even in a project about growing and gathering local foods, there are poems about time.

A number of my poems are about the ephemeral nature of local foods.  Another way to think of this is ‘eating local foods in season’.  In spring, everything is plentiful – new plants arrive in a rush, so fast, you can hardly keep up.  Then there is the patient waiting for berries to ripen and, again, a rush… blueberries are quickly followed by blackberries and raspberries and so on.  But everything has its season, so leaves become too old to harvest, and berries shrivel and fall to the ground.

This seasonal aspect of local foods can be thought of as as a metaphor for aging, and some of my poems work with this comparison.  I have poems about resisting aging, and about the ailments of age including arthritis, lethargy, forgetfulness, and aging memory.

Many of my poems on the theme of ‘time’ overlap with other themes, about ‘companionship’, or changes to ‘place’.  For this reason, I find myself shifting poems around in my manuscript.  I ask myself if the poems flow well, one to another.

I also find I don’t seem to have many poems about the differences between our historical use of local foods and our present day use.  I have lots of source material, particularly among my great-aunt’s diaries… she loved to pick berries.  So away I go, to write a few more poems about time!

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Old Man’s Beard     

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Usnea subfloridana Stirt.

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you and I

years ago

forced our ways

bent through the thicket

of lichen and spruce

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                        Usnea

caught in your beard

and we laughed

absurd!

us with stooped backs

and grey hair?

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found a game trail

a strawberry marsh

wild berries

crushed into sedge

stained shirts

lips

and fingers

strawberries

dusted with sugar

washed down with cold tea

warmed by rum

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today

an old woman

alone

lost her way in the spruce

found beard

caught in the branches

and cried

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Published as ‘Old Man’s Beard’, The Fiddlehead 180, Summer, 1994

©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

August 29, 2012 at 7:18 am

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