poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘shelter

in the shelter of the covered bridge – shelter?

with 4 comments


– n.

1. protection from danger, bad weather, etc.

2. place giving shelter or refuge.


1. act or serve as a shelter to; protect; conceal; defend.

2. find refuge, take cover.

(Oxford English Dictionary)


As I refine the results of my poetry project, ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’, I am thinking about the idea of ‘shelter’ and how important it is to all living things.



A covered bridge changes the landscape, alters the environment and encourages habitat diversity. It changes the availability of light, water and air. It provides cover from harsh environments.


Some examples of finding shelter in a covered bridge:


  • seeds on the wind, waylaid, find a place to germinate
  • grasses growing beneath the bridge get less light as shadows thicken – sometimes there is too little light to grow at all
  • a crack between boards in the floor of the bridge provides a space to grow away from competition from other plants
  • mosses and lichens find a place to thrive in the rotted hollows of posts and timbers


  • birds use rafters and beams as nesting sites
  • spiders find places to attach their webs
  • mice store seeds in nooks and crannies
  • birds hunt insects on the sun-warmed boards of the bridge


  • travellers find brief respite from wind and snow and rain
  • friends and lovers find meeting places, out of the view of curious eyes
  • visitors find surfaces for expression – graffiti, vulgarity, art, a space to say ‘I was here’
  • children of all ages find a place to shout, hear echoes, remember






the engine dies – after midnight

not far from home


snow builds on track

eyelash and mitten


wind conceals the road

sweeps the bridge


enter, a lull and chill subsides

bright of snow subdued


no solitude – a mouse ticked

off, her hibernation interrupted


and ghosts carve names, spray

broad epithets in purple


inspire defiance, kick me

out, into the storm





Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

January 20, 2016 at 7:39 am

snow hollow at the base of a tree

with 11 comments

Words are the tools of a writer’s craft.  I literally wallow in words when I write a poem.  Sometimes the right word comes immediately to mind.  Sometimes I have to search for it, sometimes for days or weeks.  When I do the final edits for a poem, I ‘press’ on every word, to make sure it is absolutely right.

Sometimes, I encounter an idea or image that seems to have no word.  For example, I have searched for a word referring to the charming hollow that builds next to the base of a tree when the snow falls.  Sometimes small animals use this hollow for a temporary den.  Sometimes it’s a place where debris gathers, as it does in the corners of alleyways.  Sometimes it is a calm, beckoning place where snow shadows rest in shades of olive green and blue.    

I wonder if there is a name for these elusive places, perhaps in another language.



snow hollow


snow shuns the tree

manifest in the hollow

the empty gather of wind

at the base of the fir


where snow-shoe hares find

shelter or dry leaves skipping

across a crust of snow

assemble and rest


inside curve to fit

the spine of an animal

the heart of a man

curled against the cold


a place where shadows meet

select blue from the prism of all

indigo to illustrate the space

of no snow, no warmth, no light




©  Jane Tims  2011


Written by jane tims

December 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

in the shelter of the lane

with 6 comments

Now, when the trees are shedding their foliage in yellow, red and orange, have you taken the time to stroll down a lane crackling with dry leaves? 


1 lane  n.  1: a narrow passageway between fences or hedges;

2: a relatively narrow way or track …

2 lane  Scot var of LONE


Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1979

Words are so laden with connotative and denotative associations, those similar in meaning may not convey the same idea at all.  For example, the word ‘lane’ is vastly different in meaning from ‘road’, yet a lane is a type of roadway.

A lane, to me, is a narrow corridor, built to admit people from the ordinary world of community to the private world of home.  A lane is bounded on each side by trees, hedges or fences.  A proper lane must have ruts for the tires and a centerline of grass to challenge the clearance of any vehicle.  Once you are in the lane, it is difficult to see anything outside.


When I was young, visiting my mother’s family took us to ‘the old home place’.  It was sandwiched between the main road and the river, but because it was connected to the outside world by a long, bent, shady lane, it was truly a ‘world-apart’.

I spent many happy hours in the lane, wandering up and down its length, singing and dreaming, exploring and examining.  I loved the small woodland habitat created on either side.  I picked the wild blueberries growing there, watched squirrels busy at the workings of their pine-cone industry, and made friends with specific trees. 

One young Silver-leaved Poplar (Populus alba L.) was a particular favourite.  It stood just before the bend in the lane, its bark marked with black diamonds.  When the wind blew, it turned its leaves over in a generous offering of silver.

I have other pleasant associations with the lane.  I remember my Dad working there with a shovel and a pickaxe, trying to fill in the worst of the ruts to save the undercarriages of his car and trailer.  I remember listening to my Mom’s stories of how she and my aunt pushed their doll carriages up the lane to visit imaginary neighbours.  I remembered how excited we always were to see the gate at the end of the lane wide open, since that meant my aunt or uncles were at home.



trees along the lane


to guard its ways

            cone scale mounds

            acorn stashes

            the silver undersides of poplar leaves

            doll carriages with squeaky wheels

            blueberries in slants of light


the lane a wooden shelter 

            its base the rutted track

            its sides the trees, muscled arms 

            branches overhead with fingers locked


charmed paths

moss tablecloths 

fairy rings and follows

protected by

the closing of eyes


©  Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

October 23, 2011 at 7:54 am

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