…found tucked in a poetry book from the university library:

Lesson Plan 6th Period 3/19/97

Resource Review–presentation

Joan of arc poem

What I used it for

reinforcement of Joan’s death


poem looks at
“smoke does not finish anything”

very feminist

lots of student like it, some hated it, some kept it, some threw it out

The poem you ask (I know you want to know) is by Cathy Ford and comes from Saffron, Rose & Flame: the joan of arc poems.

this morning
in the shade

the eye of the heart
sees itself

oil sulphur & charcoal
cry out for water

the hands are bound
the heart embraces its cross
pulsed like an artery
in a handful of dust

silence has been stunned by the heat
nothing is a quiet as ash
as it is white
as it is to be raked aside

everything exposed

the sun that can’t be seen
sends light sends shadow
reading nothing in the sky but conviction,
meaningless wild birds

bank breaking across the sky
an epiphany of translation
crows impossible to understand

yet the ordinary is remarkable. Acceptance.
A young woman who doesn’t want to die

is screaming, screaming.
No one else will hear. Crying.
If only the immaculate could be
the conception, the reason, then

there is fire

there is water

there is a lot of time

smoke does not finish


…of potatoes in Regina. Can we talk? Well okay, today, because I’m not in my right frame of mind, not that I’m ever in a right frame of mind, but simply that I’m not prone to ranting, I’m going to rant. (Luckily, I have the kind of job that I can tell as many clients as I must any rant I have, and of course, they have to listen, being stuck in the barber chair with metal shears flashing about their head; so I quickly tire of my verbal diarrhea). Today, though, I’ve been stuck at home in front of a computer screen working on a proposal of sorts, or of no sense, and I have a bit of rant on the rising cost of everything. So listen…

Why is it the influx of people into an urban (perhaps this happens in a small rural setting as well, only there’s no one there to notice) centre creates a rising cost on those items deemed necessity?  And mostly, (brace yourselves) I want to know, since when did the price of potatoes become more than the cost of beer? Since when does a root vegetable rate top dollar? Since when do 12, count ’em, 12 average sized red, round potatoes cost $9.17??

Did I miss something? I know I’m not the most observant person travelling in the grocery sphere most days, and I’m prone to blanking out in the dairy section frequently as I contemplate rows of multi-hued cheese, but as I’m standing at the till with my less than 15 items, at the 15 item or less line, I react suddenly to the shock of the price. “Since when,” I ask the young woman, neatly attired in black, her pants saran-wrapped to her butt, the standard issue grocery store sweater squeezed over top, and adorned with the company’s new subtle logo, “did potatoes get so expensive?” To which she snorts and answers, “At least you picked out nice ones, most of the time they’re rotten.”

And this too is true! The prepackaged bags of potatoes, the kind they sell in various poundage, now come in unclear plastic bags, so you can’t see the state of the potatoes. And the loose ones look like they’ve been carelessly stabbed many times over with a pitchfork. Or they try to convince you the small potatoes in the small square bags, with sprouts growing out the small, round breathing holes, are “NEW.”

Not only has the price risen like a child’s helium balloon, but in the time of a boon, we pay top dollar for gross product. Why in the era where we’re encouraged to eat healthy, to eat fresh, to locate and pluck the best organic and wholesome produce we can find, do they attempt to unload the crap on us?

And where does the good produce go? Do they sell those to superior, select stores for an even higher price? Maybe soon we’ll be having to distinguish our produce by grades, at which rate you’ll pay top dollar for a potato without any unsightly bashing. Or even worse, sprouts. One baked potato, $20.00 please.

So the girl packs my 14 items in the black recyclable bag that I have to buy every time I’m in line, because I don’t carry the bags with me everywhere, but the guilt of a cheap, plastic bag that will break as soon as get to the car, wears heavy upon my heart, and I fork out another $.99 to house my golden potatoes. I head out to the car that took only $14.00 to fill not 10 years ago, and now takes $50.00, so I can drive home the remaining 2 blocks to the house that now costs nearly 5 times what was paid for it not 10 years ago.

And why is it, I ask, worn from the misery of a rant that will go nowhere, and be seen by even fewer than a dozen eyes, I don’t see my income sprouting as quick as a “NEW” potato?


The room with a view.

The CN tower is there somewhere, although there is just a corner of it. The lounge of the Grand Hotel was a lovely little place where I spent most of Friday night visiting and it was also the place where I saw Austin Clarke. I didn’t get a chance to go and talk to him, as he looked like he was rather busy, but it was a great evening. The next day after a long meeting, I visited with numerous friends that I haven’t seen in quite some time. Life is good sometimes.


…gives with the sunsets my friend K asks late one evening from across the table at a noisy restaurant/night club.  The why in a voice hangs on the foam in the beer on the table. Two people furiously grope each other near the washrooms. The dj’s arrive and the music begins to rise around the din of people, floats as ordinary thoughts leaving the no longer rational brains of those no longer sober.

Right. What was it that made me post a record number of shots of the same thing– the sun, setting. I suppose I could merely say it is a part of the obsessive compulsive disorder, and rather than picking up previous bad habits where I left them when I obsessively stopped them, I began a new obsession about recording the  last summer of 2008. Maybe I could say they are beautiful, here as well as there, as well as everywhere and anywhere. Maybe I could say that my fascination stems from the symbolism behind the sunset, the connection with death. I do think the sunrise is beautiful too with a charm all its own, and it too connects with symbolism, of birth/renewal, but for some reason, the sunset is more striking to me than the sunrise. The patterns in the sky, against the clouds, the fluctuating hues of reds, oranges, and yellows create such a warm embrace of sky.

I find that although the connection with literary symbolism is always present in the orange glow in the west, the warmth of that glow, the calm about that glow, the serenity in that parting seems to work against the notion of death, or at least it does in my perception of it. The idea that even though there may be clouds for more than one day that block the view of the setting, the sun is still setting in the distance, and on another clear evening it will be where it was, though never quite the same as it was before. And yes, posting all those pictures is very much the same repetition, it’s cyclical: wake, sleep, life, birth, death, rise, fall, breath, and breathe. Although things end, they continue. A snapshot in the distant future of something we may never remember, may never know, but may only understand through life and beyond. The repeat of recording the sunset is the mimic: how eternal everything appears to be.