Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

November 21, 2017

 

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

by William Shakespeare

 

 

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

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PIT STOP

November 16, 2017

Many of you might not know that Neil use to write for The Senior Times, he had a column called Pit Stop.  Since the weather is quickly changing here in Quebec, I found the perfect article for you.

Resist hibernating and enjoy the outdoors this winter.

”If you want to enjoy the Montreal winter, you’ve got to join it.”  I wish I had heeded that advice when I first arrived in Montreal in the autumn of 1972.

That first winter I was broadcasting editorial comments on CJAD and producing and hosting ”Prime Time”, a program for seniors.  On the week-ends I huddle with my wife, Catharine, (a writer-researcher at the Reader’s Digest) inside our apartment on the twenty-first floor of a high rise near the old Forum, and read the newspaper including the weighty Sunday New York Times.  This regimen turned out to be a recipe for lethargy, lassitude and recurring stupor.

At the time we didn’t have a car (once we toured a good part of the island of Montreal on two metro tickets), but the following winter, Catharine reconnoitred the lower Laurentians by bus to find a place to stay and to ski.  Happily, she discovered on the perimeters of Prévost, then Shawbridge, a sprawling white frame house with many appendages, the Laurentian Lodge Club, founded in 1923.

Catharine and I have now been members of the Club for more than twenty-five years, enjoying chef André’s savoury cuisine and cross-country skiing on trails with such evocative names as The Barking Dog, Fallen Women, The Madonna, and of course, portions of the Maple Leaf, laid out by the famous Herman Smith ”Jack Rabbit” Johannsen himself.

One stormy Saturday, I was chatting with Mr. Johannsen (then more than a hundred, still a skier and long-time member of the Club) in the living room beside the fireplace when the ”Chief” with a glint in his eye, lit a cigarette.  ”I never smoke before lunch,” he explained, ”but I usually have lunch early.”

Mr. Johannsen was not the only notable member of the Laurentian Lodge Club, chock-a-block in those early years with young families and their children.  Other distinguished members included the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield and Brooke Claxton, a minister in federal Liberal governments.

Not that the Club was an elitist conclave or luxury resort.  Far from it.  The original iron beds were purchased from the Montreal General Hospital for three dollars each.  Their springs were so dilapidated the mattresses had to be propped up by large sheets of stiff brown paper that crackled down the halls whenever the sleeper turned over.  Still, the spartan bedrooms were merely a counterpoise to the charm and gentility of afternoon tea served in front of the blazing fire by ladies in long gowns.

From its beginning in 1923, the Club was at the heart of early ski developments in the Laurentians.  Just beyond the first door across the river and through the trees loomed the Big Hill where in 1932 Alec Foster, using an old Ford engine for power, installed the first rope tow in North America, charging skiers five cents a ride.

From those early days, the Laurentian Lodge Club developed and still retains a distinctive élan marked by enthusiastic and warm camaraderie.  ”The atmosphere,” as one senior member described it, ”was set by people in their eighties who had nothing to prove,” and who, it might be added, encouraged a tradition of fun skiing which meant taking time on the trail to stop to eat an orange and feed the birds.

This spirit continues, epitomized by the Club’s oldest active member, a vivacious ans elegant lady in her early nineties.  She still skis and still serves afternoon tea in a long gown.  She joined the Montreal winter a long time ago.  Obviously she had never regretted it.  Neither have I.

Published in February 1999

Jean P.

November 13, 2017

 

DARK ROSALEEN

by  James Clarence Mangan

 

O my dark Rosaleen,
    Do not sigh, do not weep!
The priests are on the ocean green,
    They march along the deep.
There’s wine from the royal Pope,
    Upon the ocean green;
And Spanish ale shall give you hope,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,
Shall give you health, and help, and hope,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
Over hills, and thro’ dales,
    Have I roam’d for your sake;
All yesterday I sail’d with sails
    On river and on lake.
The Erne, at its highest flood,
    I dash’d across unseen,
For there was lightning in my blood,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
O, there was lightning in my blood,
Red lighten’d thro’ my blood.
    My Dark Rosaleen!
All day long, in unrest,
    To and fro, do I move.
The very soul within my breast
    Is wasted for you, love!
The heart in my bosom faints
    To think of you, my Queen,
My life of life, my saint of saints,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
To hear your sweet and sad complaints,
My life, my love, my saint of saints,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
Woe and pain, pain and woe,
    Are my lot, night and noon,
To see your bright face clouded so,
    Like to the mournful moon.
But yet will I rear your throne
    Again in golden sheen;
‘Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
‘Tis you shall have the golden throne,
‘Tis you shall reign, and reign alone,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
Over dews, over sands,
    Will I fly, for your weal:
Your holy delicate white hands
    Shall girdle me with steel.
At home, in your emerald bowers,
    From morning’s dawn till e’en,
You’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My fond Rosaleen!
You’ll think of me through daylight hours
My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
I could scale the blue air,
    I could plough the high hills,
Oh, I could kneel all night in prayer,
    To heal your many ills!
And one beamy smile from you
    Would float like light between
My toils and me, my own, my true,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My fond Rosaleen!
Would give me life and soul anew,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
O, the Erne shall run red,
    With redundance of blood,
The earth shall rock beneath our tread,
    And flames wrap hill and wood,
And gun-peal and slogan-cry
    Wake many a glen serene,
Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,
    My Dark Rosaleen!
    My own Rosaleen!
The Judgement Hour must first be nigh,
Ere you can fade, ere you can die,
    My Dark Rosaleen!

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

November 7, 2017

 

Going back to your roots

 

Catharine writes:

                                  This was an extraordinary moment for me, to visit Aunt Polly’s grave in St.-James cemetery, Toronto. With John Fleming and Stephanie. There also was the grave of Polly’s mother, my great-grandmother. Thanks to their courage as immigrants and refugees from Ireland I could be born in Canada. I found myself choking up with gratitude.

 

 

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

October 31, 2017

Discovering your roots

 

Your own family’s history can be an inspiration – and a good source of material for writing. In the video below Bob Fleming discusses how he traced his Irish roots. This same story led Catharine Fleming McKenty to write her first novel, Polly of Bridgewater Farm.

Have you investigated your own family’s history? Have you written your memoirs?

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

September 19, 2017

Spraying the potatoes.

by Patrick Kavanagh

 

The barrels of blue potato-spray
Stood on a headland in July
Beside an orchard wall where roses
Were young girls hanging from the sky.

The flocks of green potato stalks
Were blossom spread for sudden flight,
The Kerr’s Pinks in frivelled blue,
The Arran Banners wearing white.

And over that potato-field
A lazy veil of woven sun,
Dandelions growing on headlands, showing
Their unloved hearts to everyone.

And I was there with a knapsack sprayer
On the barrel’s edge poised. A wasp was floating
Dead on a sunken briar leaf
Over a copper-poisoned ocean.

The axle-roll of a rut-locked cart
Broke the burnt stick of noon in two.
An old man came through a cornfield
Remembering his youth and some Ruth he knew.

He turned my way. ‘God further the work’.
He echoed an ancient farming prayer.
I thanked him. He eyed the potato drills.
He said: ‘You are bound to have good ones there’.

We talked and our talk was a theme of kings,
A theme for strings. He hunkered down
In the shade of the orchard wall. O roses
The old man dies in the young girl’s frown.

And poet lost to potato-fields,
Remembering the lime and copper smell
Of the spraying barrels he is not lost
Or till blossomed stalks cannot weave a spell.

 

 

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

September 5, 2017

Another September

by Thomas Kinsella

 

Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw
With the touch of dawn, wrapped in a minor peace,
Hears through an open window the garden draw
Long pitch black breaths , lay bear its apple trees,
Ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweethened soil,
Exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates.
Nearer the river sleeps St.Johns, all toil
Locked fast inside a dream with iron gates.
Domestic autumn, like an animal
Long used to handling by those countrymen,
Rubs her kind hide against the bedroom wall
Sensing a fragrant child come back again
– Not this half tolerated consciousness
That plants its grammar in her unyielding weather
But that unspeaking daughter, growing less
familiar where we fell asleep together.
Wakeful moth-wings blunder near a chair
Toss their light shell at the glass and go
To inhabit the living starlight,Stranded hair
Stirs on the still linen. It is as though
The black breathing that billows her sleep, her name,
Drugged under judgement, waned and – bearing daggers
And balances – down the lampless darkness they came,
Moving like women: Justice, Truth, such figures.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

August 29, 2017

 

 

Rhythm Of Life.

by Eileen Carney Hulme

 

The clock is silent
nowadays clocks no longer
need to make
that rhythmic sound of life.

We have moved on
and everything is changed
I am no longer sad
I don’t weep for you.

In still moments
I see you solitary, reflective-
running with the wind along the waterfront
with your Walkman on.

Radiowaves carry words
of a song we shared
and I am free to smile
at the thought of you.

Big and handsome
the scent of you
like a powerful beast lingers
untamed by this world.

I know you still swim with dolphins
in the cold North Sea
I know you still laugh
and drink wine with friends.

I know you live by the seasons
and time is not your enemy,
the clock is silent
I don’t weep for you, I weep for me.

HOW TO STAY HOPEFUL AND RESILIENT THROUGH ADVERSITY.

August 24, 2017

By  Joe Wilner

 

Everyone has the ability to bounce back from upset and become a stronger person because of it.

When focusing on strengths and positive traits, hope and resilience stand out as very advantageous and fruitful characteristics to uphold mental health and begin to flourish.

A mentor of mine often asks his coaching clients if they have, “turned the coal of the past into the diamonds of present?” I love this saying because it provides such a hopeful and resilient perspective on life.

Everyone goes through difficult times and has baggage to deal with. Though it’s what we do and how we respond during these crucial moments that matter.

Are you able to experience hope and optimism when going through adversity?

Here are a few ideas about how to manage adversity with hope and resilience.

Know you will become stronger because of it. Focus on the value and character strength you will develop from overcoming your obstacles. Think of all the difficult spots you have found yourself in before and how you were able to work through them. How much stronger and wiser are you because of these moments?

If you made it through those times, you can probably make it though almost anything. Adversity develops character and the capacity for compassion, empathy, and courage.

Find something to be grateful for and appreciate what you have. Focusing on what’s good in life through difficult times can be another source of resilience. Pulling positivity from gratitude and appreciation for what we still have offers a perspective shift that makes even the most depressing times more manageable.

You may have experienced a loss, but what can you find to be thankful for despite the pain? Maybe you have a supportive family, a decent job, or at least your health. Sometimes we must find something to be thankful for.

Have meaning and purpose in your life. Having faith and knowing there is a plan for the future is what hope is all about. Having a sense of meaning and purpose helps us to look forward to the future with anticipation. When going through a rough spot, not losing sight of your passion, vision, and purpose will give you much needed strength to persevere and maintain hope.

Are you living with purpose and intention?

When loss, anguish, and distress become overwhelming, all we have is our faith, hope, and resilience to move forward from. Whatever you are going through, staying hopeful that the future will get better and knowing you have the strength to persevere is what will help you make progress and not give up.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

August 22, 2017

 

Who goes amid the green wood

By James Joyce

 

Who goes amid the green wood
With springtide all adorning her?
Who goes amid the merry green wood
To make it merrier?

Who passes in the sunlight
By ways that know the light footfall?
Who passes in the sweet sunlight
With mien so virginal?

The ways of all the woodland
Gleam with a soft and golden fire
For whom does all the sunny woodland
Carry so brave attire?

O, it is for my true love
The woods their rich apparel wear
O, it is for my own true love,
That is so young and fair.