Poetry Fridayo37

Broken Heart

Image by Gabriela Camerotti via FlickrValentine’s Day

Salt, scabs and lost loves

A specter of my former life moves
past me on the pavement
close enough I feel
And while I stare and will it to
look at me with dead eyes
it will not, but weaves
up the avenue
It’s pretense on other things aside
I know it feels my mortal presence
Sure ghosts have memories
ours shared are
Hawk cries out above us two
intent on blood warmed
bodies in the winter
Small deaths atone for love’s demise
in me, splayed hearts scatter
like misplaced valentines
upon the frozen

Lesley-Anne Evans
, February 14, 2011

A year in review

It’s interesting when I reflect on things, how I feel that I stray far from my original intentions, yet in reality, I orbit around a thought or a thread of one, and come back to it time and time again. Such, I think, is the case with ‘Buddy Breathing,’ the blog and the concept.

When I think of what inspired ‘Buddy Breathing,’ it was for a large part, my friend Art Suke. Art is in the DNA of this place, and never far from thought when I hear of others who have battled ALS and lost valiantly, as he did. There was another battle lost last week. Another man cut down in his prime. Another celebration of a life. It still sucks as much now as it did then.

Still, there were specific ideas percolating in my mind last January when I posted my very first inspirations here, and some of them have flitted away into the recesses of my mind, while others are coming front and centre again. I consider how I have cast my nets in many different directions, and how God has brought me many good things.

Art is gone, and he won’t be back this side of heaven. He remains part of us. Like the other day when Bob and I were talking about a certain situation and I remembered Art saying, “Take the high road,” even though he’d never tell anyone he was taking that particular route. He just chose it. Spoke well of people. Thought well of people. Kept his expectations of people within limits. He taught me things. He questioned my thinking. He is still here, impacting, in so many ways.

I’ve been asked to speak at an upcoming Okanagan Express, about how my writing, poetry specifically, aids in the process of healing and wholeness in my life. So, immediately I began reflecting on how I walked through the final year of Art’s illness by doing just that… writing. Many poems were birthed on the way to or from Hospice, and even though writing was part of my life long before the complex experience of losing Art, it blossomed into something bigger, deeper, and more meaningful during the time of his illness and death. Publishing a collection of stories for Art was the seed for the first ‘Buddy Breathing’, another experience in giving and receiving words of hope. Landmarks, such as my poem, ‘Scotch Mints’ being published in UBCO Lake Journal, were because the depth of my journey somehow magnified my words into something more. Something that resonated with others.

And without getting into the details of what I’ll be presenting on March 17th at the Bohemian Bagel, I’ll be trying to summarize all that has happened in my life since I first discovered the power of creative expression. I’ll be trying to put into words the way that God has allowed, blessed, opened up, amplified, unearthed, worked out, this gift of poetry that continues to shape who I am. He continues to heal me and give me hope through this gift. And in thousands of other ways, God continues to give me exactly what I need. Hope for the moment. Hope enough. Breath by breath.

Thinking… (that’s nothing new!)



Poetry Friday028

A little mixed up with my days this week… hence I posted Sunday Soliloquy on Friday and Poetry Friday on Saturday… hope you don’t mind? Without any further ado, here’s my poetic offering today from my expanding collection of poems that I’m working into a manuscript.

And another gorgeous photo from Joel Clements, shot in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

A Hundred Miles up Spruce River Road

The time you were a hundred
miles up Spruce River Road with a bunch of buddies
came around a corner
Birds ~ Snow Ptarmigan ~
blinding white on the first dusting of October snow
I once saw a white like that
on a stone grizzled with ice crystals

It stopped all of you in your tracks
The sheer blessing of that moment
not one itchy trigger finger
feast of souls

Tracking stopped when
you gave your guns to your brother
left you having to ask
left you
ripped like lichen from bedrock
roots exposed and drying up
like empty bones.

I hear them rattle when you speak.

You tell stories now, take
long drives down back roads, county lines
out past Trout Lake and down to the Lappe Store
Old man in the Pontiac,
Full tank, time to kill
like you once killed birds.

You called Ministry of Natural resources
The clerk, hard as shield rock and just as immovable
advised you,
(in no uncertain terms)
that you couldn’t buy a game tag without owning a gun

I know the talk, hear it sometimes on Sunday mornings.

Blood pumping red with adrenaline
bureaucratic double speak poking
that part of you that used to come alive in
pine and birch
aspen fir and poplar,
You told the guy to ‘Go to hell’, and hung up the phone.

Tomorrow you might head down to Shebandowan,
cousin there catches walleye worthy of tall tales
you’ll bring one home,
fry it up for supper.

Lesley-Anne Evans
October 2010

Poetry Friday027

To all those who have gone before us, and to those of us still here, missing them, and waiting for the day…… I offer up this poem I came across the other night while finishing up ‘The Shack‘, by Wm. Paul Young.

The poem is called, ‘Missy’s Song’.

Breathe in me… deep
That I might breathe… and live
And hold me close that I might sleep
Soft held by all you give

Come kiss me wind and take my breath
Till you and I are one
And we will dance among the tombs
Until all death is gone

And no one knows that we exist
Wrapped in each other’s arms
Except the one who blew the breath
That hides me safe from harm

Come kiss me wind and take my breath
Till you and I are one
And we will dance among the tombs
Until all death is gone.

Poetry Friday024


Waters edge in the coolness of morning, I imagine
that I am
standing there
before the three day search is called off
before Hibiscus leis are thrown into the sea, and
tearful prayers offered up to the ocean gods
all the indications of impending doom appear
clearly noted,
signposts and red flags,
and explanations of rip tides, and what to do
should you find yourself in one
three hot pink floats dot the translucent turquoise
surface in a
one point perspective, showing
where not to go, so
why did you dive in?
the lure of underwater worlds
where you swim eternal?

were these warnings added later
to cover the asses of those in charge
of such things?

Your photograph is set upon a small cairn of coral
strewn with wilting Plumeria blossoms
at the edge of the beach.

This and
stories and
angry questions are only part of

What remains.

Lesley-Anne Evans
April, 2010


I offer up my poem, ‘Why?’, in response to the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival, hosted by Peter Pollock at his blog, PeterPollock.com. Drop by, and read all the thought provoking entries written on today’s word, Broken. Thank you, Peter, for taking us there.

A few of the upcoming words for the Carnival will be:

  • January 25 – Winter
  • February 8 – Renewal
  • February 22 – Sacrifice
  • March 8 – Future
  • March 22 – Goals

Peace, at last.

Rest in peace my beautiful boy. I will miss you and all you have done to enrich my life. Some day we will walk again on streets of gold.

I love you, Buddy.


B U D D Y   E V A N S

Adopted home to live with us Thanksgiving 2005, at approximately 5 yrs of age.

Cancer took him from us far too soon, April 15, 2010

Good days

The writer and her muse

A favourite place to walk and talk

Graeme, Malcolm and their ‘Bud’

Claire’s best friend

Easter Buddy

We have been searching for ways to remember better days, laugh, cry, and lean on each other and God as we make the most of our remaining time together with Buddy.

This is our last day. Tomorrow Buddy and I will take our last drive in the car, and together we will embrace the inevitable. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My heart is broken. I’ve tried to manage things as best I can, helping the kids to walk through this time and make lasting memories. I’ve tried to care for Buddy and make him as comfortable as possible. And I’ve tried to honour my own needs to be alone and close to my dog, express my love to him in word and in action, and to process everything as I try to begin to let go. At the same time I’m planning my trip to Cancun with CANDI INTERNATIONAL, to do an animal mission there with a friend and team of vets and animal lovers. It’s obviously God’s timing in all of this. I’m trusting it to be so.

These photos are timely reminders of how our pets can steal our hearts and become family to us. Perhaps pets are the only example of unconditional love on this earth? They teach us heavenly lessons. Buddy has taught me so much, even as he goes through this illness with dignity and stoic courage. What an amazing dog he is.

Trying to be strong, yet not succeeding,


Poetry Friday005… one day early

Photo from newscientist.com

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and my thoughts are toward the Holy significance of that day.  As a result, Poetry Friday is on Thursday this week.

May your experience of Easter include personal reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This poem recalls the recent death of a family friend.

Scotch Mints

On the very next day
I woke to snow falling
a heavy, sloppy mess on the roads and underfoot,
and I was immediately thankful that the bag of mints
is foil lined, waterproof,
pressed down by a covering of wet white.

And I thought (tried not to, but I did)
Of you, tucked in there
and what remains of you tucked in here,
in us.

How I can’t help but look expectantly at each passing red pickup
even though I know, I know.
And how often I (almost) drag myself up there
to stand over earth and voice something you’d want to hear,
Something I forgot to say.

Like long after an elephant dies
Scavengers had their fill, blood ties paid homage
The bones remain, sun whitened, immediate.

Like you, still present in
your house on
your street,
and in echos of
your words,
the lingering smell of your cigar
as you sit in the darkened backyard with Bob
shooting the breeze.

Lesley-Anne Evans, January 2010

A little background.

It’s time that I fill you in on the history of this ‘project’… if you can call it that yet. I’m still considering where this jumble of ideas will land. But, here’s where it started out.

First… the name of this blog.

‘Buddy Breathing’ is not a new name. It’s borrowed from a book I authored/compiled for my dear friend, Art Suke, in fall 2008 during the final months of Art’s battle with ALS. The book containing stories, letters, emails, photographs, and poems was Art’s story, one that was read over and over again to him… he never grew tired of listening. Buddy Breathing was a source of hope and strength and confirmation that he indeed made a difference in all of our lives. I was given the privilege of taking Buddy Breathing from germinating thought to fruition, and then presented with the great honour of reading it to my friend. A powerful experience all around.

Art was my husband’s good buddy, they’d known each other first through business, and a friendship developed around work, play, cars, golf, running, boating, faith, family, until the point that Art became ‘Uncle Art’ to our kids. Art was a scuba diver, and made several diving trips with friends. He loved the anticipation of getting below the surface of the water, and wrote after one trip about the, “real, true, vibrant colours … the beauty is just astonishing… almost unbelievable.”

In 2007 Art was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) which made no sense to any of us.  Art was the picture of health, lived a physically active life, ate well, did everything right, and suddenly he faced a devastating disease with no known cure. We were all in shock. We still are in some ways.

Somewhere along the way after Art became ill, I became utterly convinced that Art had a story to tell… that his life spoke to us and potentially to others. And I began to flesh out the idea, talking to him about it, asking if he’d let me help him write something. At first he was a little bit shy, a little reticent about having any focus on himself. We tried a number of ways to begin the process, and finally he said, ‘You do it, LA’, I trust you.’ So I did.

As the disease took it’s course, and Art did everything in his power to treat it, we watched him deteriorate physically and grow stronger spiritually. Not without tough unanswerable questions, of course, but he was a rock and a testimony to his faith. He focused on us, made time for his friends, family, and took trips both to see old friends and also to experience some things that he had always wanted to but never had. Like Art’s trip to the Grand Canyon with my husband… sleeping outside on the terrace of the Presidential Suite, and waking to sunrise glowing pink on the canyon walls… WOW! And while he went about all this, and living for extended times in San Diego to take Chelation treatments across the border in Tijuana, Mexico, he sent e-mails back home that resonated with strength, hope and a willingness to believe in miracles yet accept what his future might hold… both at the same time. He lived in the tension of those extremes.

And as the process of writing down Art’s story progressed for me and I learned more Art’s scuba experiences, I came across the term Buddy Breathing. It jumped out at me… it was a diving term, but it was more than that. It spoke of relationship and community and what we are each capable of… breathing words and actions and acts of love and life into one another… saving one another. That’s how Art lived… until the day he passed away in May 2009.  Art was about people, community, friendships, and paying attention to others. So, Art’s story now had a name… Buddy Breathing, a book about sharing life.

The buddy breathing technique is illustrated in this video.

Buddy Breathing sits on our side table, and I often pick it up and read parts of it, or look at the pictures. Art is still in the pages. Words and images, wisdom and love. And we miss him. We hate the disease that took him from us. ALS is a disease of the young, the healthy, and as such it is, like any disease, one that we want to beat. Now. Our prayer and hope is that a cure can be found in our lifetime. So, maybe this blog is about that. I’m still not sure.

For today, and until things become more clear for me, I trust that what I write here can make a small impact. I trust that I can shed some light or bring some hope into your life. Maybe making a difference in this world is as simple as speaking words of life to one another? Like Art did.

Thanks for stopping by.