NaPoMo poetry party.20


IMG_1812

Photo Credit: Victor Poirier

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our guest Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie. Deborah joins us from Kelowna, British Columbia, where she awaits the new post-covid world order along with her husband, Muddy the Whoodle, and Four the Burmese cat.

Deborah’s longtime blog is how we first met, and then again through a hip poetry party she threw at SOPA Gallery, Kelowna, a few years back. Deborah is a writer, stylist, editor, and performance poet who spent several years in fashion television in the UK (Planet Fashion (world wide cable); The Fashion Show (L!VE TV, UK); A LA Mode (UK Living) and Looking Good (BBC2)). Currently she writes and puts together the college magazine for Centre for Arts and Technology.

So good to have you here with us today, Deborah. As you know we’ve been looking at three questions with each of our guests this month, so let’s move into your responses to those right now.

Lesley-Anne: We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Deborah: Guilty as charged – I am always saying that very thing. Unfortunately, I am as yet to get more time!  I’m extremely lucky to have a job that has continued – albeit virtually – despite the Covid 19 crisis. I run several departments at the Centre for Arts and Technology here in Kelowna, and we have managed to shift our course delivery online for our new term which started this past week. This has meant completely reorganizing classes and instructors, implementing a new system from class delivery. learning the new system, and making sure our instructors learn the new system, etc. So the past three weeks have been no-holds-barred, all-hands-on-deck, getting things up and running.

But we are now there, and I am hoping that maintaining (work-wise) from home will now free up a little bit more time. After all, think of all the time I will save time in commuting, putting on makeup and getting dressed! ;-)

So… now that things are calming down, I hope to have some time and headspace to get stuck in to the 4-5 creative projects I have been trying to find time and headspace for – a combination of various poetry and visual arts projects that have been rolling around in my head for at least a couple of years.

The one thing I have manged to institute over the past weeks is a morning online transformative meditation. It’s a magical 45’ish minutes for me, and has been also great at helping keep anxiety at bay.

Lesley-Anne: Why is art important?

Deborah: Art asks us to look at things in a different way. Maybe a deeper way. Maybe a broader way. Maybe a completely upside down way. But art takes something and turns it into something else we can examine from a new perspective.

It makes us slow down and examine.

It (poetry especially I think) takes something small and personal and transforms it into something universal. And in doing so makes us feel less alone.

Art makes us think. Makes us feel. In – sometimes – whole new ways. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Or undervalued.

Lesley-Anne: What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Deborah: A new poem is starting to niggle its way into existence. That always makes me happy.

 

Thanks so much for spending time with us here today, Deborah, and for the poem you are about to share. I look forward to seeing more of you and your poetry in the days to come.

Blessings and good health,
Lesley-Anne

Photo Credit: Victor Poirier
Reverse Origami

Like the paper crane
I exist 

Only

In intricate folds

My complexities 
Layered

Hidden in the depths
Of wafer thin tissue 

A heart of 

Washi

Sculpted to steel

Through the 
Moisture of tears.

Unfold me

Transform me

Mine my
Porcellanite seams

Unpleat 
Untuck 
Ungather

Me

Like reverse origami
Undo me

Make me 
Into

Something new…

		

DH Lampitt | 2011

NaPoMo poetry party.19


15895628_10154644997241201_4559505456022417565_o
Nygel Metcalfe
is someone I have come to know through collaboration and  friendship grown in creative and faith communities of Kelowna, British Columbia. Nygel is as comfortable bringing his slam poetry to the stage in fierce competition, as sitting down for a glass of Okanagan wine and a chat about philosophy, or personality types, or tigers.

The poem Nygel is bringing today is a favourite of mine. I can attest Harvest is equally captivating when Nygel performs it live, and you are in for a treat as both written text and video performance are shared here today. My heart is gladdened by being in Nygel’s presence, and yours. Welcome.

Lesley-Anne: We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Nygel: I suppose I am just as guilty as the next person of wishing that I had more time, however I’m not a very disciplined individual, so even when I have hit the proverbial paydirt, a wealth of time on my hands, I don’t use it very well. I fritter it away on entertainments, partially out of selfishness, and partially as a defense mechanism, out of fear of the current unknowns and disruptions that we are facing on a global scale. So, I would estimate that [I am] two weeks behind everyone else.

If we’re thinking in terms of stages of grief, the first being denial, my denial phase lasted for two solid weeks. I buried myself in distractions in order to avoid having to face the monumental changes. This past week, however (largely in part to your invitation, Lesley-Anne) has been a beautiful process of thawing, awakening, and allowing myself to confront these new realities and process them to some degree. Anger was definitely present, as well – anger at myself, and the world – and I think depression was definitely rearing its head on Wednesday. Now, despite these things being recurring and cyclical, I do feel an increasing acceptance settling over me at the moment.

Lesley-Anne: Why is art important?

Nygel: Art, to me, is one of the most laudable human pursuits. Art is content creation and, subsequently, action, and embodiment, and forward motion, and dialogue, whether we speak of renaissance sculpture or a youtube channel. The content creators are those who we look to for answers, for language to describe our experiences, for stories to tell, and for emotional appeasement or reassurance. The consumer merely waits, and is fed, and follows directions.

For example: Tiger King is all the rage right now. Why? Because it’s the first thing you see when you sign into Netflix. Nobody “found” Tiger King, but everyone is talking about it and how “interesting” it is. I won’t watch it out of principle, because I feel like choosing a movie on my own terms is symbolic of my humanity – the exercising of my own preferences and judgement. The alternative is like some Orwellian nightmare – a trudging and mindless series of clicks and swipes. Let me read from an alphabetical list, and choose whatever jumps out at me! (It’s best not to think too deeply about the fact that virtually every choice I make has been pre-determined for me by environmental factors or the programming of corporate interests ). Just let me watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers while I cling to the last vestiges of my illusory autonomy, damnit! But I digress…

I have heard many beautiful assertions over the years: Art is subversion, art is survival; art is a creative impulse which results from our own innate divinity as those made in the image of a Creator. Poetry is Bearing Witness. Poetry is a finger pointing at the moon. Poetry is “speaking your truth.” I appreciate all of these. Perhaps the definition that feels most true and most potent for me at this time is of poetry as liminal space: the place where language still ventures, but logic unravels; instinct, sound, and symbol intermingling.

Lesley-Anne: What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Nygel: For starters, I accidentally went on a full-tilt rant about Tiger King…
Other than that, I found myself writing two very personal, emotional letters. One of them was a letter to my first love, to apologize for some things my younger self was ignorant of and to wish her health and happiness in her new marriage.The other was a letter to my future daughter, to capture some of the thoughts and feelings that have been occupying my heart and mind this year (my wife and I are not yet pregnant, but have been trying for several months and I feel that it is soon to be).

I am grateful, for poetry, and for green growing things, and for friends who reach out with invitation. May you discover, dear reader, in this season, the groundedness to face whatever feeling emerges within you and the strength for whatever task which you decide to undertake.

If you want to investigate further the work and the man, here you go: nygelmetcalfepoetry.com
birdsofcray.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/breakinggroundpoets/?hl=en

Also,  here are two of Nygel’s chapbooks well worth perusing:
Nature Poems  and DEEP BREATHS.

Nygel, this has been wonderful just hanging out and hearing from you. Thanks for honouring us today, and we will leave now, carried by these poetic lines…and if you scroll waaaaay down to the bottom of the page, your video awaits!

Peace and poetry,
Lesley-Anne

HARVEST (OR, AN EXHORTATION TO OUTCASTS)

When it comes to speaking your mind from your mouth, 
the sentiment spills into scenes, 
and the saliva sprays are, in fact, a sacrament.

And sometimes Winter feels eternal, 
these endless frozen months that grace the stage

and we have long been caught
 in the rib cage of an ice age.

But we have not waited in vain; frozen, 
yes, but ever thinking and ever dreaming, waiting 
to be thawed out in a hundred years and and put on display
in the national museum, amongst the sarcophagi 
and holy books and rosetta stones…

We will be historically significant when we awaken.

Each of us is a crucial part of the cacophony, active 
and electric participants in the symphony: we are movements, 
and we are being conducted together.

and I don’t believe that you are what you eat, 
because despite the steady diet of notebook paper 
and napkin scrawl that has been ingested 
by my kinetic and unrelenting soul, 
I have yet to become… stationary.

We are seasons. We are not becoming extinct, 
only changing our clothing 
accordingly to suit the weather. We adapt.

Call us earth-shakers, record breakers, 
the brand new lawmakers.
The scientists, the activists, the strugglers 
and haphazard courageous sleeping on street corners, 
and in care homes and in spare bedrooms.
We are the little brothers, tag alongs, 
the late-night fiction readers, the cheekbone shiners 
and nose-bleeders.
We are the halloween ghouls, 
the thanksgiving pilgrims, and the sleepy, 
tea-time and lullaby-loving citizens 
of the hometowns we all have in our back pockets.
We are the spirits who will visit you at midnight 
on Christmas Eve. We are here to open our mouths 
in order to unlock eyes and ears, our own notwithstanding.

We are cuban cigars and aged scotch on the rocks, 
letting the fireplace warm our woollen socks, 
getting up to answer the door every single time 
opportunity knocks books open on our bedsides: 
our Tolkiens, Tennysons, Nerudas, and chicken scratch 
love songs to all of our various Prufrocks.

Still, there is more for us…

Step out from under the awning, this protection –  
Walk past the skeletal branches and barren hillsides 
of the things you used to believe in, 
and come be my guest.

Warm your hearts at this hearth. 
Feel the heat of kindness and truth 
permeate your body, and let yourselves soften.
I long for us to learn how 
to warm the wintry places inside each other,
Revive one another.

I know people love their cars and credit cards, 
but pardon my disregard, sympathy for civilized society 
is harder when part of me is still in the garden, 
under the arbour. When winter scatters, 
I’ll be searching the sky for patterns 
and coming alive soon after, 
when springtime gathers and summer lingers.

See, I have big, big plans for the harvest, 
to fill up my larder, with wine and stories, 
shared experiences, conversations,

Dancing hard, because the day is not done,

A tiny blue dot with the power to separate the moon from the sun,

Freddie mercury high notes, bird feathers

good round potatoes,
pieces of paper that I have dreamt upon,
sheet music i saved from the fire, beautifully charred 
edges but not forever, shoes with worn out soles, 
unable to take me any farther – 
Why don’t you come over, and enjoy the warmer weather?

Sit, just sit. Be Still.

We can talk about how people are mountains, 
worthy of our expeditions;

and how righteousness can look a lot like being wrong,
if we can no longer hear the beauty of someone else’s songs.

This is the promise – of the thawing out of hearts 
who are locked up like lifetimes of sunshine in December
This is for the wanderers and farmers alike. 
This is for Prodigals.

This is me throwing wide the cellar doors, 
and letting the voices pour out, setting them free 
without remorse. I can hear them every day, 
calling to all of us, here, now, and forever. They’re saying…

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the rain fall softly on the fields of you,
May you be restored to the beautiful bonds 
of our interconnectedness,
and May your arms be strong 
for the sowing and reaping that is to come.

Sabbath rest


Re-reading Sabbath, by Wayne Muller…deep sigh. Paying heed to the longing for more than one day a week.

Spending several mornings in a row by the lake, poetry, paper, pen and bible by my side…yes. Be still. Listen. Know. Learn how to do this again…lean in, see, hear. It is good.

Spending golden hour in pursuit of the light, camera, eyes, heart seeking ordinary beauty…yes…weeds, but not really…

DSC_0275

And then this morning by the lake a poem comes trickling, flooding through me…just when I think I have passed writing the last one, when I’m convinced it has all been a cruel trick of nature, that I actually can’t write a jot, that my work is shite, that the combinations of words will definitely NOT flow this time around…what was I thinking…and then…a poem…a draft poem…appears (she says carefully, not wanting to sound as if she thinks it is any good.)

A friend once scolded me…you are a poet…you write…HOW DARE YOU NOT SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD!!! Whoa, it bothered me to be spoken to like that. Who was she to say that? I stuttered out excuses, like these ones I still push down every single time;

I’m nervous

It feels self-serving doesn’t it, a bit boastful

There are many poets so much better than I

It seems inappropriate to ask if I may read, silence is just easier

Um…I don’t think it’s that good yet, maybe a few more edits

Edie looked at me straight on and said it again…How dare you! It’s your gift! It’s your voice! So you’d do good at getting over yourself and sharing your work. (Well, maybe she didn’t say it precisely like that, but I remember clearly her emotion, her gentle yet persistent tone. I often share those words with young emerging and nervous poets I spend time with.)

It’s been a while. The last few days as described above have included solitude, silence and the joy of allowing my heart to free up my fingers and journal some thoughts and some poems. Here is one of them. For you, Edie.

Praise the Mutilated and Aching World

after Adam Zagajewski’s ‘Try to Praise the Mutilated World’

 

Praise the mutilated and aching world.

Praise civil rights activists and pamphlet propaganda,

praise the moment after

you watch the Youtube video and can no longer say

I did not know. Praise your confusion. Praise your disbelief.

Praise the ones who call it evidence, or conspiracy,

and sleep soundly with both points of view.

Praise each pair of opposites, the terror and the beauty,

disgust and delight, the wildness within us

and the sea, sky, and expansive forests

that swallow men and their wives.

Like the elderly man, axle deep in snow

at the end of a logging road, who suggested his wife

stay right here, stay warm, and I will go for help.

Praise his half-frozen body

and the wolves who received his offering.

Praise her waiting, for days.

Praise the sway of nighttime hydrangea bouquets

and dead black stares of roof rats chirping

like beautiful birds. Praise their goings out

and comings in for seed and vegetables.

Praise their diseased droppings.

Praise copulations of wet salmon

over gravel substrated shallows, praise

their slick fins and gaping gills.

Praise homefires in our wood stoves

and firestorms in our neighbourhoods,

praise the smoke, the candled trees,

the displaced and crispened wildlife.

Praise equally the ash smothered front lawns

and ash crossed over foreheads in remembrance.

Praise each fickle choice and self-righteous justification.

Praise lonely and never alone.

Praise here and hereafter.

Praise Him whom you have not seen but believe may be who he says he is.

Praise Him. Praise Her. Praise Us.

Praise the mutilated and aching world.

 

Lingering in silence


DSC_0463_2

I was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie tonight. In the movie and for the second time today I heard ‘Silent Night’ played soft and sweet and lingering. I love that song. I love it best of all when I’m outside on a crisp winters night carolling with friends and family, and we’ve sung Frosty and Jingle Bells and other more sacred carols, and suddenly we are singing Silent Night. A hush comes over us and whomever is listening at an open doorway, and I feel my soul caught up and carried up up up into the night sky. It reminds me of THIS POST from many years ago, so I’m sharing it with you tonight.

Funny, when I read my words four years later, I recognize I really have slowed down. I’ve been choosing to do things this week that have nothing to do with Christmas prep and everything to do with loving people. And I’m OK with less presents and more presence. I hope my family is too.

Calm and bright,

Lesley-Anne

Here is what I wrote on November 28, 2009:

I’m waiting.

As I post this, with a heavy feeling that I really should be doing other things on my lengthy to do list, I remember last December when the snow came early… and how it changed things for me then. So, I’m waiting for the snow, and hoping for change.

Have you noticed how much quieter things are after a fresh snowfall. My husband commented to me that everything seems to slow down a little when it snows, almost a subconscious response to the forgiving blanket that wraps its way around our lives.

The panic of the Christmas rush is pre-empted by the need to clear the driveway. Conversations break out with neighbours as they choose to do the same. Plans are made for future conversations, eggnog dates are set, and people reconnect. Priorities are revised, and humanity wins over consumerism for a time.

The children get caught up in it as well. The X-box 360 and iPod are left untouched as they rush outside to create snow forts, speed bumps in the street, and havoc with well aimed balls of packing snow! I watch them from the window, full of memories. When the time comes, they reluctantly leave their winter playground and come inside for dinner, rosy-cheeked, energized and full of conversation.

Here in the moderate clime of Kelowna the city seldom shuts down, but back in childhood days in Toronto things sometimes ground to a halt until the snow stopped falling and roads were cleared. Schools closed, people went home from work early, and streets were strangely hushed as people left their vehicles parked and walked instead.

The very things that happen because of a snowfall, are, to me, the things that are most needful in my life. I need to slow down more often, and be fully engaged in the moment. I need to take time for people, to dig out from under the To Do List, and have a good old conversation with my neighbour, with my kids. I need to step back from the consumer-based version of Christmas and consider what this season is really about.

That is why I love the snow and it’s ability to get our attention. Love it or hate it, it has an impact on us. We can’t ignore it. We can’t control it. And it’s silence speaks.

So I’m waiting… for the first snow fall… for another first silent night.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Lesley-Anne

Looking for a common thread and finding random rambles…


It’s been a while since I’ve written… don’t know why, just haven’t felt much like it. Nor have I felt like writing poems. Enough said because the new me (since two nights ago when I re-established my trajectory with the gracious help of my dear husband Bob) is focused on finding a balance between over-sharing being honest, and living on the surface of life superficiality. And that, my friend, isn’t very easy for moi.

I recall a while back I used to publish mid-week random rambles, and I guess that’s where I’ll start. Easier than an essay or a soul searching journey that results in something vaguely poetic. Probably easier on both of us? Or, perhaps you can relate to #6 below… which takes me back to the difficulty in finding a balance. But, I digress.

Anyway, here’s my ramble for ya;

1. Found a new sweet spot… having artists/musicians billet with our family, share our stuff, food, ideas… the spine tingle of having them play our piano and sing in our rooms. I felt alive when they were here. Understood. Understood them to some degree, even though they were so much younger. Here’s Zerbin “New Earth”… have a watch and a listen. So talented…

2. When said band members were staying with us, they were in the kitchen devouring enjoying a dozen muffins when Derek started to laugh (I think it was Derek, maybe it was Jason or was it Nick?) Check out the view of our art gallery style fridge front in the slide show below with the cows (somewhat same theme of poo…). Yep, right under the bible verse you’ll see it!!! Nice to know there’s always something yummy to eat in our fridge!

3. Somewhat surprised that the photo of our dog Emmy and her amazing encounter with a deer posted in the Toronto Star and Kelowna Capital News… would end up with over 4229 likes and 1917 shares at Dogwork.com, on Facebook at D-Fa Dogs, on Tumblr and half way around the world on a hungarian website that I can’t find at the moment.

4. Seen along the way, a field of cows and calves, resulting in a return trip and walk into the ditch to photograph said creatures resulting in these photos… and then, the very next day after the photo shoot… they were gone! Relocated to greener pastures perhaps?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5. Considered in passing, a sign that said “Ignore inconvenient twists and turns” and immediately I could think of all sorts of life applications for that one! Especially having just experienced a rather nasty twist when an elderly lady gave me a tongue lashing for pulling just a leetle too far into the walking lane at the intersection.

6. Discovered on the book shelf in Chapters… “Quiet”, a book by Susan Cane whom I just recently watched present a Ted Talk on the same subject of the power and joy of being an introvert. I’m waiting for the soft cover version, or the library copy… but I know there will be gems of affirmation in those pages. Here’s the talk…

Voice One – Ralph Hass


So, this is the first post in what will be a new series of guest posts… celebrating the voices of people whom I am honoured to know. You’ll meet poets, writers, photographers, artists, and others who have something unique to say. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and entertained.  And, once you meet them, I hope you will drop by their blogs, and get to know them a bit more.

In the true spirit of ‘Buddy Breathing’, I trust that these voices are fresh air to your soul.

Here then is Ralph Hass… Voice One!!!

Ralph Hass voices all sorts of sports projects with exciting sprints to the finish! Clients include the NFL’s Buffalo Bills since 2008 (“Thurman Thomas Show.”); Shaw TV in Canada (2010/11 is his fourth season voicing the promos for WHL hockey games); NHL’s Buffalo Sabres (2006 to 2009).

Besides sports, longer narration projects like corporate videos and eLearning modules make up Ralph’s niche market. In the spring of 2010, he began work as the voice of training materials for NAPA Auto Parts dealers. This will result in close to 20 modules being recorded by the end of 2011. Ralph works from a home studio in one of Canada’s most beautiful cities, Kelowna, BC.

Website:              http://www.HasTheVoice.com

Blog:                          http://HasTheVoice.blogspot.com

Twitter:            @ RalphH_VO

This is from Ralph’s posting on his blog, “Has The Voice”  Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Facebook Fun! Finally Photos…Family is EVERYTHING!

I have posted quite a few videos lately but NO photos. The last one was on December 3rd when I was surrounded by a couple of Gretzkys.

So, as we set a new record for blog posts (120 for 2010 beats the combined 119 for 2008 and 2009), I wanted to share this Christmas photo when my family spent time at my parents. My dad (Emil) took the photo so he’s not in it:



Jordan snapped this one last night of my parents and myself. The clothing we are wearing is from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, LIVESTRONG, which provides support to guide people through the cancer experience, bring them together to fight cancer – and work for a world in which our fight is no longer necessary.

My dad is currently battling cancer. He has finished radiation treatments and chemotherapy is hopefully an option in the near future. He has always been a strong man and is a fighter but right now his kidney needs to get better. He beat prostate cancer a couple of years ago but it returned and spread to his bladder and now into the lymph nodes.

Please say a prayer for my parents as they go through this battle together. HOPE is a great thing to have!

Holding On Praying Endlessly

Poetry Friday040


wildfire_biscuit

Image by Lou Angeli Digital via Flickr

Burn

When grief sweeps deep into gullies
and once green meadows melt,
Ponderosa sticks, flame sharpened, poke the sky.
I rush by, gasping, clutch my throat
full of words I will not purge, eyelids
on fire with memories.

When white tails leap past downhill fast and
heat and smoke snuff nests of rabbit dreams,
mole minions meet their maker.
Ferns falter, faint, and
bunch grass is consumed.
I shake my fist at firestorm
rolling overhead, like a freight train filled
with screaming banshees.

When they come, heavy with man power,
equipment, pure stink of sweat and fear and balls,
they build a line, push back. Backs aching
all night breaking ground, force spot fires down.
I lay in smoldering places, receive the
balm of cool water and gentleness
into my open wounds, dream of
snow enough to cover my dark nakedness.

When forgiveness, like fireweed, hot pink, impossible,
blooms in purged soil, I fall to my knees
in Spring rain, tear striped ashen cheeks
remember flourishing. Memory of burrows,
baby mice, nests in upper branches,
contrast of moss tendrils on stone,

I, ancient and always,
remember
redemption.

Lesley-Anne Evans
March 2011