A Good Home, Poetry

The One and Only Cynthia Jobin

Ever lost a blogger friend?

Someone you never met in person but whose posts touched your heart and mind?

Or perhaps that person’s writing made you sit up and say: “Wow. I wish I could write like that!”

Such a  person was Cynthia Jobin.  Her unique voice came through in her marvellous poetry and her responses to comments on her blog. I “heard” it in the email notes she sent me, the reviews of my books that she wrote.

But mostly, in her poems.

Blog Photo - Cynthia Jobin Photo

Modern poets usually intimidate me because half the time I don’t know what they’re trying to say — making me suspect that I must be deeply superficial. 

But Cynthia wrote poetry like no-one else I’d ever read.  Deep and moving, yes. But witty, surprising, and funny at times too. You felt you were sharing the joke, not on the outside looking in.

CONVERSATION WITH A CREEK

I will slap your face
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I’ll beat you with a stick
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I will stomp on you
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I’ll cut you with my knife
I said
and the water said
go right ahead.

I will nail you in a box
I said
and the water said
go right ahead

as it glittered
in a zillion squints
of dancing glints
along its pebbly bed.

I may be daft
but that was when
I think I heard
the water laugh.

 

Cynthia died from cancer days after posting one final poem on December 6, 2016. 

An American, Cynthia had entrusted her poems to UK poet John Looker. A new book of her poetry has been published by Bennison Books. 

Blog Photo - Book cover of cynthia Jobin book Song of Paper

Amazon.com(https://amzn.to/2A8Pq3d)

Amazon UK(https://amzn.to/2NFTF9M)

In the introduction, John Looker writes about Cynthia’s “unobtrusive intellect at work”. It was one of her special gifts:  she was undeniably brilliant, but not show-offy about it. Her poetry is accessible, even to me.

“The poems in this collection show that variety of theme and equally her range of tone; she would write just for fun as well as with serious intent.

“When reading a new poem from Cynthia Jobin I have always had that comfortable feeling of being in good hands: we know that the verses are going to be impeccably crafted but we can’t predict what path they will take.”

Thank you, John and Bennison Books.

Brava, Cynthia.

 

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A Good Home, Art, Artists, Arts, Canadian life, Creative Writing, Poetry

Home Is Where The Art Is

 

So — you think your dwelling is too small? Try living on a boat.

Margaret Mair and husband Richard live on their boat “Into The Blue”.  Margaret also paints and writes her poetry there. And produces her blog.

Margaret's Boat

“The space is very compact, and set up for both living and sailing”, she says. “That means having to think about everything we bring on board: it must be something we need (that includes art supplies, for me) and can store securely.”

Some people have a room to create their art. Margaret has “a corner”.

Margaret's Corner on her boat

There are advantages. She and Richard have traveled widely, from Canada to the US, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

“We can cast off our boat and move, go exploring or visiting and know that we have our own comfortable place to stay.  Anyone who lives on a boat lives very close to nature. We have an intimate relationship with the weather: when the wind blows hard the boat rocks and creaks and the ropes groan; when the sun shines the water sparkles; ripples on the water gurgle against the hull of the boat.”

Margaret's Painting of Boat on Beach

Margaret’s poems and pictures  often reflect her close relationship with the sea:

It calls, the sea,
To the restless boat
Uncomfortably cotched
On a sandy shore,
Longing for
Rocking waves
And cooling current
And the feel
Of wake moving
Singingly along
Her planked hull….

Acrylic on canvasboard; 20 x 16

Margaret started writing poetry as a teenager. She started painting in her forties, first learning to draw and work with colour – chalk pastels. 

“I worked my way through chalk pastels to experimenting with other media until I arrived at the medium I most frequently use, acrylics.”

Margaret Mair's painting - We are Islands

“It took a friend’s introduction to SPARK  in 2011 to make me think most deeply about how paintings and poetry could work together. I did not really start creating my own melding of the two until quite recently – January 2014.”

Many poems and pictures followed, as you can see on her blog.

Her pieces often evoke powerful responses.

“Everyone responds in their own way, and finds the thing or things that speak to them and their experience.

“I gave my mother a piece that hung on her wall until she died, a first iteration of my Tree of Life, much larger and more delicate. One day while I was visiting I watched a young girl stand silently in front of it for a long time, just looking. That was one of my favorite responses.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a few final words about home:

“I have learned that what you bring to a place is as important as the place itself. Keep it reasonably clean and relatively tidy, as cool on the hot days and as warm on the cold ones as you can (we’ve lived in some drafty places), put your favorite pictures on the wall and fill the bookshelves with your books and magazines and pieces of art, let music fill the rooms, make space to do the things that are important to you, and love the people who share it with you.”

Brava, Margaret.

All photos by Margaret Mair. Artworks copyrighted.

A Good Home, Maples, Nature, Poetry, Spring, Trees

In Praise of Trees

Blog Photo - Apple Tree and others

The apple blossoms soon will bloom

The lilac fragrance fill my room

Leaf buds will open on large trees

Gardeners will fall upon their knees


Blog Photo - Tree and Shady Garden

Bring forth your green, oh maple grand

Welcome the spring across the land

Whisper to me through rustling leaf

And I shall sigh with great relief

Blog Photo - Trees Woman hugs tree

Bring back your shelter, copper beech

With arms that dare to heaven reach

Bring back your green leaves, walnut friend

And cleanse the air, our bodies mend

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

Give us your shade, oh mighty beings

Cover our spaces with your wings

Shade so the grass becomes a bed

Shade for the place where lies our dead

Blog Photo - Trees and Memorial Stone

Shade for the robin, perched on limb

Nest for the bugs that pester him

Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self For trees are gifts to creatures all

From those who walk to those who crawl.

~~

Dedicated to all my blogger friends.

A Good Home, Breakthroughs, Poetry, The Human Brain, Thoughts

Behind Closed Eyes

I’m glad to hear about a breakthrough in curing Alzheimer’s disease, using ultrasound.

The poem below describes what I experienced but couldn’t explain during long periods after the accident: the inability to think or speak clearly. In fact, some of my relatives feared I had Alzheimer’s.

I never want to return to that time, but one thing it gave me is a deep empathy for anyone whose brain won’t work properly.

This poem is dedicated to Jo Burton and others who have the disease, and their loved ones:

 ~~~

The words had left, flown off on wings

My mind confused, mixed up with things

Then empty when I tried to find

Words to say what was on my mind

 ~~

And then as I searched for a word

To tell of something seen or heard

The thoughts themselves would fly away

Like truant children gone astray

 ~~

Blog Photo - Stiver Hosue Mural2

And then I’d try to do my best

To bring them back, to make them rest

Inside my head, all in one place

Just stay with me, like bits of grace

 ~~

And then the headaches they would start

Like knives cutting my brain apart

Like furious birds attacking it

Intent on making me unfit

~~ 

Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self

To think, to speak, to read, to write

Remember anything this night

Except the pain that crammed my head

Merging with pain that made my bed

 ~~

A place of war, no space for rest

To perch a while and build a nest

A place where nightmares came to dwell

Behind closed eyes and doors to hell.

 ~~~

Link to the recent news story about a breakthrough in finding a cure for Alzheimers:

http://www.gizmag.com/alzheimers-dementia-treatment-ultrasound/36510/