Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I have great neighbours

 At the end of April last year I came home to find a bundle of excellent quality card stock end cuts in the mailbox - a gift from a neighbour down the street.

Already being cut was a great benefit and the heavier paper doesn't require as much reinforcing at the punch hole. I made about 40 words for this first round. The blustery weather has made them fun to watch but hard to photograph. As of this evening, I had not noticed that any had fallen. The fine paper endured the whipping winds we had today.

 One word remained hanging from last year when I went to hang this year's crop up, in fact not a word, an acronym: LBB, Little Brown Bird. This fragment, found in last autumn's leaves, is folded, but is a harbinger....

Saturday, March 31, 2018


I toyed with a lot of ideas before deciding on this April's set of words. They are all about colour.

I have always loved paint chips and the names that paint manufacturers give to the shades are often poetic but we do struggle to name colours. Anything beyond the basic elements of a colourwheel or spectrum is subject to a lot of personal interpretation. Think about Avocado - do you think of the flesh? the skin? the pit? The digital world has given us RBG and Hex codes, providing a certain amount of standardization but for most of us a word or two is far more likely to stir an emotional response, a memory, an idea of the colour or a sensation than a string of numbers and letters.

Think about that box of crayons, or, if you grew up in Canada, your Laurentien coloured pencils (Poppy Red and Peacock Blue!) or that nice tray of watercolours. Almost everyone I know has a special association with a colour from those boxes, some word that was magical or mysterious.

But now it's springtime and those of us in these Northern parts get a fresh influx of colours to our palettes as the buds start to open and the leaves and blossoms appear...what colour ARE they?

Meadow Verdant Grass
Beryl Apple Leaf
Emerald Celadon Chartreuse
Mint Sisken Olive
Viridian Sage Pea Verdigris 
Olivander Citron Leek 
Terre Verte Bottle
Harlequin Brunswick Butter
Malachite Sap Sea
Fern Forest Jungle
Gamboge Foxglove Nettle
Asparagus Artichoke Avocado
Absinthe Mass Pine 
Teal Willow Peach Blossom
Vernal Tones Primrose Ivory
Jonquil Glaucous Amber
Orpiment Snow Saffron
Xanthous Lemon Cream
Buff Lily Lilac
Tulip Robin's Egg Amethyst
Hyacinth Lavender Violet
Pansy Plum Orchil
Mauve Heliotrope Kelly
Minium Banana Straw
Champagne Corn Husk Honeysuckle
Eau-de-Nil Mushroom

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Catching up with Bird Words 2

Catching up with Bird Words 1

Shortly after I hung up the first round of words - I had to go out and do a second.
My initial choice of paper just couldn't handle spring's final fling with winter.

 A fellow, presumably a neighbour, passed by as I was hanging the words up.
"So what *is* this?" he asked.
"Well," I said, "April is national poetry month...and this is my poet-tree."
"Oh... well so is this a poem?" he said, clearly at once satisfied and at once perplexed.
"Not exactly, but it has a theme. I do it every year. This year it's birds, words about birds, words associated with birds, bird words..."
"I see,  like twittering and diving..."
"I wondered if a crazy person lived here or something"
"I suppose you could say you have to be a little nuts to climb a tree and hang words on it every spring."
He laughed and went on his way but I could tell that something about the idea tickled his imagination. And honestly, he did not look like the sort of person who would give a damn about a bunch of words hung in the tree. He looked like the fellows always mixing cement and driving pickups filled with construction material that seem to be in constant motion around here, whether they live in the 'hood or not. He passed by again last week and said -
"Hey, where are all the words?"
"On the tree behind you -but the weather's been hard on them- more are coming soon!"


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

In the Air

It's hard not to associate spring and the return of warmer weather with the renewed activity of our feathered friends. Yes, this April poet-tree is for the birds!

And not just in my yard, this weekend a tree on my brother and sister-in-law' s rural spread spouted a few words, too.
In city or in the country, in fields, parks, yards and gardens birds have inspired much art and meditation. This is just a little tribute to them.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Into May and soon away.....

“According to Milton we owe our prickly roses to the Fall of Man. This is an insight shared by others long before his time, for St Ambrose in the 4th century AD was equally sure that roses are smooth in Paradise, while the Zoroastrians of ancient Persia held that no thorns existed before Ahriman, the spirit of evil, came into the world.

“Unappealing they may be, yet even prickles can be a pretty adornment, as anyone who has seen young shoots on the Wing Thorn rose will know. What these stories illustrate is the abiding fascination with roses that overrides boundaries of time and place, drawing people of many nations to write about roses, to grow them, depict them in all sorts of ways, and above all to love them.”

From a foreword by Peter Harkness in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Roses, Mary Moody, ed. Headline Books, London. 1993.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Final Round of Roses

Butterfly Wings.
Rainbow’s End.
Happy Wanderer.

Earthsong. Cadenza.
Folksinger. Country Music.
Danses des Sylphes.
Calypso. Satchmo.
Radio Times. Roundelay.

Café. Pax.
Deep Secret. Smooth Friendship.
Frühlingszauber. Morning Jewel.

Cuisse de Nymphe.
Mother of Pearl. April Moon. Surpasse Tout.
Alchymist. Old Blush.

Love and Peace.