A St. Patrick’s Day Poem…Inspired by Dr. Suess


March 17, 2017 – St. Patrick’s Day                                                         Nancy Pilling

Inspired by the master…Dr. Suess!!!

I am Sam…Sam I am!

I do not like green beer and lamb,

No, no…I do not like green beer and lamb,

Even if my name is Sam!

I like my beer with a golden hue,

A full body with a malted flavor,

That delights the palate but adds  a wee kick too!

Green beer began,

With that damed Leprechan!

‘Fiddle dee dee!  Fi Fie Fo Fum!

He shouted gleefully as he twiddled his thumbs.

He wore a tattered green top hat,

Boots and britches that did not fit well,

Ah! But his top coat of green velvet did look mighty swell!

The fiend had a face ugly as sin,

With a loud cackle he held up his glass,

And with a devilish grin,

He challenged the folk with a passionate cry,

‘Drink yee a toast to the Emerald Isle,

No potatoes – for sure,

But plenty o’ ale!’

Drink to the Saints

Who are long since dead!

Drink to the poor bastards,

Who…through their own stupidity…lost their head.’

‘You’ll never catch me. Oh no, you won’t!’

Me pot o’ Gold remains a mystery,

Secured in and riddled in history,  But its is on this day that I taunt,

Chase those rainbows, high and low,

Catch ‘em and a 1,000 gold pieces to you will go!

Be swift now, if you dare,

But have a care.’

Roast a lamb in good faith.

And raise a glass,

St. Patty’s day will soon pass,

Your memory of green beer and lamb,

Will leave you with queasy disgust,

Yet a year from now…on this date,

Even though you may protest,

You’ll drink green beer and dine on lamb,

Even if your name is Sam,

You’ll scream in sickly delight as you play,

“My name is Sam…Sam I am!”

I do not like green beer and lamb!

But what the fuck,

I’ll raise a glass of green beer and with leg o’ lamb in hand,

And say to all my friends oh so dear,

I’ll say it is loud, I’ll say it in good cheer,

Oh what?

What will I say?

Why I’ll shout

Have a HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!!!

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Learning to Exhale…..


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I have been a member of the Royal City Literary Arts Society for a few months now.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several very talented and well renowned poets and writers.

This group offers several workshops and open mic events.  This, I realized, was something I desperately needed to work on.  Public speaking is rather intimidating to me.  By the time I get up to do my piece , typically I’ve inhaled and am sweating buckets.

I remind myself to breathe and do so rather raggedly.

Seventy-four years ago an iconic photograph was taken here in New Westminster has Canada advanced into World War II.  On October 4th, 2014 a monument will be unveiled commemorating this event at the very location that the photograph was taken from.

The City of New Westminster approached the Royal City Arts Society (a.k.a. RCLAS) and asked the members to submit poems regarding the photograph titled ‘Wait for Me, Daddy.”  It was taken by Charles Detloff of the Daily Province newspaper and later that  month would make it onto page 37 of TIME magazine.

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RCLAS posted the poetry challenge to its members.   I opted to give it a shot and my submission was one of the poems selected.

Tonight we had the poetry reading at the newly opened Anvil Centre here in New Westminster.  This was apparently the first cultural event there.  Personally this would be the first ‘formal’ reading I would be participating in.

I got home from work then paced my living room reading the poem aloud repeatedly.

I have watched many of the seasoned poets in this group get up and perform their pieces.  And I thought perhaps I should try this approach.  This was only my fourth time reading and if my furniture was any indication they were captivated by my reading.  I rendered the inanimate things speechless!

Now it was time for the real deal.

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I walked over to the centre. It’s only about four and half blocks away from my home.  We’ve had several days of much needed rain, quite heavy at times, but the skies had softened and the clouds had broken as I stepped out into the evening.

As the poets were called forth with a brief bio to introduce each, I felt the nerves set in.  When my name was called I rose in my liquid state and performed the piece kinda sorta the way I wanted to.  I was a little emotional and when the paper I was holding began to tremble I just tried not to think about it and pushed through.

I was humbled by the response to my reading and very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this event.

Below is my submission.

If you would like to check out the other submissions I have provided the link at the end of this post.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Nancy Pilling

A native of Vancouver, Nancy Pilling moved to New Westminster in 2010. She is currently employed as an accountant in North Vancouver. She has had a lifelong love of writing and is dedicated to this passion of hers. It is Nancy’s desire to continue exploring the many avenues of the written word and to publish her work.

A Single Moment
by Nancy Pilling

It is a single moment captured and frozen in a frame,
A photographer’s dream,
A small piece of history now has a face, a single image and its power,
Still felt to this day,
It spoke to the agony of a people, to a nation, to the world.

The world back then was tough and gritty,
The Great Depression had weathered us all,
War now held us in its grip,
We were a young country then, just finding our feet,
Collectively we stood together.
Canada would fight for the liberties we were coming to know,
We’d fight for the vision of a country imagined in a world gone mad,
And we’d fight for the freedom that was ours to defend,
And we would do so with innocent bravado.

An outstretched hand son to father,
The line of troops in perfect symmetry,
Expressions, the angst and determination,
Emotions, the love and fear,
Immortalized as time stood still.
He lived and I wonder who walked back into his son’s life?
Was it a familiar stranger, or was it Dad?
Did he bear the confidence once shown?
Or was the gift of his time in hell
Memories of a bloody field that would haunt the rest of his days?

My father too fought in this war,
A young man, he was eighteen and so brave,
Dad’s stories were never told, he held tight to those terrors,
That hell of his remained a mystery and died with him,
But we lived his horror every day,
At least that’s the reason I’d like think as to why he turned out that way,
Maligned and damaged, so dark his soul barring the shadow of a boy who was no more.

The innocence of youth saw young men march to war who sacrificed a promised life,
What was that boy losing the day his father marched away?

http://rclas.com/waitforme#

What Are Your Measurements?


June 21, 2014 646 (2)

 

 

July is now August. How did that happen?
Well, we humans like to measure things, don’t we?
We measure time, success, space, circumference, failure, our waistline…
And then we record it all, of course, for good measure.
After all we must navigate through the laws of averages, now mustn’t we?
I was at a poetry reading last evening. One poem that keeps giving me pause to consider was called ‘Indian Time.’
It referred to the measure of time as being slower in the context of how it was perceived by our aboriginal folk.

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I loved the whimsy of the poem and the earthy texture to it.
Yes, I was measuring the words and how they cradled me.
Some were presented like a lullaby that soothed, while others triggered a restless energy that provoked, and other still left me wondering ‘What if?”
I’ve much to learn in the vocal delivery of these things I set to paper.
We were given just three minutes, a small measure of time to be sure, in which to relay our prose.
I am very new to this.
Two poems I opted to deliver. Every other person on open mic presented just one.
In my mind I had two short poems and I could do it!
And on the second poem I felt the pressure begin to build. The flush of nervous energy began to take hold and I felt a slight tremble begin.
With my last word spoken I timed out at 3:14.
I recognized my own folly in that moment though.
Then I though back to the ‘Indian Time’ poem.
I am still trying, at a frenetic pace, to fill time, to make the most of what I’ve been afforded.

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I have just finished working twelve hours. I was at the new job then hopped over to the engineer’s office.
It would seem I am trying to catch-up these days.
And I was hungry. Decidedly I popped into a local eatery as I considered it just a little too late to be cooking.
And as always I have a pen and page at the ready to spill any erstwhile thoughts.
I like to be engaged in every sense. What I am attempting now is to have some ‘remote’ time, some ‘me’ time, some ‘down’ time.
Balance?
Yet, as we decided, oh, since the dawn of time, there are but twenty-four hours in a each day. This really doesn’t change and is based upon a fraction of how long it takes our beautiful world to revolve around the Sun, which of course necessitates our understanding of light and dark, of summer and winter and all points in between.
Time doesn’t speed up, nor does it slow down.
We have this affliction, I know I do, in that I am in some odd kind of race with time. And as my life span enters what is perceived as being the latter portion of the average that has been so carefully calculated of how long I should expect to be here, now an urgency permeates all that I do and absorb.

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Why?
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. I do believe I need to learn how to manage my impulses a little bit better.
I should not be so intent on filling every moment with what, I’m too sure.
This explosion and eruption of self, this awareness and connection to all that surrounds and encompasses me and the desire, so strong, to emanate all that I feel, think and imagine to the world that envelopes me.
And just as I spilt the words, with nervous energy threatening to consume me, at the poetry reading last night, so do I try to experience all that this life has to offer and to give back.
I am, I know, but a speck in this universe. An energy form so small that I could think I’m insignificant. But each and every particle that makes up this spectrum we call space and time matters in some form.
And I guess in this odd little head of mine, it is our choices that it all comes down to.
Everything has an opposite as we all know…and then there is a rainbow of possibilities between these choices.
And maybe it is trying to find that balance, if it does indeed exist.
Perhaps it is the rapture that we feel at certain times in our life experience. Those makers that make us beg for more, that make us measure our wants, our needs and our desires, then try to capture and immortalize them.
And here we are, small particles in this universe that continually collide and expand, we experience friction. And such a terrible darkness runs through all of humanity, it always has.

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For as creative as we are in love, we are equally so in hate.
Now you need to make a choice. Which will you surrender to?
Will you die for love or live to hate?
And it is the play of words, their insistence upon my lips that I always challenge and find myself searching…exploring.
I just want to remain open and learn…absorb.
A new job has filled me with excitement. The intellect has once again been engaged and tickled. Perhaps this time it will be nurtured to its fullest potential.
And if you measure a person’s intellect by the credentials bestowed, perhaps this is a re-think.

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Knowledge is free.
While we’ve been sold the idea of a formal education as being the door to all that is, know that it surrounds you always.
Yours for the taking.
And so I surrender to my love of words and the visual arts. May my curiosity and love continue to grow and expand.
Time is never wasted, just the perception of it.
Peace.

The Poet’s Offer


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Today was a quiet one. I’d been invited to Italian Days, and typically I would attend. I opted not to go.

This event draws an enormous crowd. Upward of 300,000 people will attend.

I wasn’t in the mood for a crowd.

Then again this has been a weekend of reflection. Of hanging around the house and tending to those domestic duties that are necessary; of stopping and taking a deep breath debating the next course of action.

I know what I want to do. I’m being careful in how this all unfolds. I want to do it right.
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I had signed up to attend a poetry reading event this afternoon and decided to take a couple poems that I’d written to try out.

There is that part of me that needs to become a bit more familiar and comfortable with public speaking. It is one thing to be sitting in a room informally reading text you’ve written.

It is something to bear your soul on a blog post to an audience that you’ll never see.

But this would require standing before a group of people and speaking into a microphone.

Being new to this organization, the Royal City Literary Arts Society, I wasn’t certain of the set up.

We were treated to three featured personalities who sang and read their prose. I was immediately impressed with their ability and comfort at delivering their work. Along with this I was impressed with the expressive nature of their pieces.

I could only hope that upon getting up there I could deliver my offering in a manner that would honour the written word I possessed.

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I had printed out four poems but decided to read just the two.

I think I did okay with the delivery of ‘I Wonder…a State of Homelessness’.

My second choice was ‘The Whisper’ which is about my recent dealings with cancer. You may have read it on this blog along with ‘I Wonder’.

I had read the poems at home…aloud. I’d inserted various voice inflections that I’d felt may make my point a little more poignant and heartfelt.

Indeed, I felt ready.

Halfway through the reading of the second poem, however, my voice had a quaver to it. What I did not want to occur was indeed happening.

Emotions were reaching up and gripping me. Everything I’ve been fighting this last year now stung the back of my eyes.

I had not wanted to deliver this poem in a weepy and fragile manner. I had not wanted to feel the tears slip down my cheek, nor the voice quake and moan. But it did.

I had wanted to say a few things upon completion and instead I was too anxious to be gone from this spotlight. I had not prepared myself for the advent that I might well tear up.

There was awkwardness for me in that moment.

In any case, it is done.

Another experience to draw upon. I was given five minutes to convey some rather emotional content.

I did my best. Hopefully in time I will feel more comfortable in this area. It is an odd place to be. And if I am to be successful with my publishing company, I must become accustomed to this manner of communication.

Another thing to work on.

But I am so fortunate with everything that continues to be directed toward me these days.

So much to explore and revel in.

I came down to the Wild Rice for a nibble. Soon I will depart and purchase groceries for the week ahead.

The river is running high and fast.

A seagull sits upon the water allowing the current to sweep it along. Tug boats dance up and down the river. One towed a stream of logs in its wake, two others a barge containing what, I can’t say

The paddleboats move up and down the river with passengers curious to experience this form of transportation.

And I’ve had a good day.

I need to roll up my sleeves and get to the business at hand.

The last few weeks have found me anxious and sleep has been sporadic.

My dreams have been far more abstract than usual.

I have been second guessing all my decisions it would seem. Do I really know what I am about to embark upon?

What do I really know about publishing?

To be frank….not a damn thing. But I am about to find out.

I have a plan. I will execute it. This idea of mine is born of research, observation, passion, and a desire to create a business that is fair, equitable and encouraging.

To honour the written word has now become my life’s passion. That I can become good at it and find others to represent….

I love where I’m going and with a heart full to bursting and eyes drinking in the fragility and strength of this world, can I give this back? Can I offer more? We will see.

The Whisper ( A Poem)


Queens Park August 24 699Another world....

At one time all I wrote was verse.  And I did it very badly.  Convinced that everything needed to rhyme I took my limited vocabulary and tried my damnedest to convey my feelings in this odd little box of adjectives, nouns and verbs.  I can’t remember where I heard this or perhaps I read it somewhere.  It was one of those obscure little tidbits that became a rather foolish thorn in my side. 

“Nothing rhymes with orange.”

How many nights did I lay in bed trying to find a word that would compliment it.  Talk about a fast track to a padded cell somewhere.  I don’t know why, for a time, I was like this.  The oddest things would catch and hold. 

In fact, I stopped eating oranges for a time because of that odd little niggling I would get.

Thankfully I finally let it go. Stopped obsessing over trivial matters that had no bearing on anything really. 

If you’re wondering where all of this is leading to it is this.  I am going to attempt to write at least one good poem per month.  Perhaps its time I added a challenge to the mix.  I’ve posted a few poems on here.  I think the last one was ‘I Wonder’. 

The challenge with this form of prose is really capturing a mood, a moment, a feeling and in brief summation getting right down to the heart of the matter.  Like any other form of writing, there are certain things that appeal to me and others that repel. 

Every art form is like that though.  In any case, I am babbling here.  Time to get on with it.  I present…

The Whisper

In night visions it came,

This frightening specter,

So succinct and subtle, deliberate in its intent.

No pain, none at all,

Just a whisper,

“Something’s not right.”

And how do you diagnose a feeling?

How do you get an odd foreboding checked out?

It was in my dreams though,

A darkness had settled…a weight,

With velvet grace it embraced me,

And a storm began to brew within,

Throughout my womb the darkness spread,

Tentacles leaching into the reservoir of my life source,

Tugging, pulling…gently at first,

Then more demanding…sinister,

The whisper became a shout,

“Something is wrong!”

Encapsulated in the comfort of quick sand,

The weight now leaden,

In my head, in my heart, in my womb,

The whisper was now a scream,

“Something is very wrong!”

A rising tide of fear,

A rising tide of panic,

“Don’t go there!”

And the heaviness…now it’s becoming unbearable,

I’m being strangled,

A war is being waged in my physical body,

In my emotion core,

In my sexual divinity,

In my spiritual realm,

“Show yourself, coward!” I screamed into the night,

The face revealed, uglier than any seen before,

And this parasitic bastard had set up shop,

The intent was clear…I knew what was on the line,

It was my life,

This cancer had invaded me,

Whispered its way into my being,

I don’t know how,

Nor why.

A beautiful life was unfolding before me,

All the haunts and pains from the past were being laid to rest,

With gentle ministrations I’d calmed the hysteria of years past,

Soothed the spirit, the mind, the heart…

Wanted only to know love, to be loved,

But into battle I did go.

The cost I would not negotiate,

A pound of flesh now forfeit,

Close to a year of battle has left it’s scars,

I drank their poison believing the necessity of this madness,

Are you gone?

Have I rid myself of you?

There is an anger, a residue effect,

I’ve been robbed, maligned, beaten,

But never defeated,

And in the dark of night the whisper comes,

“Is everything okay?”

 

 

For the Love of…


dream 4I dreamed of a joy so great,

The world could see me now,

Just as I am,

I was not afraid to say ‘This is me.’

I loved who I had become and who I realized I had always been.

Too many years were spent hiding,

Behind a wall of doubt,

Dreasms1Too many tears were shed,

Absorbing the cruel barbs that were thrown out in judgement.

And I allowed those words into my fragile heart,

Let them settle, fester and burn.

Forgiveness whispered softly to let love in,

That moment of reckoning when you look in the mirror,

And see your own reflection, your own truth,

I opened the flood gates then,

dreams 2The universe poured forth an abundance of love and washed the stains of past judgements away,

And in truth, it was not the words of others that had done the most damage,

But rather my own.

The head a harsh taskmaster on a bruised ego,

The heart opened saying ‘Let go.’

And for love I did.

Now joy is mine, no more a dream,

As I surrender to the light.

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State of Homelessness….a Poem


I Wonder….                                         November 21, 2012

Black Charlie asked, “Can you spare some coin?”

A face has weathered as his clothes grinned devilishly at me,

He’d seen better days,

A sparkle played in those eyes of brown,

The camera was directed at a fish head in a shop in Chinatown,

“Can’t help you right now, my friend.” was my reply,

I returned his smile and we spoke for a moment,

At his query I offered my name and told him what I doing down there.

 

Exploring a neighborhood in this city of mine,

Letting the eye roam over the strange, the curious, the exotic, and the worn,

The camera catching these obscurities, flavours and wonderment,

As we bid each other good-bye,

Black Charlie turned and moved in closer still,

Arms reached out and he kissed my cheek,

“Thank you dear,” he whispered in my ear,

I returned the sentiment then we parted ways.

I watched for a moment as he held his hand out, “Can you spare some coin?”

He wandered down the street,

Black Charlie was invisible to most that passed him by,

A ghost from a lifetime ago,

Just a worn and withered shadow,

And I wondered what went wrong?

How was it that he found himself at the mercy of this blind society?

Begging for coin,

I wondered would the cash earned go for food,

Or would it buy a bottle to help him forget,

Just for a little while,

Why he was there.

And I wonder what’s to be done,

Shouldn’t be like this,

Yet it’s all around me.

I offer a sandwich and a coffee when I can,

Try to ease the burden if only for a moment.

Running through the driving rain,

I wondered if Black Charlie had found shelter,

From the oncoming storm,

A place warm and dry where he could rest his head,

Too many will feel the chill that sinks into the bone,

Too many forgotten in time,

Occupying doorways and sleeping under bridge decks,

Cardboard is their mattress and their walls,

Prayers offered up that are never answered,

In the cold of night,

Will they see dawn?

And I wonder what’s to be done?

I’m Scared


 

Our eyes meet across this crowded space,

Eyes with the warmth and promise of untold pleasures holds me captive,

They dive into the depths of my soul,

Beseeching, beckoning, wanting,

I’m scared,

And I don’t want to be,

I want to explore the mysteries that are being offered,

I want to accept the invitation being made,

At this moment I feel naked before you, my soul bare,

Can you see the scars that still remain?

I’m scared,

I look at you and wonder will you add to or erase my pain?

Just look past the fear that you see,

It’s not you I fear, but me.
I’m scared,

And I don’t want to be,

The blush of want stains my cheeks,

As I gaze into your eyes,

A silent refrain whispers ‘See me, feel me, know me, love me’,

And now I feel crushed by the intensity of your desire,

I cannot take this any longer and I look away,

I’m scared,

The enchantment now broken, the moment slipping by,

A panicked voice within cries “Look back, look back!”

I must and bringing my gaze back I watch you turn and walk away.

For that brief moment the heart was ignited,

And for me, will it always be this way?

I’m scared.

I watch you now I cannot look away,

A silent pleading follows you,

Just as you get to the door you turn,

Our eyes meet across this crowded space,

A smile manages to collect itself on my lips and it is returned,

With anticipation you move toward me and I await our first ‘Hello’.