Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Channelling Yeats

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

(from The Green Helmet and Other poems)

After Long Silence

Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.

 (from "Words for Music Perhaps" in The Winding Stair and Other poems)

The Lover mourns for the Loss of Love

Pale brows, still hands and dim hair,
I had a beautiful friend
And dreamed that the old despair
Would end in love in the end:
She looked in my heart one day
And saw your image was there;
She has gone weeping away.

(from The Wind Among the Reeds)  


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Printemps québécois

Printemps québécois

Le vingt-deux mars à Saint-Lazare.
Où est-ce-qu'ils sont, ces chers fuyards -
fauvettes, merles, pluviers, sittelles?
Répond la neige - «Demain, ma belle!»

Gilles Vigneault sings, «Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver» (Translation: My country is not a country, it is winter).

It's not my country, either, but here I've been for forty years this month!  Canada, and the province of Québec in particular, is a wonderful place to live, except for the long winters.  I did see a robin last week, though, and the geese are slowly returning to the pond at Chévrier's sand pit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today I found a ladybug in the house. Is spring truly (and finally) around the corner?  Since it is still too cold to let her out to "fly away home", I let her be.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Tenth Fold

I will never forget my Uncle Tommy, himself a WWII veteran and POW, being handed this triangle of stars in mid-March 1968. And I will never forget his son, my beloved cousin Tommy Jr., to whom the poem below is dedicated. It is an angry poem as well as a sorrowful one.

       Gia Dinh
          In memory of Thomas F. Smith, Jr.
          (July 13, 1945 - March 3, 1968)

In Washington there’s bugger-all
to lure me down from Montreal.
And yet, when it was done I came
to tell and touch and trace your name,
to taste the wormwood and the gall.

The Tet Offensive saw you fall
near Hoc Mon Bridge. Still maggots crawl
and feast and life is much the same
in Washington.

It’s strange the things I best recall –
you hated Ringo, I loved Paul.
You dreamed you’d pitch the perfect game
like Koufax. What a bloody shame.
I weep beside this granite wall 
in Washington.