(May 2002) Page 2
I lost my warmth and kindness of heart there somewhere in the machines, and casting around for the missing part (though I was not sure what it was) decided that it was to be found in the US - though it was necessary to stop off in Canada, where the Quebecois were painting out English road signs in Montreal, and store service was not to be had, save in French.
I drove down down deep into the hot Oklahoma Summer, camping along the way, with my loving wife and kids, getting some dim conception about what I was missing. It helped to strike up with an ex college crowd doing skiffle type band gigs - the pretty girlfriends treated me like person - it was strange. I started to write verse. And I thought: I am a poet.
Then finally when I was still altogether lost, an English girl came to work in my solitary office. She only stayed a few months, recovering from her unsuccessful marriage to a serviceman, before running off with an American Airlines pilot but she treated me like a perfect man - as though I were complete: and so of course, I became complete.
But I had twenty years of heart stored up and crystallized away in some unnoticed place, which began to ferment - so that moving to another job, not far removed, where no one really knew I was a hopeless case, I ran into that runaway's friends, who treated me just as well, and I was touched to the quick, and I bear now the full burden of being an empathetic poet, with raw nerve ends visible to the touch.
And I am touched. Women talk to me and they know - though you would never guess to see my face (I enclose a thumb nail); It looks like an old face, but I am young - barely past adolescence. Again."
GEORGICS, OKLAHOMA STYLE|
© Brian Whatcott, December 2000
The life is tough, the work is hard, the shepherd
runs the border dog too soon to death.
But where the old one falls, there is another birth
- a stable dog that never sees the hearth.
The pease pudding, the camembert and crackers,
the ivy league shelf of books, the look
of present, past, and future-perfect books, a crook
is just the tool that catches up the little lamb.
[How sad to think they're destined for the packers.]
Life proceeds in measured steps; the fish paste, the
mutton stew, Crimson preserve, the venison, beef and strawberry jam.
There is a place for granddad, granma, baby, me and you.
Wanting party favors, the little one is entertained by moon and star:
The tractor stands in place of car.
I have kissed your lips,
as you kissed mine,
a heavy wine.
I see you now a slender girl
like you were an age ago,
your face aglow.
A lovely, slender, soft and gentle girl.
No ring, no jewels,
eyes deeper than pools.
Stockings, a belt and garters, lace and scent,
Night flowering rose;
you drape your clothes.
I have tasted you,
deep into the dark reaches of the night.
You surrender without a fight.
Hair in shining waterwaves
and I, diving there,
swimming slow strokes where
you: fearless, confident of the nest you chose,
resolved on gliding in my arms in divine repose.
I have kissed your lips, as you kissed mine.
Author's Note re: A Practise Sonnet (below)
A Practice Sonnet
© Brian Whatcott
Or shall I tell thee now what thou hast known?
Or teach the wind to chill the Winter bone?
Or show the wagon wheel to screech on stone?
Thou choose the posture who must stand alone.
There is no master can, with good intent,
dispose a plan so meet that it constrains
the voice with elocution congruent
unto the task at hand - to take these grains
of wordy soil and with a swish leave gold;
discarding dross, arranging what remains
in order, preordained, a tale unfold.
Who would give aid, debates - but then, abstains.
Hear this: the will is father to the deed;
Bold reefs of verse grow great from little seed.
Dear placid girl, your tender heart I find
where night-sky fills with glowing fire-flies flung
by that immense, romantic heavenly mind
that sees an artist's soul, refreshed and stung
to life by quiet words and gentle thoughts.
Here, Ma'am, I grasp with care these ancient tools,
The ones that graced the ancient Medes, the Greeks,
The Persians and romantic Celtic fools
who sought to set in words the thought that speaks
too warm to say aloud without remorse.
Emotion closely guarded, that still leaks
around the social brakes, a straining force
too haunting for the ones you hold most dear.
What can't be said, is written for you here.
Richard Vallance was born in Guelph, southern Ontario, Canada, on March 11th., 1945, and currently resides in Ottawa, the nations capital. A graduate of Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloon, Ontario (H.B.A. 1968) and the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario (M.L.S., 1975), Richard is a professional University librarian, now on disability pension. Richards career as a librarian reached its zenith in October, 1983, when he won the prestigious Data Courier Award for Excellence in Online Papers ($1,000 U.S.), in Chicago, Illinois.
However, progressively aggravated alcoholism eventually forced him to retire prematurely, in September, 1991. Fortunately, Richard ceased drinking altogether in 1992, and has been sober now for a decade. While he did write some poetry during his "wet years", alcoholism severely blunted his inspiration. Creativity only truly blossomed in 1995. Since that time, he has written over 1,500 poems, most of them Sonnets, though he also specializes in both Haiku and the stricter, more traditional Japanese Hokku verse form. He has also composed numerous so-called "free verse" poems, and has published one book of poetry:
A Quilt of Sonnets: Forty Four Familiar Poems. Ottawa: Providence Road Press, 1998. 56 pp. ISBN 1-896243-7-x. [National Library of Canada]
Richard has been published on numerous occasions on some of the worlds best known poetry E-Zines, including, Poetry Life and Times (UK) and Autumn Leaves (USA). He also maintains his own bilingual international E-Zine,
and will soon be the editor of a new international Sonnet E-Zine, Sonnetto Poesia.
Richard is the Poetry Reviewer for Poetry Life and Times. Anyone, who writes poetry for Poetry and Life and Times, is cordially invited to submit any poem of 20 lines or LESS for consideration for review to:
Richard also moderates numerous Poetry Discussion Groups, the most notable of which are: 1. Describe Adonis [Shakespeares Sonnet 53] 120 members. Yahoos largest Sonnet poetry group by far. Here are posted historical sonnets, commentaries on sonnet writing, and sonnets by members:
2. Kawasaki Zen Haiku 90 members. Yahoos 3rd. Largest Haiku-Hokku poetry group, featuring links to historical Haiku Web Sites, examples of historical Haiku by such illustrious composers as Basho, Buson and Issa, and Haiku/Hokku posted by members, in any language they like:
3. Iliassia [Homers Iliad]. 61 members. Discussion group focussing on Homers Iliad, both in the original "Epic" Greek and in translation. Includes a repertoire archive of pictures, paintings, archaeological sites and cartographic information + maps:
My Carousel Home Page is: Poesie's laissez-faire Foire
March 2002 - Nominee for
à la belle inconnue
© Richard Vallance 2002
[Apocopated Sonnet] *
How dare I say I have not loved this
momentide, this ceaseless ebb and flow —
seaward oh my soul — from where your kiss
on my eyes falls in waves no waves know?
You list? — where once manna moondrops fell
He writes Dawn a Waltz to cheer this hill
If dusk soon waives her forest showers,
Originally composed, August, 1971, at the age of 26
* In this Petrarchan sonnet, every verse is missing one syllable; hence, there are only 9 syllables per line, and the sonnet is not “pure” iambic pentameter. This is deliberate. I was thinking, at the time, of creating a poem similar in effect to Schubert’s, “Unfinished Symphony” number 8.The Leaf
à la belle inconnue
© Richard Vallance 1970, 1997 & 2002
The leaf (whose hand is
hailing me) denotes
exquisite fall through all
implicit space…who floats
on scruffy air,
his chlorophyll too lumen-like
brown river where an auburn sun
Fire his is, his funeral’s rites,
What squalls I crave, what gusts
originally composed at the age of 25MALIGNE LAKE
© Richard Vallance 1970 & 2002
(Maligne lake is a painting by Lawren Harris
 From Pictures At an Exhibition: 1970-1972)
Whose freaked, laconic smileless light slights
Insensate shores of stones! Who’d ever bothered even ask
Where snows are overarches, who haunts cathedral vaults
originally written in August, 1970
 Lawren Harris (1885-1970) was one of the painters of the Canadian Group of Seven, most of whom were early Twentieth Century artists, whose magnificent works have often been exhibited worldwide. His painting, “Maligne Lake” (Jasper Park, 1924) is one of his greatest masterpieces. I wrote this poem the year of his death.
 The Sky Maiden Nokomis Montes, is daughter of the weather god in Algonquin mythology. She was highly revered by Amerindians everywhere in North America.
For Louis-Dominique, with love
Jan Sand in New York
Recently Jan was published by Kedco Studios Artist Profile Press, on their latest CD ROM e-book, "A Way With Words (Poetry Real and Surreal), which also includes complete books by Dale Houstman, Sara L. Russell and Keith Gabriel Hendricks. Jan's illustrated book on the CD is called "Wild Figments And Odd Conjectures", which is also sold separately, in a limited-edition "single" CD.
To see an illustrated article about Jan's poems, visit the November '98 issue of Poetry Life & Times, and scroll down past the Editor's Letter. He also has his own poetry pages on Charlotte's Web at Artvilla.
© Jan Sand
Now, master Frankenstein, most senior and benign,
Had assembled many creatures
With both plain and fancy features,
Some with wings, some with tentacles or claws,
Furs or feathers, beaks or paws
And all the other possibilities of design.
But aged and retired, alone and unadmired,
The master looked with pity and with love
So, with energy and love inspired
Long hours he assembled all the parts.
The final act concerned old Werf's brain.
Free of lightning rods upon the roof,
Werf, at first, inclined to doggy mode.
In short time he mastered the techniques,
But the old man grew weary. He required
Nowadays Werf has his own canine.
Who will act for mankind?
Not me, not me.
For time's not kind,
And I'm not free.
I've sat so long to watch the will
Of anger and destruction
Smash good sense into disruption.
My hand's not firm,
My mind's not sure.
I cannot know
What will endure.
Do not look to me, not me.
For time's not kind
And I'm not free.
I've looked long years
To see the truth
That might make clear
What from my youth
Led to mere complexity
And complete perplexity.
Do not look to me, not me.
For time's not kind.
I've lost my mind
and I'm not free.
But mankind's not
What it should be.
So, if not me, then who?
The cold is gone,
The Spring's begun
And life begins to spill from time
In green cascades.
So now the killing must begin
Click here to return to main index