This post is a small tribute to my partner of fifty-five years, Penny. Most of you will have a mental picture as she is today, trim, active, very much alive. The drawings bookending the trio of poems are from my sketchbooks of 1979 and 1980 when I was developing my drawing skills at the Dundas Valley School of Art.
Three Good Things
When I got home I told my wife
about the huckleberries growing from a stump
as I remembered them,
a boy at the edge of the woods.
The redness set among the pale green,
the easy way the berries roll into the outstretched hand,
and the taste on the tongue’s edge
of wildness calling deeper in the forest.
Oh I was young once!
I told he next, how later at the water’s edge
I looked west towards the mountain
as the sun rose hidden by a screen of cloud.
There in the raindrops of an idle shower
lingering on the giant’s shoulder, a patch of rainbow colour
that might have marked the place where Abraham unsheathed his knife
and was stayed.
And then, my stories told,
I looked at where my wife lay late abed,
tea at her elbow, papers on the floor,
reading glasses on the tip of her nose,
looking up at me and smiling,
the old cat sunk into the comforter
and purring like a worn-out fan.
I told you – three good things.
The Marmalade Years
When someone spreads the final blob
of dark and bitter marmalade
upon their morning toast,
perhaps they’ll think to find
the spattered book of recipes preserved,
and seek the page for Seville marmalade.
they’ll find the annotations and the log of jars
produced each year,
season after season,
reliable as snowdrops.
Or so it seemed.
But the snowdrops still appear
As oranges ripen.
Oh the sweetness of
The marmalade years!
What could I Do?
This morning I was up early,
crept through our room gathering clothes
for Monday’s load of chores.
Arms full, I watched you sleep,
Tousled hair, your face relaxed,
in this soft light so beautiful.
I listened to your quiet breath then stole away.
What could I do with this rush of love
But make you pancakes?