birthday

Poetry of December

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Well, it has been a long week, it seems to be long anyway, even though it is just Thursday.  I think a lot about when I was a kid and how in elementary and junior high school I would look up at the clock and count the hours, minutes, seconds until I could leave.  Sometimes I would even do this when I had work to do although most of the time school didn’t keep me as busy as many of the other students.  I don’t regret my school days at all, actually I really started to like going to school when I made it to high school. Good old Paul Kane High, so many good memories.  Not long ago there was a 25 year class reunion posted to Facebook and I was blocked from viewing it by the administrators of the site.  It did hurt but as the man says, “The Best Revenge is Living Well”.  I really feel very blessed this year, I mentioned a few posts back that I had a great birthday, but my birthday seems to be still going.  Today I received a wonderful package in the mail from my old friend Caroline.  She sent me socks, a t-shirt she thought would look good on me, chocolates, special tea and even a delicious box of ready to make noodles.  And then later the same day my Dad gave me the news that my sister had just sent $75 in the mail for me.  I seem to be making out like a bandit this year.

One of the things that I think is very special about this year, and a few previous is how I seem to be able to form strong bonds with people.  Funny enough, I have a cousin who lives in Ontario who I don’t talk to a whole lot but I have become good friends with his wife Kirsten.  A few years back, her and I were chatting on Facebook and she had to go and answer a phone call and I thought to myself, “why don’t I write her a nice poem about England?” and so I did, right off the top of my head.  She came back and read it and said, “What a lovely poem Leif, who wrote it?”  I simply said, “I did-just now.”  her response?  “Fuck off!”  That really made me laugh.  I think I had to write more poems for her to convince her that I really do have something of a gift for poetry.  The super neat thing is that Kirsten and my cousin Brian at the time were University Professors and they used some of my poems as illustrations in their courses.

Yesterday a friend was talking to me and was telling me he was very sad because a close friend of his had a daughter who lost a newborn baby to an illness at the age of 3 months.  I felt touched by the words he told me and decided to write a poem for the family, perhaps to be read in the eulogy.  I don’t want to repeat the poem here, I kind of feel it is too personal, but it excites me that one day as I get better known I will be able to tailor-make poems for important occasions.  The whole world seems to be wide open for me right now.  I even have a new poetry book coming out some time soon.  Anyhow, I am going to post a photo here again I think, scroll down past it for today’s poem.  Thank you dear readers.

 

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A Poet’s Night

 

 

Winter’s night so dark

Crisp cold snow all around

I’m alone but not lonely

There is little sound

 

I don’t hurt inside

On nights like these

I have my books

I have mid-winter’s gentle breeze

 

My poems keep me

From wandering thoughts

Of all I once dreamed of

All the things I’m not

 

In the darkness

I can always say

Peace and contentment

Are never far away

 

I can open any book

And be in another place

In another mind

Even out in space

 

An old young man

With a soul that’s been to hell

Finally I have all I wanted

Happy alive and well

 

I’m so dearly lucky

To have my dim-lit room

Volumes of poems

Both to write and consume

 

Thoughts of loved ones

On this Earth and loved ones gone

Keep me working, writing

Keep my spirit strong

 

If there is just one out there

Who cares for you

No such thing as being lonely

No such thing as being blue

 

And if you lack a love

To call your own

Remember there are hearts out there

Even more alone

 

Tomorrow is your new chance

To find that hurting soul

Give a little of yourself

And feel warm and whole

 

Never stop hoping

That you will make your way

Never stop knowing

You have something to say

 

Pick up your pen

Write out your heart’s true longing

Speak of wandering

Of not belonging

 

And then one day

Someone will read about you

They will understand

Know your heart is true

 

 

 

Leif Gregersen

 

December 11, 2014

Muse, Cruel Muse, I Need You Now

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The picture beside this paragraph is one of me and a promising young pilot from my former Air Cadet Squadron at Villeneuve Airport, where I took some photos for an article I was writing for the Lion’s Club magazine.

 

 

 

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This second photo for today is of another aviator, one I never tire of watching or photographing.  The young man above is likely flying military jets by now, but he will never have the real freedom and beauty of this little birdie here.

 

 

The Long and Short of It All

Well, I did have an incredible birthday, but life must move forwards.  I don’t like to say “life goes on” because I remember a day many years ago when I was 17 and I first had to seriously deal with death.  A good friend of mine, named Brad had killed himself a few short days before and I was completely devastated.  I was working at a gas station at the time and some people who also knew Brad came in and when I asked one guy if he heard, he smiled and said, “oh well, life goes on I guess.”  I will never forget that cold little bastard or the smile on his face.  Not three months later his mother committed suicide and I went through hell not knowing how to deal with the situation.  I don’t know if it was a direct result, but not long after that I found myself being confined to a mental hospital in dire need of treatment.  I am reminded of words such as, “For whom the bell tolls” and Tennyson’s incredible quote where he spoke of the loss of a friend and said, “I go on with a deep sense of longing and regret, among new faces and different minds.”  But the reality is, I now do kind of feel that when someone kills themselves, there are better things a person can do other than fall to pieces.  The sad fact of things is that many people believe that suicide is a form of revenge-getting.  And the person who kills themselves doesn’t have to live with the pain, the people he/she leaves behind do.  I also have been looking at the whole question of suicide a bit differently because recently I have been going to a Catholic Church with an incredibly kind and wise priest who once mentioned that while suicide is a sin, there are some people who are not in a normal state of mental health who kill themselves and will be forgiven by God.

I suppose I should turn to lighter subjects.  I am glad to be 43, and very glad to be in a healthy state of mental and physical health.  I keep active by swimming and doing a lot of walking and a bit of Yoga.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to do Yoga being a Christian because it is almost a religious practise that goes against some tenants of the Christian faith.  This does seem a bit silly to think about, but it is really important to me that I keep my faith and my ‘relationship with God’ in a right state.  I have to say I like a lot of what our new Pope Francis talks about, though some of the things he says leaves me confused.  I hope one day soon I get some bold followers who are knowledgeable in such subjects to comment and discuss these things with me.  I also hope that I get my lazy Sunday afternoon butt out of bed more often so I can get to Church for the first time in months.  I really enjoy going to Catholic services, there is something so holy and pristine about going there, I often feel very cleansed and renewed after a service.  I do have this problem though, and I suppose it has a lot to do with my illness, and the proper balance of medications I am on, I get paranoid and angry quite easily when I am out in public.  This is something meditation is helping me with, but I think I also need to look at other chemical therapies that can help me with this.  Well, that is about all I have to say for now.  Below I am posting a poem I just wrote that I am hoping to take to “The Stroll of Poets” where I recite my poetry in public each Monday night.  You can find the poem just past the attached photo.

 

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In the Darker Hours

 

 

Cruel, insipid muse, where can you be?

Inside I have quatrains longing to be free

Stanzas of of rhymes dancing in my head

They won’t let me rest as I lay in my bed

 

Perhaps it’s the comics, the TV and cartoons

Ingesting those media makes me feel the perfect buffoon

I should be drinking in sonnets and dark villanelles

Tasting ancient philosophy, feeding brain cells

 

Poetry you are such a cruel wench

Poetry, poetry you disgust me like a stench

All I can come up with since this past week’s start

Is four rhyming lines that stink worse than a fart

 

I tried going to a play, I tried expressive art film

Throwing in fiction short stories into the kiln

Yet all I have brewed is words stale and flat

Un-chewed, undigested verse chunks all greasy and full of fat

 

I live in such a time that I shouldn’t have to beg you

My muse, my inspiration, for rhyming lines that are new

Once there was a time I could write on for hours

But trite teenager comic books seem to have sapped all my powers

 

It was a nice thing going out to a reading or two

But in the end they reminded me I’ve boiled a poor stew

I need to flambé up some words that will tickle and inspire

My need for these things is growing so dire

 

I can taste on my tongue the vestiges of well thought out lines

This aabb scheme crap I am putting out is somewhat less than divine

I want to train my little brain to speak more iambically

I want to loosen my belt and let my constrained breath of words free

 

It’s for you my dear reader, or listener perhaps

That I need to somehow create something more than this crap

Because in the end I live for that applause

At the end of my poem when I know I have stated well my bold cause

 

All I think I must do is sum up in these short bursts of words

The plight of the lonely, the angry, disturbed

Because in the end who among us has all they want

Why my good muse do you tickle, tease and taunt?

 

Leif Gregersen

December 3, 2014

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