winter

The Middle of Winter: The Middle of Summer

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Downtown Edmonton in the Summer

Well, here it is the middle of January and I have been happily writing poems.  I picked up a great little poetry review called “Tin House” and had fun reading it.  It inspired me to write a poem that I submitted to a poetry review.  This isn’t the poem I am posting below, these reviews have strict standards that you can’t have published or posted a poem you submit to them anywhere.  For some reason though, I had enough creativity in me to write two poems, so I will not deny my 193 fans the benefit of my literary musings.  I like to try and put some small measure of philosophy into my works, though I am not a philosopher in the more traditional sense.  I say that because I have a cousin who at one time was literally one of the foremost Canadian philosophers.  He had published a book on legal theory, was a fellow of Churchill College in Cambridge and was also a University professor.  One of the most interesting things about my cousin (Brian) was that he was also a boxer.  His wife is an incredible person as well, I have high hopes of visiting them in Ontario one day soon.

Aside from that, I suppose I could talk about my week a bit.  I did post already about my experience going to a college and job-shadowing a couple of public speakers who make an effort to educate college, university, high school and other groups about mental illness.  It really felt great, and people were so responsive.  One of the things I found most interesting was this woman (Michelle) who suffers from Schizophrenia was able to be quite candid about her voices and medications and some of the things her thoughts told her to do.  I think the greatest little tidbit of wisdom I heard though was from Jillian, who did an informational presentation in which she stated that you have a 400 times greater chance of being killed by a venomous plant or animal than you have of being harmed by a person with a mental illness.  Just yesterday I turned on the TV and there was a supposedly realistic television show that depicted a group of police profiling and chasing down a murdering schizophrenic.  It reminds me of a quote I once heard that stated, “against stupidity even the Gods battle in vain.”

Anyhow, back to the present day, I woke up after a nice restful sleep and a photographer from the St.Albert Gazette (the newspaper of my home town) came by and took a few pictures of me for an article they are running.  That event kind of inspired the poem I wrote and submitted to a literary magazine, but sadly I can’t share it here.  Hope everyone who reads these words is happy and blessed in the days to come, look for today’s poem after the below photo.

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Downtown North Vancouver, Across the Harbour From Vancouver

 

Downtown Edmonton

 

I need to be among all the action

See the women seeking satisfaction

Stroll through the night past all the sidewalk bars

The teenage kids driving their mother’s cars

 

To hear the rock and roll and see the moon

And everyone happy because it’s June

Some sit and drink their drinks, some just walk

I love to meet with friends and smile and talk

 

The bookstores stay open until it’s late

All the lonely people seek their soul mate

But me I’m happy just to breathe the air

I wouldn’t miss a weekend on a dare

 

Even in winter this place really rocks

I met a girl there once she was a fox

Every weekend turns to Monday I fear

Even when you have had your fill of beer

 

All things must end and something new begin

Just like a snake this world will shed her skin

And you and I will be the old ones then

I wish I could hold that off using my pen

 

At least I’m one who hopes and also tries

Perhaps these words will make me seem more wise

Wisdom or not my life will one day end

I hope when that day comes you are my friend

 

To all of you I want to say one thing

Walk down the road of life just like a king

Love yourself and love another too

Before the years slip past also for you

 

Leif Gregersen

January 16, 2015

It All Once Seemed So Far Away

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Take a long look at this photo and then check out the one below

Leif Gregersen’s Blog

Well, I got on the phone with an old friend.  Actually, kind of more an old friend’s sister who I used to hang out with a lot in high school.  It was a nice chat because I find I share a lot in common with people I grew up with even though I haven’t lived in my home town in 25 years.  It’s been a long journey, but one more than worth it.  I would like to pause at this moment and tell people a little bit about what it means for me to be a writer.  Ever since I got serious about writing, when I published my first book, “Through The Withering Storm” my life has changed so much.  A whole new world of opportunity has opened to me.  There is a small reward here and there of a little money from writing, anywhere from over a thousand bucks for a magazine article I once wrote right down to the boon of being able to go out and sell even just one book when I’m having a hard time and having coffee money and such.  But the whole idea that I can sit down and carefully craft out a few sentences, make them into a few paragraphs, and over time turn them into printed pages that anyone in the world can access, is no small miracle.  I encourage anyone who reads this who doesn’t like to write to start with the simplest thing, which is what I did, keeping a journal.  A journal is more than a diary, it is a collection of pages where you put your thoughts, your hopes, lists of things you wish you could one day have, anything really.  Scrapbooks are good too, for putting things like concert tickets and movie receipts and such.  When I started writing, I kept a journal and I forced myself to write a full page each day, and then when I saw a movie I would write a full page of it and the same when I read a book.  I still have all of that stuff down in my basement, and one day if I have the courage I may look at it.  The very thought though, if I die tomorrow in some tragic accident, that there will be books in print and online that tell my story, that reach out and cry in a loud voice that I really was here, I really was a person.  The one person I would want most to read them would be my niece of course, then some of my friends and then anyone really.  It’s a magic thing.  I don’t want to say that everyone in the whole world should write a book, though that is definitely possible these days with small, print on demand publishers that can make you one copy (my local library has a printer that will print and bind one book for under $10) but just that everyone should make writing a part of their life.  There is so much joy in it, so many rewards.  But I will leave off at that.  As I get a larger following, I am going to have more contests for people to win my books signed and delivered to just about anywhere, so please keep reading and keep posting comments.  Even negative comments are more than welcome, they help a person keep grounded, focused and real.  As per usual, today’s poem is below the photo.

 

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Here is the difference on my very own street between summer and winter

 

Forty Three

 

As we grow older days slip by so fast

Our precious moments just don’t seem to last

The sweet blue eyes of our first newborn son

Give way to family battles fought not won

 

We love our kids but years soon fade on by

Sometimes we grow apart and don’t know why

As we get older part of us gets hard

We meet new people but stay on our guard

 

Love was so easy when we were just kids

But now those things our heart simply forbids

When I think of my first kiss so long ago

There was so many things I did not know

 

In school each hour took so long to go by

Now the days and months and years just fly

I never thought I would grow old so soon

But now I hear an old familiar tune

 

Words set to music that speak to my heart

I hear them and my soul is torn apart

A hymn I heard once at a funeral

I hear it and feel heaven’s final pull

 

Time must end for all of us on this Earth

The one thing guaranteed to us at birth

Hold each smile, each kiss deep inside of you

Keep the promise of heaven safe and true

 

Leif Gregersen

January 12, 2015

The Incredible Beauty of Edmonton, My Home

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there is so much new construction going on in this town

Today’s Blog

Hello Dear readers!  Well, I had a great sleep for the first time in a few days and I woke up feeling creative.  Normally I would wait a few more days to write a blog entry, but I figured since it is Saturday and a lot of people who like to read my stuff don’t have much to do, it would be a good idea to write one anyhow.  Life is interesting here, as many of you know, I recently took a trip to Hawaii and a few people close to me asked me why I came back.  The truth is, I love this city.  Sure, it is minus 20 something out right now, but there is something so renewing, so refreshing about getting out in weather like that, and I also find I sleep a lot better.  It doesn’t hurt that I can bundle up and hide my bulging 43 year-old gut behind a parka either.

There is so much in this city to be proud of though.  We do have a lot of homeless people, which is of course a very serious issue, but in my travels I haven’t known a place that takes better care of their down and out.  There are rehab facilities, housing facilities, all kinds of churches and organizations that give food and clothing and sometimes shelter.  Sadly though, I should note that a woman was found dead yesterday outside an apartment building in my neighbourhood, and that is a sore tragedy.  My prayers go out to her loved ones and family, I wish I could do more, but sometimes that is better than nothing.

To go on with how much I love Edmonton, I should mention that we have some great restaurants here.  There is this one place, Double Greeting (a lot of people call it double greasy but the food is really awesome) and I have to admit I have gone there for the same wonton soup over 100 times, twice in this past week alone.  I live in Little Italy, and I have access to some great pizza places, and it is very near Chinatown which has all kinds of great little places.  We have such a large Asian population here that we have a number of Asian grocery stores, which I just love.  You can buy anything there from powdered Miso soup to fresh buns or hot ready-made Chinese food.  As a book person, there is something that I really like a lot which is that we have, literally, the best library in Canada.  They really go all out to reach out to the community and to provide things that people can’t afford themselves.  I will have to admit that often I can’t find exactly the books I want and so I go on amazon.ca and order them (normally books about poetry or writing) but they have things like video games, tons and tons of audiobooks available online or in the physical location.  They even have this room called the Makerspace where you can access an espresso printer and print up and bind as little as one book, and in this room they also have free access to Macintosh computers and Playstation or Xbox consoles, and the most amazing thing I think, they have two 3-D printers.  I could go on an on, but there are many more things about Edmonton that are amazing.  One of them is that we have some awesome fitness facilities in our city.  There are facilities that accommodate everything from swimming (including water slides, kids pools, climbing walls, lane swimming, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms) to indoor soccer and football fields and everything in between.  What is so great about all this?  If you are low-income you apply and you can get a free year’s pass to these places, which I did.  I absolutely love swimming and try and go about 3-4 times a week, there is nothing like it.  Well, I don’t want to bore everyone too much.  I do want to say I really appreciate the feedback and ‘likes’ I have been getting from my poems.  As per usual, scroll down past the below photo for today’s poem.  Take care all!!

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one of the many examples of urban wildlife we have in Edmonton

 

Back Row, Biology 101, Long Blonde Hair

 

I did not think life could be great as this

My world was opened up with just a kiss

Someone I loved had showed her love to me

Now life was vast and open as the sea

 

With love in you anything can be done

You search your whole life for that precious one

And when you find them you are born anew

You pray your love can make them love you too

 

Years back I loved to go for long, long walks

My heart and nature would have long, long talks

The moonlight on the snow so white and new

At night the world was made for her and you

 

I saw her face in bright star studded sights

I saw her soul in dancing northern lights

We had not met but I knew we would soon

It was inside me like a lovely tune

 

I saw her from afar and knew I would

Go after her because she looked so good

But now she is so much more than that

Loving and independent as a cat

 

Twenty years down the road I love her more

Than any of those girls I knew before

 

Kiss me, hug me, show you love me as much

As I love you and long for your sweet touch

 

 

Leif Gregersen

January 10, 2015

Reflections Upon Approaching The Age of 100

Well, today has been a great day to say the least.  Last night I went out with my Dad and watched a movie that was based on a popular book called “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”.  The movie was literally a non-stop laugh riot and I think in a way it made my Dad, who is only 23 years away from 100, feel good about himself.  The movie was Swedish and had a lot of subtitles, but much of it was in English.  It followed the adventures of an old man who had been put into a home for having the odd hobby of blowing up things, and I think I could best describe it as a Swedish Forrest Gump.  I thought it would be kind of cool to put in a photo of one of my best friends who is getting up there, but not quite near 100 yet either.  I used a black and white setting on my camera and I think it comes up with a pretty nice rendering of what Walter is like.

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Aside from all that, I sat down today and wrote a poem.  I have been having misgivings lately about putting poems up on this website, because in all reality, it doesn’t do me much good and although I get a lot of hits on this page, I don’t sell any books.  The fact of the matter is, in order to make any money off your writing, you need to get a following first and convince them that your writing is worthwhile (or so I hope it works that way).  After a couple more pictures which are in sharp contrast to each other (one is the winter skyline of Edmonton, and the other is of a shark I took a picture of in the aquarium in Hawaii), I will put my poem in for you to read.  Thanks for being a part of my website, I welcome any comments anyone would like to leave.

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Cold Winter Nights Still Have Their Delights

 

Can it be; can it be true

That this very place will be my tomb

This, my warm writing room

Outside it’s so cold

Somehow the howl of the wind

Beckons my soul

I can see from my window

The shimmering curtains

Of deep winter lights

Off in the sky, that deep northern sky

I keep wondering why

It must blow so chill and so harsh

The snow, the snow, the shimmering snow

In the streetlight’s glow

Doesn’t it know

I will never go

From this place, the only place that I know

The snow, the snow being driven by wind

Finds me sealed inside

My furnace guarding me; keeping me warm

Free from all harm

But still there beckons a charm

That northern clime charm

Inside my chest beats a heart

That was made for this place from the start

That longs to make snow angels

Snowballs to throw

Ice castles to show

Get a toboggan or an inner tube

Get to a powdered-up hill and cruise and cruise

Inside my chest beats a heart

That was made for this place from the start

That needs to head to a mountain

See those grandiose sights and purely natural sounds

Those peaks that seem to not know any bounds

To take up my skiis and my hopes

To blast down their slopes

Run myself ragged and cold

Then hide away in some small bustling chalet

With all of my friends who come out on these days

Sip on some chocolate laced with a marshmallow floating

Look at the athletic young women and their young boyfriends gloating

Some say that this season makes all of us sad

Some say that down south there is more adventure to be had

Oceans to swim in and beaches to inspire

But I can’t leave this place, this place of which I never will tire

Or the warm wood-fired glow of gathering in front of the fire

Too much adventure, too much to be had

Too much to sit in the dark

Of my tomb

In my writing room

Writing more poems

Of things I wish I could do

 

 

Leif Gregersen

November 28, 2014

http://www.edmontonwriter.com