I’m drawn in by a
powerful pull to the globe
that large globe intersected by
broad black meridians
an illusion of a whole but
held together in black
benign by the choice of colour
light greens soft non
confrontational inhabited by a pretty
But on closer scrutiny many
more tiny living things shouting
peace on earth
Placed 3rd in the 'Poetry Challenge' write a poem, on the spot in limited time, about a work of art in the 'Lake' show April - 2011
At the New Iceland Heritage Museum Gimli, Manitoba.
The Painting on the Wall
by H. RogueRaiders
Under a tree a chair is placed against
a field basking in rich golden sunlight.
Golden rod glow from within,
gold tints bush, grass.
The chair perhaps once seated
fancy diners around tables laden
to the hilt with apricots, venison, mead,
Perhaps once seated farmhands for
meals in kitchens served begrudgingly
after a day’s work.
Perhaps once a chair to step up
at the sink, a child washes dishes,
steps up to open the armoire,
rummages through linens,
tries on mother’s hats.
The painting draws me in.
It’s warm, brilliant colours
emit serene heat.
Afternoon heat. Still,
but filled with sounds of insects,
cacophony of meadows.
The chair placed in the shade,
mottled atmosphere vacillating in
waves from rising heat.
A painting on a wall,
the perfect vehicle for time travel.
It manifests thought,
one more dimension conjured,
with paint, brush, hand
through the ages
on flat surfaces
eyes wide open ~
Won second prize in the Wayne Arthur Gallery, Winnipeg,
May 28-2010 poetry contest.
The poet had to respond to a painting in the gallery.
The title of the painting is 'Chair in Field' by Jean McCormack.
Lullaby for a Potted Tree
do you miss
that wind rustling in your leaves
do you miss
a breeze to shake some aphids
from your leaves
do you miss
that rain polishing your trunk
do you miss
the summer’s heat when
all is still and waits
do you miss
that moon coming full over the lake
keeping critters & folks awake
do you miss
your place by that oak
where turtle doves coo
the gold finch hops
blue jays noisily call
do you miss all that
my love, my green screen
the apple of my eye
so weary you stand in your pot
by the window thick with frost
but, ah, with beads & trinkets
I dressed you to lift your spirit by and by
and tricked your supple growth
with fertilizer brew
do you miss
the sun’s touch
crave that rush of Robin’s song
there there these gloomy
days near Equinox soon whence
only weak ice crystals bloom
at dawn, and then are gone.
Flowering trees phenomenon -
after winter must come spring
ice fishing below the locks
dot the winter landscape
i peer down that drill hole
through river ice
what did i expect!
fishes eyeing me?
dark water flows
diamond ice crystal mist
rises above the spill
The Cat Hunts Again
Cindy the cat hunts again she
stalks kills then eats. In the morning we
find the little tell tales of gall bladder
kidneys and furry tails. It makes me sad,
I try to teach her- no don’t hunt, my cat, there’s
plenty of cat food in your dish.
She mieuxs and wakes me from deep
Sleep, she drops the prey right by my bed
I get wildly mad take that still warm
creature in my hand to hide outside
intent to bury it under the apple tree
at daylight to join the many little
souls already buried there.
What then if nights at full moon they
all as ghosts rise up and dance with
limbs outstretched a circle to music
not heard by you and me,
But dance they will all lit by silver
blue the little rabbits birds mice moles
with cats Chantal & Sammy in the lead.
Journal entry Sunday, May 23, 2011
Dedicated to my dear friend Renate,
in her typically English/German vernacular.
At sunrise morning showers
i’m high & dry on my screen porch
Willi the cat scratches the carpet to shreds.
Ah, not quite dry a few drops fall on me
i move mein Stuhl,
wir haben not yet stuffed das Loch made
by egg size hail last summer -
what does it matter – it’s spring.
Der alte Apfelbaum a cloud of white blossoms
rain released petals flutter like huge
snowflakes to the ground,
later during the long evening shadows
i move over them my spatial senses tricked unsure
if i am on firm ground
the fluorescent petals glow.
By the creek die Katze fliegt up the elm
into its top branches
a blue jay dive bombs then two more
the cat retreats to dodge sharp beaks
of fearless birds
their nests versteckt
i shout, nein, Willi komm down, don’t do harm
laß die Vögel singen
komm down du find’st ein cat treat
in your dish.
At sixty-five feet the tree much
closer zum Himmel than me the dance
continues birds & predator until
the futility of it all occurs to cat
it’s an uneven match.
On the Winds the Breath of Life
With each turn of my head
pink sheets deep rose on
my grapefruit tree fresh leaves
soft tactile sensuous green since
yesterday one two three crimson
geranium petal clusters ablaze
on pale green stems.
In the early morning sun iridescent
red blue magenta weaving &
waving in the fish bowl vie
with delicate petals of salmon candy
stripes & saturated quinacridone
violet of busy lizzies a
riot of colour against fresh
my heart leaps with
each eyeful of pink I fill my
lungs with green breath
then with pink then another
mingled with crimson the
breath of life I’m still alive
although surprised when
all is white outside.
The breath of life I fashioned
after my needs with live trees
taking up room
to be manoeuvred
to be watered cared for
aerated with my kitchen knife
tricked to grow with
fertilizer brew, my breath of
life bed covered in pink sheets
floral patterned pillow covers
for my head in sleep
deep sleep dream healing from
inside reset each cell’s DNA.
Today the snow looks different
the spruce seems green not black
& over willow’s tips hovers
bright ochre edged with cadmium
red aspen branches wave at me,
hello, not frozen solid as they were a day ago.
The breath of life returned
last night sneaked up on us
while deep in dreams,
the outdoors beckons me
it whispers screams
challenging the crimson petaled
window sills no more
blue snow its yellow grey
can’t hold the bush tree where
noon sun sucked deep wells
around each trunk to bare
blades of grass.
Our winged migrants
From James Bay to Suriname
from Winnipegosis to the Florida Everglades from the Northern Polar Ice Pack to the Southern & back they fly,
flapping their wings incessantly,
great and small. They follow their instinct: navigate their course by stars sun
sail swiftly over unfamiliar territory.
Ah, Big Dipper up there and
over here – Orion: on clear nights
the stellar positions beam.
From Manitoba’s wild milkweed to
Mexico’s Sierra Madre a
Monarch butterfly migrates: set
by an internal clock driven by a secret compass.
For granted I took that
of returning geese that delicate
flutter of butterfly wings.
But now when thaw is up & ice is out
I scan the skies for skeins of
V’s & roam marsh and field for
orange wings as wetlands
are ploughed from Saskatchewan to
Arkansas to Chesapeake Bay.
A killdeer calls
A killdeer calls
its high-pitched whistle
travels along the wavy
line of spume water surface
switches from lilac purple to indigo
bloody hell serves you
right says the voice in my
head that grasshopper
masquerading as a car now
up to its axle in sand
should have been sunk
crossing the Atlantic
i drop my shift
kick off shoes flick socks
on willow bush there
they hang limp dusk
erases beach line horizon
more bird calls pierce the air
a swoosh of wings marks me
and through a sudden slice of
toxic yellow a mass of
silhouettes press east west
like tortured copper i meld
with the silver shaft of
moon my shadow long the
etched in starry darkness.
This poem placed first in the 2013 Winnipeg Free Press & Writers' Collective Writing Contest
Poetry Judges: Kellie Kamryn Winner of the RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Award for Best Erotica 2012
Katherena Vermette, her first book North End Love Songs, won the 2012 Governor General Literary Award and the Lena Chartrand Award for activism in poetry.
Judges’ comments: A beautiful reminder that when life gives you lemons, you must surrender, and make a poem. ‘like tortured copper I meld’; Wonderful imagery throughout and captured attention from the beginning. ‘the accidental hitchhiker etched in starry darkness’ Top notch!
Poem about POINT DOUGLAS 1 by Laurie Harper-Winning.
Those architectural shapes attributed to church windows through the ages
on first glance
the image pulls at me
then realization -
the Shaman in the Cathedral
but a photograph manipulated to boot
feathered head gear masked face
fringes hanging from the crossbar
charms knotted thick
buffalo bear eagle totems
terrible beauty echoes of medieval
armour countenance lol Darth Vader
in movie pics
plethora of visuals created after
nature on electronic design intelligence
etched on peoples’ brains
a cacophony of icons the classic church window R2D2 replicates MAD MAX bionic men SUPER/BAT MAN
o the sorcery of it all -
I’m confused all points of reference fade assaulted 24/7
‘Sammy The Cat'
Pastel on paper
18.25" x 8"
© Helma RogueRaiders
You can never have enough heart(s)
pants turned up to the knees,
the water cool on my skin
calming all turbulence within.
Gull struts ahead killdeer shriek
peep peep peeeeeep sandpiper’s whistle.
On the pier’s slender aspen rail
facing the wind herring &
ring-billed gull sit
wing to wing. Into the coarse
sand I sink, the ancient granules
once mountains boulders glossed to
shine wave after wave
toes ankles knees hips
From the mass of beach shapes of
rocks jump out at me. Bits of glass
rare red common green
white & brown, sharp
edges polished opaque
bright stones tumbled & shaped
plump hearts & narrow
hearts flat wide generous
mean poor. The pockets of
my jacket bulge.
A LWWG sponsored open mic presentation on February 19-2017. Louis Riel Day.
at the Ship & Plough, Gimli, Manitoba.
In Defence of Artistic Interpretation
by H. RogueRaiders
My name is Helma, I go by RogueRaiders, and I am an immigrant. I’m not talking about immigrants today. I thought I mention it because it is all in the news, right! I’m from Germany, post WW2 education. I think of myself as an adventurer.
It is Louis Riel Day today. I don’t profess that I have even the slightest right to whisper my take on his name. As Louis Riel Day is the topic of today’s open mic, I’d like to bring up the name of Marcien Lemay. Marcien Lemay was the sculptor who sculpted Louis Riel’s exquisite first statue that was placed, I believe, in 1971 in Manitoba’s Legislature grounds. Marcien Lemay worked with Etienne Gaboury. Marcien Lemay was born in 1926, he passed away in 2005. Etienne Gaboury was born 1930 and is still around. Marcien was born in St. Boniface and lived there all his life. Etienne was born in Swan Lake in 1930. I Googled this. Anyway they are the ‘agents provocateurs’ in my story. Marcien Lemay and Etienne Gaboury, whose contribution is a little bit in the background.
They collaborated in the magnificent statue that was commissioned to be in the Manitoba Legislature grounds and then removed. It was removed because no sooner was this sculpture erected (very appropriate) in the grounds it was vandalized. (Look up Marieloudrieger2worldpress.com to view a number of photographs of this statue). The statue was placed facing the river, an important aspects to commemorate Louis Riel. And they wanted to commemorate Riel - they wanted to commemorate what he was to a segment of our society who called themselves Metis. It was time - he needed to be recognized as the father of Manitoba. Of course he was. So, again, no sooner was the statue up it was constantly vandalized, garbage was thrown at it, rants were written on the sculpture. I am not surprised. The sculpture was 12 ft. high, higher than that of Queen Victoria, whose statue is sitting at the front of the Legislature. It was taller than the Golden Boy up on top of the Legislature building. Not surprising people thought ‘what is this! The sculpture was vilified, pulled through the dirt and even the genitalia was hacked off.
It stood there for 20 years. Then the clamour for its removal got so loud and noisy that government people caved in and ordered it to be removed because it didn’t commemorate Louis Riel although, and I quote “any memorial has the potential to denigrate even as it preserves.” (article Manitoba History “Practical Results” The Riel statue Controversy at the Manitoba Legislative Building by Shannon Bower, Winnipeg, No. 42, Autumn / Winter 2001-2002)
The pubic clamoured so loud to get rid of the statue, they got their way. It was negotiated that Marcien should do another statue. He was keen to do that, but before he got down to work, another guy was commissioned. Miguel Joyal. Marcien was dumb founded (I knew Marcien at the time and we talked). Anyway what happened next was due to Marcien’s vision, I would say. To quote Marcien’s lovely wife, Helene: “Marcien’s sculpture kept this deeply emotional Louis Riel controversy alive for 21 years.” It gave the Metis an opportunity to actually figure out what they really wanted. How to place good old Louis Riel back where he belonged and it was because of Marcien Lemay’s powerful & transcendent sculpture. In my mind he is the prime mover of the ‘happy’ outcome of this story. Modern Manitoba Metis. Marcien Lemay’s sculpture was re-established at the Université de Saint-Boniface, a very apt place, as Riel’s grave is also in the Cathedral graveyard.
Miguel Joyal made his sculpture which is, at the present standing, in the Legislature grounds, in the tradition of a colonial. Louis Riel looks like a colonial father. It had to be that way. He couldn’t just be standing there like he was portrayed in Lemay’s statue. He couldn’t be shown dishevelled & half-naked. Louis Riel was voted 3 times into the Canadian Legislature, but he never took his place, he couldn’t get there. He would have been arrested as soon as he crossed the Canadian border. So, tonight talking about my thoughts after I looked over all the ‘stuff’ written about the person Louis Riel, I think the first Louis Riel Sculpture – singularly powerful.
Today i laundered a mouse
all three inches with tail
some nasty smell from the laundry
alarmed me could be the
honey wagon going by and
sort the linen by colour
let the automatic do her thing.
At my desk i resume setting
words to rhyme syntax meter & tone
while sewer odor lingers in my nose
clank bang bang bong
spin cycle on uneven load
bong bang clank
down the basement i spring
to fetch the laundered whites
for sun is on the washing line.
What’s that? all over my clothes
black clumps and think my cat
with feathered prey into the dirty
laundry basket had crept,
but it is my clean wash that stinks like
meat hung long past its tender mark
i gag once gag twice at this putrid offense
pink body of mouse nestles
between white sheets bras panties.
Poor wee thing stripped clean of hair
three-inch mouse all bare
one glance i dare
my eyes screw shut
reach for the rubber glove arm
stretched out head turned from
this thing i killed unwittingly,
a decent burial it needs under the old
apple tree with all the other mice birds moles
who succumbed to cat’s play innocent
On the road from Siglavik
On the road from Siglavik
great grey owl startles me
flashing through the beam
eagle soars at Willow creek & Siglavik
the one we call Fisch Adler and
you Bald Eagle
head crowned white
tail feathers a bright fan
huge beak wing span of ultralights
eagle flies at Willow creek & Siglavik
great grey owl navigates oaks on
lands on a hydro pole
she perches square her back to us
ears pricked owl eagle
stalk our neighbourhoods
for rabbits kittens moles &
one day chicks
I swear Elf winked at me from the gallery wall
the portrait a photograph taken in three quarters profile
there comes a time of reckoning the synthesis of beauty and deep spirit— Elf’s eyes round dark like polished chestnuts dropped
from the ancient tree towering over the
thatch roof lights flicker
through the shadow mimicking sparks your pixie face immortalized in
fairie likenesses conjured with pen and ink soft water colour palette
fairies never played a role in my childhood it was the old woman up the road her
dwelling die Kate a cottage thatch pulled deep over windows its age emphasized by acrid wood smoke darkened brick
the timber black like crow’s feather
fly-snapping ducks waddle in the enclosed
barn yard a gloomy hedge thick spiny thorns bar my inquisitive eyes
years marked by the return of stork mates during spring who repair their family nest high up on the spine of the thatch on
long red legs large red bills chatter
clap ring into my sleepy morning ears feathered bodies white fluffy clouds
wings edged black
come come into my world the
pixie face beckons between rocks on heath and heather castles enveloped
in yellow gorse fragrant lavender &
lilacs busy bees buzzing around
groups of little folk who draw smoke from pipes sing a melody that contracts hearts then exhale
to take to wings
even the klutziest biped
pixie face reminder of the promise made two decades ago to the wood fairies not to disturb the old brush and bramble by the creek
a wise promise.