6. Traces

Bent black lines
this thing they call
wrought iron, but isn’t
across the street,
spray-painted styrofoam
in juxtaposition with
salt-worn brick
shares the same
concrete footing;

There is no permanent
reminder here,
of all the feet
that passed this way,
carrying lives & longings,
fancies, follies, quests
both grand and grim;
only a gradual beating down,
a wearing through, slow
weathering dissolution
of structure & stability,
a perpetual settling
of strata and form.

Those who come after
will have no way of knowing,
only the most frail
of half-educated guesses;
the only certainty being
that once, in this place,
intent and purpose took hold;

What speed, what sense,
what path it took
once treading heels
left concrete for the wilder
ways now ages overgrown
lies only in the dreams
of madmen, poets, and
would-be comedians, the
imaginary domains
of thespians and cult leaders,
philosophers, god-kings,
and small children building
brave new worlds
out of sidewalk chalk and sand.

– T.H.

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Keats: Ode to a Nightingale

Poem by John Keats, reading by Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Maya Angelou: Still I Rise

Got a bit behind thanks to a few days of being under the weather; aiming to get caught up this weekend. In the meantime, here’s a timeless classic by the inimitable Maya Angelou:

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5. On the Beauty of the Common Rock Dove

Noble silhouette
against the pale blue sky
under the serene white crescent
of the four o’clock moon

(meanwhile, across town)

A freedom of starlings
congregates below
the green peeling windows
while reflections of flight
in warped bulging glass
give weight to the theory
of glass as a liquid

– T.H.

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As I Walked Out One Evening, by W.H. Auden

Didn’t have time to get one of mine up today, so instead here’s one of my favourite poems, brought to you by the lovely voice of Mr. T.W.H.:

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4. Ink Blot Philosophy

Beside me,
a mother & son
play Scrabble
while she explains
the minimum heat required
for spontaneous combustion

we wander through metaphors
of Sleeping Beauty’s thorns
and burning hearts
hung on the walls
like something trying
to be beautiful

a pilot
in a teacup
green leaves clinging
to the porcelain
curves, telling
no one’s future
but its own

thirst is a thing
we cannot escape
there is no blood
without water

one last sip,
sweeter than sin
before the lights
go out

– T.H.

Related Links & Things:

For your further enjoyment, the master himself, Jack Kerouac, reading “American Haiku”:


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3. There’s a Trick to Painting Water

(I filled 15 more pages with words today, but none of them rang true; so I’m posting this instead)

Why is it easier to find
space between the notes
inside the storm’s tumult
than in a quiet room?

They say she found God
on a bus to Baltimore
amidst the screaming
children, drunks, & hairpin
turns, crammed into
a brown and orange seat,
knees locked, lips dry,
stale air and candy wrappers
proclaiming a landscape
long since abandoned to fate.

True revelations, they say,
never come when called;
like grass and dandelions
they only grow
where they’re not wanted.

How then, to map the bubbles
in the frothed milk,
the correlation between
the ripples in the pressed tin ceiling?

Where, then, the magic
elixir, the skeleton key
to unlock the hidden passages,
the junk DNA, the way
light falls through a prism crack
in an old dusty window?

(partial transcription from Patchwork Journal – T.H.)

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2. Revelations

The forgotten shoulders
of February snow settle
into the sun-starved earth
mud seeps into cracks
and crevices carved
by the relentless ice,
the Loki spirit
of early morning frost
that charms and dazzles
even as it kills

This is the season
where old secrets
emerge from slowly
melting tombs;
people shying
from decomposed unknowns
dance sidestep
to avoid contamination

Better to focus
on the promise of beauty
hinted at by the return
of the solar warmth,
the miniature Death Valleys
forged by meltwater cascades
a flood to wash away
the salt and silt,
the guilt by association

We must all look
on our collective leavings
and sigh in righteous
consternation, at this
yearly ode
to universal apathy
and then forget
with every step
that ever it was ours.

– T.H.

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1. The Trouble with Doorways

The first poem attempted in honour of National Poetry Month was written all in one sitting at my favourite café, by hand, in real ink on real paper, and filled 15 pages of my new notebook (a gorgeous false memory of a Byzantium that might have been, gifted to me by a friend). The poem is far too long to post as text, but I have plans for it that involve the rendering of sound into digital form and various other devious machinations, none of which are quite at the ready stage yet. So for today, there is something very short, and bitter-sweet. I would have aimed for something hopeful, or silly, or bright in that way that fanfares of trumpets are, but this is where things live, and have lived for weeks, and maybe for a long time to come, so this is what there is. Happy Poetry Month, everyone; and may your dreams be filled with words and wonder, and some amount of peace.


I heard her voice again, today
when everyone else was sound asleep;
Funny how the empty space
where something should be, but isn’t
can follow you around.

 – T.H.

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National Poetry Writing Month (April)

Every once in a while I sense that my prose is starting to lose its unique voice, its sparkle and depth, those nifty unexpected turns of phrase that make you sit up and go, “Ah, now that’s not bad!”. That’s usually when I realize that I haven’t been writing enough poetry. So in the spirit of getting back in touch with my wild subconscious (by far the better instinctive writer than boring old everyday me), I’ll be writing and posting A Poem a Day in honour of National Poetry Month.

You can check out the main NaPoWriMo site for links to other poets doing the same thing. To find a poetry-inspired event near you, just Google “National Poetry Month 2014”; it’s celebrated all over North America every April (and in October in the UK). And don’t forget Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thurs. April 24th.

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