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Happy  Birthday, dear fellow crone.  Fran

The Practice of Poetry(Robin Skelton, once my teacher, a guru, wizard, and  poet-this book is always in use for the classes I still teach)

Possession (the novel of research and librarians, greed and determination)

Benang (  Perhaps the  most imaginative historical novel I have ever read, the story of the aboriginal people in Australia)

Chaos (James Gleick makes the history, science and art of chaos theory understandable for those of us who, perhaps we were girls missed out on  physics courses in our education)

Narrow Road to the Interior (Hamil translation of Basho reminding me of a world that once was so very gentle)

And and extra for an old woman’s vanity:  Flight Patterns, my own book of poems by me!

Let wayward fingers
prize words out of the ether
minus thought
drift on the edge
across the final bar
that fences the horizon
only the white flag
signals trust
I hoist the blank page
and hope
there are words, and wordlings
far beyond my minding

What is this long silence?
Has the circle been completed?
Words gone missing?
AWOL, the slippery thoughts
refuse to be named.
I knew flowers, yellow round
morning gleaming
named for a larger universe
now brown and faded as the winter
breaks stems
dark waters frown at the roots.

Why the long silence?
the worn thesaurus sits unopened on the shelf
a torn page
Was that the place you last looked?
I seek out crimson
find darkness
a circle drifts, a bubble
slippery, delicate, pale on the water
winding to break against the nearest rock
completed now
and lost. Fran

I’ve posted a dance in the Atelier, painting for blog day

Here the dancers

Colours dancing
I set out to draw but ended up finding the background was the picture.

Hidden
Hidden
within her handiwork
Babushka lives
longing for her children
remembering
their shaping

An Easter greeting from Cronelogical
May you be blessed
in this season and all seasons

All is distraction
the house that will not clean itself of dust or ditritus;
garbage from a hundred trips of guilt
clogging the memory of a precious night;
the phone call advertising some useless other thing
and my shame at my rude reply;
the socks I did not mend
but thought it somehow important
enough to keep the socks;
the clothesline of life
pegged crooked
while I failed to see
the sun break pink against the pines
or scent of a thousand mornings.

Long years ago when I first went back to painting my teacher, a fine artist herself, told us to listen to our paintingss as we worked, to hear what the painting was telling us, and, most particularly to listen when the work was finished. I know now that when my work fails it is because I have failed to listen. Fran

I have been reading the history of Burma in fiction this past week and remembering the letters that came from Akyab when part of the story was happening. I thought you would like to look at my website, Poems from Memory Lane. Fran, Cronelogical

I once read a book about children’s rhymes in which a study was described in which a totally new skipping verse was found to have travelled from Britain throughout the English Empire of the day in less than 80 days–and that, I might add well before the internet. Fran

Who says an old idea cannot live again and that children, despite the most adverse situations will read if they can? I am sure that Joan Oleck will not mind my passing on this message from the British Columbia School Librarians to the Blue Stockings. For me this is inspiration and for those who write children’s stories hope for the future. Fran

Plane Drops 7,000 Books for Canada’s Indigenous Kids

Joan Oleck — School Library Journal, 3/5/2007

Most kids head to the library or bookstore when they need a book, but the aboriginal Cree children in Canada’s Far North can boast about a more adventurous experience. They received 7,000 novels and picture books after a military plane dropped them on to the frozen ice of a river emptying into Hudson Bay.

The February 26 drop was designated for K–10 students of the aboriginal reserve called Fort Severn First Nation. The tribe, like all of Ontario’s 26 northern first nations, suffers from geographical isolation, poverty, low literacy, and, until recently, a near-total lack of books in its school libraries. In all, two air drops delivered 900,000 new and gently used books for children in the subarctic native communities, which are unreachable by land during the winter.

The project is the brainchild of Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman, who is a member of the Mnjikaning First Nation. When Bartleman started the drive for the first nation school libraries in 2004, he collected 1.2 million books.

Bartleman’s chief-of-staff, Nanda Casucci-Byrne, says the thrill of watching the first drop outweighed the minus-10-degree temperatures and biting wind she had to brave. “It was a very large plane, the largest the community had ever seen,” she says. “It circled the community three times, and on the third time, on this predesignated spot on this frozen lake, you saw this large door at the back of the plane open. Then parachutes started to open. It was like gifts from the heavens.”

Once the massive crates hit the ice, nearly everyone in the community of 250 people hopped on their Skidoos and dogsleds and raced to reach the containers. Bartleman helped nearly 50 children tear open boxes and choose books. Some of the kids even plopped down on the snow and began to read, says Casucci-Byrne.

“When we put out this appeal, we thought, ‘If we get 150,000 books, it’ll be tremendous,'” she says. “Nine hundred thousand books later, and seeing this airplane coming to the most northerly, remote area of Ontario, and seeing these books fall from the sky… it was a beautiful picture.”

A mystery ship on a misty tide
floats silent, its passengers sleeping
waiting for a signal
from an empty window

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