Winter Wishy

For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton. Check the Village Stories page for links previous pieces in this series posted in July/August 2014, July/August 2015


Winter Wishy

the winters always seemed too long

my mother called January

the wishy month

we dreamed of warmer sunnier places

as we counted the stars

San Diego Guadalajara Timbuktu

she would name off these places

as if she were once there

she had never set foot outside our village

we kids would sit around the living room

listen and dream with her

imagining places with wonderful names

Odessa Budapest Siberia

places she had never been

yet we could feel the sun

as we lay on the comforting beaches of

Hong Kong Anchorage Thunder Bay

what a big world was out there

I would go up to my bed

with these names stars in my mind

how could I ever get from here to there

I never thought to ask my mother

how she knew of such exotic places

in school I never remembered any of them

to ask our geopsychology teacher

where they were

what were they really like

how to get there

when we were trapped

by ice flows that plugged the harbour

snow turned the Whistling Woods

into white mountains

the men had to tunnel through

to get to the moose

we were captives of this weather

some days no one could be out

for more than an hour

without the risk of losing a nose or an ear

bundling up for school

took as long as it did to get to school

where we could only remove the first few layers

choir practice was conducted

in the mist of our breath

some mornings we couldn’t see

from one side of the church to the other

that mist would be so thick

our voices would tinkle off the icicles

along the rim of the dome

inside the church

we had to be careful lest one of them fell

but no one complained about the cold

there were other things to moan about

how the skidoos only worked once a week

how hard it was to get the clothes clean

stuff like that

how ink froze in our pens at school

things that were annoyances

when it was the coldest

my mother would gather us

to tell us of these wonderful places

Gibraltar Terra del Fuego Nassau

that would warm us a little

that would give us reason to live

06jul01It has been nearly a decade since I’ve read or even edited some of these Village pieces. The ones I posted the past couple of years haven been those that worked the best for performance & that had more of a stand alone strength. 06jul02Wishy starts a change of direction in the series. Its moving into a longing for change, for other places, as out hero gets a sense of a world outside the one he lives in. I pull in a varied list of exotic & not not exotic places – names used as much for their sonics as for their exoticness. Some tossed in for paradox.06jul03As a bit I did long to travel. I had a set of booklets that came one a month each about a different country & there were stickers to glue in on each page. I don’t know what became of them, there was also one of science – supposedly a cunning way to educate children.

I add a thick layer of snow to emphasize the sense of trapped, winter trapped & snow bound, while also bringing in some of the motifs of the mythology – the moose, the Whistling Woods. I resisted drifting into Paul Bunyan – where it was so cold words froze as you spoke them only to be heard in the spring thaw.06jul04There’s a also a nod that that ‘when I was a boy I walked ten miles up a hill, in a snow storm to get to school.’  I worked on extreme but slightly silly images for it was so cold that … the ink in my pen froze. I really love the moment in the church as the choir sings to the accompaniment of icicles on the inside of dome. Everyone needs a reason to live in the dead of winter.soon

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –


check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015:


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

Cape Breton church

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