Deaf-Mute in the Pear Tree- Poetry

As many of you know I am back in school, which is why I am a bit behind in my blogging. It just dawned on me this morning after too much coffee, that I have been writing other things of interest in school so why not share it here? Here is my take on a poem by P.K. Page.

How Poems Work: Deaf-Mute in a Pear Tree by P.K. Page

Deaf-Mute in the Pear Tree

BY P. K. PAGE

His clumsy body is a golden fruit
pendulous in the pear tree

Blunt fingers among the multitudinous buds

Adriatic blue the sky above and through
the forking twigs

Sun ruddying tree’s trunk, his trunk
his massive head thick-nobbed with burnished curls
tight-clenched in bud

(Painting by Generalíc. Primitive.)

I watch him prune with silent secateurs

Boots in the crotch of branches shift their weight
heavily as oxen in a stall

Hear small inarticulate mews from his locked mouth
a kitten in a box

Pear clippings fall
soundlessly on the ground
Spring finches sing
soundlessly in the leaves

A stone. A stone in ears and on his tongue

Through palm and fingertip he knows the tree’s
quick springtime pulse

Smells in its sap the sweet incipient pears

Pale sunlight’s choppy water glistens on
his mutely snipping blades

and flags and scraps of blue
above him make regatta of the day

But when he sees his wife’s foreshortened shape
sudden and silent in the grass below
uptilt its face to him

then air is kisses, kisses

stone dissolves

his locked throat finds a little door

and through it feathered joy
flies screaming like a jay

I am a romantic. That is why I am drawn to the lush imagery and the bold sexy language in P.K. Page’s ekphrastic style poem titled, “Deaf-Mute in a Pear Tree,” from The Glass Air: Selected Poems. This poem was written after she lived in Brazil, a time that she stopped writing and became a visual artist. In an essay included in this collection titled “Questions and Images,” Page states that she became interested in “The quiet stories of paintings. The understories of paintings.” I believe “Deaf-Mute in a Pear Tree” is a poem that is claiming that the silence of a painting, just like the outside appearances of an old married couple – can be deceiving.

Silence is one of the underlying themes of this poem; the silent secateurs, the finches’ song and the pear clippings all fall soundlessly. By adding indentations to these sentences, they emphasize the layers of silence. Or these dropped lines could be mimicking the leaves falling off the page. Perhaps if you snip away the leaves, you might find something hidden underneath the foliage; you may discover an older unassuming couple, with clumsy bodies and blunt fingers, who may surprise you.

This poem references the Croatian outsider artist, Generalic; but even though there is no such painting about a deaf-mute, I did find a painting titled, “Under a Pear Tree.” Generalic’s painting depicts an older couple, under a leafless pear tree. The couple appears to be uninterested in each other, looking in opposite directions in a cold barren landscape. Alternately, Page has set her poem in the spring, a time of love and procreation. Page uses many references to sex, she carefully selects words such as crotch, tongue and sweet sap. Even the sounds that are finally released; the screaming of a jay and mews from a kitten – sound orgasmic. In Page’s version of her couple in a painting, the man is not only in the tree, the man is the tree, his body is a golden fruit, pendulous in the pear tree, the words “pendulous, massive head, and thick-nobbed,” are all suggestively phallic.

When Page uses the repetition of the words, “kisses, kisses,” it is to convey a sense of urgency and abounding love. There doesn’t have to be sound to hear the joy in this couples’ relationship. The woman comes alive from the touch of his palm and fingertip. Love can be as silent as the soundless greenery falling to the ground. “What is man devoid of words?” asks Page in her essay, “Where can wordlessness lead?” To love of course! Silence in this poem is eliminated once the woman is seen by the man. This is when the stone dissolves and the silence is completely broken, just as our understanding of the depth of their passion for each other is revealed.

Page has been faulted as a poet that writes with “female whimsy,” but if writing about love in this vibrant way is considered too whimsical and feminine, then bring it on P. K. Page, in all its silent glory. I’m blowing you kisses, kisses because I believe there is nothing more romantic than a woman who is the sap in her husband’s pear tree. This poem cleverly unveils an understory of a painting that burns as bright as the blue of the Adriatic Sea.

Works Cited

Freake, Douglas. The Multiple Self in the Poetry of P.K. Page. Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne, [S.l.], Jan. 1994. ISSN 1718-7850. Available at: <https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/SCL/article/view/8196/9253>. Date accessed: 15 Oct. 2018.

  1. K. Page, “Deaf-Mute in the Pear Tree” from The Glass Air: Selected Poems. Copyright ©

1985 by P. K. Page.

“Questions and Images” Page P K, Canadian Literature Issue 41 Summer 1969 Tenth anniversary edition, online Canlit Date accessed: 15 Oct. 2018.

 

 

 

 

Cultivate your Garden

 

Sitting upstairs at the Hive Emporium on Gabriola surrounded by beautiful art, I am struck by a particular painting by a new and exciting artist who just moved to Gabriola Island, Tyrrell Clarke. Somehow my eyes can’t get enough of the vibrant colours of “Flight of the Bumblebee.”

But besides dazzling my eyes, this painting makes me think of one of Voltaire’s sayings, “We must cultivate our garden.” It made me think about how one of the best things that grew from my own passion for words is that both of my daughters enjoy reading. My favourite sound in the morning over breakfast was the occasional flip of a page as we ate our breakfast and read before heading off to school. That was a garden that I didn’t even realize I was planting, but there it was—bloomed forth like Van Gough’s Irises in the springtime.

Alternately, when the kids were little I remember myself pontificating about people who do not eat healthy food and how in this day and age there was no reason people couldn’t find the resources to learn about good nutrition. Meanwhile, in between kale smoothies, I often reached for a handful of chocolate chip cookies.  I was probably chewing the cookies and dropping crumbs in my lap as I was complaining.

Now fast forward a few years later and one of my daughters made a comment while we were enjoying double-decker ice cream cones on a hot day. She said something about how poorly this person who walked by was eating – they were drinking a large two-liter bottle of coke with a bag of Fritos. It was at this moment that I realized that while I thought I was teaching my children that eating junk food was bad, all I was doing was teaching my kids to be judgemental.  I wanted to cultivate a healthy lifestyle for my kids but I wasn’t really walking the walk. I think this important lesson can be woven into all aspects of our lives. I believe cultivating a lush garden is one of the most important things we should be teaching our children.

If you don’t show your children how to cultivate joy and friendship and love in their lives, really show them, where will they get these skills?  And even if you don’t have children, don’t you wonder where you got your “gardening skills” from?

See how inspiring a good painting can be? I recommend meeting a friend at the Hive for a cup of tea and one of their very good samosas made lovingly by New Dawn Edibles that only uses locally grown ingredients, cultivated from,  you guessed it–local island gardens!

Here are the event details for The Hive’s Art Show.

SEASONAL REFLECTION

December 14 – January 13 

John Poirier – Dirk Huysman – Deb Dallyn – Carolyn Bell – Tyrrell Clarke – Phillip McAdam – Stephen Cole – Graham Sheehan

Penny in Your Shoe

Someone asked me why I have a penny in my shoe. I was told that it may bring prosperity.

One of the women who told me this has a very nice home with lovely art on the walls. It appeared to have worked for her. This doesn’t seem too difficult to do, I thought, I can do this. Now I have a tiny metal reminder clinking around my left toe, or sometimes it works its way down towards the side of my arch.

Sometimes I might fish around the bottom of my purse, find a penny and force unsuspecting friends to sneak one into their shoes.

Why not get all the help you can get?

Has it worked you may ask? Are you wealthy yet? I have to tell you – it is beginning to work.

Each time I grow weary of some endeavor or another the tiny tapping of the coin reminds me to keep at it. Finish this job and on to the next, because money is important. And I know those of you who have money, may interject, “No no! It is not important at all” But I believe it is important. We must have money to buy food to eat, we must pay the mortgage. That little piece of metal is my daily reminder to keep moving forward, keep learning new things.

“Keep at it,” says that bit of copper rubbing my skin.

There is a lot of interesting history on those clunky looking penny loafer shoes. They were made to store a penny in a little pocket on the top.  This money was so that teenagers would be able to call their parents from a phone booth! How quaint. First, it was a penny, then it was meant to hold a dime. Now, kids shoes would have a little opening for their expensive thousand dollar cell phones, the shoes could be called grand loafers. Inflation is tough.

Click on the link below to see more of Sonya Clark’s artwork and not just shoes made out of pennies.

http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/

Why Did the Octopus Eat Its Own Leg?

I always wonder what I look like- gazing at a painting…

Last week I orchestrated an overnight trip to Vancouver. It was hard to get motivated to leave the comfort of my own home. I always have too many excuses to feel like leaving the island to go to a busy city and spend too much money on BC ferries just to go see art. Such as; my life is too busy, I have too many projects on the go, what about the dog, the gardening, etc etc.?

So it was with a great amount of effort that we hauled ourselves off to see Takashi Murakami’s, The Octopus Eats its Own Leg at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

I know what you are thinking, that it sounds like the beginning of a joke that a fourth grader might tell you standing around the monkey bars–Why did the octopus eats its own leg? The name drew us in I’ll admit. Not only children are intrigued by octopi.

My husband dropped me at the front doors to line up early on a Monday morning… which turned out to be a great and uncrowded time to visit. Only a smattering of school classes were sitting around the large bright paintings, sketching and listening to their guides. 

There is nothing like the Vancouver Art Gallery to inspire you!  We stopped midway for a break to eat eggs and toast at a pricey cafe across the street and then went back for more. Was it worth all the trouble? Yes it was! Besides being an enjoyable way to spend the day, these pieces sparked many new ideas for us to make new art projects! More and more stuff we must now make, on top of our other millions of art projects that we are in the process of.  Soon we will have so many going on that we will truly never be able to leave the island again to see any more art gallery shows. We will have to start our own gallery- and then I we won’t have to leave to go on an expensive trip to Vancouver to go see an art show.

The circle of life, I suppose. My significant other spent the whole ferry trip home watching You tube videos on screen printing after watching a video on how many of these large panel installations were created. I myself am starting a ceramics course next week and hope that my sculptures will turn out just like Mr. Murakami’s. See below.

 

After thoroughly enjoying the exhibit, we hunted out all the other art packed corners of the art gallery. We found a very interesting German print exhibit.

Heck, we even visited good ol Emily Carr…Is it only us that says, Emily Carr? No way, no more Emily Carr and then we go anyways and still enjoy it.  She’s like an old friend  with her dark green forests and strange Van Gogh like landscapes. How do you pronounce Van Gogh anyways?

Watching Portrait Artist of the Year I notice the English hosts say Van Gogh  rhymes with cough.

See how many new things you learn from my blog?!

Besides getting inspiration from visual art, I often find that if I read only a few pages of amazing writing this also creates a chain reaction of creativity.

So go on. Get out there all you makers. Get makin’

 

 

Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover

 

http://www.readerservice.com/content/vintage-harlequin-covers/

Don’t judge a book by its cover. I made this mistake when once, bringing out an array of world language books for a library presentation, I picked out a few novels off of the library shelf. I tried to choose books with pretty covers. I knew the Korean book was about sewing children’s clothes but the Chinese fiction was harder to guess at. It was a soft covered book, on the larger size and covered with brilliant flower images.I was hoping it was something that might draw someone’s attention and it did. I saw a young woman pick up the book to look at it and I was pleased, I said-

Is this a good book? Have you read it?  And slowly and gently she tried to explain what it was about.

No, I have not read this book.

What is it about? I inquired.

Oh, it is about a girl, she said hesitantly.

Hmmn, I said,—you mean it is about friends?

No no, she replied, it is about a lady, how do I say it—  she is a bad girl— she is a lady of the night.

 

Oh really?  I said, feeling silly that I displayed it….this was an outreach in a local church after all. She continued to read the back jacket to me, well—eventually she becomes good.

I believe she was trying to ease my mind that I had chosen a really trashy novel. I was aghast! How did I choose a seemingly innocent book off of our shelves? I was aiming for gentle ( flowery) fiction and was far off the mark! In my defense, there were no pictures of handsome men or half-clad women on the front, only flowers!

And so— my lesson of the day;

Do not judge a book by its cover– although I often can’t help myself if it is really pretty.

 

 

 

6 Guitars

 

6-guitars

I have been a fan of the reality tv series Alone. The premise is that survivalist sorts of people are plopped down in the middle of nowhere, usually Vancouver Island but this latest season, they are put in the wilds of Patagonia. They must survive on their own, until they are the last one standing, kind of a survivalist red rover if you will. Besides winning half a million dollars, many of the participants claim to want to do it for the personal sense of triumph, as in, “I can do it! I can feed myself, keep myself warm and dry and safe and not go mad for months! Alone. In the wild.”

We noticed an interesting phenomenon— that the ones who don’t create fun projects for themselves, tend to either grow bored or sit around thinking about why they should go home and how much they miss their loved ones. It is the individuals who make boats, chairs or  instruments that seem to last longer, they are amusing their minds. Their isolation is being averted by their efforts to keep their monkey minds busy.

I thought of this as I went to see an amazing show at the Lunchbox Theatre the other day. It was a one man show that involved him shifting in and out of six different personas of guitar players. There was an eighty- something -year old blues guitar player, a twenty year old rock n roller, an angst infused Jazz player, a latin musician, a folk guitarist and a country boy. It was cleverly intertwined with guitar music (obviously) and clips about their life and what made them the musicians they were today. What I gleaned from it was that they were all a little influenced by the other genres of music and that it was their pure joy of the music that made their lives worth living.

What has Alone and 6 Guitars have in common? Life can be trying. A person needs to spend it creating or doing what they really feel compelled to do. Learn it well. It will make life worth living.I am not a musician myself but I am moved by music everyday.

People need music. And people need those that create music and art. I believe our survival depends upon it.

Click the link below to learn more about 6 Guitars

http://www.sixguitars.com/about/

Pablo Picasso was never called an ——-

picasso painting woman

Lucky me. On my holidays I got the pleasure of visiting my other favourite art gallery in Vancouver. This show was all about Picasso and his women. Very interesting. And fun to go with youngsters too, because in a way a lot of his pictures could be considered funny if you think about them through the eyes of a child. The way the faces have eyes in the wrong place or distorted noses.

I learned that Picasso wrecked  havoc on many women’s lives. Over the years I have looked at his pictures and said, “hmmn Picasso, interesting!”- but never thought, “well I wonder if he was a nice guy?”

I guess the band the Modern Lovers did consider this a long time ago with their song, Pablo Picasso was never called an A——. This was the only thing that was missing from this show, The Modern Lovers playing in the background. But there was a great silent film of the artist painting on glass-it was like he was painting on the other side of a mirror in a continuous loop.

What I learned from this fun feild trip- he painted that mural Guernica and he created some sculptural pieces. Oh and quite a few women killed themselves after being with him. Oddly enough on my holidays I picked up a very old paperback by W. Somerset Maugham called The Moon and Sixpence.  I soon discovered this was a fictionalized account of the artist Paul Gauguin. Another cad! Go figure.

I didn’t realize some of his portrait paintings were a morph of two different women.

( Maddening for the women.) As he grew unsatisfied with their relationship, their portraits became more and more hideous.

Upstairs was another amazing exhibit by a woman I have never heard of,

BHARTI KHER MATTER

 but I admit I am not that knowledgeable in art, I just likes it.

 

Click here for a youtube video of the Modern Lovers. https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=song+pablo+picasso+was+never+called+an+asshole#id=1&vid=90fc1a3d07de3abc666c25c9a3acc8d5&action=click

WAG and the joy of finding a female stone carver

memaid on sled wag

Just last week I had the pleasure of a serendipitous trip through the Winnipeg art gallery. I was downtown on a hot summer day, tagging along with someone on an errand. As we drove by the big limestone building I said, ” Hey! I am going to walk through the art gallery.” It will be a trip through memory lane, I thought. I have spent many an afternoon meeting up with my younger sister or with my Ukrainian baba to wander through those pale stone corridors.

I was pleasantly surprised that there were three, yes three— 3. Great venues to marvel at. And for twelve bucks!

There was a whole section displaying the book illustrations of Daphne and Chloe by Chagall. I recall going to see the Chagall Museum in Nice when I was in my twenties.

I have always been fond of portrait painters and had the luck to stumble upon Karel Funk’s amazingly detailed portraits. My friend soon caught up with me and we walked through Oviloo Tunnillie’s sculptures. We ambled through the gallery with  traditional inuit music playing in the background. I loved the wooden portrait of the artist that another artist had carved and painted.

mermaid sculpture full wag

I am embarrassed to admit that when I walk through the Inuit sculpture section I often feel dulled by the figures of polar bears and men in big parka’s with a spear in hand. But I suppose I had never seen sculptures by a woman before. I marvelled at the content. A carving of a man sitting on a toilet. A young girl surrounded by strangers in veils about to whisk her away in a car for a lengthy stay in a hospital far from home. A figure on a sled. A man holding a passed out woman. A dark mermaid. Birds.

I discovered Inuit sculpture is not always traditional. I loved that these pieces were created by a woman.  The figures in stone portrayed different periods of Oviloo’s life. I was hooked.

http://wag.ca/art/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions/display,exhibition/182/oviloo-tunnillie-a-woman-s-story-in-stone