Saturday, July 24, 2010

An angry death

Things have been rough
around here, the cats are spitting
fur and venom, each hiss
a punctual curse. Ripples
have run through the shell
of protection, the meniscus
a feeble illusion that we
can truly ever hope
to protect the ones we love.
A shuddering death, a gasp
brought shock into the place,
not silence, but roaring rage
a molten burst, a livid serpent
of searing flame, spilled over
deep magenta, a violent red
determined to erase
the illusory calm.

Rachel Westfall
July 24, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Magic

The latest obsession in my house is Magic the Gathering. My son and I were at an event recently at our local gaming store, where we got to play and keep some of the new cards that will be coming out later this week. In the final match, I glanced over to my son's table to see how he was doing, and I caught a maniacal gleam in his eye. I could tell by his grin that he'd won again.

The idea of trying to capture the spirit of all this in poetry has been nagging me for a while. I thought I'd try a little haiku, because it's so often a good way to kick-start my writing, and the restrictive form sometimes inspires me to rebel and write a longer piece. But how can I even hope to capture the excitement, the teenage boy hangout, the smells, and the anticipation that go along with a pre-release event? Here's my first attempt.


Summer brings new spells
Dark room, testosterone filled
Bright demonic grin

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beautiful bear poetry (and announcing the prize winners)

Thanks to everyone who submitted poems for the bear poetry challenge! It's so hard choosing who to send a prize to. I wish I could send each of you a bear package.

First, the poems.

From Michael Pealow:

Bountiful berries
We all grow in summer fields
Nom nom nom nom nom!

Haha! Now what else would bears write poetry about?

Michael also wrote this beauty:

On the Origins of Groaler Bears and Pizzleys

Tall, dark, and handsome
Raging case of Spring Fever
And exotic tastes

The polar goddess
In her wintery white robe
Has "Grizzly Fever"

Rob-Bear was definitely on a roll when it came to Bear haiku. Rob-Bear, I knew you'd find your inner poetic bear!

Bear likes challenges,
but eating's more important,
spring, summer, and fall.

Bear in shining fur,
glowing with bright moonlight,
sniffs distant food, wonders.

Bear, back gently
massaged on summer grass,
fragrant, sunny carpet.

Brown bear, sniffing intently.
Fine food in the air.
Nothing else matters for her.

These lovely gems came from Jozien:

Brevity and levity
says the bear lusciously
i caught a glimpse of its black shiny fur

a great big black bear
lumbering in causally
he walked out again

And from Utopian Fragments, a polar bear dream:

forever is gone

the bear was all alone
but the ice snippet
was lonely drifting

Two more food-oriented beauties and a play-poem from S.L. Corsua!

mother grizzly bear
begins her vegan diet
cub thinks: not again

cub hears salmon splash
mother grizzly stops mid-chew
thinking: sorry, grass

mama bear shakes head
while cubs mimic the humans
playful brother-bears

Then there was a spiritual beauty from Catherine Vibert:

Child of my heart
I teach The Way of the Land
Though boundaries tighten

And Kat Mortensen shared her Robert Service-style bear poem with us! This one made me feel sad. Poor old Bucky.

BUCKWHEAT’S LAST GRAB

Strange things happen in the dark of night,
While you’re bundled up in bed.
Keep away from the honey-hive at the height
Of the moon, or you’ll end up dead!

Tall tales told by the campfirelight,
Old grizzlies love to share.
Cubs, wide-eyed shrunk up with fright,
Heed not the chill night air.

One story is their favourite,
Sends shivers up small spines,
‘Bout a Kamloops bear gone missing
Who couldn’t read the signs.

“Stay out!" "Keep off!” The billboards read,
And, “Enter if you dare!",
"No tresspassing!","Beware of Dog!”
Buckwheat could only stare.

The printed word dumbfounded him,
For book-learnin’ he’d spurned.
He might have been more careful,
If reading he had learned.

So on he went into the yard,
Just followin’ his nose,
To that sweet smell of honey,
When up behind him rose…

A figure of great height and bulk,
Wielding a big long stick.
He drew a bead on “Bucky”,
Who thought it was a trick…

Until he saw the gun go off
And he knew he was done.
Then Bucky crumpled in a heap
For he weighed near a ton.

And farmer Orwall rolled his sleeves;
He had some work to do.
The massive bear he had to hide,
‘Else, this dark night he’d rue.

Long gone midnight, moon was high
And Orwall dug down deep,
And rolling the old bear inside
Poor Bucky went to sleep—

Forever with the angels,
In paradise for bears;
Where honey flows from faucets,
Rolls down the marble stairs—

At least that’s what they tell the cubs,
Especially when there’s tears--
Young bears need reassuring;
The big bears calm their fears.

Now farmer Orwall’s up in court,
With charges to be laid.
The law still frowns on shootin’ bears
To stop a midnight raid.

So let that be a lesson
To bears who leave their cave:
Stay in school and learn to read
‘Cause signs your life could save.

Strange things happen in the dark of night,
While you’re bundled up in bed.
Keep away from the honey-hive at the height
Of the moon, or you’ll end up dead!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

And now for the prizes! Did I say this was difficult? Oh yeah!

The randomly drawn name from all entrants was Michael Pealow!

The Bear-spirit prize: now this was the hardest to choose. Several of the poems really moved me, so I picked three. The runners up were SL Corsua's vegan bear poems, and Cat Vibert's spiritual piece. SL made me laugh, and Cat made me feel as if I'd walked into something much bigger than I'd bargained for, such as an ancient temple or almost-forgotten rite. Cat and SL, I'd like to send you something, too. Cat, I think I have your contact information. SL, how can I reach you in the mail?

When I read the poems over and over, one author moved me in the way of the bear-spirit more than any other: Rob-Bear! Congratulations, dear Rob-Bear! Your bear in shining fur poem truly gave me goose-bumps (bear-bumps)?

Prize winners, please email me at rachelw at northwestel dot net with your mailing address, and I'll send you a bear gift package.

Congratulations and thanks to all of you! Your poems are wonderful!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bear poetry!

Thanks everyone for the wonderful poems you've entered so far! I'll leave the contest open until midnight tonight. Tomorrow, I'll post a compilation of the poems, and I'll announce the winners.


I have special little bear-gifts for the winners which I picked up at Jade City yesterday, as we made our way up the Cassiar Highway towards home. If you aren't local, and you ever have the chance to travel up this way, I highly recommend the Highway 37 experience! Don't forget to take your camera with you.