Saturday, 12 January 2013

Guilty and Cobalt Blue


Caged in wire

Chained forever

On display

Disdained or coveted

A trinket

Hung with your brethren

Around an aging neck.

Is this why, reject shard,

you journeyed far

by current dragged

by wave pummelled

by rock tumbled

by sand smoothed

by salt hydrated,

transformed into a mermaid’s tear?

Hide from my obsessive eyes

and my marauding hands,

cocoon in weed and

camouflage with shell;

and when the ocean storms,

listen to the siren winds,

go back and journey on.

Bryan D. Cook  Ottawa,  January, 2013


I occasionally reflect on the other side, though it is not always good for me! I took this triptych and converted it into a positive point of view in Cobalt Blue. 

Cobalt Blue

Milk of Magnesia

sharded by a winter storm

from the shore-side dump

to journey far,

tumbling and etching

into mermaids’ tears

of misty cobalt blue.

I dance the

light fantastic

when you emerge

from weed cocoon

or shelly camouflage.

Argentium shall

enrobe you,

pearl and crystal be

your bridesmaids; and

you shall be

forever reunited

on a Viking’s knit

of harmony and love

and mystery.

Bryan D. Cook  Ottawa, January 2013

More Context

I put these counterpoint poems on the Sea Glass Poets Society Website and had the joy of having Linda Steger write an ode around one of my images:

I bare my soles and wade in the waters of life;

Along the shore of time, I stitch the line.

Listen to the siren winds, go back and journey on.

Oh, soul you know, you know who calls and journeys on!

This gem of cerulean, and one of fire, another of light, one of desire:

I cage them up to free myself. A selfish gesture but a necessary

Exchange while in this cage of mine to wander.

Linda Steger, January 2013,  “Ode to Bryan Cook’s poetic contribution “Listen to the siren winds, go back and journey on.”

I found the ode delicate…..exquisite….. like a finely wrapped pendant on life’s chain. Every line has a graceful image interwoven with emotion expressed in metaphor…..and yet its form is succinct and simple. Thanks Linda!

Old Phillips Milk of Magnesia Bottle

Sea glass pendant in argentium silver (by Bryan Cook)

For Thine Is Africa

For Thine is Africa

You were mine, my little one
Who rocked so gently in my arms
 And laughed at my stupidities.
You grew, my lovely one
To challenge all my world and
No longer listen to my endlessness.
And so you left, my worldly one,
Fearless of machete, rape and AIDS
Sowing knowledge, giving life and hope and praise

I needed you, my angel
To keep you safe, secure and loved in
My conventional worldly ways.
I dreamt your life, my golden girl
But they were my presumptions
A father’s selfishness transposed

But you now African, my love
Seduced by her wilderness
And her obsidian mysteries.
You will not return.
So forgive me, my gentle grace,
For thine is Africa and free
Take care and sometimes think of me
I always will be there

For although the seas divide us
And time so quickly flies
We still can meet each other
In the dreamland of our minds;
And you’ll still mine, my little one
To rock so gently in my arms and
Laugh at my stupidities

Bryan D. Cook for Bruce Clements,  Ottawa , January 2013

Context for “For Thine is Africa”
I wrote this poem for a musician, Bruce Clements, whose daughter is in Africa. We share the same sentiments about the upbringing of our children. I hope that he will compose a tune for these lyrics one day.

The Ashes of March

The Ashes of March

The warning signs were there

Weak limbs roped
to no avail
Leaves fell before they died

Final flush of seed
a legacy
Grubs fatten in pin-holed bark

Woodpeckers drum out
emerald borers
Above the chainsaw X

The street has lost
its shade
To firewood ashes

Where will the cardinal sing?

Bryan D. Cook    Ottawa, December 2012

Context  for "The Ashes of March"
This poem is about the devastation to the ash trees of Ottawa caused by the accidental introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer...a beetle native to Asia which lays its grubs through pin holes it bores, to feed below the bark of ash trees. The only remedy is to stem the tide by cutting down the infected trees. The result has been the devastation of whole neighbourhoods where they were originally planted for their shade. The lesson learned too late is that monoculture bites back, although it gives the woodpeckers quite a feast albeit temporary!
The poem is another of my attempts at minimalist imagery. I did not realise until after it was written that it is in the form of a bookended series of haiku!

To be felled

Emerald Ash Borer and "D" pin entry hole

Bark chipped by woodpeckers with grub groves

Downy woodpecker feeding beside the limb rope