Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

It wasn’t about age; it is still about the music.
   I, and an almost-full arena, took in a spectacular concert last night as The Who played Toronto.
   Augmented by a full orchestra, the timeless British band gave us two hours of absolute magic; full of the sonic glory you expect from guys who have, at several points in history, proved that rock and roll is what it is.
   The Who could have spent the evening simply trotting out a career’s worth of hits, but instead opened with a string of compositions from the rock opera Tommy. Later in the night we were treated to a solid set from Quadrophenia. Both albums go well back into the ‘70s.
   Of course they played, and played well, the songs that many people know more from the CSI television series, but several of the big hits where left out (they did not play I Can See For Miles my absolute favourite song ever), but that was okay. Last night was all about the music.
   I’ve long considered The Who to be mostly about Pete Townshend, the guitarist who wrote much of the band’s catalogue. Now, at 77 years of age, Townshend is still in fine form. But so is lead singer and front man Roger Daltry, 78, singing and screaming in a manner that defies age.
   I’ve seen the band a couple of times in my lifetime, and chances are I will not have the opportunity to see them again. This may be The Who’s last tour, but then Townshend said he would quit touring in 1982.
   So there is hope, and there is still the music.

10/03/2022                                                                     j.g.l.

 

Giving Into Time

Gardens across the city are looking tired.

The flowers and foliage have for months been growing, blooming, celebrating the glorious sunshine and making our days on this big, beautiful planet ever more enjoyable.

But, come October, even the most curated gardens and manicured lawns are showing signs of wear and tear from the dipping nocturnal temperatures, lack of rain, care, or even neglect.

The cycle from spring, through summer, and now autumn, becomes more obvious each day. Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Echinacea, once-boastful geraniums and hydrangeas are giving into time.

I can’t even find a dahlia anywhere.

Our landscape is getting darker.

The colours of flowers we count on to fill our lives will soon only be available in photographs, florist shops, or bouquets of the day at the market. We take it wherever we can, whenever we can, but we will wait patiently for next year’s gardens to bring back the everyday joy as the cycle will begin once again.

10/02/2022                                                                            j.g.l.

Truth and Reconciliation

truth
comes at a cost

honour
those who have already paid

respect
the process

healing
takes time

forgiveness
takes even longer

 

In Canada, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day honours the Survivors of residential schools, the children who never returned home, and their families and communities.
Orange Shirt Day is an indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter- generational impacts of residential schools and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”.

09/30/2022                                                                            j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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Words Are Waiting

Posted on March 20, 2021 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

Afternoon by Dorothy Parker

It’s not what you read, but what you see, that goes to the core of what you will believe.

I once read a quote where an eight-year-old described poetry as something “where they don’t use all the page” Over the past couple of days I’ve read quote upon quote, a few poetic philosophies, and an inane pseudo-essay including obviously misunderstood academic terms, explaining what poetry really means.

Nothing I have read is as accurate as the child’s description.

Poetry does, undeniably, require space to breathe on the page. Sometimes, when properly done, only a few words are required to present the poet’s wit, wisdom, or worth. Although it is not simple, poetry is involved and too many people are determined to make it complicated.

Truly, poetry is more than words on a page. The craft, art, and undertaking of poetry goes beyond language, and it does so with more accuracy than any other written form.

If words were simply words; love songs would sound like streetcar alerts, love letters would be as romantic as minutes from a board meeting, and a poem would read like ingredients on a cereal box.

Words, indeed, have a meaning (some words have more than one) but even the description of a word does not define the meaning of a poem. Each word has an essence, and a backbone, with sentiment, soul, emotion, and memory stuffed inside. A poem takes these words and gives them space to resonate.

Poetry can heal or poetry can hurt. We read the words and we respond.

Yet, there are people who look distractingly deeper at poetry and, most times, complicate the process. They study the metrics of the meter, confuse the cadence, look for implied imagery, and search for the metaphor instead of the meaning.

This practice shows little regard for the poet who has already taken sufficient time to work through the mechanics of language and the moral or message, taking into account catastrophe, context, and heartbreak, stanza size and line break, and the politics of the atmosphere.

By the time a poem is presented, the poet has already struggled with the format, whether it is an orderly sonnet or set out in a measured stanza. Even free-form involves an acceptable purpose.

Over and above the poet’s intentions, a poem speaks for itself. It just happens.

Poetry does not take words at face value, yet it does not beg for description, interpretation, or even attention. All it asks for is endeavored understanding.

Your understanding may not, or will not, be the same as the writer, or that of the person sitting beside you on the bus, or another soul halfway around the world.

That’s good. It’s more than good, it is right. Everything else on the planet is so set in its way (even as we evolve or disintegrate), that so much seems too consistent. Except poetry.

Poetry needs to be consistently unpredictable so that we can receive it in the mood or the moment. It should be comforting to know there are words waiting that will accept the way you see them, or feel them, or believe them.

As soon as you have to study a poem it becomes a chore instead of a charm. There is no is no risk/benefit analysis required of poetry, don’t go looking for it.

I read a lot of poetry; far more than I write. Each year I take a volume of a celebrated, “classic” dead poet and, for the entire year, devour the work one poem per day (and some days even more). Last year it was Wordsworth, this year Emily Dickinson.

I’ll absorb, I will react, I will reread and recite, but I dare not call it study. If I call it anything, it is appreciation; and it may not even be that. And my reading is not limited to only those volumes, nor is it limited to treasured bards of years gone by. I’m still cherishing the recent work of a woman who is very much alive, and there is always a book of a recent, or lesser known, poet in my day bag. It might even sound corny, but I breathe poetry. Inhale and exhale. It’s just what I do.

I’d encourage you to do the same. Armed with a poem, you’ll be better equipped to take on the world. By avoiding the news (fake or foolhardy) for 10 minutes a day, or stealing a few moments away from text books, bible study, or gossip pages on your mobile device, you will better understand the human condition.

Try it. A poem a day, every day. There’s even an app for that and it’s free, functional, and quite enjoyable.

Just read it. Leave the analysis to sales reports, tax returns, and political maneuvering, and instead be moved by the writing. Words are important.

Poetry matters; let it speak to you, and for you.

Tomorrow is World Poetry Day
Take a poem to lunch

© 2018 j.g.lewis

 

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