Little Brown Beggars

For my contribution to National Poetry Month today, I’m going to write about a famous western Canadian poetess, Edna Jacques. (Pronounced Jakes) She was our Edgar Guest, a poet who wrote about home, often her prairie home during the Depression years. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses, most of them available, as used copies, on Amazon.

Edna Jacques was born in Collingwood, Ontario in 1891 and moved with her family to a homestead SE of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when she was eleven. She married Ernest Jamieson at age 20 and they had one daughter. If I recall correctly, he later had mental health problems, so Edna did not have an easy life — still she wrote cheerful verses about nature, the seasons and domestic life in general. Altogether she wrote some 3,000 poems and published about half a dozen books of her verses.

You can find a few online and I’d like to post one of her verses here, but she only died in Sept 1978. Which means that technically they are still under copyright and I don’t want legal problems. 🙂

Fire in the Wind

Hello everyone,

I read an interesting tidbit the other day from one of these life-coach-advisor types: If you have goals in life you really want to accomplish, or if you feel like your time management ability leaves something to be desired, leave the internet alone for the first three hours of each day. This includes cell phone calls and messages.

He claims most people who’ve achieved success in life don’t start their days online. They rather spend those first prime hours reading, meditating, focusing on goals and planning their day. Conversely, people who start their day hopping and skipping around the internet, reading e-mails, and leaving short comments or messages, tend to carry on through the day with the same lack of focus and end up not getting much done and feeling very unsatisfied.

I’ve decided to follow his advice and see how it works, as I’ve been very frustrated at my tendency to be distracted, or lack of self-discipline. So I tried it this morning: I left the computer alone and read some devotional thoughts about Easter — then focused on some needed housework.

The upside: I feel like I accomplished something today. 🙂
The downside: Morning is my prime writing time. If I got busy with other things, I don’t get to my computer until the evening. (Mind you, it dosn’t help that I have a jigsaw puzzle on the go right now. 😉 )

Now, on to the Fire Wind:

Today was warm and the wind gusting high at times — and it’s been extremely dry here this spring. I was outside for a few minutes around 5 pm and thought: a bad day for a fire. As I’ve mentioned, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to burn our “trash pile” of dead and/or pruned branches. I had a little fire last Thursday, but then the municipal Fire Ban went into effect and we can’t burn ANYTHING now. Small wonder, though: last week Saturday our volunteer firemen were called out to three big fires in this area, and we heard there was a bad one near Saskatoon last Saturday.

I came in from outside and puttered around a few minutes, then opened the west side window, since it was so warm — and I got a strong whiff of smoke. Looked out and saw smoke billowing into the sky;  it seemed to come from the farm across the field about a mile south of us. We decided to drive out and see what was happening — after all, the wind was blowing the smoke in our direction and that does make one nervous!  When we reached the road our farmer-neighbour went by in his tractor and headed across the field toward the fire.

We heard later that our son-in-law, on his way home from work, spotted the flames and called in the alarm, then went back to fight the fire. Volunteer firemen arrived and then the firetrucks, and we saw our neighbour going back and forth across the field next to that farm, plowing a fireguard to keep the fire from spreading this way in the high wind.

It burned for at least an hour and now, several hours later, there are still flashing lights at that farm. The fire was burning in their trees, so I imagine some firemen are watching to see it doesn’t flare up again.

I haven’t posted anything in honor of National Poetry Month for a few days, but thinking of fire makes me think of Aussie poet Frank Prem’s book DEVIL IN THE WIND, about the devastating bush fires he witnessed in 2009. This promises to be a fascinating account in poem form! It’s for sale now on Amazon. Here’s the dazzling cover — and the link (Amazon .com)

Devil In The Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (Poetry Anthology Book 2) by [Prem, Frank]

 

Morning Musings

Good morning, everyone!winter-rural road-ahead

It’s a frosty one here on the Canadian prairie this morning; my phone registers our temperature as -36 C. Definitely CRISP, but warmer than the city of Saskatoon, which is -39 C or -37 F, according to Environment Canada. The predicted high today is -27 C.

Needless to say, our furnace is running pretty steady. I’m so thankful we don’t have to haul in firewood and keep the place warm with the old wood stove! We’ve had a couple more snowfalls this month — not heaps, but enough to keep the snow removal people on the go.

Our cats have serious cabin fever. During most of this winter our weather has fluctuated and they’ve had a few days every week when they could go out. But this cold spell (below -20 C) has settled on us all week and they don’t venture out for more than a few minutes until they’ve had enough.

And I have a cold. Mostly sinus drip, for which I’m taking decongestant and drinking hot stuff. A great day to stay inside and let my imagination wander to green grass and budding trees. The high for next week Wed is to be -16 C, so we will slowly come out of this.

I just came across this little verse in the 1974 Friendship Book of Francis Gay. I don’t know if I should find this a comfort or not?
When snow is deep and toes are numb,
when aches and pains make faces glum,
it’s odd to think you’ve only got
four months to wait to feel too hot!

Anyway, I wish you all a good day, wherever in the world you are. My thanks to all of you who are reading and following this blog. I’m delighted that I can “visit” with so many people this morning without having to leave my warm house. 🙂

 

Fire: A Fierce Foe

Aspiring Author Sammi Cox offers her Weekend Writing Prompt HERE.

I haven’t done one of these before, but Dale’s post got me enthused. The challenge is to write a seventeen-word story using the word IGNITE.

Such a short story is the tip of an iceberg, where you know there’s a whole chunk hidden under what you see on the surface. Here’s my offering, and I hope you get a glimpse of the larger story.

“We think a tossed cigarette ignited the ditch grass.” The despondent farmer watched as his wheat blazed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a very real threat in dry years here in the western prairies. Our son-in-law is one of the volunteer firemen and has been called out different times to crops and hay fields ablaze. One Sunday morning half a dozen of our younger men left in the middle of the church service to go fight a fire.

Not a reality: You wouldn’t see a farmer standing there watching while his crop burned. The local farmers and volunteer firemen are out with tractors and loaders, working for hours, plowing or scraping fireguards to contain the blaze to one field.

This summer was so dry our municipality put a ban on ALL fires, including all outdoor BBQ pits and such, in case a stray spark would ignite a blaze. One of the main causes of fires in our area, however, are the sparks that fly from passing trains, igniting the long, dry grass along the train tracks.