Friday, March 16, 2018

Morning Song

 MORNING SONG by Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1930
 It is morning, and in the morning when the light drips through the shutters like the dew, I arise, I face the sunrise.
 Vine leaves tap my window, dew drops sing to the garden stones, the robin chirps in the  chinaberry tree repeating three clear tones.
 Waves far off in a pale rose twilight crash on a white sand shore. the green earth tilts thru a sphere of air and bathes in a flame of space.
 It is morning, and in the morning should I not pause in the light to remember God?
 He is immense and lonely as a cloud. I will dedicate this moment before my mirror, to Him alone.
 Vine leaves tap my window, the snail-track shines on the stones; Dew drops flash from the chinaberry tree repeating two clear tones.
 It is morning, Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
 The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion, the stars pale silently in a coral sky.
 There are horses neighing on far off hills tossing their long white manes.
 And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk, their shoulders black with rains.....
 It is morning, I ascend from darkness and depart on the winds of space for I know not where.
 There are shadows across the window, clouds in the heavens, and a God among the stars.
 I will go, thinking of Him as I might think of daybreak.
 Vine leaves tap at the window, dew drops sing to the garden stones, 
 the robin chirps in the chinaberry tree repeating three clear tones.
 From A Treasury of Great Poems, 1942
Photographs 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Letter from Bethune, March 1942

Isabella and Robert Shiels 1953
 to my mother and father( Nessie and Davy)   in Victoria.....                
                               ( MARCH 27 1942)  
(Bethune, Saskatchewan)
Bethune, Davy, 1940's
 Dear Nessie:
        Was so glad to hear Davy is better and working again. Got your letters and lovely dress when I cam back from Regina, after another 16 days stay at the Queens Hotel. Dad came down with me, and stayed 3 nights. Got one eye burned with copper, every other day, and boy did  swear… sure burned , but after the first 4 times I did not mind. 
 No, I never squeaked, but I noticed some MEN  who did. Well, it is gradually getting better. I have a month’s home treatment then back for a week. It has cost $100 for trips and medicine and Hospital, and hotel bills, but well worth it. The Doctors bill was light…only $12. ( Note: my grandmother was  blind  by 1950.....)
Bill Shiels ( Nessie's brother)
 Well, that is enough of ME. Dad and Bill managed fine. Bill is just home from 3 days in Regina, at the winter fair. 
Nessie, 1936, Gov't Street Bridge
 Had a nice time and bout a new suit. Just fits…a blue pencil stripe, so I am happy. Been at him so long to get it. 
1943, Yarrow Dock Workers.
 He got another litter of pigs…..9…and has bought a one way with seeder $225. Three years old……ordered a new disc. We pay half of that so he is well equipped for spring.
Reads: "Yours ever, David, 1932" 
 Hens are laying, but cows slowed down a little. Well, the lovely winter is past and it is blowing these past three days, like Old Harry…dust all over. Could not hang out wash for two days, but must tomorrow, or burst.
1941, Bethune Farm Sheep
 Had a letter, also, from Isobel, also Mrs. Moore and Mrs. W. Thompson, and card from Stuart. 
1941 March (Isobel ( Nessie's sister), Isabella, Nessie and Jessie the Dog.
 All when I came home. Had a cable from him today, for $30, and put it through the bank , twenty minutes after we got it, so he gets it so he gets it tomorrow. 
Stuart ( Nessie's younger brother) Signaller WWII
 He had already put his money in Victory Bonds ( $200), when he went to Regina. Poor Stu….I guess he is in some jam. (Note: Stuart was always in some sort of pickle.)
1940 Stuart, Bill Buddy, Jessie 
( off to war)
 Sent him a lovely box of all-sorts…$5.75 worth, out of the cigar stores, also two parcels. 
1933 (Stuart)
 But the laugh was on me as I addressed Aunty Barbara’s parcel to him, alas, in mistake…
WWII Stuart. Portobello Pub
 namely: 1 pound of butter, sugar and one pound of fruit cake. So, had to send another one!
1931 Ontario
 Hilda Mullins is getting wed in two weeks time. Grace is pretty sick. I guess she has gone for an operation, but I really don’t know.
1930's Stuart and Bill Shiels
 Mrs. McLean has to go get the tumours removed . Met her in Regina, but she told me that 20 years ago, when her money was plenty, came to Regina to see Dr. Ritchie. (She obviously delayed treatment). 
1941 Davy and Nessie, leading horses. 
                                                      Jessie the dog, always there...
 Sure folks are funny. Art Hemmings has been sent home. He has been doctored all the time, and still at it. Angus Wilkie got cataracts of his eyes…they are not very good yet, but they both enjoyed their trip to B.C and Vancouver. Visited with a lot of folks.
1941 Horses at Bethune farm
 Have not tried dress on yet, but it looks lovely, and need I say we were all so glad that Davy was so much better, and good home cooked food will be a big help in his recovery to health. 
1943 Nessie and neighbour
 Dad and Bill are both looking well, and as for me I am getting too fat and am real hungry all the time.. So no wonder!
1930's Davy at wedding
 But how did I weary in Regina . Visited Mrs. Ambrose, Dad and I , one evening, bit it was not very successful, as she had quite a few droppers and a young couple staying…rather nice people. So, we only stayed a short while, as Dad was uneasy, but promised to call again. Her mother looked good. 
1955 Robert and Isabella, hand in hand just before she died.
 Hell! Must stop, as I have some more to write, namely Isobel, and Stuart, first. I have been awful busy since I came home. So much to pick up. Had 19 quarts of beef to put up.
        Write soon. With love to Davy and Nessie, from All     Mother  
                                           Hope you can read scrawl.
Vintage Photographs 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Towhee's bathday

 "A forest bird never wants a cage..." ---Henrik Ibsen
 Towhees everywhere. These days.They sing.
 It is said that their song sounds like " Do you want some teaaaaaaaaa?"
 The jays tolerate the towhees at the seed pan and the birdbath. 
 Spotted Towhees like to root around in the underbrush. 
 Cordelia likes to watch them from her perch. Way up high. On the fence.
 The Towhees take over the birdbath. And the seed pan. But they seem to like the crawly insects as well.
 With spring not far off, the Towhees will be nesting  close to the ground at some point.
 But away from the cats.....
 They are the  coolest birds regarding hatching eggs. If they lose the eggs they just  have more.
 And a bath. In between. Keeping an eye on Spencer, the Cat Plant.
 "My father always said 'Malala will be free as a bird'..."
                                   ---Malala  Yousafzai
 In warmer climates than here, the Towhees have  been known to raise a second brood.
 Towhees, like Hummingbirds are  usually quite territorial. 
 And the cats just watch. And watch. Splish Splash. Takin' a bath.
 "Do you want some teaaaaaaaa?" says the Towhee.
 "I'm youth , I'm joy. I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg." ---James M. Barrie
 Photographs 2018