Tag Archives: life

Solitary Sentinel

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Solitary Sentinel

Face filled with history,
sixty odd years have passed in this house,
his mother’s table still by the wood stove,
just as it was when she was here.
The bakelite radio muttering indiscernible words,
monotone monologue of worlds at once
important and irrelevant.
Detritus and stains,
no one worried about the stains,
or the yellowed newspapers piled at one end,
tales from years past,
the spanner for the separator,
that old can opener
and a dirty spoon and dish,
tell-tales of forgotten soap,
the smells of kitchens past.
He shifts to spy the time,
chair creaking,
the clock ticking his hours down.
The smoke stained paint
momentarily haunting his memory
of days when it was fresh and gleaming.
His mother died last year,
and his true love before that,
though, she never actually arrived,
she passed in his mind,
as so many things do.
Routine his only salvation,
to sit and keep watch,
a solitary sentinel,
just as she was.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

23 Comments

Filed under life, poetry

My Only Expectation

Expectation – Word of the Day

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Photo: https://c.pxhere.com

 

 

My Only Expectation

We started somewhere,
though we started everywhere.
No point can be pinned,
it was a conversation,
a look,
a smile,
words,
a place.

Seasons were our canvass,
and we painted ourselves slow.
Keeping every detail,
a record of our life
in love,
in trust,
in sickness
and in health.

Eros and Aphrodite sometimes came for tea.
And though we stumbled in their shadows,
our sighs smudged the heavens
with abstract utterance,
of caress,
of lips,
of eyes,
of that fleeting synthesis.

We’ve enjoyed so many, many things,
our needs were very few.
Time has gathered us more closely now,
our youth is more within.
Still we paint our canvass,
as life invites us through,
and my only expectation is
I’ll paint this road with you.

 

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, mindfulness, nature, poetry, romance, seasons, Sex

Inside Job

Possibility – Word of the Day

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I know the owner of this beautifully restored Morris “Woody.” When he bought it he could see what it would look like fully restored. He did much of the work himself, but outsourced to a friend the work he wasn’t skilled at doing. It was old and tired when he bought it, and once the old faded paint was stripped off, the upholstery, timber frame, wiring and more, were all refurbished, it looked as good as new. Michael could see the possibility of beauty and life, where few could.

Some of us have been around a while, a little over thirty. I’m not a great advocate of exterior renovation, but if that’s your thing, then go for it. I’m more for the interior renovation. I see possibilities in myself for change, for challenge, for renewal. And in my experience, when I actually engage with these interior processes, difficult as some may well be, the outcome is not only that I am different because I have grown, or moved in some way or direction, my view of others and of the world has shifted too. And what I do for myself affects those around me. Not only that, but if we persist and achieve some interior change, others may be encouraged, not just becase we have changed, because they can se ehope for their own journey.

But the question is, do we see impossibilities or possibilities in ourselves? Do we see beauty and life?

“They did not know it was impossible, so they did it.” Mark Twain

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this, you haven’t.” Thomas Eddison

my heart yearns to change
a storm is raging in me
the pond is still

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

22 Comments

Filed under cars, creativity, Haiku, life, mindfulness, quote

Scale Model

Squabble – Word of the Day

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Innocent little things, not so long ago they were in the incubator, now they’re happily fosicking around the yard together, but soon they’ll squabble and fight over scraps, worms, seeds and more. Like any young, they learn to play and fight, and they learn to negotiate life’s maze. Squabbling is petty, but part of living, and as we mature we have opportunity to learn from such behaviour, what is important and what we can let go. If we don’t we may sadly remain petulant, enmeshed in anger, jealousy, or bitterness and miss out on the joys of life and relationship. Squabbles are an opportunity for children to learn to work it out rather than escalating into something intractable.

Pity there isn’t much in the way of leadership at national and international level by way of example. We seem to have a gaggle of immature, petulant politicians. But the same could be said for some in the celebrity circus (although the line is now blurred between civic and celebrity), or the sporting world. Sad how the back yard or the school yard squabble has found a place on the international stage.

But then that is not so strange, if the model at home is no better then why should we be surprised by public displays of such behaviour by adults? Unless I take steps to resolve or even prevent squabbles in my own life then what right do I have to whinge about the behaviour of politicians and celebrities? None. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” He also said: “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him/her with love.” And of course, love invokes forgiveness, the serum, the antidote to squabbles of any kind.

More serum in the world please!

ivy chokes the tree
the cherry blossom smiles
the pink heart of love

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, mindfulness, nature, permaculture, quote

Ramble On

Gallivant – Word of the Day

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I’ve travelled and rambled a little, but I would say as Bilbo said to Frodo (and later Frodo recalls it) “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  J.R.R. Tolkien (Fellowship of the Ring)

But unless you go out that door there will be no adventure. One doesn’t need to ramble far for adventure, there’s enough going on in every local community to constitute an adventure of sorts. Adventure isn’t always about excitement or danger, it can be enterprise, chance, venture, to take a risk.

For some the risk is maybe even just going out the door, or, having to talk to people, taking the time, travelling even a short distance, being out of your comfort zone, going into new experiences … but to think, there may be conversations, sights, colours, wildlife, history, events, or the beauty of solitude in nature, whatever the outcome, there’s always an experience to be had. It may not be earth shattering or exciting, but yet it may well be profound. And, does it matter where you’re swept off to? Predictability and over thinking are kindred spirits to ruts. A true adventure has to have surprise and spontaneity somewhere in it, and you can’t plan that.

But isn’t that life? Life is an adventure (that’s my experience), life is an invitation to ramble on, you can’t nail the whole of your life down, you can’t control every day of every year. We need to open the doors of our hearts and minds, even to just leave the window of opportunity open to entice us. Strangely enough, all the ifs and buts become a faint memory once you’re out the door.

The tales of the “Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” are all about rambling, adventuring gallivanting, but also a tale about life itself, as most fiction is. The band Led Zeppelin were steeped in Tolkien. If you peruse their lyrics there are phrases from Tolkien all over their original works. But the emphasis is always metaphysical, always rambling, always love and adventure, hence the song “Ramble On” on their 1969 album Led Zeppelin 2. Below is a sound track of that song where the accoustic guitars have been separated out – so no heavy guitar on this one, and the lyrics come to the fore (simple as they are).

Ramble on!

Paul,

pvcann.com

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The Satin Life

Satin

The Moody Blues’ ‘Nights in White Satin’

The only time I spent in satin sheets was murder, I spent the night trying not slide everywhere every time I turned, it was bizarre, and they were hot, but not in the right way, sweaty hot (like wearing silk shirts in the height of summer). Each to their own. We vowed we’d never buy them ourselves.

Satin is quite an interesting weave.

If you know your satin you’ll know that it has a shiny side and a dull side. This is created by the method of weaving – called satin weave (which is one three basic weave types), where there is no strong diagonal line and which therefore renders a smooth, unbroken surface. Silk was the main material for making satin, but other materials are now used as well, though, for example, when using cotton the resulting fabric is usually called sateen.

Satin is a bit like life itself, it has a shiny side and a not so shiny side. The shiny side doesn’t constitute all of life, and can’t, because nothing remains smooth or unbroken. With all due repsect to R.E.M. we can’t be Shiny Happy People all the time. The not so shiny side is somewhat more representative of real life, not dull necessarily, but perhaps our more regular routines and patterns of living that can sometimes drive us mad, or make us yearn for a glimpse of the shiny, glossy, sexy, fun side of life. The two go together, too much of one or the other unbalances us. Without the less shiny side, the shiny wouldn’t stand out, without the shiny side, there wouldn’t be a foundational rhythm in contrast. And, as soon as the shiny side becomes the regular reality, it becomes monotonous anyway, and we begin looking for the new shiny. Perhaps in the shiny life we are slipping and sliding too much and need to be grounded more in the routines of ordinary living.

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under history, life, mindfulness, music

The Gordian Knot

via Daily Prompt: Complication

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In downtown ancient Phrygia in Anatolia, in Asia Minor (now modern Turkey) the population were without a king for sometime, and a prophecy was given that the new king would be a man who drove an ox-cart through the city gate. And, a peasant farmer did just that. His name was Gordias, and as per the oracle’s prophecy, Gordias was named king of Phrygia.

Gordias’ son Midas was so grateful that he tied that ox-cart to a post using an complicated knot made from cornel (cornus mas) bark and dedicated it to the god Sabazios (or as the Greeks would say – Zeus). The knot was said to be very complicated, it was described as being several knots together, so intertwined that it was impossible to find the beginning or the end of it, hence its entry into legend as the Gordian Knot.

The legend went on, with a new prophecy that whoever undid the knot would rule all of Asia. Enter Alexander the Great. There are two stories of Alexander undoing the knot, in the first he simply slices it in two with his sword after wrestling with it. In the second, he discovers the central strand and successfully unravels it. Either way, he went on to rule Asia Minor and beyond.

Today it carries the meaning of complication. We use the term “cut the Gordian Knot”, which refers to decisively solving a problem or puzzle. The term also refers to any problem or conundrum that can only be solved with lateral or creative thinking.

We all carry an internal Gordian Knot or two. I think where love is concerned when we meet our life partner we are the key to unravelling the complications of attraction, bonding, and releasing each other in new creative ways. I think there are other knots we carry. Some carry the whole world on their shoulders, others carry depression, anxiety, heartache, grief. Others carry hate, jealousy, anger. Some carry physical knots of illness. It’s a complicated world, and none of these knots can be treated as simple or trite. These knots can’t be dealt with like Alexander slicing them open, nice as that would be.

The ancients believed that the knot was actually a code to be unravelled first, so that the knot would also unravel. In a way it is a metaphor for life – to be patient, to learn the clues to self, to understand self and one’s passions, abilities, and possible paths in life. For me the Gordian Knot is life opening up as I attend to the mindful path, strand by strand, not being too concerned with slicing or loosing the whole, but discovering each intricate strand and its role. Life is a Gordian Knot, and it cannot be short circuited, you cannot succeed by simply getting frustrated and slicing it open. Life, as the cliche goes, must be lived. Our clues to success are in the living into the glorious chaos we call life, remembering Samuel Butler’s comment: “Life is not an exact science, it is an art”, and finding our way. But above all, we are often the key to each other’s unravelling our inner knots, it is an imprecise science or art, sometimes we are totally unware it is happening, it’s called relationship, it begins with dialogue …

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, mindfulness, Mythology, quote

Who’s A Cur?

via Daily Prompt: Cur

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Nope, definitely not a cur. Vienna is on loan to see if she fits into our family and life, but after two weeks we are already quite taken with her, and she with us. She is no low, viscious dog, but a lovong member of the family.

The cur is the grumbling, growling, biting dog, the back alley dog, the drooling menace, the lowest of the low. A dog of mixed breed, or unknown parentage, ugly, fearful yet aggressive, angry but yet a true coward.

The cur doesn’t discern, but simply lashes out, bites and runs away. The cur hides in darkness, in shadows, is easily whipped by the masters tongue, and grovels to the one who feeds.

As a child I heard this term used as a putdown on a number of ocassions, listening to the men talking at the BBQ, now and again an absent man would come into discussion (isn’t that the way of it? To analyse and disect the absent ones) and I have a memory, that some were described by the epithet cur, or its equivalent mongrel! “That bloke’s just a lying cur.” “He’s just a no-good mongrel.” “He’s just a bastard.”

Something in me would twinge, I felt for the absent ones. Was this how we were all described when absent? Was this the sum view of all who didn’t fit this group? Besides, I knew some of these ‘curs’ and I didn’t share that view! Ever since I have puzzled over the way we tend to use comparison, to take nature and make it a negative description of a person. You pig, you scaredy cat, you cow, you dog, you wounded duck, you silly goose and so on. It all rolls easily off the tongue, especially when angry.

Cur when applied to humans, means, the person who is grumbling, annoying, untrustworthy, reactive, unreliable, disliked, cowardly …

Sadly labels stick – either directly in the social milieu, or in the mind of the agressor, or worse, in the mind of the victim, there is no easy escape. We so readily resort to defiining the other, and sometimes negatively, boxing them in, giving us and them a mind-map to follow, defining their potential and their future. Words have meaning, words convey place, words have power, most especially in the mind, but also in the group. With a word we convey goodness and hope, with another social death, and isolation. With words we steal life itself and terminate those we so easily label, sucking their identity from them, and boxing them into our definition. Control!

But there is some redemtion of the term. There are dog breeds known as curs in the US. The Catahoula Cur, the Blackmouthed Cur, and others. These are dogs bred for rugged conditions, mountain dwelling, coping with bears, pumas, coyotes, and other threats while guarding sheep and cattle. They are adept hunting dogs, and loyal to the family or individuals who care for them.

What I like about that is the opportunity to turn the term around. So what if the cur is loyal, hard working, protective, fearless, helpful …

I love binary terms, they shouldn’t exist but they do, and in the end the positives always outweigh the negatives. The binary of cur is a gift. We can use that gift to refute the negatives and redeem the victims everytime. I believe there is good in everyone, we just have to set aside our filters and bias to see the true person before us. With a word we have the power to box people in, or, set them free.

I want to set them free! (And, I too want to be free)

That your name is cur
recurs, recurs, until we
set you free to be

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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The Inchoate Life

via Daily Prompt: Inchoate

What is the sound of?

The inchoate Zen koan!

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Steps?! More an inchoate mess. On the day I cursed these, they had deterorated and certainly hinderd rather than helped the climb. Some sections were good, but around 400 metres of this and you soon tire. However it was worth the agony just to achieve the summit. Coming down was no easier.

A kind of parallel to my life –  incomplete, messy, no less easier after the climb through youth. Tough steps. But worth every minute and all the effort, and more to come. An inchoate life.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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A Captivating Dream

via Daily Prompt: Captivating

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It is not slender, it is not pretty (to some), it is not straight or elegant or young. It is in fact old, gnarled and mishapen. It has obviously survived fires, storms, wind damage, dry spells and more. Yet it is captivating for the real life it offers. As with any tree it offers me the Co2 – O2 exchange that is vital to my very breath. It provides shade for the understory and any creature that passes by. Many living things exist in its bark, or depend on its leaves, transpiration, or shed detritus that helps form the humous at its base. Its blossom is a source of nectar for indigenous bees as well as European honey bees, and for a variety of insects. Its seed provides new life and is a food source too. Probably the fact that it is so gnarly has saved it from the tree fellers over the past four decades, so it is a survivor. Which just goes to show that looks aren’t everything. I was captivated by it. It is striking by comparison, and stands out in the forest of straight and elegant comapnions.

Back in 1980, the story of Joseph Merrick resurfaced through a movie made by David Lynch, called the “Elephant Man.” It had little chance of being uplifting, it was in fact, deeply saddening. Merrick died at 27 due to compications of his body weight to head weight ratio. I left the movie feeling quite heavy, mostly because of the lack of knowledge then to help him adapt to a better to life, and also because of how some in society treated him. Merrick was a real person, but not everyone treated him as such.

Scroll forward to another movie in 2001, “Shallow Hal” by the Farrelly Brothers. It was a comedy, but a very real look into the real potential for humanity to be superficial and shallow in regard to relationships. It had a manufactured ending, it was after all a work of fiction, so it ended well. But it resonated for me in my experiences of people who only see the surface of anything or anyone. But in reality, as we develop in life, we are all faced with the moment of choice – are relationships merely about taking, or are they mutual? The latter, of course, relies on our wholeness and our ability to see beyond self.

I am captivated by the life force and life giving capacity of the gnarled old tree. I was captivated by the story of Joseph Merrick and his struggle in the sea of human indifference, a short life that, perhaps, only pointed to the need for a better way, but that was something. And I was captivated by the desire of the makers of Shallow Hal to make the movie resolve in favour of true love, honesty, and integrity (but then, it is a hollywood production) in a world where, sometimes, the complete opposite is true in relationships.

My hope, dream, is that we will all be captivated by the real self in relation to other real selves, that we are not blindly becoming consumers of other people, that we’re not just in some symbiotic dependency, but rather in mutual and interdependent relationships that share values and dreams, love, compassion, and hope ….

In a time when our fellow life forms need advocacy, when sexual identity has become a battle ground, when class remains and economic injustice, and where wealth remains an obscenity, and where leadership has become a vacuous celebrity circus, we need the real.

I’m captivated by the potential of all forms of life, in particular, by the potential of humanity to excell and rise above shallow and look deeply inside to see the true beauty of all living things. Imagine.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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