Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lindy sleeps through Pet Pride

Lindy says, "Hi, Bozo. I'm glad you're learning to sleepwalk. When you learn how to eat in your sleep, let me know, and you can teach me, too."

Posted for
Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's pal Bozo and his family
at their Pets Forever blog in Mumbai, India.

Imagism comes to the Imaginary Garden.

In the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry introduced us to the Imagism school of poetry this weekend, with some words of William Carlos Williams from his poem The Widow's Lament in Springtime.
Imagists were early modernist poets at the beginning of the 20th century who rejected the flowery style of the Victorian era. They included Williams, as mentioned above, as well as T.E. Hulme, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, Richard Aldington, Hilda Doolittle (published as H.D.), John Gould Fletcher, F.S. Flint, and D.H. Lawrence.
They believed words should invoke an image, and that a poet should reject unnecessary words as superfluous.
In the 1915 anthology Some Imagist Poets, Aldington wrote a stirring piece called Childhood, saying, in part:

I've seen people put
A chrysalis in a match-box,
"To see," they told me, "what sort of moth would come."
But when it broke its shell
It slipped and stumbled and fell about its prison
And tried to climb to the light
For space to dry its wings.

That's how I was.
Somebody found my chrysalis
And shut it in a match-box.
My shrivelled wings were beaten,
Shed their colours in dusty scales
Before the box was opened
For the moth to fly.

That's why I'll never have a child,
Never shut up a chrysalis in a match-box
For the moth to spoil and crush its bright colours,
Beating its wings against the dingy prison-wall.

I can never hope to conjure such an image with my limited skill, but I found I could relate to poems by D.H. Lawrence published in the same anthology.

Although Imagists are said to have rejected rhyme, Lawrence did not, and it is his example which I attempted to follow here, although I fully admit to being incapable of identifying unnecessary or superfluous words in my own work.

Summer Rain on the Prairie
by Kay L. Davies, August 31, 2013

The scent and sound of summer rain
Falling on cattle browsing,
Hard wet drops hitting the parched plain
And hired man water dowsing.

Harsh lightning comes with summer storm
Hits the one tree in the field
Tree dies with fruit that is still warm
With sun’s heat. No crop to yield.

Photos by
Richard Schear
Hired man continues his work
Hoping to locate a well
Where an underground spring might lurk,
Knowing rain was just a spell.

Rain ceases quickly as it starts.
Will a well be dug today?
The dowser uses all his arts
Summer rain’s never here to stay.

Purplish copper camera critters

This "purplish copper" butterfly is apparently quite rare in these parts, but my husband got these photos of just such a one during his walk in the Cypress Hills, on the border of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Sakatchewan, with the Grasslands Naturalists. The butterfly posed prettily for him on a flower that shares some of its colors. I particular like its bright fuchsia-purple antennae.

Posted for
Camera Critters
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Reflections between two provinces

On the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan there is a small mountain range known as the Cypress Hills. It is a recreational retreat for many people from both provinces, with golf, hiking, birding, star gazing, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowshoeing, beaches, boating, jet-skiing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and mountain biking all available seasonally.
Recently, the Grasslands Naturalists visited the Elkwater area in the Cypress Hills, and my husband brought me some lovely photos.
Here are a few of them
posted for
Weekend Reflections
the reflective meme hosted by James of California.
Thanks, James!

Richard Schear photos, Cypress Hills, Alberta

"Dastard" rhymes with "bastard" she said

Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Herotomost has all the Real Toads in a sleazy joint in New Orleans. The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry has been stolen right out from under the nose of our boss Toad, and we are asked to solve the mystery.
Better check the Toads link first for details, then check my solution below:

by Kay Davies, August, 2013

Basin Street is the street
where the elite
always meet,
but Bourbon Street
ain't got elite
for you to meet.
The bad bastards
and bad buzzards
are there, and hard.
Hard tattooed faces
in hard cold places
talk of horse races.
The sumo wrestlers
were just hustlers
but they had
Sherry’s back,
and Sherry
had the knack
of finishing poems
in English so foreign
you’d think it
was written,
each word bitten,
and then splittin’
from South Africa.
The Pulitzer committee
thought the poem witty
and awarded it the prize,
Wikimedia photos
but it was a surprise
to Missus S.A.
on that very day
when the lights went out.
Her poem, her life’s work
had, by some light-quirk,
been submitted by a frog
who wasn’t a real toad
n o t a t a l l a t a l l.
Whereupon all
the Real Toads were writing
and they were inciting
and hoping for sightings
of the dastard
—that bastard.
He had written the
end, you see,
not uncircumspectly 
but just incorrectly.
It should have 
said “braai”
but in USA
what do they do
but say
When the committee
came out to the city
to figure an end
to the furor
a skeleton slipped
out of his crypt
and claimed to be
the fuhrer.
“You’re crazy,”
they said, 
“and you are too dead
 for the Pulitzer,
 so we’ll give it instead
 to Missus S.A.”
and the real toads were happy
for the rest of the day.
And as for Sherry
she got away to the west coast of Vancouver Island where she lived happily ever after, never writing another word of South African English, but tying herself to trees every now and then, to protest clearcut logging, oil pipelines, unrecyclables, and cruelty to animals. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shadows and sunshine in Nelson, BC

Posted for
Shadow Shot Sunday
Shady spots were well worth seeking out when we visited the restored heritage town of Nelson, British Columbia, on a bright sunny day last month.

Photos copyright Kay Davies and Richard Schear

Watching blue Bahamas skies

Clouds come and go quickly when you're on a small island in the Caribbean. These photos were taken one day when we were in Freeport in the Bahamas in the spring of 2009.
Photos copyright Kay Davies and Richard Schear

Posted for
Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And now for a complete change of pace

The humorous poet and the poetic humorist are both gone away for the day, folks, and here to entertain enlighten you is that very little tiny quiet part of me that is political and opinionated. Okay, the opinionated part isn't particularly tiny, nor is it at all quiet. But you know what I mean: sometimes a person just has to get serious. This essay has been a long time in the writing, waiting for just such a day for me to finish it and put it out there. Whether it is finished properly, or well, I might never know. I just know I got tired of its unfinishedness and decided to have at it. Consider it a chapter in my also-unfinished Unfittie book (see the very beginning of this blog). I hope this link works:;postID=7604473981018666483;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1638;src=postname

Once upon a time, there was a revolution whose rallying-cry was “no taxation without representation” and when I think of such a revolution I wonder about North America’s homeless, and about the very-very poor. Who is representing them at the highest levels of power?

Who in the US or Canada says, “I represent the people sleeping under bridges. And my constituents want clean clothes, hot food, warm beds, medical care, and jobs”?

How many lobbyists whisper into the ears of the powerful, “Pssst, my guy says you won’t be sorry if you help him out here. He’ll be a big man some day, but right now he needs a bath”?
I have always taken the position that everyone should pay taxes according to his or her ability to pay: no tax for the very-very poor until they get established and begin earning more than a subsistence wage; but much higher taxes for the rich because—make a note of this—they're still going to be rich after paying their taxes.

It's so simple. What kind of people believe the rich “deserve” tax cuts? Oh, yes, those who believe the theory that Big Business always provides jobs, that’s who.

Okay, then: how about a business getting a tax break for every new job provided, but a tax penalty for every job downsized?

It isn't, of course, that simple. I remember feeling sorry for the newly-re-elected US President Obama because the punters were predicting another downturn in the US economy if he were to win, and I thought it might translate into a downturn in our Canadian economy because our fate is so irrevocably linked to theirs.

I worked for about 30 years. I worked hard. I worked a lot of unpaid overtime, and a lot of paid overtime. I was good at my job and had a good background in, and understanding of, the industry in which I worked.

I paid taxes. And when I was paid for overtime, I paid more taxes, in a higher tax bracket, so that my take-home pay was less than it would have been if I had not worked overtime.

Is that fair? Probably not.

Did I complain to my Member of Parliament? No, I did not. Educated tradespersons are, almost without exception, grateful to be earning a good living wage.
So where do we go from here? If I were in any position to do something, I would probably campaign for a political party that promises to take from each citizen based on his or her ability to pay, and to give to each citizen according to his or her inability to pay for such necessities as food, shelter and clothing.

Would some people give up their jobs in order to earn a subsistence pension from the government? That possibility does exist, but for most people it is not a probability. Very few working people want to voluntarily end up on what Brits call “the dole” because it actually is subsisting, it isn’t really living.

How do I know? Because I had a job, as I said before, and then I got sick. I belonged to a union, with a contract that provided for two years of long-term disability pay. At the end of the two years, however, the international corporation which, by then, owned the nice little local newspaper for which I’d been working, fired me, and refused to pay me my severance pay. It would have been a nice sum, because I’d worked there for quite a few years, but they refused.

So, there I was, with no income. I tried to find other work. I cashed in my Registered Retirement Savings Plan. I tried to find other work. I sold my house and much of my furniture. I tried to find other work. I didn’t give away my cats, however, because my union and I were taking the company to arbitration.

Time went by. I tried to find other work. I saw many doctors, including one hired by the company (he was supposed to disprove my disability). I did find part-time work. I lived in a travel trailer. A lovely trailer, in a very nice trailer park with a river and a duck pond, but it was a travel trailer nevertheless.

Then I got sick with a whole 'nother kind of illness. I was so sick with it, my parents moved into my trailer so that Mother could take care of me. Mother learned that putting frozen chicken on the kitchen counter to thaw is fine when you just have a small dog, but not so good when there are also two cats. The squeaky noises I made when in dire pain upset Dad, but he learned he could retreat to their truck camper where he was writing a book.

The cats were very happy, because they could tease my parents’ dog. I was miserable because I’d given up my bed to my parents, and was sleeping on a narrow bunk in the back of the trailer, with a cat on either side of me, but I was very grateful I’d thought to buy a two-bedroom travel trailer.

The medication for the second illness had dire effects on what remained of my health, but I did win the arbitration. I got my severance pay, and eventually the federal government accepted the word of the doctor hired by the company—instead of disproving my disability as the bigwigs wanted, he said the job had caused my condition. So, with both health problems still active, and several new ones brought on by the cortico-steroid (not exactly performance-enhancing drugs) ordered by my doctors, I sold my pretty little trailer and moved into a mobile home in a drier climate, hundreds of miles from the ocean.

Do you want to hear about the accountant who messed up my income tax return and left me owing half of my severance pay to the feds? No.

Just be assured, however, that I know to have, and to have-not, from both sides now, and I know to have is better, even when I didn't have very much.

Timoteo's list of words for Real Toads

cricket masters believe
calypso peppers bite
in a souffle.

Photos from
Wikimedia Commons

drumbeat bangs
rapidly over
broken moon.

fancy carriage
climbs precipice:
edgy, with
so little leverage.


Posted for
Timoteo's word list challenge at the

I told Tim I would let the list percolate overnight, but words just kept leaping off the list and into an order of their own, until four little bits of doggerel were there for the taking, so of course I took them. — K

Here, for your edification and enjoyment, is Tim's original list...


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

G is for Genovesa in Galapagos Islands

With thanks to Denise Nesbitt for starting and Roger O. Green for continuing this popular, long-running meme, and thanks also to my husband and photographer Richard Schear for his sharp eye behind a lens. These are his photos.
Special thanks to our friend Gattina in Belgium, who is hosting this week.

Posted for
ABC Wednesday

For the letter G this week, I have chosen the horseshoe-shaped island of Genovesa in the Galápagos chain, on the equator about 600 miles off the shore of Ecuador.

Genovesa is one of the smaller of the Galápagos Islands but is home to a great many different varieties of seabirds. Also known as Tower Island, Genovesa is a "young" volcanic island with seemingly inhospitable terrain.

When we visited the Galápagos Islands in 2006, we were told guests must try to avoid making any contact with the islands' wildlife, which were often well camouflaged amongst the plants and rocks.

Our naturalist guide, Karina (above) was a treasure trove of information about the feathered and marine animals living on Genovesa and the other islands.

Like many another island in the Pacific Ocean, Genovesa has areas that seem to have been painted white, but which, of course, have years' worth of bird guano deposited on their rocky shores.

This guest is standing well back while photographing an adorable pile of fluffy feathers which is actually a very young frigate bird. It will grow up to have a six-foot wingspan. Galápagos birds, even the very young, have no fear of humans, so it is up to visitors to maintain a proper distance.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Robbie does Herman and Ava

My much-younger brother Rob is an artist of some repute in Canadian animation circles. The Vancouver Sun seems to have decided he's their go-to guy when they have questions about the animation industry. And he once won an Emmy when he worked on Pinky & The Brain for the Warner Brothers studio in Hollywood.

Before all that, he was a college student living in my house. He was there when my friend Vibeke and her daughter Amber were trying to decide on a name for their kitten. Amber and Rob came up with the idea of naming him He-Man after a Mattel toy character.

When Vibeke and Amber moved into a no-pets rental soon after that, I inherited the kitten, and I had him neutered...He-Man became Herman, who became Rob's best friend. When our parents got a puppy, Hermie wrestled with the pup just as he did with Rob, without using his claws. When Herman turned 2, my sister got him a kitten for his birthday, and our boy Hermie became a mother.

This next is probably my fault...I had a Let-the-Kitten-Eat-First rule, and wee Ava took full advantage of it. From a tiny kitten who fit in a shoe, she grew to be very fat, and almost double Herman's weight. She also developed a wicked temper. When that happened, Rob drew this sketch:

Rob Davies, circa 1989

I'm posting this to my friend Yamini MacLean's blog despite the fact that she is inviting participation in her Me-now-views which is supposed to be pictures only, for "less speak, more peek" but I'm not very good at following rules. You've gotta know that about me, Yam, if we're gonna be pals.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A fibonacci is a fib by another name

So says my friend Hedgewitch o' The Wilds, who asks members, followers, hangers-on, and hangers-out at The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, to consider the Italian poetry form, the fibonacci, aka fib, which sounds like something children tell mothers and spouses throw about at will.

After some lengthy do's and don'ts as to syllable count and line length based on "a consonance between mathematics and the aesthetic building blocks of art", all of which gave me two headaches, a stomach ache, and considerable biliousness, I decided to follow the little diagram of sorts Hedge provided for such poor students as I.

"In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers," she says, "or Fibonacci series or Fibonacci sequence are the numbers in the following integer sequence:
Right, Hedge, and I believe in your fibs, I really do.
I quite agree, however, that going up to 34 syllables in one line could prove a trifle unwieldy, so I have chosen to use the 0,1,1,2,3,5,8 syllables and then throw the whole Fib into reverse.
The un-Love Potion

by Kay Davies, August 24-25, 2013

just once now,
and you’ll disappear 
from your lover’s beseeching glance, 

but should you want your lover’s glance
Wikimedia Commons
sweeping o’er your face
take this not
my dear

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hi, whatcha doin?

Hi there, whatcha doin'?

Can't you see I'm eating?

Oh yum, can I have some?    
 Shhh, go 'way now, it's time for my nap.

Richard Schear photos, August, 2013
Posted for
Camera Critters
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lindy walks past the reflections

Posted for
Weekend Reflections
hosted by James, the reflective photographer! Thanks, James!

Also posted for Pet Pride
hosted by Lindy's friend Bozo and his family
at their Pets Forever blog in Mumbai, India. Thanks, Bozo!

Photos by Richard Schear,
taken in Nelson, British Columbia, July, 2013
My husband and I are ever alert for reflections to photograph, but our dog Lindy usually ignores them. This time, however, she took a look. It couldn't have been because the statue actually made her think of a cat, could it?

Sounds of silence for Real Toads

Photo by Richard Schear, 2013

out on the prairie
when coyotes sleep by day
there never is heard
much more than a bird,
or grass rustling
with rabbit bustling,
sibillant soft sounds
and nary a word
to disturb

Poems by Kay Davies, Aug. 23, 2013
Winslow Homer "Woodchopper in the Adirondacks" (detail) 1870
submitted as prompt at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

the way we (wish it) were

the woods had never known
anything like this
until Homer’s man arrived—
followed by the police
who nabbed him for
disturbing the peace

A denizen of the Imaginary Garden, Margaret has found herself extremely busy this month, so has asked us to "write a gently quiet poem, trying not to overuse the word quiet or like synonyms" and to use at least one of the prompt pictures she has included from her recent visits to art museums.

I have used one photo by my husband/photographer Richard Schear, and one picture Margaret provided: a detail from a painting by Winslow Homer. I chose this one with my friend and fellow Toad, Sherry, in mind, because we both feel the same way about the forests of our native British Columbia, and I've co-opted the title from a song Sherry and I both remember from the days of our youth.

Posted for
Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Skywatch— sunset with horses

Photo by Richard Schear
Posted for
Skywatch Friday
Yes, we have Blue Moon photos. No, not posting them today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blue moon, you saw me standing alone

...with a dream in my heart...

NASA photo, from Wikimedia Commons

the eagle landed
to uneven gravity
amid fields of dust,
a boy scout badge
arrived with it,
metabolic rates were high,
a felt tip pen
got the home show on the road—
one small step,
one giant step,
in 1969

Posted for Izy's Out of Standard challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. We are asked to write a poem about the moon, without using the words "sky" or "night" or "night sky"...a challenge indeed, Izy.
For details on the origin of my poem, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

F is for forever fur-friends

When the staff of the San Diego Zoo find themselves with an orphaned cheetah, what do they do? They find the orphan a friend. Young animals of very different breeds can make friends easily, as is shown here—a cheetah named Bakka has spent most of his life with Miley, a husky mix. They live together, play together, and go for walks together.

Photos by Richard Schear, San Diego Zoo, March, 2012

Although the cheetah is by no means a pet, zoo staff are more able to work with him than if he had been raised by his mother. “Having a dog buddy who can show [the cheetahs] that everything is okay—and even fun—helps the cat feel comfortable and relaxed. The dog’s body language communicates that there’s nothing to fear, and that relaxes and calms the flight tendencies of the cheetah.”  (San Diego

Posted for
ABC Wednesday
the alphabetical meme started by Denise Nesbitt. Thanks, Denise, and thanks also to Roger O. Green, who keeps our alphabet hunt fun.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our world, hills on our horizon

We live in a small town on the western border of the city of Medicine Hat in southeastern Alberta. For reference, the elevation at the Medicine Hat airport is 2,352 feet (717m).

I've often shown photos of the terrain in our neighborhood: the flat prairie with coulees carved into it by the river long ago, but I've seldom, if ever, mentioned that an hour and a half east, on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border,  is a small mountain range called the Cypress Hills.

Wikimedia Commons photos
According to Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, "The Cypress Hills rise gently, climbing 600 metres above the surrounding prairies. The Hills have a unique climate and mix of forests, wetlands and grasslands. This high plateau is home to an astonishing diversity of plants and animals."

Recreation in the Cypress Hills includes skiing in the winter, fishing, and frolicking on the beach in the summer, as well as educational tours, hiking, and geocaching.

This past weekend, my husband visited the Cypress Hills with the Grasslands Naturalists group and, of course, he took some photos.

In the Cypress Hills, there is a small community called Elkwater, Alberta, where the elevation is 4,049 feet (1234m), and the highest point in the hills is called Head of the Mountain, at 4,816 feet (1468m).

In comparison, the well-known tourist destination of Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, is 4,800 feet (1463m), and the base elevation of Canada's highest community, Lake Louise, is 5,400 feet (1646m).

Posted for Our World Tuesday
hosted by Lady Fi, who lives in Sweden

Richard Schear photo

Richard Schear photo

Richard Schear photo