Richibi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Month: February, 2015

“February”- Margaret Atwood‏

Arlen Redekop - "Cherry blossoms..."

Cherry blossoms have bloomed at the corner of Nelson and Bute in Vancouver, B.C., February 11, 2015

Arlen Redekop


Vancouver has been unimpeachable this
February, my sister through her
intercession with my dad, who is as close
to us as heaven, must’ve brought along
with her the sun and the unfettered blue
sky from her otherwise wintry home

there has been rain but sparsely here,
just enough to wean spring blossoms
out of hiding, as pictured above

but we are aware that not everywhere is
the same

here’s what Margaret Atwood thinks of



Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Margaret Atwood




Canadian surrealism

"Capture of bear in the woods" - Klavdy Lebedev

Capture of bear in the woods (1907)

Klavdy Lebedev


if Pink Floyd pigs can fly, as well as
Michael Sowa penguins, watch what
bears can do
in Canada in January,
surely even in February

amazing, just click


“Probability” – Lia Purpura‏

"The Miracle of Light While Flying" - Gerardo Dottori

The Miracle of Light While Flying (1931)

Gerardo Dottori


miracles, like beauty, are in the eye
of the beholder

they are astonishing circumstances
sufficient to transcend

if one dares



Most coincidents are not
miraculous, but way more
common than we think—
it’s the shiver
of noticing being
central in a sequence
of events
that makes so much
seem wild and rare—
because what if it wasn’t?
Astonishment’s nothing
without your consent.

Lia Purpura





coincidents, incidentally, are the,
plural, components of a coincidence

coincidences are the components
of, as stated above, miracles

note also “Probability‘s” loose rhymes,
“sequence”, “events”, “coincidents” /
“wasn’t”, “consent” / “more”, “shiver”,
“rare”, like glimpses of gold beneath
a nebulous surface, open to discovery,
something miraculous

“Dancing at Lughnasa”

   "O'Malley Home (Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland)" (1913) - Robert Henri

O’Malley Home (Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland) (1913)

Robert Henri


a quiet February evening, or even a quiet
February afternoon, would be perfect to
watch Dancing at Lughnasa“, a fireside
movie with family and warmth, even
chickens, it’s Ireland, 1936, in the distance
the Spanish Civil War, sisters are taking
care of each other

Meryl Streep heads an impeccable cast,
each performer surely inspiring the other
for such excellence to so generally shine
through, the magic is inveterately

Michael, Christina’s illegitimate son, tells
the story of when his dad visited them all
that summer he was seven, children are
always the victims, also the survivors

the play won the Tony Award in 1992 for
Best Play of the Year

watch, click


“No Ideas But In Things” – Jessica Greenbaum‏

   "Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling" (c.1527) - Hans Holbein the Younger

Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (c.1527)

Hans Holbein the Younger


it’s been a while since I’ve offered
up a poem, it’s been a while since
I’ve read one, and I miss them

but this one inadvertently this
morning struck a conversational
tone I found particularly engaging,
easy to read, though with cadences

no paragraphs

Jessica Greenbaum uses longer
iambic pentameters than I do, you
might note, decidedly more

but she sings her lines, her daily
prose, as if they were poems

that’s what I especially like



No Ideas But In Things

We checked the vents and hidden apertures of the house,
then ran out of ideas of where it might be open to the world.
So we couldn’t figure out how the squirrel was getting in.
We each had methods that succeeded in shooing him,
or her, out the door—but none of them lasted. Whether
it was the same squirrel—terrified when in the house, and
persistently so—or various we couldn’t tell because,
tipped off by a glance, he zigzagged from froze-to-vapor,
vanishing, Zorro-like, until signs would tell us he had
revisited the sideboard to dig in the begonia. (Escaping
Newcastle in a search for coal.) We plotted his counter-
escape, laying a path of pecans to a window opening
on the yard. A few days would pass, and, believing him
gone, we felt inexplicably better than when we began.
Then, from another room, the amplified skritch of nutmeg
being grated—and, crash. Bracelets off dresser tops, bud
vases, candy dishes, things houses have that the back yard
doesn’t. You don’t think of squirrels knocking things over,
but inside it was like living with the Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
When we couldn’t trust the quiet or prove his absence,
we cast him as that hapless shade: worry. Our own gray
area, scat-trailing proof of feral anxiety. But after a few
cycles of release-and-catch I grew bored with the idea,
with its untamed projections. Since he dashes up walls,
(yanked, like a pulley), or seeks treasure in a five-inch pot,
daily, why not adopt him as optimism’s travelling rep?
I tried. But the sun comes up, we step toward the stove,
and he shoots out like a cue ball, banks off the kitchen door
—what mayhem is caused by going to make coffee!—
and the day, again, begins with a shriek. We are now in
week three and I accept that, inside, the squirrel is going
to stand for something else. And so is the May rain
and so is the day you took off your coat and the tulips
joined in with the cherry blossoms and the people came out
and the pear-tree petals floated down in polka dots
around the tulips, and even around the cars. We name life
in relation to whatever we step out from when we
open the door, and whatever comes back in on its own.

Jessica Greenbaum

my Valentine

"A Bouquet of Roses" (1879) - Pierre-Auguste Renoir

A Bouquet of Roses” (1879)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir


happy Valentine’s Day, Apollo said
over the phone at about ten this morning

hi, I said, can I call you back

I’ll call you back later, he answered

roger, we agreed, out

later he called to say it again, I found it
amusing, verging on charming, but later
still when we met serendipitously on the
street, where he’d sensed it would
imminently happen, though it hardly ever
does, he appeared bathed in golden light,
crossing the street towards me beaming,
very, indeed, Apollo, cutting a path
through the traffic and throng

I, of course, melted as I usually do, but
managed to hold onto my bags

happy Valentine’s Day again, he said,
I’d’ve bought you a rose, he suggested,
but they’re in bunches today, fifteen
dollars, that seemed excessive

where would I put them anyway, I

we talked about a sign up saying, help,
I’ve fallen for you and I can’t get up, I’d
seen at the market, which, along with
the crush of roses and people on the
streets, had been enlivening, inspiring,

you could say it back, he said

you haven’t said it in seventeen years,
I retorted, I tried it back then several
times but it never seemed to work, I
gave up

I knew you’d say that, he contritely
replied, playing sheepishly along

okay, I said, happy Valentine

and I love you

I love you too, he replied

we embraced

the trees were sporting cherry

birds, I think, sang


F,f for February, father, faith

"Family Feast" (1907) - Niko Pirosmani

Family Feast (1907)

Niko Pirosmani


my sister arrived with her husband two
nights ago on a late flight, my mom had
checked them in at the hotel down the
street they’ve been staying at for the
past few years, we were to meet them
later at the apartment with cold cuts
and assorted friandises, a bottle of
red wine

already they’d made their flight, on not
one but two wings, as it were, and, quite
literally, a prayer, having both been on

we’ve both had the great fortune of
having worked for the airline industry,
each over thirty years, and still enjoy
from it generous benefits, though not
confirmed spaces, mostly

I’d checked the website for its last-
minute passenger count and found
the flight in both sections oversold
with only fifteen minutes to go to
departure time

with not a second to spare I took up
my position before the candle I keep
ever lit for everyone, the needy ones
when the need arises, closed my
eyes, settled my palms on my knees,
my mind on calm, meditated, asked
my father to get them on, my father
is my patron saint of planes, he was
a private pilot, he’s often manifested
himself to us as, transcendentally,
still our purveyor

he purveyed

he purveys

my sister had texted from the flight,
that they were on,
“Yippeeeee !!!”,
she’d enthusiastically related, when
I’d returned from my exalted state
to check if they were on

later I took credit for my dad

nobody objected

but all hadn’t transpired entirely well,
my mom had been checked into an
“upgrade” she knew they probably
wouldn’t want, but had deferred
providentially to the condition, which
at ten at night, however, would be no
time to look into, when they’d arrive,
it’d be seen to in the morning

meanwhile we celebrated

the wine was especially fine

do you do rooms, Dad, my sister
asked, she told us, the next morning
over her coffee, giggled at her
audacity, her communion, with my
father, probably promptly prayed,
then went on with her business

there weren’t any rooms, of course,
available until at least the following
morning, but the more congenial
attendant of the two said he’d take
care of it, leave it to him, which she

she’d no sooner returned from a few
preparatory domestic errands than
the phone rang

you won’t believe it, the messenger
said, as I was finding no opening to
consider, the phone rang, it was a
cancellation in the very apartment
you want

the messenger had been an actual

you do do rooms, my sister said she
told my dad, we’ve all been immersed
in attendant wonder since, and believe
this’ll surely be some holiday

what do you think

they’re here for a month


psst: my dad died in 1989


Alexandru Ciucurencu - "May Day in Freedom" (1958)

May Day in Freedom (1958)

Alexandru Ciucurencu


two events took place after the fall
of the Berlin Wall, which have
remained cultural landmarks since,
nothing much comes close to their
historical significance, music to
declare a new world order

on December 25, 1989, Leonard
Bernstein conducts Beethoven’s
Ninth Symphony at the
Schauspielhaus in the former
East Berlin, it is remembered as
the “Freedom Concert” for having
replaced the word “Joy” in
Schiller’s poem during the “Ode
to Joy”,
the vocal novelty of the
Ninth, also its triumph, with the
word “Freedom”, a whim of the
conductor, not inappropriately

on July 21, 1990, Roger Waters
puts on The Wall“, Pink Floyd’s
20th-Century counterpart for the
Beethoven, the clarion call to do
away with barriers, fences, it’s
hard to dismiss its prescience
when the piece had been written
eight years earlier, seven years
before the fall of the Wall, as
though Pink Floyd had been

like Beethoven had been, not
at all coincidentally here
, in
his own day

both concerts are beyond
description, extraordinary

just click

watch for unexpected guest
appearances in either of,
everywhere, the very highest



a February poem‏

Aidan wants 6 Power Rangers (November, 2014)

Aidan wants 6 Power Rangers (November, 2014)


February 15, 1959, John is born,
August 25, 1989, John dies, I
think it is the end, but somehow
I survive

February 15, 2010, Aidan is born,
my partner’s grandson, John has
returned, I surmise, giving me
manifest reason to have
remained alive


we’re going to Buenos Aires for a
month next C***mas

plus my mom

I’ll keep you posted


“A Year’s Carols” – Algernon Charles Swinburne

"February Forest with Sheep" - Diana Harrison

February Forest with Sheep

Diana Harrison


happy poems about February are not
easy to find, nor are poems by any
poet written for each month of the

but here are Algernon Charles
‘s “January” and “February”
from his A Year’s Carols


Hail, January, that bearest here
On snowbright breasts the babe-faced year
That weeps and trembles to be born.
Hail, maid and mother, strong and bright,
Hooded and cloaked and shod with white,
Whose eyes are stars that match the morn.
Thy forehead braves the storm’s bent bow,
Thy feet enkindle stars of snow.


Wan February with weeping cheer,
Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year’s.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

March’ll have to wait

most of us have never even heard of
Swinburne, I actually thought he was
German, he’s not, he was English,
and decadent, apparently, like his
compatriots then, Dante Gabriel
and Oscar Wilde, who
thought Swinburne, however, was
a sham

though he never received a Nobel prize,
he was nominated for one in literature
each year from 1903 to 1907, then
again in 1909

to Swinburne