Welcome Poetry Lovers!

Welcome to my new website. I hope you visit often! I want to use this blog space to talk about poetry and to dialogue about all things artistic, but particularly about poetry and spoken word art. And you get to comment back! Certainly I want to hear from poetry lovers in Canada, North America and throughout the world. There’s lots to talk about. Poetry is enjoying a worldwide renaissance of sorts. It’s lovely and energizing to see so many people from so many walks of life discovering the beauty and allure of both the written and spoken word. So enjoy and don’t hesitate to drop me a note or two of response. You can expect new content here several times a week.

You’ll also note that my site currently broadcasts my poem “The Poet” from my first book of poetry, Infinite Sequels. My goal here is to publish both new and established poems. I want to use it as a sounding board for new pieces, so I’ll expect and welcome your comments. I’ll also be commenting on the background, thematic direction and intent of each poem on the site, just to lend a sense of depth and perspective to each work.

So here’s my “Between The lines” on The Poet.

I wrote this poem on a hot August day a few summers ago. I was struggling that day to put the words down. I was struck by the “summer silence/hermetically still,” as I literally listened to the sprinklers circulating and the lawn mowers labouring beyond the open window. I was struck by the juxtaposition of the outer tranquility of the scene before me and the inner turmoil I was experiencing as a poet attempting to nail words to the page. My whole life seemed to lay before me “shining/charged with its wick of burning flesh.” I seemed at that time destined to remain at that desk, unable to participate in the joy of the summer day, bound inextricably to the task of creating word art for both my personal benefit and for the enjoyment of others. At that  moment there was a fleeting moment of despair, perhaps even desperation or futility, as I realized how a “life in art/spiders its dark stain/into the grey, hard rocks” and the poet is left chasing words endlessly as the lover pursues the heart of another. The words we need remain as elusive and as unattainable as “the trailing hearts we chase/but never catch.”  Such is the lot of those destined to “a life in art.”

So that’s my inside scoop on The Poet. I’ll shortly be posting more poems and will enjoy sharing with you my thought process behind each and every word.

Until then, in the beauty of the written word, I am

Your Poet,
David

Poem In Your Pocket Day

National Poetry Month comes to something of a crescendo today with Poem In Your Pocket Day. Originally invented by the Academy of American Poets, the Day provides a superb opportunity for people throughout Canada and the world to celebrate poetry in a wide range of ways. In its simplest form, just carry your favourite poem with you, read it and share it. Other more creative and inventive projects will be undertaken by progressive schools throughout the land, introducing thousands of kids and youth to the wonders of the poetic form.

I recently introduced a new poem of mine, “On Turning Into Raymond Souster.” In performing this piece, I share the story of how I carried a Raymond Souster poem with me for close to two years when I was about 10. This poem, “Search,” ultimately formed the basis and response mechanism for my “On Turning Into Raymond Souster.” So there’s the power of tucking poems into your pocket once in a while. In case you’ve not seen or read “Search” before, I’ve reproduced it below for your enjoyment. Note that Souster’s key subjects were the denizens of Toronto’s bar and diner scene, and “Search” is an excellent example of that………. Learn more about Poem In Your Pocket Day at the League of Canadian Poets, poets.ca/pocketpoem  …. I’ll be performing “On Turning Into Raymond Souster” as a Feature Poet at Toronto’s Art Bar on June 27th…. full details in my “Gigs & Events” section on this website……  Yours In Poetry, David

SEARCH

Not another bite, not another cigarette
nor a final coffee from the shining coffee urn
before you leave
the warmth steaming at the windows  of the hamburger joint
where the Wurlitzer
booms all night without a stop
where the onions are thick between the buns.
Wrap yourself well in that cheap coat
that holds back the wind like a sieve.
You have a long way to go, and the streets are dark.
You may have to walk all night before you find
another heart as lonely, so nearly mad with boredom
so filled with such strength, such tenderness of love.

Raymond Souster…..circa 1952

On World Poetry Day 2017

Well, on this World Poetry Day 2017 we seem to find ourselves in quite a spot, don’t we? I won’t ramble on about it. Instead, I give you the new poem below, which I dedicate to lovers and revolutionaries everywhere, both figurative and metaphorical, and all others who seek refuge from the chaos. May peace find you….and may you find peace. I’ll be performing this poem tonight @ Freetimes Cafe in Toronto, as part of their Art Bar poetry series. Enjoy:

AS WORDS WILL BEND TO PRAYER

And the snow is piling high along the lines
and the drifts are biding time like the tides
And I’m folding now into you
and I feel you folding too
as words will bend to prayer in their rhymes.

We’re told the revolution is on hold for the night
the snow is deep and there are no children left to fight
But within this little room
the roses are in bloom
we transcend and lift our faces to the light.

Oh the wind is singing lovely through the pines
and the birds array like commas on the wires
In my hands your breasts are true
it’s how I cradle the heart of you
as we help ease this planet through its fires.

Yes, the snow sifts in smoky runnels through the fields
the world is born, then it’s torn, then it heals
I wish I could will it all away
just bend to your breast and stay
in this place where our love comes to kneel.

Now I’ll hold you until morning breaks clear
until the dawning and the armies are near
But to this curtain now I swear
there shall be no rent or tear
for my love shall be your shield and your spear.

And the snow is piling high along the lines
and the drifts are biding time like the tides
And I’m folding now into you
and I feel you folding too
as words will bend to prayer in their rhymes.

Yours in love and poetry,
DavidStonesPoet, March 21st, 2017

2016: Of Death And Of Life

Well, that was quite a year, n’est-ce pas?….We lost some great ones in 2016: Cohen, Bowie, Prince, Ali, Michael, Fisher, Gabor, Shandling, Haggard, Wilder, Reynolds, Stones and Democracy.

Yes, Stones…..William Deryck, who started off this sad parade in early January 2016, almost an exact year ago. And dad surely was one of the great ones.

And Democracy? Well, maybe. Our old pal Leonard Cohen had it all wrong. Democracy Ain’t Coming To The USA, it might in fact be fading. We’ll see about that, starting January 20th 2017.

It’s not easy dealing with the passing of life, whether it’s friends and family, celebrities or strangers, our faithful animal friends, or even that orchid in the window that’s attached itself to the morning like an old dog curled up by the stove. Death serves as a silent, searching reminder of our own mortality. In death we think of our own life. We reflect and we wonder. We delve backwards into our lives and memories, and we cast our minds forward, wondering how long we have left, when our own passing might occur, where and when. That death plays no favourites is perhaps life’s greatest understatement. It is, indeed, the great leveller. We are all equal before the scythe.

But for most of us, too, thoughts of mortality and life’s passage can also bring comfort and even joy. We become more aware of all that we have. We appreciate each day. We focus on what we have accomplished, and with our wonderment of when it will all end, we think of what else remains to be done, the goals we have for ourselves and for others.

And it is a wonder to me, too, how art can transcend so many of life’s hardships and toils. Music, visual art or a grand poem can in an instant vault us to new levels of comprehension, appreciation and tranquility. Great art can fill us totally, lift us to new states of being and undertstanding.

We should revel in this. As far as we know, no other life form on this planet can be so moved. Our emotional and sentient response to art and beauty is a remarkable dimension to the uniqueness of being human. Not science or the holy books can explain it. But it’s something we should treasure and hold forever dear. I find nothing sadder than meeting people who seem inured to the transcendent beauty of art, who take little or no interest in song or the written or spoken word.

Which brings me, of course, to poetry. As 2016 closes, and as we sift through the sobering lists of those who have passed on during the course of the year, I am grateful for my own little gifts and for my modest forays into the world  of performing arts.

And rather than fold my tent and remonstrate, the passing of others, the very evanescence of life itself, fires my engines to put as many words on pages as I can in the years I have left on this great planet. Watch for Such A Frail Book Of Endings in the first part of the new year, with a new poetry collection, 141 Imitations Of Love, to follow.

Maybe we can’t know when our end is coming. So let’s all love art together and share the gifts we have to best advantage while we still have them. And perhaps in the process we just might provide some of those little magical pieces that can help a fellow human being through some of those darker days that inevitably pay us a visit from time to time.

Hope to see many of you in the new year, January 7th @ the Words and Music Salon @ Vino Rosso, 995 Bay St. in Toronto, where I’ll be a Guest Poet and debut a new poem, As Words Will Bend To Prayer, accompanied by the weeping violin stylings of Tom Hamilton.

Your Poet,

David S.

Leonard Cohen…R.I.P.

There’s not a lot else I can or want to add here to my Tweets and Facebook accounts.

As many of you know, I was a huge and devoted Leonard Cohen fan, going way back to my high school days in the ’60s when I came across a slim volume of poetry called Let Us Compare Mythologies. I was hooked on Leonard and Leonard hooked me on poetry. When the NFB’s Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen was released in 1965, I felt that I was meeting him face-to-face. I wanted to be like him: suave, debonair, a warm, romantic womanizing wordsmith with a magnetic touch, wandering rainy streets, tortured by my art. What’s not to like?

Well, the rest is history, for both Leonard and me. I’m not Leonard, or anything like him. No one could be. There has not been or will ever be another Leonard Cohen. His art, whether written, spoken or sung, will always command a unique and profound niche in Canada and internationally.

Remarkably, I met Leonard at the launch of his Drawn To Words art exhibit in Toronto in 2007. We chatted amiably. He was diminutive, humble and awkwardly polite. He somehow reversed our roles, thanking me profusely for taking the time to talk to him, telling me how pleased he was to meet  me.

Oddly perhaps, I didn’t tell Leonard I wrote poetry. It just seemed so paltry and anemic at the time. But I did tell him that I’d named our cat after him. And that, I remember, made him smile as I shook his small hand.

Good-bye Leonard. We’re all gonna miss you……Thanks for the dance//It’s been hell, it’s been swell//It’s been fun//Thanks for all the dances//One two three, one…..two…..three………….one.

David