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Lau Tzu’s timeless lines are fully in sync with Keats’ negative capability. Only the language of paradox and poetry can fully capture the balance of simply being in the mist of uncertainty, frailty, and temporality. As a retired educator who is still writing poetry, I try to take the young Keats’ advice whenever I can, still learning from one who died my junior in years, but already an elder of the tribe. Susan McCaslin

Susan McCaslin has published thirteen volumes of poetry. Her next, Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cézanne, is forthcoming from Quattro Books in Oct. 2016.* Previous volumes include The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2014), Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011), and a memoir, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014). ♣ *SEE SCHEDULE OF BOOK LAUNCHES & READINGS, P.87


Ode to Autumn - John Keats, 19 September 1819

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease; For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river-sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. POEM ONLINE AT: See also, “The work was composed on 19 September 1819 and published in 1820 in a volume of Keats' poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of St. Agnes. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats' "1819 odes"… The work marks the end of his poetic career, as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn," Keats died in Rome. ♣


Time Flies

Time… and the Moment

Mike Nickerson, Lanark ON, Time flies around deadlines, having fun, watching children grow and countless other aspect of life. It is an age old platitude, which survives because we experience exactly what it represents again and again.

I couldn't count the times I've heard "time flies," yet one sunny summer day it triggered a new sense in my core. What if one watches time fly the way one watches a bird fly? While watching a bird, the bird is fixed in one's visual centre while the background changes.

Of a sudden, on that sunny day, the trees and grasses shimmered in the intense Sun – soaking up the rays and fixing that energy in new growth. In each instant, the entire universe is present, then disappears into a past that is no more than a memory or perhaps some recordings. Yet here is reality again, in its all-embracing presence, only instantly to become past while bursting forth as new presence in its steady flow. Can you see time flying? Now is the eternal dynamic reality. Past and future are only figments in our minds. Now is packed with all that is. It renews constantly. Suspending one's self within the flowing present, watching it fly, is one channel toward peace of mind. For me, watching time fly …/ VOL. 30, NO. 1, AUTUMN 2016

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Dialogue Vol.30, No.1 digital edition  

Canada's unique volunteer-produced magazine for ideas, insights, critical thinking & radical imagination - shared in letters, essays, storie...

Dialogue Vol.30, No.1 digital edition  

Canada's unique volunteer-produced magazine for ideas, insights, critical thinking & radical imagination - shared in letters, essays, storie...