Friday, September 18, 2009

The Walk

A cobblestone street,
slanted downward so slightly,
the last light rain trickling through the brickwork,
sky reflected from below
like an inverted stained glass window--
picture breaking through the cracks,
and me treading darkly glass.

More Walk, More Talk

Headphones on, yet
noisy bus brushes my elbow.
Startled,
but that much more alive.


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Headphones off this time,
hear the foreign birds describe to me the morning,
the car cobblestoning loudly past mosque and chapel,
the people walking briskly and importantly.
As I turn from Khyber Pass
glimpse the North Sea.
And vastness.
Take a breath and go.


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No TV. No internet.
So we talk, play games, and read.
Radio comes on to at least hear the game.
Penalty kick on Arsenal.
Living room across the street has a large television visible,
so the boys run to the window.
But they are watching a different game.
Looks like Liverpool.
Change the station, there it is.
Passed the Rangers in Gallic on the way.
Back to the bedtime story, and scrabble,
and a whole new life indeed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Discovering Bruce Cockburn

Over the course of time our musical tastes evolve (I suppose for some they probably don't, but even those who go with Top40 radio their whole lives will evolve along with Top40 radio). I think it is possible to say some music is better than other music, but much of what we have to say has to do with our preferences which change subjectively over time. That's fine.

That said, I've always sort of known that one day I'd get into Bruce Cockburn (pronounced Coe-burn). He is Canada's musical poet, or so I've understood, and caught glimpses of myself now and then. As the bulk of his career has gone unheard by the masses and was before my time (so to speak) I never knew quite where to dive in with him, and so have only had occasional encounters with him. But if your musical tastes evolve, it seems inevitable that one day the excellence of Cockburn ought to catch up with you.

Maybe it means I'm getting older, and I'm okay with that, but I think the day to explore Bruce Cockburn has finally come. I downloaded a podcast from CBC Radio Live of an Ontario Cockburn concert of a few days ago and can't stop listening to it. It is starkly candid, poetically straightforward, and unlike many one-person acts, makes you forget there is no band.

The line that first grabbed me today was from his second song in the set, Last Night of the World, where he just comes out and says:

I learned as a child
Not to trust in my body
I've carried that burden
Through my life
But there's a day
When we all get to be pried loose.

Not sure why, not even sure I agree with what he may or may not be saying with that last part, but my, what songwriting!

Today feels sort of like the day I finally dipped my toe into Dylan. But it is kind of more special, isn't it, because this one is Canadian, is ours, no? (By the way, Cockburn has been given five, count-em, five, honourary doctorates! Though it seems excessive, I have no problem with that.)

I know I'm late to the party, but hey, Cockburn here I come. Any of you seasoned veterans want to enlighten me on where I start? I have iTunes money for one album out of his 30+. Do I do the greatest hits/live thing or is there a natural starting point in there somewhere?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Excuse My Ignorance

No pictures uploaded yet, nor internet at home, so it may still be a couple weeks until I get caught up on here, but I got a tour of my school yesterday and must make the following correction:

The picture I previously posted of my professor's office door is incorrect. Apparently there are a couple J. Websters on campus, and the door with that label which I took a picture beside does not belong to the man who will be my supervisor. Apparently this is a common rookie/tourist mistake. Ugh, how embarassing. Oh well, I'm over it.

Incidentally, my professor's office is actually right in here.