James’ Brand New Blog

August is JBNBlog’s favourite month when it comes to Perpetual Illuminations

- August 1st, 2012

August poem by Dad

A detail (well, almost the whole thing) of my dad’s August poem for Ted Goodden’s Perpetual Illuminations A Book of Hours from London Ontario. Taken with trusty BlackBerry.

August is my favourite month — at least when it comes to London stained glass artist & seer Ted Goodden’s Perpetual Illuminations series, which matches Ted’s ace art with poems by London-region bards.

Dad’s August poem is my favourite . . . but JBNBlog admits to being biased. The other poets include Julie Berry, Molly Peacock & Cornelia Hoogland so dad’s month is in classy company.

Elgin County & Port were more my St. Thomas-raised mom’s terrain . . . she has a great poem about Mackies and the Port beach. Dad also knew it well & in reading over his images, it’s fun to guess what he had going on as he created the poem. The oddly jumpy rhymes (maybe like waves, ie. “swell”), The Tempest connection with the beach & chess, the travels of two rhymsters & scanners (ie. Mom & Dad), the reaching for  ”lune de miel” perhaps playing on Mom’s Acadian heritage & honeymoon, & the made-up last word “strategerie,” a portmanteau tribute to our poets & chess players having landed near the seacoast of Alice’s Wonderland in their calendrical counterpart to the tale of winter.

The late Bal Rajan, world’s greatest Milton scholar & a fine poet himself, murmured as he read the poem that “Lake Erie” & “strategerie” was a “desperate rhyme” . . .  JBNBlog likes it ne’ertheless & what better place for “rehearsing” (now there is a word my dad knew well) eerie strategy than “beneath Lake Erie” . . . as you hold your breath in the looking glass wavy world.

Reading August this morning, after putting it in place in our wall-hanging unit version of Perpetual Illuminations takes my breath away. It also reminds me dad would have turned 86 on Sept. 1 . . . just after August ends.

London’s greatest poet aka my mom Colleen Thibaudeau cheerfully mentioned on occasion she had either submitted a poem for the Illuminations & Ted had rejected it or the possibility had been discussed & never happened for some reason. A great spirit, Mom could resist collaborations when she was in a certain mood . . . late in her life, she hemmed & hawed over overtures from ace London composers Oliver Whitehead and Steve Holowitz to set some of her poems to music. Mom insisted (wrongly, Mom, wrongly) her lines were “too long” for music.

Still, the project, with her loving family’s joyful encouragement, is proceeding. Oliver mentioned he’s been setting some of Mom’s poems to music when we met at Home County during the triumphant premiere of Andrew Downing’s and  Jayme Stone’s banjo concerto. Hooray.

The best place to view the entire year of Illuminations is (if memory serves) at the world-class Landon branch library. All 12 of the Goodden-poet monthly masterworks are on display there with the light shining through. As it should.

 

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