nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

a strange place to grow

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Who knows where life will flourish? Yesterday morning, I found a crowd of tiny toadstools beneath our truck. Although I looked around, I couldn’t find them anywhere else in the yard. But under the truck the microclimate was just right for this faerie land to grow.

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 26, 2015 at 7:15 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – the Canal Bridge twenty three years later

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Last Friday we drove to see three covered bridges in Charlotte County, New Brunswick – Canal Covered Bridge, McCann Bridge (Digdeguash River #4) and McGuire Bridge (Digdeguash River #3).  My husband, son and I visited two of these in 1992 as part of a project for Canada’s 125th anniversary (see

https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/inside-the-covered-bridge/  ).

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Canal Bridge, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, August 2015

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The Canal Bridge was built in 1917. It crosses the deep natural canal connecting Lake Utopia with the Magaguadavic River.

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The Canal is wide and sinuous, unhurried in its flow …

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The water is very low this time of year. The shallow areas are inhabited by water lilies, water shield and pickerel weed …

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Many people have left their initials and messages inside this bridge …

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My husband couldn’t remember if we had visited the Canal Bridge in 1992. But almost immediately he found a small set of initials in black on a board heavily marked by red paint.

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To me, very familiar initials! Back in May of 1992, we had left evidence of our visit. A very emotional experience, seeing our initials more than 23 years later! It was hard to go, knowing I was leaving behind a little bit of my family history.

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 24, 2015 at 7:06 am

contemplation

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contemplation

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still

as though cast 

in bronze

mounted on rock

she watches

a strider

skate across

the surface

tension of water

ponders

his agility

the soundless stretch

of the meniscus

dimples on the water

thoughts

barely touch

the shallows

faded as the gentle

brush

of patina

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

August 12, 2015 at 7:00 am

Wolf River apple

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Wolf River Apple

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branch broken

tree lacking proper

care and pruning

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bee burdened

pink with blossoming

pollination

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apple swells

the skin smooth, palest

lime and rosy

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picked unripe

to escape worms, deer

and apple fall

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

August 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm

in the shelter of the covered bridge – a villanelle

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I have been working at my series of poems on the plants and animals living around covered bridges in New Brunswick. I decided to try a new form (for me) – the villanelle.

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The villanelle is a structured poem with 19 lines and a prescribed rhyming scheme – A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2/ a b A1/ a b A2 / a b A1 A2 . A famous villanelle is by Dylan Thomas – ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.

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The poem below is based on my observations at the Marven Bridge (Belleisle Creek #2) in Kings County, New Brunswick. I have taken liberties with the form, most obviously in using words beginning with the same letter in place of rhyming. I would appreciate any comments, including for improvement of the poem.

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Marven Bridge, Belleisle Creek #2, in New Brunswick

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wobble

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Belleisle Creek #2 (Marven Covered Bridge)

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bridge shudders as we walk

spaces between boards cast light on the floor

photos out of focus, faint tremble

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cribwork and rafters, new wood

old nails work loose, grey walls frail

bridge shakes as we walk

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in the rafters, the paper nest of a wasp

in the mud, ephemeral, the tracks of a fox

photos out of focus, faint tremble

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a blue jay calls thief across brown water

at the shoreline, sensitive fern

bridge shivers as we walk

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on the ledge, bones, bleached white

skeleton of a bear, backbone and fingers

photos out of focus, faint tremble

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orange graffiti, letters round and wide

initials carved on the beams are faded

bridge quivers as we walk

photos out of focus, faint tremble

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

August 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm

in the shelter of the covered bridge – passage for horses

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Why are covered bridges covered? The usual explanation says that a covered bridge lasts longer if the wood is protected from the elements. However there are other explanations.

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One of these claims the covering of the bridge made it easier to coax horses to cross the river. The horses, accustomed to entering and leaving a barn, would be less alarmed if a bridge was covered.

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In the early 1900s, when most of the remaining covered bridges in New Brunswick were built, horses were still a common means of conveyance.

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In my travels to study the plants and animals associated with covered bridges, I have come across three instances of the association between covered bridges and horses.

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In June, while visiting the Tantramar River #2 (Wheaton Covered Bridge, built in 1916), we saw a team of horses pulling a sight-seeing group across the Tantramar marshes.

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Wheaton Covered Bridge over the Tantramar River in Westmorland County (photo taken June 2015)

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team of horses drawing a sightseeing wagon near Wheaton Covered Bridge (June 2015)

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A notation in the Nackawic River #5 (Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge, built in 1927) mentions the use of the horse-drawn wagon.

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Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge in York County (photo taken 2012)

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notation in the Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge (photo taken 2012)

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And last weekend, in the covered bridge over the Quisibis River (Quisibis River #2, Pont Lavoie, built in 1951), we found a painting of a horse. Whoever painted the horse resisted the urge to make any other black marks on the bridge walls. Clearly, he or she had a single intent – to depict the horse.

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Pont Lavoie over the Quisibis River in Madawaska County (photo taken July 2015)

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portrait of a horse, in the Quisibis River #2 Covered Bridge (photo taken July 2015)

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When I close my eyes and imagine a covered bridge, I always hear the clatter of horses hooves on the wooden boards …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

 

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Baker Brook #2

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Of the 60 covered bridges in New Brunswick, most are in the southern part of the province. Last week we went to see the three remaining covered bridges in Madawaska County in the north-western part of the province.

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One of these was Baker Brook #2. It crosses the Baker Brook west of Edmunston and is no longer in service. The bridge has been protected in a small park with a parking area. Bird boxes, flags and hanging flower baskets show there is local stewardship of the bridge.

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Baker Brook #2 in Madawaska County, New Brunswick

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The Baker Brook #2 bridge was the essence of quiet. As we entered the bridge, the only sound was the patter of rain and the trickle of water under the bridge.

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I don’t get many photos of myself, but this is a good one – I am ready to take notes on the plants and animals I see in the Baker Brook # 2 covered bridge … these notes and my photos and memories become the basis for future poems

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The bridge is set against a backdrop of tranquil hills and fields. A deer watched us from a hayfield at the north end of the bridge. A white-throated sparrow called once and a crow made a few comments from the top of a round bale of hay. Otherwise, we were alone.

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I love the way the lichens have colonized the bridge and follow the boards, like rain, in lines down the outer walls.

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Some visitor had left a small collection next to the outer wall of the bridge. Three rocks and a broken bit of glass…

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

July 29, 2015 at 7:20 am

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