Sunday, February 24, 2013

Farewell Nova Scotia

What do you do with your hope
when those you love,
your husband,
your friend
are lost at sea?
Miss Alley
lost at sea off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia
What do you do with your grief
when all efforts to find them,
to bring them  back home,
have been called off.

What do you do with your anger
your complete loss of control?

Where do you look for answers?

The loss of these five young fishermen here in Nova Scotia,
 is not new  to those whose livelihood is from the sea.
 "The top spot on the list -of most dangerous professions-
 goes to fishermen and fisherwomen, 
who lost their lives at a rate of 116 per 100,000 full-time workers."
Arthur Lismar  (Group of Seven)
Nova Scotia Fishing Village 1930
Perhaps all you can do
when the loss is fresh,
the wound ragged and seeping,
is to honour those you have loved and lost,
to "heave a sigh and a wish" for them.

     I have three brothers and they are at rest
     Their arms are folded on their breast
     But a poor simple sailor just like me
     Must be tossed and driven on the dark blue sea.
     Farewell to Nova Scotia, you sea-bound coast
     Let your mountains dark and dreary be
     For when I am far away on the briny ocean tossed
     Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?
                   Farewell to Nova Scotia

Fishermen's Memorial
Lunenburg, NS

     They are sea people, the pride of the land,
     Strong of the spirit and rough of the hand;
     Sea people the waters command,
     From their rocky old steeds of the strand.
                    Allister MacGillivray

Dedicated to

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Distraction or Invitation?

So I'm sitting at my wee desk,
laptop before me, writing,
which is what a try to do every morning.
I am writing a book called
I Tried To Contain Myself But I Escaped....
To France!;  a reflection on my time
spent with Alec in France last year.

This book could also be called,
Same Word With A Different Accent,
a phrase which Alec coined while
learning the nuances of the French language.

My desk, in the small living room
of our cape cod rental faces
the Atlantic ocean,
a  sea that was wild and surging
with the recent storm, and before that,
ice reigned in the harbour.
Wharf Damage in Blue Rocks Breakwater
Returning home after hauling the traps

sure hope there's 'bsters on those boats
Like all teachers I know, 
the lobster folk keenly watch the forecast.  
Unlike teachers, who wish for snow days 
(you'd be wishing too if you were in the classroom), 
these hardy souls hope the weather favours
either setting or hauling their traps.

This day, on their return home, 
a smaller, blue lobster boat 
got stuck in the ice.

$4 a pound
Seagulls swarming for their snack
hopscotch on ice

    Ice damage and tide surges
weren't the only visitors
Mother Nature blew into
Blue Rocks.

Heh Jude, come out to play!

The wind blew in
two pheasants but I only saw
one walking around our
yard this morning.     
There's gotta be food
somewhere around here.

I wonder what Erik is up too.
Now where did she go?
She never stays in one place for very long!
As I said, I was supposed to be
writing my book
but this little guy invited 
me to come outside to play.

It's all a matter of perspective
don't you think,
distraction or invitation?
Another Day Done

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You Shouldn't Dress Like That

My friend Rachel keeps
me informed of all things
happening in France.
She just emailed me
the front page, breaking
news headline from France.

Les Parisiennes ont (enfin) légalement 
le droit de porter des pantalons.
Les Parisiennes ont (enfin) légalement le droit de porter des pantalons

Parisiennes, women that is,
finally have the right
to wear pants.

France has  entered the 21st century.

Since an 1799 ordinance it has been
interdit aux femmes de porter des pantalons
---illegal for women to wear pants.

Marie-Rose Astié de Valsayre
one of the first feminists of the 19 century
who pursued medical and pharmaceutical
studies, rallied against this law.  Marie-Rose
also fenced and lets face it,
a sword and skirt are dangerous allies.

Perhaps France should write a law
prohibiting speedos-- for men, in public pools. 
Unfortunately, the French have done the reverse.  
It is illegal for men to wear any swimwear 
but a speedo in public pools.
None of those knee length swim trunks that North
American males prefer, these are seen as unhygienic
in France.

While France is finally addressing
this ridiculous and prejudicial pant limiting law,
many women in many countries
are rising up against their subjugation.
In India, as anthropologist Martine van Woerkens
Indian feminists  have raged for two centuries
 against selection of births, arranged
marriages, working girls, dowry killings and
the tragic plight of widows who have no voice. 

In  Egypt, Rebecca Chiao was standing
on a busy street in Cairo when a man unzipped
his pants and exposed himself to
her while touching himself.  He walked toward
her, touching himself the whole time.
The crowd either ignored Rebecca or
looked at her with disgust, like it was she
Rebecca Chiao

who invited this man's harassment.  Even
her male friends told her she should dress
differently, stand differently, should not
be on the street and that the harasser was
powerless to resist.

Rebecca co-founded  Harass Map Egypt.
She uses social media to support her effort
to address harassment.   500 volunteers
go into their own communities to address
harassment, to create safe zones for
the victims.  For Rebecca and her team
of volunteers it is no longer okay to
accept harassment as the norm.    

And in Haiti, nearly three years
after the earthquake of 2010,
displaced women with their children
continue to fear the rape and sexual violence
thrust upon them in their tent cities.
The U.N. Refugee Agency has provided safe houses and counseling for hundreds of sexual assault victims in Haiti.

Before 2005, rapes in Haiti were treated as
nothing more than crimes of passion.
founders of three of Haiti's most important advocacy organizations 
working on behalf of women and girls changed this view.

All three Haitian women died in the earthquake of 2010.
Whether it is a law that gives 
women the right to wear pants
or a movement rising up and against all 
forms of oppression, I wonder

might it be possible that... for once the world might see in the 
average Haitiannot the face of an ‘other’ 
that must be feared, but a human being within which the spirit moves, 
whether by the hand of a Christian, or African god,
 a spirit deserving of daily, holy bread?"  Myriam Chancy

Might it be possible that the world might see 
in women, not the face of a property to be owned
but a temple to be honoured.

“Where love is, there is transformation. 
Without love, revolution has no meaning, 
for then revolution is merely destruction, decay, 
a greater and greater ever-mounting misery. 
Where there is love, there is revolution, 
because love is transformation from moment to moment.” 
 Krishnamurti, The First & Last Freedoms