Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dog Days of August and Neruda's Poetry Come with Me

Dog Day Moon
This last week we had a full moon.  I was able to capture a photo of it as it came up on the south eastern horizon.  It was amazingly bright and large.  I have written about this phenomena before on a blog.  In case you missed that it is caused by something called Moon Illusion.  There is a great explanation of the why of this Science NASA site.
This month's moon is known as Dog Day Moon (my favourite name), Harvest Moon, Fruit Moon, Women's Moon, Moon When All Things Ripen, Dispute Moon, Corn Moon or Lightning Moon - depending on where you come from.  Interestingly, August is Harvest Moon for the Chinese but the September Moon is the Harvest Moon of Neo Pagan Times - I guess they occupied a higher latitude.  LOL

The Canadian National Exhibition - Aug  20th through Sept 6th

The start of the end of summer, for me, has always been marked by an annual Toronto event called simply the CNE.

According to the web site page giving the history of the "X" as we Torontonians call it:
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) or The Ex as it is affectionately called, is Canada’s largest annual community event. Taking place over the 18 days leading up to and including Labour Day, the CNE offers a wide variety of entertainment and events, midway rides and games, a working farm, parades and sports, international food and shopping, Kids’ World, and a three-day air show. Over the course of its late summer run, the CNE attracts approximately 1.3 million people each year. 
The CNE has been an annual Toronto event, hosted on a 192 acre site just south of my condo building here in Liberty Village, since 1879!  132 years!.  It is North America's 5th largest fair and a blast from the past of many of my contemporaries. An annual trip to the "X" was absolutely mandatory in my growing up years.  The Food Building was the place to go as you could get all sorts of free samples of food.  That was of course before we had things like Paramount Canada's Wonderland which runs from May until October each year.

 I have a great view of the grounds of the CNE from my balcony and the lights of the midway at night are spectacular!

More Pablo Neruda Poetry
After looking over the list of blogs I have written this year, it seems I am giving poetry a major portion of the white space. Those who follow my blog know that I am very taken by his poetry as there are now more than a dozen of his featured in the blog postings.

My last Neruda post I commented that I had ordered a copy of The Captain's Verses. Since then I have also received a copy of his Memoirs. One more item in my ever growing book pile. I do need to find some serious reading time but I am afraid that is not going to be any time soon. More on that topic in my next blog.

I have chatted about the Captain's Verses in a previous blog. Suffice to say that I am still picking up that volume and enjoying the poems. Perhaps I will blog about one of those another day - it is not today's selection. I am more excited about reading his Memoir which arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

The memoir was written in the last three days of his life then compiled and edited by his wife Matilde and published in 1974.   He had been admitted to hospital suffering from the final stages of prostrate cancer then died of a heart attack in his weakened state. The book is 350 pages long. I can't imagine someone writing a Memoir in so short a time, I am sure a lot of credit is due to his beloved wife for polishing the work.

I have just started to read this book, but given what all is going on in my life it may take me a while to finish it. I am particularly looking forward to reading the chapter "Poetry is an Occupation".  There are chapters of his memoirs which provide a chronicle of his life and travels and these seem to be organized along a timeline, but not this chapter.  I am thinking that this chapter might provide some insight into the prolific and incredible skill Neruda has with conveying meaning through poetic words.  This book will be a treat to read.

Matilde published a book herself before she died -- "My life with Pablo Neruda" (1986). I guess that goes on my must have list but I shall try not to buy that until I am able to catch up a bit.

The poem I have chosen to share today is Sonnet 82 in Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets (1960) aka Come With Me.  Neruda's images continue to captivate me -- "only a wound that love had opened"... "the moon that bled in my mouth"..."the star that has such thorns"... these lines lead us to the theme, that love is (as the saying goes) a double edged sword.  We make ourselves vulnerable to hurt when we love.   To declare love is to open oneself to be hurt... but when it is responded to in kind "when I heard your voice repeat Come with me"... "I felt a taste of fire again"   When we discover that we not only love but are loved by the object of our affection then we feel heaven move.

Come With Me

Come with me, I said, and no one knew

where, or how my pain throbbed,

no carnations or barcaroles for me,

only a wound that love had opened.

I said it again: Come with me, as if I were dying,

and no one saw the moon that bled in my mouth

or the blood that rose into the silence.

O Love, now we can forget the star that has such thorns!

That is why when I heard your voice repeat

Come with me, it was as if you had let loose

the grief, the love, the fury of a cork-trapped wine

the geysers flooding from deep in its vault:

in my mouth I felt the taste of fire again,

of blood and carnations, of rock and scald.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who would have thought - Ukulele! and Diet Coke and Mentos

I recently bought a Ukulele and am ever so slowly finding my way around strumming and playing just a few chords. I might even get to a song pretty soon!

When I saw this Idea City 2010 Video I was absolutely wowed by what this guy can do with the Ukulele. I talked about Idea City in this blog from May.

His name is Jake Shimabukuro and from his introduction on the Video:
Though some still have trouble pronouncing his last name and the instrument he plays, Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row) is recognized as one of the world's most exciting and innovative ukulele (oo-koo-LAY-lay) players and composers. From a modest beginning performing at a local Honolulu café, Jake has gone on to play renowned and popular venues and festivals across the world.

While I am taking a shortcut to putting out a blog this week, I might as well offer another Video which seemed pretty incredible - but for a different reason. Have a watch as a modern miracle of science creates a spectacular spout from two simple and available commercial ingredients - Diet Coke and Mentos Mints. My son Jeff assures me that this is real.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Rainy Sunday Morning in Shangri-La

I had a fun evening last night at an "End of Summer" Corn Roast and BBQ.  It was at the home of Alex Hunter, the business partner of my good friend Barb McCowan from Gofer Broke Farm.  Barb and Alex are Broker-Owners of  On The Harbour Realty in Collingwood.  While the weather was a bit rainy, it was warm enough and the setting was just wonderful.   Excellent food - you just can't beat fresh Ontario corn in late August!

An old barn behind Alex's turn of the century brick farmhouse  had been dismantled several years ago leaving the barn foundations and this had been turned into a particularly pretty outdoor garden room.  Gorgeous flowers and "farm stuff" decorated the cement foundations forming the 3 sides of what was once the lower section of a pig barn.   Add a Tiki bar in the middle of the "room" and a deck with a band set up on the far end and you have a wonderful outdoor party setting. (Sorry, no pics :(  )   Well, except for the rain.  Barb, John and I retreated to my place to watch a rented movie and continued the great evening watching "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus".  It was a very enjoyable movie.  Aside from being Heath Ledger's last movie, it also featured Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.  An interesting movie which deserves watching a 2nd time later this week.

And so ended another Saturday. Sadly, grey skies continue today, however it is warm and my mood is very good.  I had an acceptable first week on my new job but I am going to have to work pretty hard in the next while to get on top of it.  Most importantly,  I feel confident that things will sort themselves out on that front to provide a very satisfying work experience soon enough.  It has been a while since I have worked a job which required a bunch of new skills - but learning is never a bad thing.  So, in all life is good.  Well, in all but one area and things even seem to be looking up in that area as well.

A Great Sunday Morning Song 
Maroon 5 - Sunday Morning

One of the things that distinguish good songs, in my mind, from the great, is the attention to both lyric and melody in order to produce a mood and a message. IMO lyrics need to be poetic in great songs (I do love my poetry) and the rhythm and melody need to complement the lyric.  When the lyric, melody, rhythm and the band's sound  produce the same vibe - that is talent in songwriting and performance.  Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 fit this bill fully. 

The rhythm and melody in Sunday Morning is so appropriate to this morning, with the day being warm but grey and with a damp "almost rain" falling.  I also like the sentiments expressed in the lyric.  Read by themselves without the music they stand on their own as a nicely romantic poem.  My favourite part:-
Fingers trace your every outline
Paint a picture with my hands
Back and forth we sway like branches in a storm
Change the weather still together when it ends

Maroon 5 is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. The 4 original members have performed together since high school. They formed Maroon 5 from their original band, Kara's Flowers, in 2001.
According to Wiki, 
"Sunday Morning" is the fourth single from Maroon 5's debut album, Songs About Jane. Released in 2004, the single peaked at #14 in the USA becoming Maroon 5's fourth Top 20 single; it also peaked at #27 in the UK and #7 in Latin America becoming Maroon 5's third consecutive Top 10 single.
This song has been featured in a number of movie soundtracks.  You might recall the song from Love actually, Something's Gotta Give or Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

The Video was filmed at the Abbey Road studios in London, England and features a Karaoke segment at the beginning.

Sunday morning rain is falling
Steal some covers share some skin
Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable
You twist to fit the mold that I am in
But things just get so crazy living life gets hard to do
And I would gladly hit the road get up and go if I knew
That someday it would lead me back to you
That someday it would lead me back to you

That may be all I need
In darkness she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on Sunday morning
And I never want to leave

Fingers trace your every outline
Paint a picture with my hands
Back and forth we sway like branches in a storm
Change the weather still together when it ends

That may be all I need
In darkness she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on Sunday morning
And I never want to leave

But things just get so crazy living life gets hard to do
Sunday morning rain is falling and I'm calling out to you
Singing someday it'll bring me back to you
Find a way to bring myself back home to you

And you may not know
That may be all I need
In darkness she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on Sunday morning

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pablo Neruda - Poetry and Herbie Hancock's new CD - The Imagine Project

Anyone reading these pages knows that I have a soft spot for Pablo Neruda and his poetry.  As a matter of fact I have more hits on the 11 Neruda poetry blogs than I have on any other pages relating to any other topics.  There are a lot of poetry fans in the blogsphere and like me, they have a special place in their heart for this Nobel prize winning poet who is imo the king of romantic poetry.

In my last Neruda blog, I noted that eventually I would get to some of his other poems, ones not dripping in  erotic and romantic thoughts.  Today's offering is a compromise.  It is a romantic poem about - Poetry!

In reading this you can feel the seduction that entices Neruda to write poetry.  And write it he did.  He was one of the world's most prolific poets.


And it was at that age...Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

Pablo Neruda

You might find his poetry a bit cryptic, as the style is inspired by Surrealism.  I like his unconventional images and find them sufficiently suggestive to convey a message given some thought.  In the following poem you can  pick out the lines hidden in between the petals ofsymbolic phrases.  If you focus on just these lines - the bare bones, you can see the meaning of this poem.
"But from a street I was summoned"
"I don't know where it came from"
"something started in my soul"
"and I wrote the first line"

"and suddenly I saw the heavens unfastened"
"My heart broke loose on the wind". 
I love this last line.  Given Neruda's propensity to write romantic poetry you can see the words flowing from his heart symbolically loose on the wind.    You can see what writing poetry does for Neruda.

The rest of the lines in the poem provide the symbolic and descriptive imagery  and rhythm  to pull you through the poem and properly tell the story - and make it an exceptionally well written poem. 

Herbie Hancock and The Imagine Project

I have to finish up by thanking a dear friend of mine for bringing some new music to my attention.  As you may know, I love jazz in its many forms and one of the jazz greats in my book is Herbie Hancock.  From Wiki:

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet", Hancock helped redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section, and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk. Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
My favourite song from the album  -

After my friend sent me a link to the Imagine song, I had to go check out the rest of the album (it was just released in June of this year) and to my surprize there were a great deal of my very favourite performers and songs - and there is a great story behind the CD.  Two of my top 25 all time favourites who are on the album are Dave Mathews and Tinariwen (in case you don't know them they are the band I hope to hear when I go to the Festival in the Desert in Africa).  Herbie traveled the world to make this album and using the international language of music promotes some pretty admirable goals.  There is quite a diverse set of musical styles on this album.

From the Herbie Hancock site:

Herbie Hancock's Imagine Project is an unprecedented international recording and film project featuring collaborations between music legend Herbie Hancock and a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. It utilizes the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility. The Imagine Project embodies an extraordinary lineup of international superstars from all corners of the world. Artists include Dave Matthews, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, The Chieftains, John Legend, India Arie, Seal, Pink, Juanes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Chaka Khan, K'Naan, Wayne Shorter, James Morrison, and Lisa Hannigan. The album and film stands, on one level, as powerful testaments for the goals of world peace, humanity and tolerance, and respect for our planet, but The Imagine Project shall remain at its core, entertainment content that is creatively and emotionally deeply fulfulling.
For a really good review and description of the musical styles and artists on the album go to the All About Jazz eZine review.

There is a two part You Tube Video which talks not only about music and the Imagine Project - but what it's message is.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

B-Day Celebrations

I had a great birthday yesterday... My son Eric was born the day before my 30th b-day and so we often have been able to "team up" birthday celebrations. Even better this year was the 3 day celebration which was prompted by a Sat/Sun birthday weekend.

On Friday night we went to the Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse. They specialize in a Brazilian style of dining known as churrascaria de rodizio. There is a vast variety of all you can eat salad bar, hot buffet, and barbecued meats carved table side. It is truly a meat lovers paradise. There is also a huge salad bar and several hot dishes. Food at its finest - in both quantity and quality.

The big feature is that they bring big hunks of meat tableside and slice off pieces for you to grab with your own personal little tongs which are on a small plate at the table. After slicing off a bunch of slices they return the meat (it still on the spit) back to the BBQ for a few minutes to sear the outer section before resuming the table side slicing.

The meat was fabulous and there was a great variety and styles of beef, pork, lamb, veal and chicken. Even BBQ pineapple for desert!

During the dinner there was a brief show which included two Brazilian dancers doing their thing.
The Sunday celebration included a fabulous meal (thanks to the efforts of David and Maria) with a few friends and family.  It was nice to have a weekend of food, fun, family and friends.

I have to close with the BEST ALL Time Birthday song ever.  Happy Birthday to all those August Birthday pals of mine!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Odds and Ends and the Liberty Village Construction Boom

Blog Friends Lost and Found
I am resisting the urge to go through another blog name change.   Enough that I did that last year and I am sure lost a few readers in the transition.  Case in point is Fram from "Sort of San Francisco Fan Club" blog, who from his recent comment on this blog alerted me to the possibility that some folks might not read the fine print on my now extinct blog "Halfway Down Life's Highway" and therefore never find their way here.   I have remedied that and posted a prominent "continued elsewhere posting" with a clickable link - hopefully anyone else who thought my blogging efforts were in a long hiatus will find their way back to me.

And do visit his blog post "Life Beyond the Blog"  to see if you can guess who the person is in his picture outside "The Apartment".  Fram stayed a number of months last winter in Poland.  Don't read the comments until you have your guess ready - because the contest was won by -- ME!   LOL   Can you figure out who the famous person is without looking at the comments below? 

I got to thinking about how my blog topics have evolved since renaming to "Toronto is My Town" from the "Halfway..." starter blog name.  At the time I changed the name I was mostly blogging about Toronto and I was not going to Collingwood as I had lent the place out to my folks who had sold their country property and were waiting for a city condo to be built.  But now I am spending a good deal of time in Collingwood and writing a lot about the goings on up here.  I was thinking of renaming the blog yet again.  I like the ring of "Tale of Two Cities - Toronto and Collingwood", as I seem to blog as much about my Collingwood Shangri-La as my Toronto home, and each place has its season.  However, I will spare my readers from the Blogsphere another name change.  Instead I opted to update the blog Header Description instead.  Lord knows next year I might be writing a blog which might suit the name "One More Flight - One More City" to tell about my adventures travelling.

The Global Blogsphere - a blog from Mali, Africa

Before we get into the main topic for this post, the construction boom in my neighbourhood, I must pass along a comment about a new blog I have found and started following.  Postcards From My Life, is written by an expat 40 something lady, German born  American from NY City, who transplanted and married a Malian man.  Haike writes about her life in Bamako, Mali, which is in West  Africa.   Haike met Malé, who was born and raised in Timbuktu, which is in Mali, when she visited for a month in 2005 as a Peace Corps volunteer in this poorest of poor nations.  He was born and raised in Timbuktu. They  were married and she moved there in 2006.  This blog is interesting on many levels - in its description of the everyday life and culture of the people who live and work in this small African city but just as importantly because I am planning/hoping to get to Mali this year or next to go to the Festival in the Desert. Go here to read my blog about the African Blues and the Blue Men of the Desert.  As mentioned in past blogs I am "that close" to signing up to attend this January.

East Liberty Village Declared a Mass Construction Site

It is high time I blogged about some Toronto items - the most important of which (to me) are the changes  afoot in my Liberty Village neighbourhood.  There is a construction boom!

I have written previously about my new condo being built across the road from my Battery Park condo and how I have been watching it from my balcony as it is being built.  I blogged about the changing landscape in Liberty village here in January of 2010 (8 months ago) and here in January of 2009 and how I bought the "to be built" in the summer of 2006.  I have been waiting for this place a long while.   All the time, I have been happy in my current condo, not thinking about it as an interim home because for the first 3 years I wasn't really sure if the builder was even going to go ahead with it - he kept extending the "economic viability" clause in the purchase offer.  Although the project was in the builder's mind economically viable and he wanted to go ahead with it his financing kept falling apart.  This clause is pretty standard for condo projects in the planning stage and protect the builder in the event that the project doesn't come together sufficiently to get financing.  I decided to keep my "condo lottery ticket" and now it is paying off!  I am very excited to to announce that I shall be moving into it sometime in November!

Liberty Towers - Gosh doesn't this look tight?  Could they have fit any more into the space?

The West Tower building is the one which I will move into in November

Which gets me to the next point in this blog.   There have been numerous project starts in the neighbourhood this year and the remaining scraps of vacant land have also been posted with projects "to be built"  For instance, the King West Plaza Towers, which I blogged about in my January post has now started excavating.
King West Plaza site truck parade
You can see the circle of trucks as the grader digs at the construction site.  I guess I get to watch another set of towers being built over the two years to come.

This might make you dizzy, I had to lean over my balcony rail and look west to take this pic..
Just to the front of the "Battery Park" condo where I live right now is a couple of parking lots.  These are actually the sites for 2 to be built condo sites - mostly sold - to be built by CanAlfa - who is building Liberty Towers right now.

Behind the A.R. Williams Machinery Building and beside the Metro

This builder also has another project for which excavation is just starting just steps away around the corner between the Metro store and Battery Park Blvd and behind the A.R. Williams Machinery Building.  The heritage building itself will also at some point be "adaptively converted" and a high rise built on the northern most half.  

Lastly, this it my wonderful east facing view, a picture I took  a few days ago - the smog in town has been awful with all this heat.  On the nice days I have a wonderful Toronto sky line view from my Battery Park condo and it is tempting for me to just stay put and sell my new place instead.  The last few bits of land which will eventually house condo towers is at the extreme east side of the Village as you can see from this view.  One of the several condos planned for this section will obscure my beloved view of the CN Tower!    Of course, I had expected that they would eventually place a set of condos at the south west corner of Strachan and East Liberty Street  but had not expected to have what looked like a little parkette converted in to a high rise right about the point that the CN Tower comes into view from my balcony. So I am settled on moving  now.

Retail space is going in here across from the Metro
Just this month excavation started for a retail complex going into the parking lot opposite the Grocery Store.  By the depth of the excavation, it seems we will have an underground parking lot.  Sure will need it because all the above ground parking lots are going to have buildings on them soon.

The last little bit of construction I want to report is the little playground they have built in the Liberty Square Park which I look down at from my balcony.  It is just a pint sized playground - probably adequate for the area since most folks will opt for another neighbourhood once their babies get out of diapers and the suburban neighbourhoods with all its family friendly amenities beckons. The bright green paving stones look great don't they?  From my bird's eye view on my balcony I detect just a slight construction error - the raised flower bed to the top left of the playground is just ever slightly off center.  Oh well... too late to go down and tell them now.  LOL

The conclusion of my Liberty Village "to be built" summary is there is no more land left to build.  In 5 to 10 years there will be (I am guessing) a million people living in this 17 sq km of land.  I am thinking it will be good that I am only a part time resident in a tiny studio at that time... It will do for a pied-à-terre.

If you are considering buying a condo in the Liberty Village area or are just interested in urban development go here for the City of Toronto  Liberty Village "Final Report dated May of 2005 which details all the buildings in plans for this area and the heights, densities and permitted uses.  While the report is not recent, I believe it is still reasonably correct.  Things are on the planning board many years before they are even offered for sale.

Thanks to the Urban Database Website for all the planning reports I used to obtain info for this post.  This site is " an online open-content collaborative effort to accurately document development and real-estate activity. Our resources have been dedicated to buildings 5 storeys or over in height within the Greater Toronto Area but we are slowly working on branching out." according to their website. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Borrowed Tunes - Neil Young Covers at Blue Mountain

This  was the first weekend in quite a while that I did not make the trek up to Collingwood.  Lots of reasons why I needed a weekend (and part of my holiday week) in the City... but that will be the subject of my next blog.

About a month ago I trotted up to the Village at Blue to hear a bunch of really fine Canadian musicians at a Neil Young Tribute concert.    I have written about events at the Village at Blue before, the last of which was the Chili Cookoff.  I'd like to take this opportunity not only to tell you about the great time I had at the concert, but also a little about Blue Mountain and the "Village at Blue" as it is called.

One of the features of my Collingwood Shangri-La is that it is 10 minutes by car to the Blue Mountain Ski resort.  For my far away blog visitors, we do not have any real mountains in Ontario but we do have the Niagara Escarpment, which was formed billions of years ago as the glaciers receeded, leaving the Great Lakes and the Niagara Escarpment in its wake.  So compared to real mountains it is small - at its highest it is just 335 metres so actually it is just a very, very, very wide steep hill at the leading edge of a very long escarpment.   An escarpment is defined as a steep rock face of great length formed by an abrupt termination of strata.  The Niagara Escarpment was formed about 500 million years ago.

The Niagara escarpment runs 450 miles from (guess where?) -- Niagara Falls (actually, it originates near Rochester, NY) and meanders north and north west to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, which separates Georgian Bay from Lake Huron.  From that point it runs underwater to Manitoulin Island and then into the United States  forming a horseshoe-shaped rim around the Michigan Basin. The Bruce Trail – Canada's longest footpath – runs the length of the Escarpment.   In 1990, the United Nations designated the Niagara Escarpment a World Biosphere Reserve.

The winter aerial photo below, gives a good bird's eye view of the escarpment and all the ski hills which are contained in the Blue Mountain area.  From a skier's perspective, this is not tremendous skiing, but it does just fine for most Ontario locals.  It is the best Ontario can do for skiing - given we don't have any real mountains this just has to do. 

 The Blue Mountain ski resort was a joint venture project started in 1945 by Peter Campbell and Jozo Weider. It grew in size steadily and in 1999 Intrawest Corporation purchased a 50% interest in the ownership of Blue Mountain, sparking off a major expansion process. In the last 10 years or so, the Blue Mountain Village has been developed, based on a European ski resort theme.  The Village is similar to the expansions Intrawest has carried out at its other ski destinations, modelled on the original development at Whistler-Blackcomb. 

The Village Courtyard is the perfect spot for all those summer events which are hosted there.  They often have "movie under the stars" nights at the Village square and all manner of social events throughout all 4 seasons.  Of course that was the spot for the Harvest Moon Concerts.

The lineup was great and it was just too bad I did not have more than the Saturday afternoon/evening to go take a listen.  The Friday night performers included Jory Nash and Adam Crossley,  Saturday featured Daniel Roth, Layah Jane, The Undersirables  and Liam Titcomb.  SATURDAY NIGHT was the actual HARVEST MOON TRIBUTE TO NEIL YOUNG SHOW - featuring all the artists and Sunday included Sarah Loucks and Soul Surfers.

I had been at an event featuring Adam Crossley before (I have a promo CD of his) and was sad I could not get there on Friday night to hear him perform. I remember most of the others from CBC Radio 2 - they are, as they say, "up and coming', but are certainly not unknowns.

I met my friends Barb and John from GoferBroke Farm and we sat out on the patio at Windy O'Neill's Irish Pub at the Village of Blue and enjoyed the music and wonderful summer night.  It sure is great when you can combine dear old friends and great music - something that Barb, John and I do as often as our schedules allow.  We spent the evening warped back to our Neil Young years... of course given he is a Toronto lad in his hay day whilst we were in our youth --- well, what can I say... we enjoyed the night. I will finish up with some pics from the Village at Blue. 
The Village is both a quite idylic setting with water and grasses and ...
Lots of eateries in the main square  and water fountains for children to play in.
The ski lifts take the curious to see the great view of Georgian Bay offered at the top of the peaks.  There is also mountain biking down the mountain.
Lots to do at the Village at Blue.
A quiet muskoka chair to sit and contemplate nature or a pleasant balcony.
Leave the bustle of the Village streets behind.
Or shop on one of the wide pedestrian only walkways. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pablo Neruda – Here I Love You

From the number of hits on this site with search criteria relating to poetry by Pablo Neruda, it seems I am part of a large fan club for this Nobel prize winning poet. I have published blogs of 10 of his gems to date and have another 6 in draft - and every few weeks as I pick up one of the 6 books of his poetry in my collection, I find another one blog worthy.

Today's Neruda instalment is in my opinion, one of his best, right along side of the famous
"Tonight I can write the saddest lines". This is a quite a proclamation, those who know of Neruda understand that he received worldwide recognition as  one of the world's best  Spanish Poets and he published hundreds of  emotive poems written in a style incorporating very simple and beautiful images from nature in imaginative symbolic pairing with passionate and devotional and conflicted love themes.  The word conflicted is meant  to include those other things which involve love - argument and conflict that is inevitable when two people are joined closely, even inseparably and yet are two distinct persons, each with their own thoughts, feelings and convictions.

I may blog mostly about his romantic love poems but he did have a wealth of others - and some day I might tire of reading his "Songs of Despair" and  his Love Sonnets - but probably not anytime soon.  As proof that he is more than one dimensional I did blog about his other types of poetry and if you are fed up of poems about love or love lost go please feel free to hop over to that blog - which is about his Canto General epic and see how he writes about something other than love.  Canto General is an encyclopedic history of the Hispanic Americas - not a small topic.  I have not read the whole volume yet, just the one relating to Macchu Picchu.

As an FYI, soon am going to soon pull myself out of his love poems and depths of despair but first will curl up with another of Neruda's love poetry volumes - The Captain's Verses - which was published anonymously in 1952.  This volume was written in the early "illicit" years with his to be wife Matilde, and not published for some years in his own name in consideration for his wife at the time.  It is dedicated to the woman who became the love of his life.  So more sappy love poems... but very soon I will turn away from them, at least for a while - promise!

I know that he does have several volumes, "Residence on Earth", published in 1933 for one, which has a good number of poems about politics and speak about injustice, oppression, brutality, torture and assassinations and war. Eventually I will make my way to them. But not quite yet. :)

What I enjoy about Neruda's poetry is the imagery of nature and animals and the simple things which surrounded him and how  these well crafted descriptives trigger in me such a depth of feeling of sensuality, passion, devotion as well as sadness deep love lost brings. I read Neruda's poems and I am in my mind, back in the heights of a past passionate love or in the depths of despair and grief in the passing of a great love from my past. Well, maybe too, at present, I am using these fabulous love poems to remind myself what will be again be sometime in my future.  For one thing we all learn is that no matter how wonderful love lost is, there is always capacity to love again and with it a hope that the next time we have learned enough to choose wisely and nurture it as carefully as well tended campfire.  (Can you tell I was camping last weekend? LOL)

Have a read for yourself. Don't you think this is one of the best of his sad love Poems?

XVIII from 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.

Oh the black cross of a ship.
Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.
Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.
The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The Gazebo at the end of the Sea Wall

I find the poem exquisite. The language speaks to all my senses - "In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself" - can't you just picture the moon casting a glow on pine trees as the boughs are whipped by the wind against the backdrop of a glimmering lake? - Just the views I see at night as I sit at the end of the sea wall looking toward shore as darkness falls at my Collingwood Shangri-La ...

The images build one on another and it is not until the 3rd stanza that you realize "Alone. Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet."... Wow. "Far away... I love you still"... Expressing a a deep, deep love - but the beloved is far away and love is unrequited - so sad and the poem continues to describe feelings anyone who has seen the end of a great relationship knows all too well.

His  his final line hits home -  "But night comes and starts to sing to me". I am thinking that this ending is meant to symbolize the final conclusion we all get to inevitably in these circumstances (when "I Love What I do not have") - life moves on and the feelings of intense love - contained "on those heavy vessels that cross the sea" get smaller and smaller and finally disappear (like a ship on the horizon ).  This poem has reached perfection in the symbolism.
Georgian Bay from Scenic Caves Lookout

Oddly enough, I could not find in either a Spanish language or English language video recording of a recitation of this one, but I did find an Asian language one!  I apologize - not sure whether this is Chinese or Japanese.  Nice to see that Twenty Love Poems has a Asian translation which is popular - I wonder why the English language one is not sufficiently captivating to drive someone to record one?
I decided to insert this You Tube Video - there are some interesting images of Neruda you even if it is not in English.  

OK, so we are on the theme of love lost and it would just not be right if I did not accompany this wonderful poem with some equally great theme music with lyrics of the same ilk.    I couldn't choose between the two performers - Carley Simon has a special place in my heart - from way back when and Luciana Souza has an equal place in my heart from now.  I have blogged about her music before.  She also shares the stage with Neruda in a future blog I have in draft - she has set a number of his poems to music and has more than one CD with these songs.   I will let you be the judge of who delivers the better performance.  I have included the lyrics as they are very poetic and carry forward today's theme very capably.

When Your Lover Has Gone
by E. A. Swan

By E.A. Swan

For ages and ages
The poets and sages
Of love wond'rous love always sing
But ask any lover
And you'll soon discover
The heartaches that romance can bring.

When you're alone
Who cares for starlit skies
When you're alone
The magic moonlight dies
At break of dawn
There is no sunrise
When your lover has gone.

What lonely hours
The evening shadows bring
What lonely hours
With mem'ries lingering
Like faded flow'rs
Life can't mean anything
When your lover has gone.

What good is the scheming
The planning the dreaming
That comes with each new love affair
The love that you cherish
So often may perish
And leave you with castles in air.

When you’re alone...

If You have found this posting having googled "when your lover has gone"  because you are grieving a lost love - go here for tips on How to deal with Unrequited love. I would add Instruction #13: Don't read sad love poems or listen to sad love songs! LOL...

Last but not least: I know this is an awfully long blog about one poem and one song BUT: I promise onto less "touchy feely" and more here and now blogs coming at you at a greater frequency. I have a week's holiday in front of me to recharge batteries with and then a new job which won't be taking so many of my play hours away from me. I have dozens of blogs half drafted (my previous job did not leave me enough hours to polish - but I captured the essence of many blogs which I will shine up and publish in reasonably short order. I also have lots of things to blog about to recount my summer adventures and goings on... So stay tuned, I am back to a Tue/Thurs and a weekend blog schedule.
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