Removing the I

Who knew that when a New Year’s resolution to make more art was made it would include poetry but it has.

Of course I am painting and drawing but of late I have been writing a lot of poetry and it is very different from what I used to write. First it is short – very short in some cases – and second it does not feature a lot in the way of personal pronouns. They aren’t gone, just rare and it seems to work. This is one which I wrote yesterday.

five years after her death
wedding china still awaits
the right time
– denis bernicky

Despite its brevity it took a little while to write. Getting the feeling with a single mention of “her” and the tension of “the right time” rather than weakening the tension by adding a “he” or an “I” which would have also added to the length of the poem. The structure 5-4-3 is meant to give the unconscious awareness of a count down – time running out. I think there’s a lot that goes on in little poems that either I think too much about and perhaps the reader doesn’t care about.

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And then there was one

The Stewart Hall 2017 Art Rental Collection allowed for three entries. The three framed pieces I entered were my three best. Two were rejected but one made it through – this one.

Snowdon Fire Escape

Snowdon Fire Escape

To have even one make it my first time out is kind of awesome and I have to admit to feeling a little bit chuffed about it. Whether or not it will sell or be rented is an entirely different question and at the moment I don’t really care. It would be nice to see it go but I’m not holding my breath for a year to see if it does.

My latest.

Someone's Watching

Someone’s Watching

One thing I have noticed from various watercolour and sketch groups on Facebook – I really paint/sketch mundane stuff in comparison to the amazing landscapes and florals I see out there.

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More new poems

I seem to be going through something of a resurgence of poetic energy of late. Here are some new ones. Mercifully brief as has been my wont recently. Not that I think it likely but to be on the safe side all poems are copyright denis bernicky – just saying.

I can’t help                          thinking that one day
I should                                try and find room
For myself
.                                                in my own life.


october beach
snowflakes fall


lying beside the rails

proof reeds break too


apples by bushel
peaches by half
berries by pint

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New Poems

Not that I think it likely but to be on the safe side all poems are copyright denis bernicky – just saying.

my brief heart
weathered but true
aches for you.

rain falls.
sun shines.
love hurts.




we piece
our lives
out of
so many
those who lie
best to themselves
have the best stories.



it doesn’t get any easier
you just get used to it
that’s not the same thing


what we believe of ourselves
our most precious treasure
our greatest burden


In the end
after all our battles are lost,
what remains
what we believe we remember ,
and the stories we tell


growing shadows
as the sun sets



In dreams
She arrives
In needs precise moment.
In day`s light
She is ever
Life`s beloved straggler.

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Diving into the art world

My coworkers at my second job – artists all – encouraged (I might say pressured) me to enter three pieces to content for a spot in the annual Stewart Hall Art Rental Collection. It seems a might early in the game to be attempting this, but nothing ventured……

I’ve posted these before, but here they are anew, all framed and prettified.

Snowdon Fire Escape

Snowdon Fire Escape

House on the Cape

House on the Cape

Montreal Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Montreal Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The plan is to submit them tomorrow. Artists are informed next week whether or not they made the cut. Making the cut doesn’t mean anything financially until someone buys or rents an artwork. It would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Seven on Seven

The new order of things, working seven days a week, brings a new meaning to being tired on some days. Tired is okay as long as it doesn’t turn to fatigue it’s all good. The extra money has been handy for things like heating oil, fixing the van and groceries. We didn’t quite break even last month but were a lot closer than we have been in a long time and with any luck, if I can hold off heating until the third week of October, we might make the turn to being back in black. It’s amazing to me that it requires two jobs and seven days a week for someone who is debt free to break even.

Last weekend I spent some time with the owner of the art supply store that I’m working at part time and we had a good talk about life, the universe and everything. At one point he was telling a story about a woman he knew, and didn’t much care for, who went in to hospital on a Friday and was dead by Sunday. It turned out she had been terminally ill, knew it, and told no one. He didn’t think much of that approach and was a little surprised when I defended her. We went back and forth on it, but the upshot is that neither of us changed our minds.

I’m in her corner because I think it’s the right call. Worrying the people you care for, and take care of, doesn’t make any sense because there’s nothing they can do about it. A few years before Lynn got sick I had to visit the hospital for some tests. I told Lynn they were routine follow ups for elevated blood sugar, but the tests were a little more involved than that. She could not have benefited in any way from knowing what tests were being done or why. As it turned out it was all a false alarm. Talking about it would only have made a simple situation into a complicated one. No point in doing that – regardless of the results it would have been my new normal. We acclimate to our situations whatever they may be or become.

Seven days a week is the new normal, but I still get stat days so there will be breaks this month, December and January. In the meantime, when I can, I’m still making art.

Lac St. Louis from the Galipeault Bridge

Lac St. Louis from the Galipeault Bridge

Montreal Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Montreal Migratory Bird Sanctuary

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The gig economy

The new job has been going well.

By new job I mean the part time job that I took to fill the waking hours when I am not at my full time job. It’s back to picture framing. I always enjoyed the framing part and the new gig keeps me in production most of the time so the part I don’t like, dealing with customers, I get to avoid most of the time.

Our son was in hospital again last week. Two days and a follow up appointment to come for an endoscopy. The last time out they found polyps that they wanted to keep an eye on. I guess they are going to go have another look. I’m glad he’s back home where, even if he doesn’t take the best care of himself, he can count on support and someone to nag him about taking better care of himself. Parenting is an unending thing.

Years before my mother died I phoned her one day and said “I’m sorry.” She asked “What for?” and I replied “Everything and stuff I don’t even remember doing.” She laughed, but I was sincere. Once you are a parent you do get it. It’s a life long gig. There are people who can walk away from it – millions do every years – and there are those who would never consider it.

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A haiku for Donna

Everyone needs a
Safe haven as each day ends
For me it is you

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Alleyway and Cape Cod

Snowdon Alleyway - Stillman & Birn Zeta, Winsor & Newton halfpans.

Snowdon Alleyway – Stillman & Birn Zeta, Winsor & Newton halfpans.

Cape Cod - Stillman & Birn Zeta, Winsor & Newton halfpans.

Cape Cod – Strathmore Windpower Cold Press, Winsor & Newton halfpans.

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The view from here

You cannot see the mountain from the top.

Not an earth shattering observation, but one which is easy to lose track of. I haven’t seen the mountain in a long time. It sometimes takes someone who isn’t standing right with you to see the mountain for you and describe it to you. Even then you might not believe that you are on a mountain. Why should you? You can’t see it.

Donna described my mountain to me a few months ago. I didn’t see it. Didn’t want to see it. Still don’t really want to see it, but I got a better understanding of it over the last few weeks.

Our daughter’s health problems are in remission and things seem to be going well. Parent’s sometimes get the feeling that their children work a tag team to keep the pressure on and such is the case in our family. Just as our daughter got out of hospital our son was on his way there. The past few months, most especially the past two weeks, have been a lot of effort and worry to see things going in the right direction. He is moving back home tomorrow which will be good for him. There is the mountain that Donna observed and I tried to ignore: I’m a parent, first, foremost, forever.

One of the things that I think Donna likes about me is my steadfastness. It’s also one of the things which can be most annoying about me and inevitably most disruptive to any relationship which involves children. It’s not that our children are young, they aren’t, but they aren’t independent adults yet either, and need more than the average amount of care. I do my best for them, but in doing so often neglect Donna who does her best for me. It’s not hard to imagine that no one likes to come second, and no one deserves to be an afterthought on any day of their life.

My mountain, Donna observed, is something off of which I will not come because I cannot and she won’t join me because she cannot. She understands that I have to be there, that’s what parents do. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier on either of us but it is much harder on her. Being aware that you are standing on a mountain doesn’t change the view, only what you think of it and an awareness of how unfair things can be for those who care for you.

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