Growing older and having survived cancer at 40, a long time ago, certainly focuses the mind on the future and I was very aware of this when I wrote the poem FUTURE TENSE. I've always loved writing and still remember the excitement of the first longer piece of work I did. It was very experimental and I was certain it wouldn't get published. It probably wouldn't have but one of the small magazines, who did such great work for new writers, took that piece and many others. But that wasn't all they did. With infinite kindness, they often pointed out where I could improve my writing.
My first book was a picture book, MATTHEW AND HIS MAGIC KITE, but after that, I started wanting to capture the humour and interest of where I lived, so PRIVATE-KEEP OUT came next followed by KNOCK AND WAIT and ONE WAY ONLY. They're not biographies because all I wanted to do was to catch the spirit of those times.
It would be good if everyone wrote an account of their lives so their times are not lost. So many valuable histories unwritten and unread.
When I was a girl, I loved the American writer, BETTY MACDONALD, with her very funny accounts of her family and her life in the 1940's. But NORMAN MAILER's, 'THE NAKED AND THE DEAD' spun me up to the stars when I stumbled across it in the subscription library I belonged to at fifteen. ERNEST HEMINGWAY's 'CHRISTMAS IN PARIS 1923', was so sublime and beautiful it was like a torch for writers and the Toronto Star Weekly must have published it with joy in their hearts. I wonder if there still is a Toronto Star Weekly?
When it’s all over bar the shouting, When the last tear has fallen And the shocked heart has settled Once more to its beating. When the requiem for the lost Has played its final bleak murmuring And sorrow brings the broken to their knees, That is when all that is left is love, Love is all that is left.
But what good is left-over love To the shattered heart? What good is hope Lying broken in the darkness?
Out of the darkness come the rains To fill the dry beds of rivers With water moving silky as young women sleeping, Rolling and twisting, twisting and turning, Their long bony feet stretching thinly behind them; When trees come to leaf like young men leaping Up branches to touch the first floor of heaven, Strong hands full of leaves, now full of flowerings And dry deserts blooming.
So when all is said and done, The requiem over and silence soft fallen. That is when all that is left is love And love is all.