I wrote this poem for Cobourg’s Take Back the Night event on September 19, 2019.
About the Building
In 1996, my Uncle Bob wrote to the government requesting information about Gereaux Island Lighthouse. He knew this was a meaningful place for my Aunt Pat: her father grew up in this lighthouse and her grandfather was keeper. The government sent him the plans for Great Duck Island Lighthouse on Lake Huron (built in 1876) stating it was very similar in construction. They also sent a few other spec sheets and an article. Uncle Bob used this information to have a replica built for her as a gift. Fast forward many years later and Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob have shared that gift with me. I have the replica in a special place among family photos in my home.
According to an informal building report from the Federal Heritage Building Review Office, published in December 1990, Gereaux Island Lighthouse is a square tapered wooden lighttower with attached dwelling. This form had living space in both the attached dwelling and in the tower. This model was used especially in remote locations.
Back to School
On the first day
we put on our new school shoes
travelling back to the future
knowing our desks soar like jets and
pencils swim like dolphins.
The first time we hear the bell
we see our teacher wears a cape,
super smiles and high fives among
line-ups and hooks with our names
beyond this classroom
on the moon.
We sit quietly not on a carpet or in a chair
but on a massive drawbridge
between the forest and the castle
waiting for a glimpse of a dragon or a knight
or to be invited to study with a wizard.
At lunch we eat small bites out of boxes
bouncing to go outside to a jungle
and run with tigers
giggle with hyenas and jump with frogs.
We learn to count the days with robots
(not the boring kind)
our robots code the world
and we will use them to change the world
And: You. Will. Change. The. World.
We ride unicorns in the afternoon
our thinking and creativity and compassion
unrestrained and generous.
We learn outside of walls and boundaries
guided by curious questions and wonder
full of possibility.
Tonight when your parents ask
what did you learn at school today?
You can say:
we saved a life
we created a planet
we sang and danced beside giants
we jumped into the centre of the puzzle
and found algebraic patterns
in the photosynthesis of numbers
converting our spunky energy
into brainy energy that will be released in time
or you will humbly say
© Jessica Outram
I wish I lived with a view of the water. When I am at the cottage I spend each morning and each evening watching the colours change. In the mornings, the stillness spreads across smooth waters, birds break the silence with their songs, and misty fog rises up and then rolls out from the river into the bay. By 9:00 am the bay is alive, trees dance in the sparkling wind, and voices crowd out the birds.
Write who you are. Live your metaphors.
How does metaphor work in your life?
What is your relationship with your writing process? How do you develop mastery as a writer? How do you write your truth?
Actively explore metaphor through writing and reflection to boost your creativity and re-invigorate your writing process.
Last week I received a memorable, thoughtful gift: a poem. I attended the Cobourg Poetry Workshop’s meeting and one of the poets, Doug Langille, had composed this poem. He recited it for us, gave me a copy, and then told me I could share it here.
I feel blessed to live in a creative community that values, generates, and celebrates the arts. Saturday night I attended a fundraising dinner for SONG, a local music program for children. Even the asian fusion dinner carefully prepared by Craft Food House was a work of art! Northern Hearts performed (more local talent). Upstairs in the Loft other arts enthusiasts attended an event inspired by Joni Mitchell.