flowerO Shenandoah! Occasional Treats

Verse to Music

Harold Janzen, a Canadian poet of vividly unusual imagery and cadence, lives in the Southern Manitoba country on three acres of oak trees and the meandering Dead Horse Creek, just outside the small Town of Morden of which he is Parks Director. With his wife Lori, a grade 4 & 5 teacher, he has lived and taught school in Honduras for a year, explored most of the United States and parts of Mexico and Europe, and most recently spent five months travelling throughout southeast Asia.


amelia why are you
painting the sky blue
you with your
house with no doors
passing tv dinners
thru the window

amelia why
are you scared
so high on the ladder
sketching the ozone
pressing your ceiling
fixing a hole

amelia why
haven't you been
taking your iron pills
sedate and alone
you must be so tired

amelia why
aren't you reading
the life of salvador 
eating the graced 
mashed potatoes
an ecstasy rhyme

amelia why
with your face full of sorrow
is tomorrow
all laughter
does your yin
yang tattoo
appear backwards
in the mirror of my eyes

amelia why are you
painting the sky blue
you with your
house with no doors
passing tv dinners
thru the window

(traveling in some kind of vehicle)

because she's going
to figueras 
spain to touch the grave
of great inspiration
because i've got
this poem
to salvador 
i'd like to have buried beneath
the crystal dome in the
                museum of his work 

because i'm obsessed
not with the art
so much as the dream
and am enthralled
with this opposite being

because i'm concerned
and have never been burned
by the word
or am worried

because she is surrealism

because neither
knows the life of dali
apart from what's been read
traveling in some kind of 


an intense obsession
and division from sobriety
from reality
in dreams and visions

a smile collides
corners hit the brow
the seed is set
and born 

the conclusion will never
entering another
and inspiring

just like a lover
on the other side
a beautiful friend
dear eye
behold her

with powerful flight
ancient history

she's looking up 
thru the waist
and into the future

into the cascading stuff
of found time
and time finding


mapping misery
i'm on the trampled path
thru brittle bluff
breathing heavy
clouds of unarmed memory
smoke rings chain me

surrounding galaxy
starry ice-mazed gallery
wax-like branch grid
and down thru it
my loving nature waning
the full moon used to phase me
only makes me crazy now

my emotions snag in the bramble
i've loved you more
or less thru time
and now you're on my mind
tracking me
as if from endless

the clinging past
that complicates
and can't be swept
or wept away

my shadow casts a low
profile each stark island
of naked trees strangely resembling
the last you
closing in behind

always finding
the warm coals of my
original fire

with your unbending survival
you easily kindle another
resting just long enough
to maintain the haunting
deja vu you
hound me with

why's my restless nature the wolf
and yours as if a trapper
with too much heart
to settle on the capture
undecided in pursuit

my free spirit tortured
keeps moving

"strangle me and take me then for what i am"
dear god I walk in circles fighting the urge
to break completely

edge of a twig snaps
my splintered instincts
get up and go

you stalking
into my vertigo


the closest i get
with this poem to the death
of the moment
is from behind words
the closest i get
is this road to the left
or the right

to be able to say
this is not for the living
but for the souls
that are making our beds
when the coral is red
on the sea
as the blood that is flowing
thru me

she will be
on the plains of
my own belief
the distance of memory
the space between trees
both are like nothing
both are as wide
as the breath that we breathe

this is a poem
to the dead
who are reading this
over my head
and finally with laughter
we capture an essence
a presence perhaps
a leaf that has fallen away

by this last verse
i consent and write
my forgivings
and slowly am passing 
to some other place
by this last verse
the fragile skin face
of water

is rippling

HAROLD JANZEN: "I have been writing seriously for the past twenty-some years, initially influenced by the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, especially John Lennon. Later I discovered the Beat Generation, concentrating on Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder. The poetry and writing of Octavio Paz, Paul Bowles and Malcolm Lowery are also a constant source of inspiration. My poetry has been published: in the hard copy Manitoba periodicals Prairie Fire, the Gopher and Paper Rainbows; in Pieces Of A Jigsaw Puzzle, a multi-cultural anthology; and on-line poetry websites including Recursive Angel, Olympus, Ygdrasil, Snakeskin and Poetry Cafe. Two self-published chap books are also available: The Cat Sleeps In My Head and Ultravisions, a collaboration with artist Marcel Debreuil."
E-mail address: hjanzen@mb.sympatico.ca.

Where the heck am I? -- Beam me back home

"Amelia," "This Poem to Salvador," "Of Time and Time Finding," "So Close Behind," and "Poem to the Dead" İHarold Janzen, 1997. All rights reserved.