Posts Tagged: waterboys

why, look at that moon

There are a few people who have directly influenced my writing style.  One is my old Windsor/Detroit bus riding pal Phil, who wrote little accounts of events so charmingly in the present tense.  Another one is Mike Scott, the Waterboys songwriter whose poetical view of the world is just intoxicating to me; though it was his online journals that inspired me to "blog" before I knew there was such a thing as blogs.  Back then I called it my online journal.  Go figure.

And Victoria Williams.  There are many reasons to love her.  You could find most of those reasons in her songs.  She faces harder things than I have even dreamed of, yet her themes of the uplifting and the beautiful and the precious and marvellously quirky here and now (and yesterday too) never seem to waver.

There's no video to go with this particular song, but I thought about it in the past few days, as I often do over the waxing and waning full moon times.  I hope you click on it.  I know you'll enjoy it. 

And I bet you ten dollars it'll stick with you and that you'll stumble across at least one thing today that gives you pleasure.  She's got a way with that. 

She's one of those artists who makes me want to write; one of the reasons I'm here.

Words by Victoria Williams

The willows were swaying
The water was rippling
The froggies were singing
Along with the lapping at the bank
We have the moon to thank
For this lovely scene
We might never have seen
If it hadn't have been for the moon

Why look at that moon
Ah way up high
Seeing everything
Ah yes there it goes by
Why look at that moon
Why why why
Look at the moon!
Why why why
Look at the moon!

Oh sittin' in the desert
Beneath the lonesome sky
Ooh my oh my it would be
Of if there'd never been above
That faithful little orb
That one that has beheld true love through history
Why must it start?
Why must lovers part?
Why does the cheating go on?
Why have hearts turned to stone?

Why look at that moon!
Ain't it grand
Why look at that moon
Helps me understand
Why look at that moon
Inspirator of many a tune
Why look at that moon

Ship and Moon 
(Note:  The aforementioned Waterboys do a sweet calypso version of Why Look at the Moon on the album Sweet Relief, a 1990s album of Victoria Williams songs covered by artists to raise funds for her treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.  My girls will tell you that they often heard one version right after the other, so much does their mother love this song.)

a magpie tale about accepting the inner fisherman

 Magpie 15 

This is a response to Willow's latest Magpie Tales visual creative writing prompt.  I'm two days late posting – but I liked the prompt, it's timely, and it furthers a bloggy theme that has revealed itself this week.

Last week I had dinner with an old family friend from back home who, like me, picked up stakes and came to Toronto and has settled herself in the Beaches.  There’s something about living near the water that seems right, I said, and she agreed.  

She and I both grew up near the Detroit River, and it’s a waterway that features prominently in the essences of both Amherstburg and Windsor where I spent most of my life.  When I left the area, I was given several pieces of art to remind me of home – two featuring ships on the Detroit River and a one of a great blue heron in the marshlands off Lake Erie.

In my last few years there I walked by the river many nights and I recall the change that came over me the instant  I came off my street to the river’s side – inhaling the air affected every pore – it was electrifying.  Since leaving Windsor I’ve hovered down near Lake Ontario as close as my budget would allow.  Many people have asked me why I subject myself to such a long transit commute to my job on the north end of the city, and while there is certainly the “cool factor” of living right in one of this city’s marvellous neighbourhoods, the idea of being landlocked has always loomed when I considered where next to hang my hat.

And as one might generate from the previous couple of posts, the world of rivers and lakes has always had a place at our table by way of our sailor dad.  Having a tug captain for a father was a novel thing to tell your friends – no one else’s father was a tug captain.  It certainly wasn’t the happiest situation for him to go away for periods of time when we were small, but I think it’s probably one of the sources of the independence in my sisters and me; at the very least it’s attuned us to the sensibility of a sailor.  That kind of life isn’t for everyone, but it was for my dad, his brothers, his father and generations before them. 

Something else that has probably played a part on my gravitation to the watery side of things is the fact that a quarter of my bloodline features a whole bunch of islanders.  Some of them came over from the Western Isles of Scotland to land themselves on the Manitoulin Island in Ontario.  Aside from the hunk of land under their feet, water is the central thing to an islander’s existence.  Many make their living on the water.  They are aware of its gifts and its dangers – it is both life giving and perilous.  And for islanders, it’s the road out. 

The need to feel free is one of the fiercest desires in me – probably more of a burden than a boon.  I always blamed it on having emerged from a bad marriage, but really, I’m thinking it goes much deeper than that.  Being near the water somehow appeases that need for freedom – maybe there is some tiny gene way down somewhere in my body that is appeased by the sense that I’m always near the road out.  Or maybe it's some random genetic link to some fisherman who once cast out his nets searching for the thing that will get him through the next day. 

Maybe the water simply carries some internal symbolism of the grand search.  It’s not such a bad thing, to be always searching – the idea that there’s something new around the corner is renewing.  And renewing is better than stagnating. 

So me and my inner fisherman will carry on with the nightly water walks and ponder the grand search.  Or maybe we won't.


Visit Magpie Tales to find other fine poets and writers responding to the weekly prompt.  Give it a try – you may be surprised at the depth of your imagination and creativity!

crazy hair and cowboy hats

Today on my lunch I saw a terrific looking fella in gear not so common in Toronto:  a western style tailored plaid shirt and cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.  The best thing about him though was the shock of long, fuzzy grey hair flying everywhere off him.  It burst out the bottom of his hat and pointed up and down in all directions in crazy waves.  It flew similarly off his upper lip and chin, and the whole effect of hat and multidirectional hair had this effect of framing his narrow face in some kind of headdress.  If I wasn’t in the middle of North York amidst office buildings, expressways and apartment high-rises, I would have been convinced he’d been riding a horse on the windy plains for days.

He was wearing eyeglasses that magnified his eyes to a size that did not befit the size of the head that housed them.  I did a double take, and caught myself up when those magnified orbs caught me looking, followed by a flirtatious smile.  I wasn’t sure if I caught that right, me in my officy looking garb, so when I did a triple take he was still smiling at me, and I couldn’t help but admire his countenance of blowsy confidence and smile back. 

He reminded me of a man I saw some years ago at the Penalty Box diner in Windsor, locally famous for their “Chicken Delight” kebabs in a pita, the only thing worth eating in the joint.  He was wearing a black satin cowboy shirt, trimmed in crimson and finished with a string tie, and a tall Stetson.  He was tall and thin – he reminded me of the Waterboys ode to Hank Williams, Has Anybody Here Seen Hank

Well he’s sure to be wearing a Stetson, he’s as long and as thin as a plank…” 

Unlike the guy I saw today, he was neat and pressed and coiffed, and there was nothing blowsy or confident in anything about him.  He was having dinner with a woman and her young daughter; judging by the bits of conversation I got, I guessed they were somehow related, perhaps having a semi-regular visit.  Their communication was stilted, not relaxed or natural, and I got the sense from both sides of the table the visit was obligatory.

When it came time to pay, the woman picked up the cheque and reached for her wallet, and the man said, no, that the meal was on him.  She argued a bit, and finally he insisted.  But when he pulled out his wallet he only had ten dollars, about the cost of a Chicken Delight and a coffee.  So the woman pulled out her wallet and paid for the meal with her credit card.  Based on her demeanour – and his – I got the feeling that this has happened more than once. 

And I got the impression that when they all walked out the door there was a three-way sigh of relief that the obligatory visit had come to a conclusion.