Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn - giving thanks.

Pumpkin Perfection
c. Gillian Cornwall
 This is a perfect late September day. The morning air cool as a reminder of the harvest days ahead. I throw my mind one hundred and fifty years to the past and envision myself on pastoral lands and villages built of the the stones dug from the fields by which they stand. 

Simpler times are what I crave, time spent in a kitchen preparing food for the winter months - a pot of soup set upon the stove, bubbling with the goodness picked steps from the cottage door. I know I've idolized it and it was work, hard work then, but was there not more time, more direct contact with our needs and survival? I want to go right to the farm for the food upon my table but the journey to the farm has become a treat, a special occasion, an adventure too far without a car so I wait for the times when I will be taken there and I dream of the land, the red leaves of the blueberry bushes in the distance and the song of the sheep and the cattle. I dream of the sensation of the cool, earth-damp squash or potato in my hands, fresh from the ground below my feet. 

It is autumn and I recognize the gifts from the land. Fill my glass with BC wine and I will lay a dish before you replete with the wonder of this place, my home.

-Gillian Cornwall, September 25, 2012.

The Blueberry Fields of West Saanich
c. Gillian Cornwall

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Hawaii - 2006
(click image to enlarge)

This is a poem about instinct and letting go. It's a reflection of our capacity to survive and engage in pleasure that we must have had as a full time job before the things of man shifted how we function, before we industrialized to make our lives easier. We have traded the full time job of working for survival for "paid work" so we can exchange money with others to provide our food and shelter and protection. We work so we can play and touch base with our instincts of survival on our vacations by going camping, visiting the natural world. We've added a step because it made it physically easier for us but has it only complicated our worlds?


desire soaked 

prowling territory

collective spirit


licking wounds



thick with life

-Gillian Cornwall

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Beddis Beach, Salt Spring Island
c 2011

A month has passed since the death of my brother and I have been walking the path of grief with as much personal truth as I have. On this day, I reflect on time and draw on work from last year and another loss:

   "What do our lives owe to the spirits of those who have passed? What do the living owe to the dead? Does memory, fading memory, suffice? Time delivered at a graveside? Conversations into the beyond?
   What is it that could possibly be enough to tell a loved one that we care, that we notice the absence of their physical being, that we feel a hollow place where they once rested within us?
   You cannot be replaced with something else, not with actions nor words nor tributes. All I can do is to open myself more, to let that universal energy flow through me and know, in this one act, we are united eternally."

-Gillian Cornwall, written on June 24, 2011.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Philip and Eunice Cornwall, Muskoka Autumn
Circa 1979

We want miracles.
We have miracles:
in each breath
and smile
between strangers,
with every blazing,
red leaf
that dances
on the autumn breeze
before coming to rest
on the still-green
summer lawn.

What is it you need
beyond the potential
of your eyes opening
to a new day?
For therein lies the miracle,
the potential for creation
of love
and beauty
and kindness.

Dear life,
you are my miracle
and I am grateful.

With love and blessings to all.
-Gillian Cornwall, September 9, 2012.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

For Beauty's Sake - A Love Poem

This piece is a considerable departure from last week's.

I needed to write something joyous this week, something passionate and beautiful and joyous, so I have written this poem about love, passionate love, purely for the sake of the beauty found within the state. I hope it brings you joy; after all, perhaps we owe our greatest debt to joy:

Your lips brush the curve of my ear
Your soft voice vibrates
on the warm breeze from the south

You are carried
over the water
a glimmer on the arched back
of the spinner dolphin

You heard my call
and arrived with time and space
to lay me down
on the warm sand
beneath the coconut palm
shivering above us

This old tree can hold our fears
so touch me now my love
for I know the ache
of a space once filled with you

Replenish my body with yours
your touch
Read the story upon my skin
Read between the lines upon my face

Write your language upon mine
a page or two
in your book of life

Write upon me
indelible love
language only
listened and learned
between two halves of an hour glass

You fill me
and I fill you
across time

We break the rules
We break the glass
We become one 
with the rest

-Gillian Cornwall, August 28, 2012.