A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
He stood there with a far-away look in his eye — like a wild boar peeing in the moonlight.
What has happened to the creative juices of Canadian writers and lyric poets when such a sterling example of beautiful and descriptive observations is rarely composed, much less read today? Is it the fault of our government’s failure to support the arts community — or anything else that doesn’t produce oil? Or could it be the tragic result of an educational curriculum so watered down by so-called ‘educators’ that the poetic genius abiding in all of us has been reduced to but a tiny bubble of inspiration struggling in vain to rise to the surface of a sea of mundane drivel?
Why Canada, a nation that has produced a plethora of excellent and imaginative poets like… well, I can’t think of any at the moment… is bereft of such talent today is a mystery. Nevertheless it is our duty as citizens of this fine country to at least try to regain our position as a world leader in the long-neglected fields of epic poetry and dramatic verse.
Hence I have embarked on a new career of writing verse, some of which won’t start with Roses are red, violets are blue, the mainstay introduction of most Canadian poets of the past. Such a deviation from the norm may confuse English majors and the current crop of teachers and professors leading our brightest and best today.
And so, dear reader, I have taken computer in hand and written a series of poems so filled with imagery and sheer brilliance that once more a Canadian will stand proudly atop the mountain of literary excellence. Pour yourself a hit or two of quality single malt, curl up in your favourite chair or on the john and prepare to be transported to a world of poetic genius. Oh, and keep the bottle handy. If you paid more than 30 bucks a bottle, I may drop by myself.
I wrote this poem (It must be a century ago) just after the Toronto Star published the work of a photo artist. You must have seen the picture in the Toronto papers of the photo artist in New York creating the first masterpiece of the 21st century – a solid block of bare-naked people lying face down in the street.
What passes for art today is often pure drivel. I often wonder what the great masters would think. If say, Michelangelo or Rembrandt took a senior’s bus tour and were dropped off at a modern art gallery. Van Gogh would enjoy it of course. But what can you expect from someone who cut off his own ear? Why he did it is still a mystery. I suspect Vince found a hoop earring and didn’t want it to go to waste.
As I stared at all those bare bottoms spread across a city street, I found myself trying to decide if it was meant to be art at all. Possibly, but it could be one more political statement about the shabby treatment our proctologists are receiving under the government’s penny-pinching Health service policies.
It occurred to me that others might see this artistic masterpiece differently- like the poets of yesteryear. What would have happened if William Wordsworth had stumbled on this display after an afternoon of drinking cheap sherry with Elizabeth Barrett Browning in his field of Golden Daffodils beside the lake beneath the trees?
I staggered, lost, along a street
Bestrewn with cups and shopping carts
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of naked bottom parts.
From curb to curb, they gleamed like suns
A quite impressive rack of buns
Continuous as a Don Trump speech
A Poilievre rant, a Justine squeak
They stretched in never-ending line
Row on row and cheek to cheek
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
They mooned the sky, bereft of pants.
Policemen rushed with eyes squeezed shut
To circle round to block my sight
Lest I see another’s butt
Of chocolate brown or snowy white
I gazed – and gazed- but little thought
What wealth to me the show had brought
For oft when on my couch I lie
Besieged with bills and cell phone ringing
hey flash upon the inward eye
My heart doth leap. My soul starts singing
And then my heart with pleasure thumps
I see once more those naked rumps.
Ogden Nash would have said it much quicker.
While on my way to see my granny
I think I saw a naked fanny.
Or Joyce Kilmer, now there was a guy who had a way with words,
I think that I shall never see a
A bum as lovely as a tree
Except when lying in the street
Then I think they’re really neat.