Presentation to Mayor Diane Watts

Michael and grandson Nicholas present a copy of the poem ‘What is Surrey’ to Mayor Diane Watts at Council on June 11 2012

What is Surrey

They call it a city
A strapping, uncoordinated, ungraceful teenager
All arms and legs with unfocused mind
Soaring in every direction, bouncing upward and inward
Surging and panting, needing space and air and soil
Impatient with controls, pushing and shoving against all constraints

It is merchant, fisherman, blueberry grower, ESL student, dock worker, developer
Horse stables, ultra-light flights, sailing lessons, yoga classes, homeless shelters
Sikhs, Hindus, Chinese, Afros, Europeans old and new, west and east
Traditional and new-age families, a rainbow of colour, a cauldron of cultures
Samosas, perogies, burritos, a Starbucks on every corner next to a sushi bar
Souvlaki sampled on Crescent Beach as the setting sun paints the placid bay

Festive times abound, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Fusion, Bear Creek concerts
Galleries, libraries, theatres, Peace Arch park, eco walks in Boundary Bay
Softball City, a rodeo, polar bear swim, nude beaches partially secluded
Marijuana grow ops, street prostitutes on iPhones, corpses in back alleys
Fruit stands on country roads near industrial parks where countless trees once grew
And in the farming lowlands, evenings bring soft peaceful mists

It seeks a core heart to pump life’s blood to all parts to ensure dependence
To project a posture a conventional mind can grasp, to be the city of tomorrow
It wants a towering edifice, a central plaza, a world class monument
Now Whalley, Newton, Guildford, Semiahmoo, Cloverdale, farmlands, tomorrow?
While individualism challenges bureaucracy and ideas battle inertia, the clock is ticking
This is Surrey


The Tennis Warriors

While others flee to warmer climes
Or travel far to find a dome
The Winter League of hardy souls
Ignore the clime and play at home

These ageless ones with hoary scars
Survivors all, begin each day
Massaging joints and stretching limbs
Then hurrying to the club to play

The flooded courts do not deter
Nor does the wind or snow or frost
With gimpy steps the courts are cleared
No problem here, the game’s a must

They do not run for passing shots
The drops and lobs may be ignored
But hit the ball to their sweet spot
They smash it back, the spark restored

So drink a toast to those who stay
Within the League they are the core
Though they may play with aging limbs
Because they play their spirits soar


Glenavon Acres

In Hand With Nature

When life begins to weary and drains the chalice dry
When health becomes a worry and troubles multiply
When spirit starts to falter and mornings lose their zest
When all your work seems useless slow down and reassess

Denounce the busy highways escape the urban mill
Find solace near a river or on a windswept hill
Put roots down near a forest let nature sooth your soul
Let gentle breezes calm you and rains refresh your brow

The magic in the soil will make your body strong
The calmness of the country will teach your spirit song
For country imparts patience as growth and bloom take time
And those who live in rhythm their souls are more sublime

Your days develop purpose in tune with nature’s flow
The mornings make you hopeful the evenings much more slow
And in your quiet moments as you look where you have trod
You’re grateful for the time to seek and know your God

September Summer

September Summer

The sun paints the sleeping valley and filters through tinted leaves
It’s warmth is languid, caressing plants and creatures, and me
A blissful heat
The days are shorter
Mornings hazy
Evenings peaceful
It’s summer in September,  a special season

The earth is a palette of color – red, yellow, and burgundy splashes
Blackberries sweet and juicy
Along country lanes flowers bloom in the undergrowth
Reaching for the sun’s warmth
Welcoming bees with fragrant nectar
In the calm silence of the land white noises are nature’s choir
The screaming hawk, the buzzing bees and farm noises blend in harmony
Sleek horses and grazing cows browse near brooks and woodlot edges
And wander the golden meadows
No longer seeking shade, comfortable in the September sun

I cherish the warm stillness of September, celebrate its colour
My mind is in the present, avoiding thoughts of tomorrow
Of darkness, lashing rains and moaning winds
I store warm and sunny thoughts like creatures store winter food
These will feed my soul in the weary days ahead
I cherish this season, a time of tranquility before the looming gloom
September summer

_DSC5686 1 1

Fourscore And More
In quiet moments I reflect on all the days I’ve known
My gauge reads high, keeps adding up, how quickly time has flown
My journey’s gone down many roads, beginning with my birth
I started out on prairie soil, was nurtured from the earth

Then suddenly, in Onescore years, I struck out on my own
A pilot now in Air Force blue, a million miles from home
My heart stayed back but challenge called, my answer loud and clear
I left the farm, my friends, my youth, and all that I held dear

By Twoscore years I made my nest with Terry at my side
But not alone, we also brought four children for the ride
They roamed with us as air force brats, then left us one by one
Young adults now, to test their wings, yet knew they weren’t alone

The years went by, I heard my gauge announce a Threescore sound
The Air Force days now far behind the acreage that we found
Much to be done, I relished all, the years were full and fun
The writing, tennis, golf, and trips, and winters in the sun

Soon grandkids came, such precious gifts, our spirits felt renewed
Until God called my Terry home, and left us all subdued
It felt to me that time had stopped yet years keep rolling by
And now it seems a waiting game no matter how I try

And as I try, the Fourscore bell has sounded in my ear
A louder tone, or is it `cause my new aid helps me hear
I’ll fill each day with family, friends, and happy thoughts and deeds
And shoo away the aches and pains on which dejection feeds

So bear in mind and not forget to give me lots of space
My hard drive’s full, it’s slowing down, it isn’t prone to race
But test me not in games of skill you may be sorry for
I play to win, I always will, while idling to Fivescore


Footnote: These and other poems are now being collated in a book, with photographs complementing each poem, to be released in the next few months. See I am Soul in the Menu.

1 thought on “Poetry

  1. Pingback: Poetry | Books by michael zrymiak

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