Nightmares End

“You stupid damn fool, why’d you shoot this customer?”

“I didn’t shoot this customer.  I plugged them ones over there.  I must have killed all three of them.  Look at the size of them holes.”

Nobody cares about “Advertisements”.  I think it looks good.  WordPress keeps trying to get me to start paying for this site.  I refuse because I shut this site down.  It’s got nothing to do with me.  I sent the fluffy white hounds on their way and not just because it wasn’t about them.  Tired of WordPress trying to get me to pay for something I have never paid for and will never pay for.  Who the hell do they think they’re trying to kid?

I like this “Refresh connection with Linkedin.”  I dumped “Linkedin” too, and, true to form, it’s not like anyone has noticed.  That’s not how we roll.

“Years ago you came here expecting miracles. That somehow it was going to work for you.  It didn’t.  Now you’re lost.”

But at least we’ll always have Facebook.

It’s all right.  It was always all right.  It’s okay.  It’s fine.  I’m getting up and walking out. Without even looking at the stupid thing he ripped it into small pieces and threw it in the trash where it belonged.

Moving on.  You know you’re having a bad dream when you’re moaning and screaming so loudly you wake yourself up.  And you feel bad because you’re not alone and you’ve disturbed the night.

Thinking again about C.P. Cavafy (1863 – 1933).  A beautiful and exciting poet.  To the heady memory of Antiochos the Great!  Cheers!

Cavafy’s exoticism, his references to ancient times and to his times.  A unique character.  Born in Alexandria, Egypt of Greek heritage.  Youngest of nine children.  Father had started an import-export business in Liverpool, England.  In 1870, when Cavafy was seven, his father died.  Within two years his mother had moved her family to Liverpool.

Cavafy spent seven years in England until the age of sixteen and learned to speak English fluently.  The influence of English literature and of English manners remained with him.

In 1882 Cavafy moved from Alexandria to Constantinople, modern Istanbul, with his mother and remained there three years before returning to Alexandria.  This sojourn also impacted his artistic sensibilities.  He wrote his first poems in English, French and Greek.

At the age of 29, back in Alexandria and still living with his mother, he  became a government clerk.  He stayed with the firm for thirty years, retiring with the rank of “Assistant Director”.  Cavafy also earned money as a broker on the Egyptian Stock Exchange.

Cavafy stayed with his mother until her death in 1899 then lived with his unmarried brothers and then lived alone for most of the rest of his life.  C.P. Cavafy was a gay man. His one intimate, long-standing friendship was with Alexander Singopoulos who became his heir and literary executor.

It’s certainly that exoticism that drew me to Cavafy, and his brilliant, straightforward, colloquial style.  The standard English translation of Cavafy’s poems is by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherwood and was first published in 1975 by the Hogarth Press.  The translators don’t attempt to imitate Cavafy’s use of rhyme schemes in his original modern Greek.

C.P. Cavafy circa 1900

Cavafy never offered for sale a volume of his poems in his lifetime, preferring to pass around privately published pamphlets of his works among his friends and relatives.  One writer has described his “uncommon esthetic acetiscism”.  That appealed to me too.

Cavafy wasn’t entirely unknown to the wider public. He had a twenty year acquaintanceship with E.M. Forster who introduced his work to English speaking audiences.

In 1926, living in Alexandria, he received the Order of the Phoenix and in 1930 was named to the International Committee for the Rupert Brooke memorial statue placed on the island of Skyros.

A Prince From Western Libya

Aristomenis, son of Menelaos,
the Prince from Western Libya
was generally liked in Alexandria
during the ten days he spent there.
In keeping with his name, his dress was also suitably Greek.
He received honours gladly,
but he didn’t solicit them; he was unassuming.
He bought Greek books,
especially history and philosophy.
Above all he was a man of few words.
It got around that he must be a profound thinker,
and men like that naturally don’t speak very much.

He wasn’t a profound thinker or anything at all–
just a piddling, laughable man.
He assumed a Greek name, dressed like the Greeks,
learned to behave more or less like a Greek;
and all the time he was terrified he’d spoil
his reasonably good image
by coming out with barbaric howlers in Greek
and the Alexandrians, in their usual way,
would start to make fun of him, vile people that they are.

This was why he limited himself to a few words,
terribly careful of his syntax and pronunciation;
and he was driven almost out of his mind, having
so much talk bottled up inside him.


Posted in Absurdities, Certainties, Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment


RIDGE. What it is about?  It’s about a bulb out in the lower “D”.  You never notice this stuff unless you look closely and that is if you have the chance.Classic dark grey afternoon. It’s tough when you’re so talented yourself and our beautiful town presents such opportunities. You’re never going to wonder about any of this again. You sure as hell know where you are when you’ve ID’ed this area. Now get going.

Someday Arbutus Mall further south will be open for business again and, in a strange way, that’s all I cared about this Sunday afternoon.  There’s a gigantic hole dug up there and a bit of a mystery what’s filling it in.  Money maybe.


Images samoyeddogs staff and CS Nicol




Posted in Certainties | 2 Comments

Pvt. Joseph Buxley Stretch

Joseph Buxley Stretch.  Born Long Creek, Prince Edward Island January 5, 1892.  Trade: Carpenter.  26 years old.  Married.   No children.  Height 5 foot 10.  Weight 163 lbs. Complexion medium.  Eyes blue.  Hair brown.  Present postal address Collins P.O. Saskatchewan.  Called up January 3, 1918.  First Depot Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment, Regina.  Regimental service number:  1263521.  Terms of service:  Duration of war.

Joe had a short war, and that was good.  He didn’t know how long it would be, he just knew he’d been called up and had to go.  The Military Service act of 1917 had been instituted because rather a lot of Canadian boys were being annihilated in the great war and the army needed more men.  It was simple arithmetic.

So they were even scooping up ancient 26 year old married guys with useless skills like carpentry in Saskatchewan, by law.  You need to stop wasting your time, Joe, building things and join us and maybe get yourself killed in the war.

Joseph Buxley Stretch was in the 3rd draft.  The war had entered a new phase and it was looking like a lot more killing although you just never knew.  Maybe it’d all be over by Christmas.

The Saskatchewan volunteers up to the draft had demonstrated a peculiar knack for getting slaughtered over there in Belgium and France in the previous three years.  70%, 80%,  90% casualties in their units was common, and too close for comfort.  These boys just didn’t know how to quit.  The term “Suicide Battalion” had been coined.

Joseph Buxley Stretch proceeded overseas with the 5th Division Canadian Expeditionary Force  He sailed on the S.S. Missanbie on March 4th, 1918.  His timing was great.  The Missanbie was sunk by German submarine U87 off Ireland on September 9, 1918 with the loss of 45 lives.

Assigned to the 15th Reserve Battalion March 7, 1918.  Recorded as being with the 5th Battalion in France on August, 20, 1918 and transferred to the 16th Battalion Infantry September 8, 1918.

On October 5, 1918 Joseph Buxley Stretch was reported missing after action.  On October 28, 1918 he was reported as being a prisoner of war.  The war was less than two weeks from being over but it was still full-on war.

On December 10, 1918 Joseph Buxley Stretch was reported released and was at Nº 1 Rest Camp, Dover, England.

Embarked for Canada from Liverpool on the Cunard Line RMS Carmania on February 1, 1919.  Pvt. Joesph Buxley Stretch travelled in style.

Homeward Bound

Disccharged on demobilization March 4, 1919, Regina Saskatchewan.

Entitled to wear one blue “Service Chevron” for overseas service up to 12 months.  Last pay certificate from the Canadian army $186.20.

Joseph Buxley Stretch and Mrs Ina Neoma Stretch had 9 children, all of whom survived to adulthood and beyond.  They left Collins and raised their family in Beechy, Saskatchewan and in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Today you can’t find Collins, Saskatchewan on any map of the province.  According to a source who would know, “A lot of towns disappeared.”

Image of Joseph Buxley Stretch to be inserted top of column, left.  Data from official documents.  Have a great wknd..


Posted in Certainties | 2 Comments