Monday, April 27, 2015

Poem #26 for Poetry Month- Japanese Renga

This popular, and often collaborative, Japanese form consists of alternating stanzas of 5 7 5 syllables and the next with 7 and 7 syllables. Non-rhyming and non-metrical, each stanza is linked to the next by images or subject. With this one, I used the sound of human voices spanning hundreds of kilometres down the BC coast seven times daily as lightkeepers deliver "the weathers" to the Coast Guard radio staff handling communications.

The weathers are so-called because we primarily serve mariners and aviators with our dual-purpose weather reports, hence plural, the weathers. My photo is of Estevan Point Lighthouse, known for its graceful cement flying buttress architecture. It was twilight on a fine summer day with fair weather cirrus clouds backlit by the setting sun. 

Today's poem is dedicated to the stalwart men and women who served, until April 21, 2015, at the Coast Guard MCTS station in Ucluelet. They, as well as Vancouver and Comox MCTS stations have for years been handling may-days, pan-pans, marine hazards, lightkeeper weathers and foreign vessel transit through Canadian waters and much more.

Farewell, comrades of the airwaves. Prince Rupert, Comox (slated for closure in 2016), Vancouver (also on the chopping block) and Victoria MCTS staff will now handle the entire 27,000 km of BC coastline.

Weather Report Renga
For whom do we wait
without fail each third hour?
One voice: rushed or calm

The weather collector greets
us, wants our vital signs

One by one, we speak
of skies and seas and winds in
radio cadence

northwest three-five
fog bank distant south through west

Estimated wind
over sea five-zero knots
(seas three stories high)

Better someone stops, stays put
won’t drown for the halibut.

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