Saying Goodbye

Since July, I have been teaching English to one of the nicest Japanese guys I have ever met.  I have so enjoyed teaching him and having the opportunity in this way to re-connect with Japan.  Last week was our last lesson together and I wrote the following right after.  He will most certainly be missed…

Saying Goodbye – by Nathalie Vachon

Today was our last lesson.  Book 4, Side by Side, Tag questions.  This tea is good, isn’t it?  You like Japan, Don’t you?  This has been great, hasn’t it?  I’m going to miss you, aren’t I?
We focus on the lessons; I correct, help with pronunciation.  But on this day, this last lesson I had to stay focused.  Focus on the letters, the way the words roll off the tongue.  Laugh at the mispronunciation of puppy (not poopy).  Review present continuous.  Take note of how I explain things with my hands.  Remind him how we use ‘a’ the first time we mention something and ‘the’ the second time.  A lion escaped from the zoo.  The lion was captured.

The Yellow House on the Hill

by Nathalie Vachon

The yellow house on the hill
had a wrap-around porch
had a screen door with a spring on it that snapped back
pushing you into the house before you knew what hit you

There were art projects on the walls
Rae Ellen’s tunnel; a lump of clay painted black
the dark space of the inside of the tunnel
there were toys scattered on old Moroccan carpets
a chalkboard beneath the stairs
Van Morrison on the CD player
windows open
breezes always flowing

There were piles of dishes in the sink left over from last night
but not to worry, there were better things to do

Don’t Have Carrots

By Nathalie Vachon

i saw the moon in you
i saw the sea in your heart
the pounding the night you woke me up at 2am or was it 3 to say your heart hurt
you didn’t want to alarm me so at first you said it was your stomach
then told me it was your heart
the pounding in your chest, an ogre’s heart inside a baby’s body
too big for your ribs, you felt it pressing and pounding
a sea, asia, africa, celtic sea salt of sea dreams under the covers
under the roof of OUR house
you ache and fear that i will be panicked by the news
i turn on the light
we drive in hap-hazard clothes, mismatched socks and coats
to emergency
the sea in me rising like a heron
like a call
like a loon on Friday
across my own lunatic city of traffic and rage


Yellow Bird

In the Thoughts and Inspirations section there is a posting called Chased by a Poem which talks about the creative muse.  For an artists, one of the most rewarding experiences occurs when creative forces just flow through… when a poem or painting or idea just comes and we are there to simply jot it down or express it…

One of the most powerful moments where this happened to me was in Boston.  I was taking a poetry class and at the end of the class someone was talking about a loved one that had passed away.  Just then I saw a bird land outside the window.  On the way home the stormy sky was split in two with one half a creamsicle orange and the other,  a dark slate gray.   And then the rain started…  A poem was brewing.   I ran in the door, dropped everything, pulled out my journal and started scribbling down this poem about my grandfather.   The sun was setting so by the time I finished I was writing in the dark.  But this poem remains one of my favorites because of how it was created:


Celebrate Everything

By Nathalie Vachon

What if we took everything positively
Missed the bus, no worries, meant to walk today
Dumped, no matter, I will just appreciate myself fiercely
Lines on face, desire lines
Look how they radiate outward, hazel suns reaching, reaching
Gained weight, all will even out, all will ebb, then flow again

No need to frown, see
See it as a rainbow, children holding hands on a hillside
Forming a bridge
A frown can be a bridge, you know
From today to anything

Is this delusional?
I don’t know? But perhaps
There is something to say about embracing the what-is-ness of ourselves
Something to say about putting down the clipboard
Stopping the judging panel

Red Toboggan

We fly down the hill, two grown ups
One red toboggan
We giggle and laugh
Mouth so open snow flies into tonsils
The snow comes down like bubbles
The night blankets us
We have found a snow globe, a little world of our own
As people are tucked into their beds, tucked into their lives
We are following our own footsteps back up the hill
For our 5th trip down this slippery slope
Deciding who’s going to be in front this time
Whose face will be the windshield for the flying snow
I tuck my feet under the curl of the toboggan