Saturday, March 13, 2010


Regular readers will have noticed that Arts Spectrum has been strangely silent in recent months. Since moving the column to the web after eight years of print-based journalism, I have established a policy of publishing weekly. There were forty columns in forty weeks beginning March 27, 2009. Then there were only three postings in December, two in January 2010 and none in February or March (until today). What was going on?

Perhaps this poem will explain:

Forty-seven Days

First sighted on birthday seventy-six
perhaps never seventy-seven?

She says “don’t name it” as if a name bestows reality
on a twelve-centimeter monster.

I protest, acknowledge and own Malvolio,
after patient decades growing, let’s get rid of him

Fifteen days hiatus while MD’s vacation in
Aspen? Aruba? Argentina? mid-winter bliss.

Two more scans: not this, not that.
Good as it gets.

Anchor in a safe cove
that meditation chose.

The large intruder departs
taking one kidney as a trophy
of his Olympic quest for mortality.
Ted McIrvine ©2010

What is this cove I speak about? Guided meditation led me to adopt as my “safe haven” during the day of surgery my favorite anchorage in the whole world, one that stimulated another poem a few years back:

Otter Cove, Lake Superior

On late arrival, almost dangerous dusk
we weave our wake past granite hazardous ledges
and touch the velvet wheel to face the wind
no longer strong midst sheltering slopes.

The battened sails now nest in lazy jacks,
the rattling roar of anchor chain is past,
the loudest sound the burbling cataract
where water sorts between three falls.

Beaver slaps his tail and dives
to join his family snug in lodge below;
moose drink here, and shy deer forage close
alongside awkward woodland caribou.

As sun slants slowly beneath four walls of pine,
the August sky displays its Northern lights.
We’re snugged at anchor, joining but two boats
in space would hold two hundred craft.

A sense of peace, and distance from the horde
settles now upon my tired crew.
Danger overcome,
now we’ve solitude.
Ted McIrvine ©2007

Add six weeks of recuperation to the 47 days between initial detection of the cancer and the ensuing surgery, and you can understand why
Arts Spectrum was silent for three months. It is good to be back.

© 2010 Edward C. McIrvine
Arts Spectrum column #466
March 15, 2010


  1. Patricia Arts CouncilMarch 14, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Ted - thank you so for your column. Your courage gives us all some too. Looking forward to many many more postings from you!

  2. We are most pleased you are back! Keep up the great work!