The Lion Cometh – 5 – The Narnia Boys (Redux)

narnia lion_aslan_“Aslan is the main character of C. S. Lewis‘s  The Chronicles of Narnia series. He is “the great Lion” of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and his role in Narnia is developed throughout the remaining books.  Aslan is Turkish for “lion”. He is depicted as lord of Narnia; a wise, compassionate, magical authority (both temporal and spiritual); a mysterious and benevolent guide to the human children who visit; guardian and savior of Narnia.

fire_lion_by_alex_barreraThroughout the series, it is stated that Aslan is “not a tame lion,” since, despite his gentle and loving nature, he is powerful and can be dangerous.”  …Wikipedia.

ScholasticNarnia“The Chronicles of Narnia” is a series of seven novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954, illustrated by Pauline Baynes and originally published in London between October 1950 and March 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.” … Wikipedia.

My two sons, Sam and Jesse, attended a summer camp with the Narnia theme from their younger years until they were teens. It was another home to them and helped to make them who they are today. The camp was not based on the Christian aspect of Lewis’ books but on the magic of the stories and a caring for the Earth and of each other.

dis_aslan-edmundAfter the camp closed in 2006 Sam, my eldest, worked together with other past camp members to resurrect the idea and spirit of Camp Narnia – a huge task but now successful. The camp’s site is:

The books and the camp experiences meant, and still mean, so much to my boys that I wanted to use this final post in my Lion series to celebrate Aslan, the magic of Narnia and Sam and Jesse, cubs once and a pride always of their Leo dad.

Sam and JesseWhen you first met Aslan

you were my cubs,

but now you are proud

and grown, strong lions

roaming the plains

and jungles of your lives.

My love for you

stretches far beyond

a fairy tale

into another realm of magic

where you brought meaning

and miracles

to this ragged cat

who cannot be Aslan

but can be real for you

in a challenging world

where winter is never far,

evil still holds court

and Turkish Delight

will rot your teeth.

But this I know,

you both possess the power

of wonder, passion,

humanity and humour,

to transport you through

the portal of dark wardrobes

to the lamp-post’s light.

You both possess the power

to change ice to summer,

face evil with compassion,

exchange doubt for hope

and roam the plains

and jungles of your lives

with gentle strength

and an understanding

of the earth and all its spirits.

You have a wild beauty,

my sons,

that lives deeply in my heart

and touches everyone you meet

with love.

For my boys and their loves.

For you, love… you know who you are.

For all lovers everywhere

and for Love itself.

This series of posts are a repeat celebration of my astrological sun sign, Leo, in  words, images and music…Please see #1 for more detail.

Footnote as of 29 July 2014: Interestingly this particular post has more often than not appeared in my Top Posts and Pages sidebar since it was first published a year ago. I can only think that many people are attracted by the Narnia stories and also, maybe considering sending their children to Sam’s summer camp. This year’s camp is happening as I write with a greater attendance than ever. If your children are there, or if you are thinking of enrolling them next year, I hope that this post gives you confidence that your sons or daughters will be safe, cared for and filled with wonder and magical experiences. I welcome any responses if this applies to you.

Poem and photo of sons by clinock / Images: Aslan in snow, thanks to / Fire Lion thanks to Alex Barrera, / Lion and boy thanks to /

The Lion Cometh – 1 – (Redux)

LEOLeo is my sun sign – on Wednesday the sun entered the astrological sign of The Lion, always a potent and pivotal force for change, strength and confirmation in my life.

I am re-posting my ‘Celebration of Leo’ series from last year with some edits here and there. This constitutes a blogging summer break of sorts for me as I give my days renovating my patio and condo and preparing my art for a few local community exhibitions. Summertime, for me, is not the “lazy, hazy days” of the song but a time when I feel at the peak of my focussed energy and accomplish more than at any other time of year. In this month of my day of birth I conjure the strength and power of the lion and the subtle wisdom of the domestic cat. Under the mid-year sun and it’s heat I am more myself than I am in all other seasons.

Leo StarMy Leo Star, drawn from the astrological colours given to this sign.

Even though the nature of the lion is a powerful part of who I am, his domestic kin, the pussycat, is a more present and comfortable spirit that shares my days. I waver frequently between both energies.

Brit lionMr B

This and the next few posts will be in honour of the Lion, in words, images and music…


Leo wall art by unknown artist, Italy. / Leo Star by clinock / British Lion painting by L D Luard. / Cat photo of Mr. Bunbury who died last year, still cherished and missed. / You Tube video by great Canadian singer, Bruce Cockburn.

As a Horse Enters the Room


I was left speechless by this exquisite work of text / image / poetry by Steven and am honoured to share it here. Everything Steven performs is worthy of your time and attention so I encourage you to visit him at

Originally posted on poemimage:


William Blake lifting and parting silken rays of translucent ecstasy, without a thought to his own gain, rambling upon the aftermath of a village, the merciless beast of empire pressing her breastplate to the ground, and the spewing of milk, unseen, in the clover-scented breeze.

mirror image1633

 William’s words rising upon the feet of a woman, in a tintype portrait, as he drapes her shoulders with blue silk curtains emblazoned with golden script. I would do this all again she thinks, folding the air around his eyes into the mouth of a small, and infinitely glowing, sea creature:


 The eye of the sun blinking, penetrating her fingertips, rays drifting, a glimmer sinking into the pasture, the sun dipping into a hollow made by sounds, half rolling, half floating to the chants and whispered songs of mothers, the sun warming milk, rolling like a wheel of honey igniting fire in the body…

View original 421 more words

map of my heart


In case I disappear here is a map of my heart,

a patched up job, repeatedly reassembled.

With a little patience it can still be understood

and if gently handled it won’t fall apart,

but please do not fold, spindle or mutilate.


Its paths and crossroads are still echoing

with songs of travelers passing through,

tears too are heard, of the wandering lost,

for though the roads are straight they are also worn

and collapsed with confusions and misdirections.


Notice how the blue of fallen sky becomes an ocean

where angels and mermaids dance in arcs of light.

I rest on these beaches when I lose myself,

cool my feet in the waves and sleep for awhile,

then I remember, this is the way back home.


And here are the greens of meadows where I lay

deep in new growth, my thrusting blossoms

seeding the verdant winds and high forests of isolation

with pollinations of laughter, longing and desire.

I smudge the map with unseen words against forgetting.


And there the golden glow of a thousand votive flames

illuminates the holy dark, recalls the first January sun,

places lamps in all the windows, engorges summer heat,

reflects itself in conjured forms of island fantasies

and shapes of full moon dreams in fields of wheat.


The signatures of red I will not hide beneath the surface,

they are its surging life and are crying for acceptance.

These bleeds of love seep through the gauze of landscape

however many bandages of colour I apply.

No compass needed here. This is a map of my heart.

torn and reassembled acrylic painting and poem by clinock


new days new ways

torn skies rip pathways into fire,

curves are acknowledged and abandoned,

edges are released from symmetry,

passages of burning hunger

hover in anticipation,

mystery is penetrated.

dropping, I unfold in fragments,

incinerated shapes of melted wings

ignite the cold airs of descent

and darken the beckoning landscape

with gestures of ash and flame,

as my shadow grows.

intimate luminosity is lost

consumed by the scorching of the fall.

this is the cruelest language of the sun

this blue impenetrable codex,

this stained banner of belief

flying a farewell.

Torn and reassembled acrylic painting and poem by clinock

The 100 #98 – Poet Mask


Lips are pinned to silence,

but behind the mask

the poet


stuttering with knotted tongue,

spitting nails sometimes,

mouth burning, cracked voice off-key,

whisperings unheard

amongst traffic and crows,

and the static of stars.

Behind the mask,

with worn and ancient tools,

the poet mines his shadowed heart

opening bright shafts of light

through the deepest black,

transmogrifying caves

into cathedrals.

Part fool, part mole, part god,

he excavates the stratum of his soul,

wrestling cold rocks with bleeding hands,

always searching under stones

for elusive adjectives,

the missing metaphor,

the long-lost letter

from his dark-eyed muse.

Invisible in solitude

he digs from lexiconic soils

long-buried sentences,

faded phrases, corroded rhymes,

and plants them lovingly

in disheveled compost heaps

of synonyms, dank mosses,

nouns and rotted bones,

similes and verbs, fish-heads

and fractured fonts.

By candlelight and moon

goat footed spirits dance

on a deserted beach

with ghosts of Lorca, Eliot and Yeats

and behind his mask

the poet sorts and sifts his gleanings,

conjuring and reassembling

torn fragments of language,

for love, for truth, for madness,

his hand juggling

through clouds of unknowing

all he has to offer.

Poem and Mixed Media Painting by clinock

‘The 100′ # 97 – Dove


…” the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.”

Leonard Cohen. Anthem

 That which once was clearly read

now manifests in ciphers,

silent, broken and disintegrating.

Whatever the answer was,

in this parchment of peace,

it is gone now, forgotten,

fragmented and lost.

Dove 6


Words and songs are smudged,

dark wings tear the light,

chaos reigns beneath the ordered surface

and the zero and the I,

tattooed in bar codes

indelibly across our eyes

binds us and blinds us.

Dove detail 2

And our blindness multiplies

with the hate and lies,

the killing, the hurting, the violence

wasting our hearts

to ashes, charcoal, stone,

and all we might become

is lacerated by darkness.


Dove detail 4

 But still we inhabit our dream

 as if the unbearable pain

was part of a stranger’s nightmare,

otherwise, we ask

how could we breath?

how could we sleep?

how could we believe in love?

Dove detail 3

So we claim neutrality,

pretend we do not see

the millions of bodies of falling doves

filling the sky like tears,

blood on white feathers

heaping around our feet

freezing us numb in holy snow.




Mixed media collage and poem by clinock.

Thank you Steven @ for design inspiration.

Goodbye Ian McKie – a eulogy

Ian from journal_2_2_2

I intended to return on an upbeat flow of positive energy but so often it seems that life has other ideas. This post honours the passing of my oldest and dearest friend, Ian McKie. We met at college in Bristol, England in 1962 and immediately it was as if we had known each other forever. As years passed we became inseparable companions. We shared our first writings, our deep love of literature and poetry, the mysteries and beauty of our boho lives, our romantic relationships and heartbreaks, experiments in opening the doors of perception, long nights of drinking wine in the smoky dark cellar bars of Bristol, loud exchanges with friends over existentialism and the relevance of the Beat poets, wild dancing to jazz until dawn then watching the sun rise over the harbour as we breakfasted on bacon butties.


I left England for Canada in 1966 and Ian stayed in Bristol, a teacher now. We stayed in touch by occasional phone call and letter but those were pre-internet days and communication was sketchy and expensive. On the few occasions I flew home to visit my parents we came together again and it was always as if we had never separated. Once Ian came to visit me in British Columbia and we spent a mad month in Victoria reliving our early times together.


Each of our lives evolved on different paths. When email and the Internet arrived we took advantage of it and wrote more frequently. Then there was Skype and we were able to talk to each other again. In the last five years Ian struggled through a difficult divorce, ill health and two cancer scares that ended positively. His physical problems increased but his mind remained clear and our talks were as they always were, full of wonder and humour at the vagaries of life, valuing what we had and how blessed we were to be alive and still be friends.


A few weeks ago Ian didn’t answer my email or my Skype calls and his silence continued. I kept trying, thinking maybe he was sick and in hospital, unable to communicate but would soon be home. After two weeks I was seriously concerned. Ian had never given me any of his Bristolian friends or ex wives’ email addresses or phone numbers. I had no one to contact to ask if he was okay. He had no children or surviving relatives and neither of us were on Face Book. Finally I emailed City Hall in Bristol explaining the situation. They emailed back saying that they had a death certificate for Ian…my friend was gone, just like that, gone…and I still can’t believe and I cry every day for him. Ian was 72.

So I post this in memory of him, to honour our friendship. I also post this in the faint hope that one of Ian’s friends somehow sees the connection on-line and gets in touch with me to tell me about how and when Ian died because I am in need of closure.


Ian, me old acker, my shining main man,

tonight I was told you were gone

away from this world we have shared so long,

an email from a woman at your city hall,

her daily bureaucracy surrendering

to compassion, prompt in her reply,

her paper work undeniable, factual,

an uncompromising and cold goodbye.

So now I understand your silence

but understanding cannot stop these tears.

Where are you now dear one?

Beyond any reaching I can do or think.

This was no way to say farewell.

For weeks I have wondered where you are

fearing the worst but not knowing, unsure.

We should have anticipated, planned, shared contacts


but we never thought it would be as sudden

as this, and you sounded so alive

the last time we spoke. The last time.

Can you find me now my friend? Send a sign.

You know I loved you as a brother

so why did you leave me like this, in limbo?

How did you go? In your sleep without pain

I hope, but maybe I will never know.

Perhaps it was like boarding one of the trains

you loved so much, settling into a first class seat

and watching your life and the world flash by

outside the dusty windows, slowly receding

into the final light of darkness.

And these, my last words to you, rattling

with the iron tracks that carry you home.

A steam trumpet wailing in the night.

Our years were wine, laughter and poems on our tongues,

the beauty of salty, sandy women and fish and chips

by the western sea and pine scented baths

in the late afternoon light from the Channel

and Arthur bringing hot towels and tea,

and windy walks home to your house or mine,

our mothers immersed in cooking, and dogs

wanting to go out, and readings of Eliot.


Can you hear me Ian, out there in the shadows?

Are you not allowed one phone call to me

to say a simple goodbye? Not much to ask

from the Great Mystery after a lifetime of love.

I am torn apart with losing you.

I am as cold and empty as you are now

as I search through soil and stars for you

to be with you one last time.

Do you remember once we talked for hours

of how each of us might greet our death?

As Dylan Thomas’..”do not go gentle..”

or with open arms of spiritual acceptance.

How was it for you my friend, at the end?

Did you “go gentle into that good night”?

Were you alone? I hope someone was there

holding your hand. I wish it had been me.


You are gone, not just down the pub for ciggies,

but gone, completely, never coming back,

however much I write and call your name

you are gone, washed into the darkness on my tears.

I am lost in time, still hearing your voice

sending love through the airwaves of the night,

still feeling your arms around me the last time we met,

still holding you alive in my heart as I always have and always will.









My friends and community…I need to take a break from blogging for a short while so please understand my silence until I return…

As you all know, sometimes a quiet hiatus from the familiar is necessary. It is very necessary for me right now.

Chapeau! to you all, for your thoughts, your inspiring creativity, your constant support…you are so much a respected and cherished part of my life. It is wonderful and almost magical, this electronic connection to you all in so many parts of the world. I easily remember a time when sharing minds and hearts as we do through technology was only a sci-fi dream.

I realize that our own small village of communication is only one of many interconnected villages, circles linking with circles. You all have your own circles and I know I am a very small part of this pattern. However, I am a part and happy to be, so, Chapeau! mes amis…

JC web image

I also want to tip my hat and say a warm Hello to all of you who have chosen to follow my blog but with whom I have never personally connected. There was a time when I replied to everyone when they subscribed to Art Rat Cafe but I have not been able to do this for quite awhile. So please accept this as a collective and sincere THANK YOU…never doubt how much I am honoured by your follow. I wish so much that I was able to visit each of you personally, read and comment on your blogs and get to know you…

Chapeau! Chapeau! Chapeau!

3 hats

Until next time,

A la prochaine,

Hasta Luego,

Art Rat <3

art rat image with pa#10EDE