Tragedy at Stratford

The Beauty, Broken

No tell-tale feathers lie;
Vandals, the papers said.
An animal is guilty, yes,
But not a quadruped.

The white seems brighter in her death,
Against the evening’s pall.
No signs of fight betray the man;
An errant neck is all.

Who turned a back
And walked away,
Not stained with drop of red?
Who headed home with not a care
And laughter in his head?

A nest—her eggs are plundered, well;
I hope she didn’t see.
Who can do this? I’ve wondered. Hell!
No answer comes to me.

Kat Mortensen©2010 Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Checker


Out of Touch

Hi. It’s me again. Just wanted to let you know that I may not be around much this week. Tomorrow we’re taking mom to the airport for an early morning flight. We have to be up at 4:30 a.m. (Fun, wow!) Then tomorrow I expect we’ll be in recovery mode.
Wednesday we head to Stratford for our anniversary and to see Julius Caesar at the Avon Theatre. We have a cat-sitter staying with our gang, so we’re free as two birds. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I’ll be taking my laptop (knowing me, I probably will, but you never know…)

It’s a holiday week for my husband so we may do some other local stuff to finish out the week and I expect I will only be able to post or visit my blog-friends very infrequently.

So, I just wanted to put you all in the picture. I hope to pop in once in a while, but the idea of not blogging for a spell is quite tempting.

Anyway, if you’re wondering about me, that’s where I am and what I’m up to.

See you soon! Have a great week!


Gangs of New York: The Musical


This musical holds a special significance for me because it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1961, the year I was born.  The score, by Leonard Bernstein, is pure genius.

I recently had the good fortune to see a new production of the Broadway musical version performed at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. It was a fantastic show and the entire cast did an amazing job.  The choreography of Sergio Trujillo was innovative and powerful.  As the days pass (I saw this last Monday) I am more and more entranced with the music and the story has been taking up residence in my head.  So,  I now present for you, Kat’s poetic take on West Side Story.

But first, allow me to deviate for one moment  to open with a piece from whence this great play originates:

Act 1, Prologue

    Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
    From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
    A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
    Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
    Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
    The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
    And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
    Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
    Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
    The which if you with patient ears attend,
    What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

(From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)


West Side Story


First the Jets, and then the Sharks

Leave their territorial marks;

Tony wants to change his life;

Works with paint, not pointy knife.


Meanwhile young  Maria sews

Gowns for brides but nowhere goes;

Longs to have a U.S. life;

Make someone the perfect wife.


Now allowed to ‘tend a dance

Brother, ‘Nardo looks askance

When she tries to be grown up

He’ll protect hermana pup.


Maria longs to meet a boy;

For poor Chino, there’s no joy;

Sharks’ girls dance their skirts afloat;

Jets’ girls rival them and gloat.


In the hustle of the fuss

Tony and Maria buss;

Never more to go astray

Their true love begins this day.


Sharks and Jets the council hold

Challenging  for hatred old;

Beat cops hope to intervene,

If they can just find the scene.


Nardo’s girl, Anita knows;

Maria’s secret longing shows;

Warns her off of rival lovers;

Cannot change what she discovers.


In the shop with gowns of white

New love marked by sacred rite;

Hopefulness they share in wonder;

Thinking none can put asunder.


At the battle, things go wrong;

Knives released into the throng;

Riff is dead at ‘Nardo’s doing;

Tony stabs HIM now he’s ruing


What he’s done to his love’s bro

In no time; she’s sure to know;

Chino brings her word of death;

Swears for Tony’s final breath.


Tony tries the first to tell;

All too late; can this go well?

Maria hears her Tony’s side;

Loves enough with him to bide.


Off he dashes for resources

To escape the legal forces;

Runs to Doc to get  some dough;

Will they make it? Soon we’ll know.


Anita tries to Tony, find

To warn of Chino’s  vengeful mind;

Jets torment and roughly tease

“Maria’s dead” she lies with ease.


Tony looks for Chino’s shot;

If she is gone, his life is naught;

Maria enters– calls his name;

Chino stands and takes his aim.


Down goes Jet-boy, Tony, dead;

Maria grabs the gun instead;

All too late a lesson’s learned;

Shakespeare’s play on its head’s turned.



Kathleen Mortensen©2009 
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

The hurrieder I went, the behinder I got…


Or something like that.

This (para)phrase has sort of been my lot recently.

On the weekend, I signed up for Theme Thursday (see photo at left – click for link), full-knowing I had to write a personalized poem for a friend by today in order for her to have it in Australia in time for a Saturday (her time – which is Friday, my time) event.

Fortunately, I got a head start with my Blasts From the Past post this week and got it up on Tuesday. We had spent Monday taking mom to see ‘West Side Story’ at Stratford – Great show and we loved it! We haven’t seen dancing like that performed onstage since the last season of “So You Think You Can Dance”. We recently watched, “Easter Parade” with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland (thanks Willow, for reminding me!) and we’ve been singing “A Couple of Swells” ever since. We plan on watching or going to any musicals we can in the future. Mom really enjoyed the day and I’m sure will be up for any trips to Stratford again, in the future.

Unfortunately, Kev had some bad nights of insomnia and by Tuesday he was really over-tired and frustrated and only got about 2 hours sleep. That translates into a really bad night for me as well – worrying about him and sitting up at 2:00 a.m. eating bananas for potassium and drinking warm milk. He stayed home on Wednesday.

Yesterday, I had planned on writing the poem, but I was totally brain-dead and my time was not entirely my own what with my husband in the house. I drove Kev to a dentist appointment at 4:30 and managed to scrawl some notes based on the information I’d been given — plant some seeds in my sub-conscious mind, but that was all I could do. I knew that I had to take control and clear the path for some leeway in my schedule. First, I notified the Theme Thursday folks that I would not be participating after all.

Next, I called Mom and told her that I wouldn’t be available to walk her through using the computer we set up for her last weekend. She has my old laptop, keyboard, mouse and a new widescreen monitor, but keeps thinking somehow she’s going to break the computer and it will “need to be reprogrammed”. I assured her that the only way she could break it would be to throw it over her balcony to the ground. I think that eased her mind, but you never know with my 80 year old mother.

Then there’s my niece who’s writing her university exams in the next town over, finishes this week and wants to leave some of her things here before she moves into a house for the summer. No problem, say I, it’s just another thing I have rattling around in my head —must make room in the back office for L’s stuff.

Thankfully, we both had pretty decent sleeps last night, I was raring to go with the poem this morning, but needed a kick start, so I had 2 cups of organic, French-press coffee. I felt like Amelia Earhart on her 1932 solo transatlantic flight.

After my ritual prayer before poetry-writing, I launched into the piece and before long I had a whole page of stanzas developed from memory of the notes I’d made the day before. With a little more coffee and lots of fine-tuning, I tweaked until I was satisfied and sent it off to her. I’m waiting for her to wake up and read it.

The thing is, I am still so seriously behind with blogging and visiting and responding to comments – even more than when I posted the little bear down below (he’s not mine, by the way – it’s a Flickr photo).

I’m going to slow down and attack things one at a time. Thank you for your patience.

As ever,


I scratched and won! (Irish style!)

Here we are in Stratford, Ontario.  We’re staying at a hideaway inn above a main drag restaurant.  We have a luxurious king sized bed with canopy – befitting any of the Renaissance characters in the bard’s works.  We found a local bookstore and got a whole bunch of great deals – all $0.99 each!

We also found a great pub called Bentley’s where we indulged in a shot of Jameson’s Irish whiskey and a pint of Guinness.  I scratched a card and won this great Guinness Tee-shirt!  I’m really excited by this, because I have NEVER scratched and won a thing in my entire life.

We’re off to dinner in a few minutes and I’m hoping for oysters!

I’ll be back soon!


stratford 014

Me with a Guinness and my shirt. Yeehaw!

stratford 013

Kevin with MY shirt. We are having fun!

Behind the Eight Ball (just a bit).

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Hi friends:

I just wanted to tell you I haven’t been able to keep up with comments until this evening. I was out with Mom all day. I am preparing for a lovely night away at an inn in Stratford here in Ontario so I may not have much time in the next few days for visiting and commenting on all your wonderful blogs.
I will be posting my continuing series of Irish Articles – they are all primed and ready to go. Tomorrow the whiskey cake recipe is coming your way, so stay tuned!

Luv ya all!