"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Saturday, September 26, 2020

MANNERS: Natallia Povaliayeva -- a response from Moya Pacey

Even though the “Two Arts” virtual exhibit is officially closed, below is a delightful response to one of Natallia’s drawings, “Manners,” by Australian poet Moya Pacey. The exhibit is still in the blog’s archive and you can click onto the “Two Arts” button in the menu on the right to see the images and to learn more about the fund-raiser. There are still prints for sale.


Speak to everyone you meet: Receiving the print in the mail today returns me to my time spent at EB House in Great Village as a guest during the EB Centenary Festival, 2011, and the people I met there.

I leave the EB House and cross the iron bridge on my way to the Post Office, thinking of the five-year-old Elizabeth crossing it clutching a carefully wrapped brown paper parcel, addressed to her mother at the Infirmary in Halifax. Inside, the almonds her mother loved, and a letter from Gammie asking the Superintendent to please take Elizabeth’s mother, Gertrude, out for a drive. Elizabeth pushed the parcel through the post office grille with the quarter coin and left quickly, not waiting for change.

Unlike the young Elizabeth, I linger, and Bev the Postmistress introduces me to Sterling Dick a ninety-two-year-old WW2 veteran. He fought in the Pacific and was in Australia and New Zealand and then at Okinawa. He tells me he’s looking for a wife. Sarah is there from the Blakie House. She’s baking butter tarts for her guests who include Carmel Cummins, the Irish poet, who brings salmon from Kilkenny. It rivals Willy Krauch’s smoked salmon that I eat at the picnic in the grounds of St James Church at the kind invitation of Jane Kennedy, from Economy, and her sister Esther.

I meet Maxine Ryan, another local, on the horse and cart ride around Great Village. We follow the route Elizabeth took with her grandfather that Natallia Povaliayeva the artist captures in her print, “Manners.” April Sharpe dresses as the young Elizabeth and recites some of her poems along the way. I was artist in residence at the EB House in 2018, and was invited to Maxine and Bryden’s Thanksgiving Dinner. I also met up with Sandra Barry and spent a wonderful day with her looking through the Elizabeth Bishop archives at Acadia University, and met Laurie Gunn again at my poetry reading. She has worked tirelessly, with others, to get Municipal Heritage status for the EB House – all this and more returns to me – so many faces, so many memories of my time spent in Great Village @ the EB Centenary Festival.

-- Moya Pacey, September 24, 2020

(Moya and me in EB House dining room, 
looking at EB's 1934 Vassar College yearbook, 
during the EB Centenary Arts Festival in Great Village, 
August 2011)

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