Tag Archives: Poetry

After the Grinning

by Diane Attwell Palfrey

photo by luigi diamanti | freedigitalphotos.net

photo by luigi diamanti | freedigitalphotos.net

Cheshire Cat dissipates,
stripes drift from wonderland
as though he was never there,
never part of Tulgey Woods
where eyes hang at night
like miniature moon drops.

Providing paw prints
and parentage,
he changes his name
to Boris W. Pinkerton,
the ‘W’ impressive or so he thinks,
a delicious male title after years
of explanation on gender identification
and riddles surrounding
his pink princess palette.

He’s on a health kick, too.
Bounces on a Bosu.
Claims to tail curl 50 pound
weights when Zumba class
seems more credible
since he likes to get jiggy,
even joined a seniors’ dating site
to wink or grin at mollies
regardless of their status.

And travel plans are underway.
Sicily, Tuscany. Vineyards purrrrfect
for golden afternoons where a fat
indulgent tom might listen to Pavarotti
instead of tone deaf roses,
or court Italians with alluring accents,
all bellissimo – retire in a place
where catnip is lower class,
lapping wine shows proper pedigree
and flowers don’t need paint.


Diane Attwell Palfrey is a poet and prose writer and a long-time member of the Cambridge Writers Collective. Her poetry has been published by the Waterloo-Wellington CAA, Serengeti Press, Craigleigh Press, Hammered Out, The Ontario Poetry Society, Cruickston Charitable Research Reserve/RARE, Calvary Assembly, & several editions of Ascent Aspirations Anthologies. Diane was also the 1st place winner in the 2009 and 2010 Cambridge Festival of the Arts – Poetry Contests.

Wax and Wane

by April Bulmer
 
I fall through the mother space
crawl from her on hands and knees.
I live among the mushrooms now:
their soft, moist pleats.
I take one in my teeth
and my eyes are as big as beetles.
A caterpillar like a drop of rain on a leaf.
A mad man so nervous
his cup of tea trembles.
My heart is a deck of cards.
I play the Queen of Hearts.
Her hair the shade of blood.
At night even the moon dreams
it waxes and wanes.
How it swells and shrinks
on currant cake and drugs.
 
Queen of Hearts

April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. Her work has appeared in many national and international journals including the Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc, Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and the Globe and Mail. She recently placed second in the Trinity College Alumni Fiction Contest and was a judge for the Hamilton Literary Awards

Congratulations Elizabeth!

20130723-215735.jpgCongratulations to Elizabeth McCallister on the launch of her first poetry collection.

Notes From Suburbia is available from the author, and through the publisher, Craighleigh Press

20130723-223029.jpg

To Have and To Hold

by Elizabeth McCallister

To Have and To Hold

In the rough and the smooth of it all –

the razor burn on my body itches
from when you haven’t shaved
familiar callous on my hand
when you take hold of it

the smooth of your hair
when I stroke the back of your head
my shoulder when you cup it
in your hand and lead me

photo by photostock | freedigitalphotos.net

photo by photostock | freedigitalphotos.net


Elizabeth McCallister grew up in Scarborough now resides in Brantford. She is currently a member of the Cambridge Writers Collective, enjoys poetry readings and has been a winner in Cambridge Libraries’ Poem A Day contest.

BLACK MANTLE MOON

by Becky Alexander
August 29, 2004

photo by Exsodus | freedigitalphotos.net

photo by Exsodus | freedigitalphotos.net

BLACK MANTLE MOON

It was one of those nights
when the moon ran the sky
like a fullblown madam.

You were hot with a throb
that set your teeth, singed skin,
opened doors you’d never pushed before.

Black clouds slid over red light and darkness
was deep enough to slice with a blade.
Wind off the harbour scorched ears, reddened eyes.

Laughter rang with unholy glee,
catcalls blended into the unclean heart of night,
and we swayed snakelike, a deep pulsing throng.

One of those nights when the moon bled the sky,
when no friend stood with any other,
and shuffling angels fanned the earth with black wings.

(Previously published in Ascent Aspirations anthology Nanoose B.C., Dec. 2005, in STREET, Hamilton ON, March 22, 2007, and on Hammered Out blog, September 23, 2007.).)


Becky Alexander is a Cambridge writer. Her work has been published in five countries, and has won hundreds of awards. She runs Craigleigh Press with her husband Dave Allen.

Manitoulin Meanders

by Barbara Lefcourt

A significant part of my poetry focuses on the natural world. My sense of wonder is continuous and consuming even as I cringe at how helpless we can be when faced with the disruptions of sporadic storms and upheavals. This group of haiku spring from wonderment.

MANITOULIN MEANDERS # 1
A haiku sequence

Image

photo by Liz Noffsinger freedigitalphotos.net

motionless
by trail at edge of woods
deer stare

at wilderness lake shore
June’s sun enveloping mist
swirls evergreen ghosts

throbbing hummingbird
peers through cottage window
Where’s my feed?

tortoise pulls hard
uphill on three legs
lucky escape

skinny skeleton trees
long fallen, beneath sprawling
fresh greenery

damp limestone meadow
tiny blue blooms mass
soar scent of mint

tickle touch of
questing daddy-long-legs
my fingers kissed

puff-blue sky
the still Great Lake whispers
lost horizon


Barbara Lefcourt was born, raised and educated in New York City and moved to Kitchener-Waterloo with her young family in 1964. She had taught elementary school before staying home to raise three children. She became a member of the CWC in 2003 after starting to write poetry around the time she retired from her mid-life career as teacher of Literacy and Basic Skills for Adults.

EASY ELIXIR

by April Bulmer

Are you a poet suffering from writer’s block malaise? Here’s a quick remedy: take five minutes and write down every word that comes to mind. Then link the ideas and images to create meaning. The result can be a quirky and unique piece.

Here’s a poem I wrote using this method:

Eartha: Indian Bands

My spirits come
in good makeup
and little white gloves
for it is the winter
of mine husband.
I wear bust lace,
but outside
the Natives gather
in buck pants.
They have brought
an offering of blood.

It is true I love him
and he has grown
his hair long
through the seasons.
It is the red of autumn
and of snake.

I have smoked
my gown in fire.
My veil I have hung
from a tree.
It bears the breath
of step dance
and Langdon Lake.

I touch his hand
we eat a pretty cake.

All night, the Indians
cry like virgins,
their voices torn like lace.

Previously published in Tower Poetry Winter Edition 2008-2009


April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. The poem above is an excerpt from her new manuscript Women of the Cloth. Her work has appeared in many national and international journals including the Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc, Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and the Globe and Mail. She recently placed second in the Trinity College Alumni Fiction Contest and was a judge for the Hamilton Literary Awards.

In With The Environment

by Barbara Lefcourt

The feelings/ideas that inspire my poetic muse are wide ranging. Many focus on the sense of a particular place and moment, some on personal relationships (loves, regrets. pleasures), others on environmental issues and contemporary political-social problems, but I’m always open to writing about particularly amusing situations, such as the following IN WITH THE ENVIRONMENT. I was so proud of the composting toilet we installed in the guest cabin we had built on our cottage property some years ago. And then a thought about its unexpected not-so-pleasant effect took hold of me…

IN WITH THE ENVIRONMENT

Seated nobly in cottage private space
is wise wife on solo business, apace.
Then down on her knees, so it’s not forgotten,
she’s “compost-friendly cleanser” swabbin’
to purify sweet the shiny bowl
of human droppings completely foul.
With task completed and standing upright
she swells with pride at the pedestal bright.

Plastic made, but of ceramic look,
it’s topped by a throne of old oak wood.
Musing, she eyes the seat of solidity
wouldn’t Mr. Crapper jump joyfully?
But ask, he might, where is the closet hid,
why does no water tank stand by the lid,
why no big stink assaults his knowing nose
when one moves the flap to open from close?

He would find no sewer pipe, fly or mouse
in this state-of-the-art in-house outhouse.
But to keep it in such a pristine state
means following steps both humble and great.
First, one must act with punctuality,
be in tune with own regularity:
with care, to excreta often adding
measured spoons rich of mossy peat padding,
occasional pinch and part of a cup
of friendly microbes and aqueous drops.
With simple smart trappings, aerate, blend, slice
by pulls on the handle many times twice.

Heeding directives will surely unfurl
organic alchemy: dung into pearls.
In several months time, perhaps a full year,
the decomposition becomes most clear.
When opened wide, the broad drawer below
bursts forth no stench, mere pseudo tobacco!
The aging mix is totally ready
from full black box to be quickly emptied.
Then bury the brew for further steeping,
enriching the earth in its safekeeping.
A while later, we don’t really know,
the dug up treasure will amaze and show
that any novice can improve thin soil,
by abetting nature with clever toil.

Towards all earth’s creatures around and about
show respect, not offense; never have doubt.
Full, of visions high-minded and mighty
the wife dances outside, stepping sprightly,
laughing broadly at her singular wit:
thoughts of grounds laced with her very own shit!
Molecular morsels, broken down slow;
energy, atoms for new life to grow.

Suddenly, by pines, loud birds are heard call
nearing the turning of a turret tall.
With neck craned to eye such activity,
the wife gasps, “There’s more to this recipe!”
To expel far beyond our lungs’ intake,
to shield us from reeks that make senses quake,
we cleverly build grand venting tower
that owes its thrust to electric power!

Meanwhile, resting from a mindless chore
where, on his knees, he’d been staining the floor,
the husband stands gazing across deck rail
at glories against which all others pale.
Basking in well-earned, serene elation
his mind floats to the bay’s undulations.
He hungrily savours the far shore long
where conifers mass in majesty strong.

But, sudden squawking pierces from behind
shakes placid air, jolts the dreamer’s mind.

Stretched out aloft on the pristine blue
a stately goose is leading its crew.
They veer sharp to skirt the stack’s release.
The grand vee breaks, of these Canada geese.
The husband surveying over the deeps
where the turning birds then gracefully sweep
to regain their course with wings a’thunder,
rivets his eyes in speechless wonder
at the brilliant guide whose flock’s now arrayed
in vee of perfection deftly remade.


Barbara Lefcourt was born, raised and educated in New York City and moved to Kitchener-Waterloo with her young family in 1964. She had taught elementary school before staying home to raise three children. She became a member of the CWC in 2003 after starting to write poetry around the time she retired from her mid-life career as teacher of Literacy and Basic Skills for Adults.

This Side of Beyond

by Wendy Visser
published in her book, ‘This Side of Beyond’, Craigleigh Press, 2011

Origami clouds drift across a paper sky
the quiver of a quail
a clump of daisies and my mother’s face
through imagination’s veil
on this hazy lazy row-away day
where the cry of a Muskoka loon
echoes over the lake lake lake
and memories too have their echoes
crisp soft crisp soft.
I steer the canoe with one paddle
feeling the water’s face
like a blind man who tries
to describe his lover
through his fingertips.
There is a sense
in the regal stance of northern trees
rooted near the shore
that He must have finished
His design right here
and with a flourish signed His name
to the whispery roll of these lullaby waves.

And now the cottage smoke
from a onshore chimney
sings its way through a twilight sun
while the loon preens a feather
from his overdue mate.
Lonely has no definition in this place
for the stillness is a magic key
to another kingdom
a counter clockwise turn
on the wheel of a distant dial.

Before the dark descends
on loons and me this side of beyond
I watch those origami clouds drift
across a paper sky
the quiver of a quail
a clump of daisies and my mother’s face.


Wendy Visser is a long time member of the Cambridge Writers Collective and this blog feature is one of the poems included in her just-released second poetry collection, ‘This Side of Beyond’. Books are available through the publisher, Craigleigh Press, or from the author.

A “Building Block of Verse”

by April Bulmer

I’m not one for traditional rhyme (though no one would suspect given my choice of birthday cards), but do appreciate assonance in poems.

Image: Ventrilock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is assonance?

Technically speaking it is the repetition of a vowel sound with different consonants, or the same consonant with different vowels in lines of literature or poetry. For example stony and holy or mystery and mastery.

But put simply, it is a resemblance of sounds in syllables or words, especially of vowels. Lake and fake demonstrate the concept of rhyme, whereas lake and fate assonance. Thus, it is also referred to as “vowel rhyme.”

Wikipedia tells us that this internal rhyme within phrases or sentences “serves as one of the building blocks of verse…It is used in (mainly modern) English-language poetry, and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish and the Celtic languages.”

It is characteristic of Emily Dickinson’s verse, as well as the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dylan Thomas.

Assonance is used to emphasize the meanings of words or to create a mood. Examples of assonance are sometimes a challenge to locate in a poem because they can operate subconsciously and are often subtle. The long vowel sounds (“o”) can drag the pace and create a sombre tone, while high sounds (“i”) often accelerate the energy of the piece.

I wrote a poem recently in which I utilized assonance more than any other literary vehicle. The repetition of the long “o” sound is intended to underscore the main character’s mourning over her lost child. She is dramatic and vocal and expresses the visceral ache of her grief as a kind of moan. This sound is juxtaposed against the assonance of the final stanza where a long “e” sound is created beginning with the word “heal.” Here, I wished to summon a kind of female energy. A return to life, a zeal.

Lucille Sky: Temple

I rose like dough.
My breasts like loaves.

But Blessed Virgin
took her in swaddling clothes.

Her voice rose
with the lament of crows,
though she visits in dreams
and in the dim.

I packed a soft valise:
flannel blankets, a tortoise comb,
the scent of my shadow–
an offering of sage and tobacco.

My heart the slow root
of sumac.
The seasons of woman-blood:
reap and sow.

I am a half-breed
from the lake’s
wide hip.
I plait my hair,
anoint with the breath
of bonfire
my lobes.

Though the Amen Corner
is the place I heal.
My womb a temple
of ripening fruit,
healthy as an apple.
Red and white root.
Core of flesh and seed
and peel.

April Bulmer

poem written with support from


April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. The most recent is entitled The Goddess Psalms (Serengeti Press, 2008). She has graduate degrees in creative writing, religious studies and theological studies and often writes about issues pertaining to women and spirituality. April received Ontario Arts Council funding through Black Moss Press in Windsor for her new manuscript “Temples.” She is grateful for this support. Contact her at aprilb (at) golden.net