top of page

Of bells and roses

Sunday morning in Pimlico

So quiet that from across the street I can hear a couple making love

Perhaps in the rumpled  aftermath they listen to the church bells


A carillon that soars and soars over silent rooftops

a celestial workout summoning angels from their beds


I am in a cafe trying not to listen to a man on his cell phone


Fat chance!


I know all his secrets


He thinks he has found a renter for his flat in Geneva


And better yet (are you listening?) he has the signatures of all the people in the revenue stream


Across the street a couple unsmiling emerges from a doorway


She is carrying red roses still wrapped in cellophane holding them downwards by the stems like a furled umbrella


Are they the ones?


The bells are silent


I can still hear them

In my dreams 

Last night I dreamed -

It was clear in my mind

Poets will save the world

one poem at a time


In a tsunami of wisdom

In  hundreds of tongues

they will write and create

And share where they can;


Words, phrases, couplets

such brilliance, insane,

Whirled like a dervish

In the synapses of my brain;


Then alas, I awoke

And nothing was there

Save this one poor thought

I am happy to share


And it is this:


If you will unclench your fist

I can hold your hand

Time and tide


Hot sun cold beer

the fairground smell

of frying onions

sausages sizzling

and squirming

on the grill

poked and prodded

by men with tongs

jostling for position

like cave dwellers

around a dinosaur fire


On the listing porch of

a fragrant and

tangled garden 

their wives 


Ignore them

sipping Sauvignon blanc

from the comfort

of wicker chairs


Then the snags

are cooked

the day is done

the hunters

lick their fingers 

one by one 

and carry the spoils 

to the table


You can have

yer Michelin stars

yer aiolis 

and yer drizzles

there’s absolutely 

 nothing finer

than an Aussie 

sausage sizzle


 in the high canopy

birds you hear but

seldom see

cackle uproariously

Kookaburras in a gum tree

Sun and moon together in the twice-blessed dawn

Stir the wind to shiver among singing pines

The ocean changes its rhythm sending waves in gangs

Grinding rock to sand in the blink of a millennium

Time spins on its axis 

The patient raven awaits the dinosaurs return 


Raven spins a story as old  as cosmic dust

of chaos spawning order

The end before the beginning 

a spider that swallows its web

A seed in a nut in a cone  grows trees that give us light

The singing pine shelters the mountains

And raven blackens the night


The strangled ocean drowns all  whales 

 crabs without claws hunt fish without scales

And sand heavy skulls with bottle cap eyes 

Scream plastic truths and laminated lies

On the yet-dead shore waves flop and die

And Raven casts its shadow on the stillborn sky

In praise of an Aussie

sausage sizzle

IMG_0872 2.JPG

Girl in the black dress

A photograph 

in search of an image

a moment 

awaiting its time

footprints on 

a soft sand beach

beneath the sweep

 of cloudy skies;

Suddenly, there she is

the girl in a long black dress

A vision etched onto

time-scarred rocks

black on black

against the 


pearl-black sea


Your hand in mine

If I could turn back the clock

I would go back to yesterday 

And take a photograph

of a man 77 and his granddaughter not quite 2

walking down stone steps

from a restaurant 

to a parking lot

That would  be me and Abby


I said to her ‘will you help me down the stairs, Abby?’

And she nodded solemnly

And held out her hand

I was afraid I might stumble \

and embarrass her

And I nearly did on one step

“Oi” I said.

And Abby said “Oi”

As if that were part of it


Paging Passenger Hamlet

(Written in response to a CBC Canada Writes challenge to put a Shakespeare character into a modern setting)

Hamlet checks in at the airport and boards a 747

What manner of going is this

Where men of high estate may be, 

Stripped of footwear, poked, prodded,

Goods and chattels untimely seized;

Herded like cattle into pestilential pens,

Assailed by voices heard, not seen?

What Hell is this that hath no name?

Randomly scriven in a devil’s tongue

Writ only in numbers and letters

Mouthed by fools and charlatans;

Terminal C, Gate 10, Row 2, Seat B;

What artifice lurks in such foul

Guise, more conducive

To the slaughter of innocents

Than to dreams of Elysian shores?

Virgin! Delta! Tango! Transat!

Sunwing! Westjet! Zip! Zoom!

No Birds of Paradise these avians be

but dragons of acrid and fiery breath

Dispatched to fetch us to the jaws of Hell!

But Hark! Here comes the Harpy

All battle-clad and red-lipped fury

Yet smiling like a cruel assassin

To challenge my very being;

2B, or not 2B, that is the question

Whether tis nobler in the mind

To take thine place upon a gilded throne

Or shuffle into the monster’s bowels

 And there squat with the masses

Alas, my docket yet tells the tale

And I am cast beyond the pale;

An Upgrade! An Upgrade!

My Kingdom for an Upgrade!

Yet e’en if I be wrongly placed

Should I be unseated so?

Mine goblet snatch’ed from mine grasp

Hot towel sudden turned to ice;

But wait! All seems not lost

The bonds that bind me at once are loose’d;

Yonder! See? The portcullis rises

The drawbridge falls,

Arise! For England! We’ll breach these walls

The flag and the shadow

I saw a flag that said ‘if’

If what? If at all

I saw a tree spindly shadow

Pinned to a wall


I saw a wooden church 

With a slattery roof

Saving souls on Sunday

With a splintery truth


I saw a long-dead barge

With a barnacle suture

And a crow on a pipe

As black as the future


I saw a bubble machine

Streaming globules of light

And children chasing

It was fine and right 



In no



The first day of spring

with a buttery sun

And summer 

a poem away


And a crucible moon

hangs with the dawn

as round as 

grandma’s tray


And buds on the trees

hide their secret away

to blossom another day

Gone fishing

Gone Fishing

Said the sign on his

bedroom door 

So an old man’s duty was clear

Get on board, grab a ride,

Watch the humpbacks breech

And hear the sea lions roar;


Off Andrew’s Point 

on Haida Gwaii

With the sun dancing  lively

on the waves

The guide set the rod 

And steered the boat

But it’s the kid who won the  day;


For when the reel sang

the fight was on

And it is was he who claimed 

the prize

Holding tight

Until his knuckles were white

And pride shone

In an old man’s eyes


Photo Viire Daniels

September  9/2019, West Coast Fishing Club, Langara Island 

Ethan Grange, aged six,

with his 29 lb Chinook 

GONE FISHING-_-_Gone Fishing_Said the si

When the 

wind blows

Trees in autumn throw down their leaves

dried and spent; no need of these

Yet reds and yellows

are  the colours of the dawn; 

harbingers of spring

 beneath the sleeping snows


Lest we forget

You hear them before you see them

Overhead under lowering skies

In that missing man formation that says

We’re here who died;

The missing man was my cousin

Killed the day his son was born

He was your uncle, your granddad, 

Your geography teacher,

She was the girl who sold stamps 

At the post office before she went to war;

So today we stand in silence

That deafens all our sighs

And I’m grateful if it’s raining

For it’s the rain that blurs my eyes 

bottom of page