Only the drippy grey, slow-melting days

Only the drippy grey, slow-melting days

give licence to stay inside.

Close the door, light the fire

and come, curl in under woollen blanket,

turn from windowpanes

open onto bleak snowscapes,

shutter the world away and escape

its bone-chilling dampness,

its tales of war and woe will wait;

settle fireside and drift, lazy,

on waves of mulling spices and storybooks.

Tonight’s sky streaked with sun’s fire,

and all the bright tomorrows,

will lay claim to you soon enough.



With thanks to Jennifer Knoblock for the possibly unintentional but very helpful prompt and opening line. You see, even those days can inspire!


The land I see

As I stand, river-side

and look out upon this scene –

half nature, half city –

I do not see metal girders 

or construction machines,

I do not see concrete, glass or neon signs.

I see a land of trees stretching out through time,

I see waterfalls and river,

snowy hills and sky.

I see a time before time counted,

a land before we touched it. 

The Waiting World

Lawren Harris, Houses on Gerrard Street

Here it is again;
Winter’s once-white world returned,
descending on the cold, grey wings
of last season’s lingering birds,
blotting out the last vestiges
of golden Autumn with blinding-bright light.
Crystals powder winter-red berries,
dusting peaks, trees, streets,
layering the city in artful timelessness.

Steeling myself against frost’s gilded air
I step out into a fairytale
strung with coloured lights,
adorned with pale moon,
a realm that seems to have been
here all this time
waiting to re-emerge.



Just another love story

Tell me how it all began, she asked again

as she paused, spoon over cup,

dripping coffee unseen.

She turned to look into the night

street lights dancing in her eyes

and laughed, not at something I said –

I said nothing at all, nothing of consequence –

perhaps it was someone at another table

or maybe she was laughing at the thoughts in her head

she did that, from time to time.

The cafe’s jazz played on, sugar-laced,

stepping surefooted across curling smoke,

and I knew then that I would not tell her

what she wanted to hear,

that I would keep watching her watching the street

plying her with dressed up desserts and coffees and easy smiles,

feeding myself on vain hopes that she would not slip away,

slip out into the night (though I knew she would, one day).

No, I would not tell her the story she wanted to hear,

nothing of the easy nights we’d spend together,

or the hard days, youthful angst tearing at our hearts.

I would not say that from the beginning, it was already ending,

that her path and mine had already begun, over coffee,

their wide divergence.


Train tracks covered in lottery tickets

I can’t work out whether we checked the lottery ticket on the same day the car got stuck on the train tracks or if these are two stories I’ve stuck together with the glue of memory.

It wasn’t far from the house, the pharmacy, but we drove anyway. You had to pick up a prescription but, more importantly, you had the lottery ticket you wanted to check. For some reason I stayed in the car while you went in. I remember that because I can still see the look on your face from across the parking lot as you walked out the door. You had won – $75 I think it was –  but it wasn’t the amount, it was the winning itself you said. You were as giddy as a little boy, your eyebrows raised, your blue eyes twinkling, face flushed.

I don’t know if it was then that we drove down the street that crosses the train tracks, if it was that day that the car stopped on the tracks. Maybe it doesn’t matter. In my mind it is the same day. In my mind, it isn’t 30 years ago.

It must not have been long that we sat there, though moments like that always feel like they stretch out into forever. You got the car running – I don’t even know now whether there was ever any danger of a train coming. We must have gone home then, down the fabled streets of my mother’s youth, wending our way through her stories, walking through the storybook of her life. I used to love hearing those stories, driving those roads.

We must have gone home and had something to eat – it would have been bacon sandwiches for lunch or chips (plain) if it was happy hour. Then you would have relaxed into your chair to listen to music, or gone out to the back 40 or the garage, and I might have played inside at your feet or, if you were outside, near you.

Just another day, another day that floats back to me, triggered by unexpected forces, bringing me back to you in the only place we can meet now, in my imperfect, treasured memories.