Tag Archives: poetry month



When it’s the anniversary of the loss of a loved one I can feel quite melancholy. There always seems to be something that reminds me whether it is a date, a season, a quick memory of good times. This weekend was the second year anniversary of one of my dogs deaths. Noel, was a wonderful dog who lived a very good and happy life. She wasn’t my first loss or is my last. I have written frequently on my dogs and other animals and my relationships with them.

A good friend has just gone into hospice. His time left here is measured  in days.  I will support him with love on his journey. I will miss him from my life. But, I ask myself why it is I miss my animals more?

John Berger, in About Looking, wrote: “With their parallel lives, animals offer man a companionship different from any offered by human exchange. Different because it is a companionship offered to the loneliness of man as a species.”

From this blog post I read today about the relationship of a man with his pigs it offers a beautiful reflection of companionship.




I think Mary Oliver sums it up in this poem from Dog Songs.

How It Is With Us, And How It Is With Them

We become religious,

then we turn from it,

then we are in need and maybe we turn back.

We turn to making money,

then we turn to the moral life,

then we think about money again.

We meet wonderful people, but lose them

in our busyness.

We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.

Steadfastness, it seems,

is more about dogs than about us.

One of the reasons we love them so much.





Cherry Blossoms“when cherry blossoms
no regrets”



Art courtesy of Kay Bingham Elementary School

When we listen to the Vancouver news and events on tv now, it is all about cherry blossoms. I miss them, the predictor of spring on the west coast. There is even a Haiku Invitational Contest.

In Japan they watch the ‘cherry blossom” front that moves from the south (Okinawa) starting in January and reaches Tokyo in late March. It’s like a weather report.

Cherry blossoms are richly symbolic with words like ephemeral, transient, metaphorical: blossom, beauty, death.  Cherry blossoms are the subject of so many poems.  My favourite is haiku.

“in my province

grass blooms too…

cherry blossoms”


No better way for children to be introduced to poetry. A new book this year by one of my favourite children’s authors, Jon Muth. An Easter present for my grandson.

Hi, Koo

A Bunch of the Boys

A bunch of the boys

Had the whooping-cough  at the Puppy Dog Saloon

The kid that handled the music box

Was playing his Sunday School tune.





If you are a fan of Robert W. Service you will see this as somewhat of a mashup of The Shooting of Dan McGrew. My dad knew loads of poetry and was very willing to share with us as kids. He liked to switch it up when we were little. He mesmerized us with voice tone, action and antics. This is how children learn and how they acquire a love for the spoken word. A trip to Yukon is definitely on my bucket list! I still have my kids copies of The Shooting of Dan McGrew and the Cremation of Sam McGee illustrated by artist Ted Harrison and will read them to my grandchildren.

As I got older I found a well-worn copy of Songs of the Sourdough on the bookshelf and to this day I can pretty much recite every single poem in it. My favourite is My Madonna.

My dad loved to read. His favourite author was Thomas Hardy. I still enjoy him today as well. When my dad was in a really good mood, probably after a drink or two, he would quote this poem below.  Said he learned it from his father. My mom would get all flustered; telling him not to be teaching us things like that. I had forgotten all about it until I found a copy in her things . I tried to google it and couldn’t find it anywhere. Funny how as a kid I only remember the prayer and miracle part and I’ve never been afraid of hermits!

Moral is read to kids, read with passion.

Don’t think  reading this one to the grand kids will be an option.

hermit3 001

The Hermit

A hermit once lived in a beautiful dell
There’s no legend or moral in the story I tell
For our Squire’s son said he knew him quite well
The hermit

He lived all alone in a cave by the lake
Libations of herbs for his health he would take
And nothing but fish would this good man partake
On Fridays

To inquisitive mortals his portals he closed
Once a year he bathed his body and clothes
How the lake ever stood it the Lord only knows
And he would not tell

One day as he arose all dripping and wet
To his horrified vision two fair maidens he met
And as not being a hardened sinner as yet
He blushed

He grabbed for his hat, which lay on the beach
To cover up all its wide brim would reach
And he yelled to the girls with a horrified screech
Go away

But the girls only laughed at his pitiful plight
And begged him to show them the wonderful sight
But he held to the hat with all of his might
To hide it

Just then along came a wandering gnat
Which made him forget just what he was at
He hit at the insect and let go of the hat
Oh horrors

And now I come to the thread of my tale
The hermit turned red and then he turned pale
He offered a prayer for prayers never fail
So it’s said

Of the truth of this story there’s no doubt at all
The Lord heard his prayer and he answered his call
Though he let go of the hat, the hat did not fall
That’s the miracle



puffin-3Keeping with the poetry theme, I tried to think of poems I knew by heart. One of my favourites is There Once Was a Puffin. As a single mom one of my careers was selling World Book Encyclopedia door to door. Part of the training introduced me to how important it was to read to children, even babies.

I bought Chidcraft when my daughter was still a toddler. One of the best investments I ever made. It was here that she gained her love for language, creativity and learning.The first one we read was Poems & Stories. We read this one a lot. I googled it to make sure I still knew it word for word. My google search took me to Puffinpalooza. Who knew there was a whole blog about puffins. Check it out, very cool.  Under this poem was a comment from a reader of the blog.

and I quote:

“I love it! My 93-year-old mother who has dementia also is able to recite the entire poem from memory. She has had a passion for both poetry and puffins her whole life.”

I guess if I make it to 93 and can still remember this poem, I will be just fine.

There Once Was a Puffin

Oh, there once was a Puffin
Just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island
In the


                      blue sea!

He ate little fishes,
That were most delicious,
And he had them for supper
And he

     had them

          for tea.

But this poor little Puffin,
He couldn’t play nothin’,
For he hadn’t anybody
To play


          at all.

So he sat on his island,
And he cried for a while, and
He felt very lonely,
And he


                       very small.

Then along came the fishes,
And they said, “If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates,


                   for tea!”

So they now play together,
In all sorts of weather,
And the Puffin eats pancakes,
Like you


                     like me.

by Florence Page Jaques


Caged Bird

In keeping with poetry month, one of my favourite writers and poets.


Another birthday today. Happy Birthday Maya Angelou. Widely known and quoted as the author of the anthem Phenomenal Woman. From her website:

“Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, …………… Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.


Caged Bird

By Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

01homequoteMay you all sing your songs of freedom today.