All thumbs,
I can manage
two bunches,
one on each side.

But now,
with her mother gone,
it’s much more difficult
to part my daughter’s hair
neatly into three.

I work hard to perfect
that one thick plait
she loves down her back.

As for fish-bones
and French braiding…
she begs me to try

and I promise
that when my thumbs
turn into fingers,
I’ll give it a go.



An Angel at Jarea

15 May 2002 Pre-Rimouski 141

Kingsbrae 25.3
25 June 2017

An Angel at Jarea

An angel moves through the room
in the silences between our chatter.
He fills the interstices of speech
with the wonder of feathers
enlightened by rainbows.

Tranquil his footsteps
as we sense his presence.
He places his hand on an arm,
his arm around our shoulders,
and now, commanding silence,
a finger on his lips.

We sit here
scared by our intimate inadequacies,
scarred by the fierceness of his immanence
as we sense the vacuum
of his soon-to-be absence.




I dreamed last night
that angels lofted me
skywards and wrapped me
in cotton-wool clouds.

The nearest rainbow
was a helter-skelter
that returned me to earth
where I landed in a pot
of golden sunlight.

Red, gold, and yellow
were my hands and face.
I stood rooted like
an autumn tree covered
in fall foliage with
no trace of winter’s woe.

“May this moment last
forever,” I murmured,
as the rainbow sparkled
and I rejoiced in
my many-colored coat.





She moves more slowly
up the slope,
pushing against the hill’s
shallow grain.

I knew so well her
swaying grace,
but now she shuffles
with the drag-

foot limp of the aged,
and aged she has,
like a good wine in
an oaken cask.

Her beauty still stays
in my memory,
lodges in my mind and
I see her as

she was, beautiful
in body, slim,
graceful, a joy to hold
and behold.

Her eyes still sparkle
and she bubbles
still with a champagne
joy that draws

me to her, and still she
enhances each
room she enters, filling
it with light.





Warmth in a color,
with heat visible to the touch
and shocking pink a shock
to seeking fingers,
not one that you and I,
gifted with sight,
would ever understand.

Blindfolded, they wheel me
round and round the garden
in my teddy bear reality.
Gravel scrunches beneath
the wheels and I am flooded
with the inability to see, to know,
to be sure of the shadows
that are no longer there.

The ones who push me
talk and tell but cannot show.
How could they hold a rainbow
before my eyes or let me hear
the northern lights crackle the sky,
their visible Niagara a curtain
of fairy lights dancing up and down?

And those glorious organ notes
quivering the body, angel voices rising,
falling, grasping at my eye-
lashes, peeling my eye-lids apart.

Song of songs and the singer
deaf to his own sublimity,
oh dealer of cards, fingerless
pianist, bold dancer prancing
on your amputated stumps.

Comment: Raw poem, written for Gwen Martin who opened my eyes to the fact that blind people can perceive color through their finger-tips.

Four Geese

15 May 2002 Pre-Rimouski 020

Four Geese

Early this morning,
high above the car
in the sky’s giant highway,
four geese flew overhead

 A welcome sign of spring,
they reminded me of summer sunshine
as they framed themselves
for a moment in the moon roof.

“Remember those happy days,”
they seemed to cry
as they carved their sky path
far above my head.

 I remembered a moonless night
with the admiral out ahead
steering by the stars
and, seemingly sightless,
the great flock following.

That night
I pinpointed their calls
leaning back, looking up,
straining my neck,
and for a moment
there were no stars,
just a feathered blackness
shutting out the Big Dipper
as it hung in the sky
above the river St. John.

 At Montmagny,
on the St. Lawrence River,
the great white geese
will soon be gathering.

White on their arrival
they will drift like snow
and accumulate on the land.

 Alban angels,
harbingers of spring,
guardians of summer’s perfection.,
they too will blotting out the sky
and leaving me breathless,
by my many memories.



Red Star


Red Star

“Fly me to that red star,
the one outside the window.”
Teddy’s voice droned
its mosquito in my ear,
but made no sense.

“I’ll try,” Owl said.
I hadn’t noticed him there,
snuggled in beside me.

“That’s not a star,” I said.
“It’s a planet, Mars.
It’s in conjunction with Venus,
that other bright blob.”

Owl flapped his wings
and flew out of the window.
Up and up he went
until he faded out of sight.

“He’s gone,” said Teddy.
“He’ll never come back.”

But return he did and
“A star too far,” he said,
as he pulled up the blankets
and snuggled into bed.

“It’s not a star,” I said,
but my words were ignored
by the snores emerging from
two nodding, sleepy heads.