We raise our hands: you sever them at the wrist.
We spread out our arms: you measure us for a cross.
Where do we turn? Our fingers bleed from scratching
our skulls in bewilderment. They catch on the thorns
you so thoughtfully provided. Stigmata? No, you haven’t
nailed us yet. Great barbed hooks penetrate our bellies,
inflaming our guts. Like live bait, threaded to tempt Leviathan,
we squirm. Like butterflies prepared for your chloroform jar,
we tremble. Your collector’s pin is poised: we await the final thrust
that will skewer our bodies and frame us under glass for ever.

Another Golden Oldie, also from Broken Ghosts (Goose Lane, 1986). I have changed the line lengths slightly, from the original. I also altered one word in the last line. I often read this poem round about Good Friday. It presents me with the threatening menace of an end to everything we know and love, eternal butterflies, framed forever, without the joy of resurrection.

Sun Worship


Sun Worship

Worship the sun
as it rises over the hills
from whence cometh
its golden glory.

Trees and their forest,
forces older by far
than this Christian god,
walk in darkness
until touched by the sun.

Worship the sun ropes
that tie you to your daily work,
rejoice in your bondage,
for no man kills
to glorify the sun.

Sun, my father and my mother,
sunshine that floods my spirit
and enlightens my world,
here, before sunrise,
I raise my voice in a song
praising you, and your strength,
the life you give, the death
you will one day bring.




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Kingsbrae 22.4
22 June 2017


A coming together of cultures,
these three statues, placed
equidistant, an equilateral
triangle, all things being
equal and none more equal
than others; three brothers;
mother, father, child; father,
son, and holy ghost: no women
there; perhaps three founding
cultures: English, French, and
Indigenous,  in alphabetical
order; and there they stand,
face to face to face,
a triangulation, in profile,
silhouetted, sharing positive
and negative space; and, at the dead
center of their union, at the spot
where all is still and nothing moves,
a living space, that takes away
your breath when you breathe
in air and light and sun and
a renewed hope; then faith runs
tingling round your body with
joy and life and love reborn.

Power Out-[R]-age



Power Out-[R]-age

A tree fell across the wires.
Our power went ‘poof’!
No lights. No water. No heat.
We lit a log fire and strove to keep
sub-zero temperatures at bay.

It was as if God had stepped
away from the high altar
and gone out for a coffee
at the local Tim Horton’s
leaving a deserted church
to the mercy of the elements.

Guttering candles surrender
their skimpy lives but scarcely
warm us as more snow falls.

Shadow demons creep in
with the gathering night.
Shivering beneath piled blankets,
we cling together and hope
to keep out the growing cold.

 Warning: Raw Poem

Another raw poem. We lost power at 8:30 am on Wednesday, 30 November and it returned on Friday, 2 December at 2:00 am. 42 hours without power and the temperatures not rising above +2C and dropping to -3 / -5C. No light. No heat. No water. No phone. No internet. I thought of the victorious general who announced to the tune of the bombs bursting behind him on our tv screen that “We bombed them back to the Stone Age.”

Well, here we were sitting in our own miniature stone age and mentally unprepared for the shock of what it all means. What a struggle: to light the fire, to keep it alight (day and night), to keep warm, to prepare hot food over a log fire in an insert fireplace (and us so lucky to have one; some of our neighbors didn’t), and we won’t talk about going to the bathroom! At least, I now what it means to lose power at the start of winter. However, I really don’t understand what it means not only to lose power, but to know that an enemy deliberately and callously stripped that power away.

I tried to put those thoughts into the first version of the poem, but then I took them out as I didn’t want to politicize what is right now a nature poem, pure and simple. The out-[R]-age is there, with or without those other memories and that out-[R]-age comes partly from the knowledge that our civilization, if indeed we can truly claim to be civilized, is indeed skating on very thin ice.




Santiago de Compostela

She drew me out from inner darkness,
told me to rise and walk.
“But first,” she said, “your wounds.”

She washed them in laughter,
dried them with her smile.

I left that night
walking west beneath the stars
to where the red sun
dips beneath the horizon.
South I wended my way,
where winds are warmer.

Hope flowered anew each day.
Dew on the morning grass
gifted both food and water.
Birdsong raised its morning voice
to the creator and her creation.

Sunlight flooded my body.
It flowed out through my heart,
a beacon to light my way.

At night, when star song
brightened the owl’s path,
I saw my road
stretched high above me.

Pilgrim through once barren lands,
the light she lit for me
burns within me still.

 Rain, sleet, snow, ice, fire:
they’re all the same.
No lion shall me fright.
I’ll with a giant fight.

“Constant,” she said to me.
“Come wind, come weather.”

El Cristo de Carrizo

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El Cristo de Carrizo

For Tanya Cliff

“Contemplate this crucifixion.

Each time you sin
you plant a fresh
thorn in your savior’s

Each misdemeanor
spears the sacred side
or hammers a nail
in hand or foot.

Christ lives in you.
your daily misdeeds
nail him daily to the cross
he bears for you.

No death, for him,
no resurrection:
just an everlasting hanging
from these nails you daily drive.”

Cave Paintings: Altamira

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Cave Paintings
(11,000 BCE)

Cold rock presses on shoulder and neck.
Sunshine dwindles until daylight is a distant star.
A great weight of earth weighs me down.

The tour guide strikes a crimson spark.
Firelight flickers, shadows dance, animals appear:
deer, elk, boar, buffalo.

Magic illusions
created from fat, charcoal, red ochre, ash …
how long have these huddled herds
grazed their way across these walls?

 My spirit sweats as elders anoint
my flesh with bear grease (for strength),
with greyhound hair (for speed),
with wolf blood (for tenacity on the trail).

They brush my eyes with eagle feathers.
Now I am a hunter.

I envision the animal my arrows will pierce.
My backbone arches like a bow.

 I shoot thought arrows:
my beloved dances her death dance on tip-toe.