FINDING THE LIGHT

Though Remembrance Day has come and gone, it didn’t pass unnoticed. It has been a difficult year: a time of violent upheaval between compatriots; a year of wars and displacement; a year that claimed far too many casualties. We know so much, thanks mostly to the communication webs that connect us but also entrap us and yet still, so many of us continue to walk in darkness. Here are four poems selected to help us find “the pure center of light within the dark circle of [our] demons.”   I. IT IS RAINING ON THE HOUSE OF ANNE FRANK—by Linda Pastan It … Continue reading FINDING THE LIGHT

GOOD POEMS FOR HARD TIMES

  During the September 11th broadcast of “What to Read When the World Has Gone Mad” (on CBC’s Sunday Edition), Michael Enright mentioned Good Poems for Hard Times, a poetry anthology painstakingly put together by Garrison Keillor, consisting of poems previously read on his public radio show “The Writer’s Almanac”, and published in 2004.   It was one of only a couple of books that Enright personally recommended at the episode’s end, and I got the feeling that it was an important book in his life—maybe even a cherished book. It’s the one that I immediately looked up in the … Continue reading GOOD POEMS FOR HARD TIMES

FATHERS IN VERSE AND MEMORY

My offering of poems this year for Father’s Day explores the contours of fatherhood: Protection, dutiful service, stoicism, silence and sacrifice. These are verses about fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters. They’re about gratitude, tenderness and love. Can you choose a favourite? CARE, by Craig Santos Perez   My 16-month old daughter wakes from her nap and cries. I pick her up, press her against my chest and rub her back until my palm warms like an old family quilt. “Daddy’s here, daddy’s here,” I whisper. Here is the island of Oʻahu, 8,500 miles from Syria. But what if Pacific … Continue reading FATHERS IN VERSE AND MEMORY

A MOTHER’S LOVE: Poems and Quotes

Searching for words to celebrate Mothers’ Day this year, my thoughts and feelings were drawn to the mothers who have lost their homes and are seeking refuge in new lands. Such dispossession seems unimaginable. Each of the poems selected reflects the depth and indomitable strength of maternal love.   “You loved me before seeing me; You love me in all my mistakes; You will love me for what I am.” ― Luffina Lourduraj MOTHER TO SON-Langston Hughes   Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn … Continue reading A MOTHER’S LOVE: Poems and Quotes

SHAKESPEARE AND LOVE: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

For Valentine’s Day this year, I’m in a shakespearean mood, and have decided to offer you a bouquet of Love Quotes from the bard. If one of your favourites is missing from this collection, please add it in a COMMENT below.   HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY !   My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite. (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2)   Hear my soul speak: The very instant that I saw you, did My heart fly to your service. (The Tempest, 3.1)   … Continue reading SHAKESPEARE AND LOVE: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

FAREWELL TO ARMS : poems for Remembrance Day

In 2002, in a long piece for The Guardian, the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote that: «The 20th century was the most murderous in recorded history. The total number of deaths caused by or associated with its wars has been estimated at 187m, the equivalent of more than 10% of the world’s population in 1913. Taken as having begun in 1914, it was a century of almost unbroken war, with few and brief periods without organised armed conflict somewhere. It was dominated by world wars: that is to say, by wars between territorial states or alliances of states», instantly making 187 … Continue reading FAREWELL TO ARMS : poems for Remembrance Day

GHOSTLY POEMS

It’s Halloween and it’s a Saturday—a fantastic combination of good weather and time to enjoy every minute of it with family and friends. At home, we’ve been preparing for the thrills and chills of Halloween night by watching horror movies: some classics, like Son of Frankenstein, and others that are terrible and campy in the very best way. Here’s some poetry to heighten the tension and help create a spooky atmosphere. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!           GARDEN UNDER LIGHTNING—Leonora Speyer (Published in 1921) (Ghost-Story) Out of the storm that muffles shining night Flash roses ghastly-sweet, And lilies far … Continue reading GHOSTLY POEMS

A BOUQUET OF MOTHER’S DAY POEMS

In life, meaning is sometimes lost in repetition, as habit and pattern replace mindfulness. But not so with Mother’s Day, which reaches beyond commerce and sentimentality and stirs in us something genuine and deeply rooted. I attended the wedding of an exuberant young couple yesterday, with a large group of family and friends. It was so festive and joyful. So hopeful. Everyone’s eyes were on the bride, of course. She was impossibly lovely. And even as I shared this happy, happy event with the bride and her new husband, I could imagine her future; I looked at her knowing that motherhood … Continue reading A BOUQUET OF MOTHER’S DAY POEMS

A POEM: “Patience Taught by Nature”

I woke up yesterday, April 4th (!!!) and saw this through the kitchen window and let out an exasperated groan in the direction of the sky, a groan which was meant for all of nature, really, because, well, I’ve had it with this winter that has entered its sixth month. I would like to renegociate the terms of our seasons with Mother Nature, and remind her that twelve divides itself nicely by four, producing seasons that (in theory) don’t outlast their welcome. I’d like her to know that we enjoy the change and the variety of her displays and that, … Continue reading A POEM: “Patience Taught by Nature”

POEMS, AS ST-PATRICK’S DAY APPROACHES

With March 17th just days away, let’s celebrate St-Patrick’s Day and Ireland, the land of lyricism and poetry, with words and verse. Though my mum, my sons, and many of my friends and family have been to Ireland, I haven’t (yet!), though it’s the birthplace of many of my ancestors (at least a couple of branches of the family tree). Still, it’s a place that feels familiar, and that calls to me. I think it’s the voices of Ireland’s poets and writers that I hear. My own St-Patrick’s Day contribution is this list of  Ireland in Adjectives. Would you like to … Continue reading POEMS, AS ST-PATRICK’S DAY APPROACHES