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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Alzheimer’s lack of Compassion

mom peers out entrance doors
awaiting my weekly visit
this image overpowers frustration
in congested traffic to Toronto

my disgust is sickening
for highway decision makers
let us use visible benefits
of kickbacks and payola

to reach this building of compassionate souls
eager for contact and love
or a trip down memory lane

walking into the nursing home
mom’s brightens up as a child opening gifts
I knew you would visit today

a waif in a wheelchair gets the royal tour
as if a new adventure
we pass many less fortunate guests
and find a quiet time to reminisce
her war work years buildings Lancaster Bombers
for young aviators to defend freedom
many never came home
transfers to Montreal to produce layout drawings
Bren guns, landing gears, or tank assembly schematics
barracks and parade marching in sub zero storms
the antics of working the Toronto Film Festival
flying with me over Toronto in a small plane
a ride home in my transport truck when stranded in a blizzard
many long ago Sunday outings then we drift
to family happenings and picture books

time is nigh for slumber as darkness eliminates window panes
quietness seeps into the evening air and mom begins to yawn
we roll down the carpeted highway to the last room on the right

brakes go on in the doorway as mom has one soft question
telling me that our time together is so special
and she didn’t want to be troublesome today

but on my next visit would it be OK
if we went for a drive to Hamilton
so she could visit her son

Sunday, August 28, 2011


VIET NAM , August 11, 1966 

11 people die, 187 are wounded
it is a tragedy
they are civilian

11 people die, 187 are wounded
it is a victory
they are the enemy

11 people die, 187 are wounded
it is an atrocity
they are ours

skin off the labels,
taste the darkness beneath
ask a leg if it is civilian
an arm if it is the enemy
an eye if it is ours

Ellen S. Jaffe, published in Crossing Lines: Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era.  Ed. Allan Briesmaster and Steven Michael Berzensky, Seraphim Editions: Hamilton, 2008.
Ellen and Steven talked to Steve Paikin of TVO’s The Agenda about this book in February 2011 as a webcast feature. You can watch the interview, in which Ellen reads this poem, at

Ellen S. Jaffe  
   Photo credit Roger V. Gilbert

Born in New York City, Ellen studied in England for several years and came to Canada in 1979. She has lived in Hamilton since 2000, and feels at home here.  Her published books include Writing Your Way: Creating a Personal Journal; Water Children (poems); Feast of Lights: a young adult novel; and Syntymalauluja/Birth Songs (a bilingual poetry book, Finnish and English).  She has also published in anthologies and journals. Ellen has received literary awards from Arts Hamilton and has given many readings in Hamilton, including Lit Live, in Toronto and other Ontario locations, and across Canada. She has received writing and “artist in education” grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and works with Learning/Living Through the Arts, teaching writing in schools and community settings.  She has also written several plays; one, Promise You Won’t Marry Me, was produced by Black Box Fire’s EAS series in 2008.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Verse Afire, June 2011

a ghost approaches
from barren lands
slow as a Humidex wave
of oppressive pressure
to wreak havoc
upon strength
and stability

an opaque figure
somewhat familiar
hovers close to my view

in fixated stare
I listen
it whispers of change

a change must occur
or it will return


Ed Woods


Ed, who is Metis by origin, is originally from Toronto but has lived many years in Hamilton and now currently lives in Dundas, Ontario.  Due to a horrific crash in which he was badly injured, his career as a Commercial Truck Driver was ended in 1999.  His experiences before, during and after this traumatic event has given him plenty to write about.  Bouts of unemployment, homelessness and illness has provided him with good  material for his stories and poems.

He has written a book which is dedicated to The Staff and Volunteers of Hamilton Health Sciences called  “Poetry and other unfortunate non-fiction.”

Many of his poems have been published and he continues to write on a regular basis.  Look for more work in the near future from Ed Woods


Bio and work will follow in several weeks time.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Earth’s Palette

Old leaves in shades
of gray, green and brown
draw abstract patterns
in wet-on-wet techniques
to dazzle an autumn canvas.

Across cloud packed horizon
sky blue sketches its way
into a sunless background

October landscape
pulled together by artist winds
and Nature’s creative drawing skills.

How we marvel at its freehand beauty.

Peggy Fletcher

Peggy Fletcher

Peggy Fletcher was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland.  She lives in Sarnia, Ontario.

She is a member of  The Writers Union, TOPS and P.E.N. Canada

She has taught Creative Writing and  English at Lambton College.  She also was the Family editor of the Sarnia Observer many years ago.

She has eight books of poetry, chapbooks, one short story collection, and a two- act play about Emily Carr to her credit.  She also paints, and enjoys amateur photography. She and her husband, John Drage, a fellow poet and humorist, have five daughters and many grandchildren.


This little poem is based on a true story.  When it was first critiqued by our poetry group, I started to read it out loud, but my friend Stella had to continue reading it for me.  The loss of a family pet, in my view, is as traumatic as losing a family member.

Her other two cats who lived with us kept looking around for her for quite some time after the vet put her to sleep so she would not suffer anymore.  She was such a dear little timid cat, gentle and sweet.


Hibou, my owl-like cat

Death came knocking early one morning

Unaware, we slept on sofa and bed

Through the vent, a gush of red-tinged water
Unhindered, spread through several rooms.

Hibou, my owl-like cat, companion dear
Licked her brown silky hair to groom herself

Ingesting ethylene glycol as she did
It's deadly sweetness seemed a treat to her

Three cats huddled high on sofa back
Trying to escape the rising  red tide

I awoke that night, stepping into water
Ankle deep, uncertain where it came from 

In appearance, Hibou appeared all right
Her head resting on her buddies bodies

Short haired male cats, unlike Hibou in build
Delicate, feminine, slight of body.

Late afternoon, her movements  became feeble
Vet visit, news bad, needle prick, last pat

I miss Hibou, with her golden brown eyes
Faithful gentle creature, loving nature 

I will never forget you, little Hibou
No cat can take your place, gentle one.


Thursday, August 25, 2011


Fallen Stars

Saturn is visible in the
west at dusk the tables
say. We see its pinpoint
yellow rising. But who’s
to say? Who tells? Who
turns the tables?
Three-quarters of our
world is hearsay. Maybe
more, untouchable and
once or twice removed;
known only by another’s
No way to touch the
striker of the bell or sight
the steeple.
What trust, what faith
 another’s truth is more
dependable than
our imaginings?

What might we think
the stars, without the
thought we think we
always know?
Realms have pyramided
on erroneous suns.

Strike the chains of
bright, fairy world.

SJW. 7 February 2001. 3:32 p.m.

Stan White reading his poetry at Tower Poetry Centre Book Launch

Stan White has written non-fiction all his life, and more recently, poetry and short stories. He has published books of poetry and his work appears in the usual literary anthologies and journals. He is retired and lives with his wife in Brantford, Ont.



you talk about origins
you talk around and about origins
you talk and talk and talk and
you try to be original
about origins
i pretend to be original
to please you
you talk about confusion
you talk around and about confusion
you talk and talk and talk and
you try to confuse me
with confusion
i pretend to be confused
to please you
you talk about death
you talk around and about death
you talk and talk and talk and
you try to slay me
with death
i pretend to be dying
to please you

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


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Jewels of the Night
by Monique Berry

My steel-grey eye
to fully view His heavenly sculptures— 
jewels of the night
adorn a vast crown of creation.
My internal world glitters
with each celestial wonder.

Deep calls unto deep.

How can I, this earthbound observatory, express
the ecstatic sensations of gazing into
reflection nebulas, whirlpool galaxies
Great Wall, Horsehead Nebula, or the Milky Way?
Giant meteors trail bright sparks
in the black heavens.
An auditorium of stars creates a synergetic rhythm—
music to my soul.
Superclusters appear close,
inviting symbiotic touch.

Feelings overwhelm me;
words fail.
So, I relinquish all expressive inability
to the One whose hands created these jewels,
and rest in the knowledge that
He understands me*
*Psalm 94:9

Monique Berry
Monique is a freelance writer, editor, and produces two creative writing magazines. She has revised novel manuscripts, poems, newsletters, web pages, and college essays for ten years. Monique also spent four years as a workshop leader in two writers groups. She offers a wide range of programs and services.

View the latest issue of Perspectives at

Her poem , Jewels of the Night, written from the perspective of an observatory, is on page four.


Bio, picture and work to follow.


Bio, picture and work to follow mid September.



A cinquain is a short, five lined verse that follows a specific pattern in its line length.
The first line consists of two syllables, the second of four, the third of six, the fourth of
eight and the fifth or last of two syllables again.

Here are two:

Summer –
the morning sun
dispels traces of mist,
evaporates dew from the grass,
and laughs.

two lips
touch a forehead
a finger strokes a cheek
the caresses of a lover
bring joy

Jeff Seffinga

Monday, August 22, 2011



     Just as with everything else, how people deal with their afflictions depends very much on the individual in
question, and coping with a mental illness is no exception.

      There is a stigma attached to mental illness and some people find it hard to put the pieces together after an illness, especially if that means making a change to one's lifestyle.  Some people find it so hard that they endeavour to get themselves admitted back into hospital.  This particularly is the case with longer term patients who have relied on the hospital for many years.

     Efforts have been, and are still being made, to help people cope with life in the community and to try and provide coping mechanisms to enable people to stop returning to hospital.

     Support and peer groups are in operation, Friendship Centres (where people can drop in for a chat, and a cup of coffee) have been organized.  Volunteers have been involved and people have begun to retrain patients to gain skills for participating in meaningful activities and real work situation, suitable to their capabilities both in the hospital and the community, this is difficult with shortgage of staff and shortage of money.

     To be involved in something meaningful is very important to the person who has been mentally ill and if he or she is successfully occupied one way or another, this can be a great help in the coping process.

     However, very often the 'mental patient' is very sensitive to his/her status in the world and unless the client feels accepted and appreciated, he or she might feel used or taken advantage of, which will deter them coming to terms with their illness and realizing their potential.

     The long term psychiatric patients have have a harder time.  The hospital for many years has been their home, their livelihood and their family.  They particularly need to feel a sense of belonging and a part to play which would be appreciated by others.They also do not relate well initially to new faces and new situations, and can easily become withdrawn and refuse to participate, as a means of coping, with their feelings of inadequacy and lack of confidence.

     Others afflicted with mental illness cope with the help of: church, understanding family members and friends.  (Involvement in everyday life gives people with a mental illness the confidence to cope.)  Suggestions of activities to become involved in,  the odd ideas of their own, then the support and encouragement of people.  They become involved with and interested in life and its meaning.  All these help to put things in perspective, and help people with mental illness to come to terms with it.

     Good medical attention is essential.  Trust must be built up between essential people in contact with the affected person and who deal with the client's treatment.  The person suffering from a mental illness can then have confidence in that trust.

     Not always, however, do people suffering from a mental illness manage to overcome their problems and in some cases they resort to drinking, taking drugs or in some other way try to escape their feelings.  Coping with a mental illness like many other things is not easy.

     However, to some extent, people would be helped if accepted and looked at realistically by others in the community.  People suffering from a mental illness are basically just people and often will respond well if treated with warmth and understanding.


Sunday, August 21, 2011



the water runs
from large and deep
to small and shallow
and it makes no sense
if you wonder
where does it all go?
where does it all come from?
while crickets and cicadas
go on and on and on and
ghost spiders drop
from the only shade
in the middle of all this
dead grass
and shadows of gulls
expecting something more filling
than crumbs of thought
so there is tension in the air
and i brought my own along
with your posthumous
“collected poems”
on which i rest my page suffering
sunburn and spider legs
in between the high lake
the low river
writing as fast as i can
before that white concrete slab
stops the flow

Friday, August 19, 2011


This poem has a little story attached to it.  A Professor was coming to interview my dear friend in her home.  I was visiting for a few days and although her home was clean, we both decided to attack it and make it shine even more.  Out of this experience came this little poem.  I hope you enjoy it.

A Lick and a Promise

Finger prints on bathroom mirror
Water marks on tiled floor
The hiss of Windex on paper towel
A wipe, a swipe – and all is right.

The old wet mop dragged from hiding
To perform its mighty job
The smell of pine now scents the air
A rub, a scrub – the task is done

Feather duster at the ready
Dust bunnies skulk and hide
Taunting me to catch them
A whoosh, a swoosh – chores are done.

© 2007WilmaSeville

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Mingus On Saturday

For Norma

After sudden squalls swept the bay
and our green tea sat steeping,
“Sophisticated Lady”
filled the bedroom: the Duke
drawn through the imagination
of Charles Mingus,
A lazy afternoon.

The quintet at its peak in ’64,
the year I graduated, never suspecting
love would come forty-six years later
to lift us wild with joy
as that bass solo shaping his moment
and ours.


Norma West Linder and James Deahl

Bio to follow:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Writing Poetry is Like Gardening -
If you didn't like it, you wouldn't do it. And once it's done, it's never done. There are always dead blooms to pick off, branches to trim, new plantings to try. When your garden has been temporarily rectified to your satisfaction, then comes the nagging suspicion that you should take out the grass, put in a pond, uproot the whole thing and create a new space, one a bit closer to the serendipitous design of forest, rock and stream that you tried to capture in your small yard.

Despairing, you leave the poem, your garden, at home and take your holiday, camping somewhere deep in the wilderness to get reacquainted with what in perfect hands the garden, your poem, might have been.
Irving Layton would put on his hunting outfit and go for long walks in the countryside around his abode, hunting poems. Then, when the poems found him, he would rush back to write them down 



In the darkest hour before dawn, the bright moon, a soccer ball of glaring light, is caught in the black tangle of the locust tree. As the sky morphs into blues, the ball sifts slowly downward, deeper into the trap the branches have sprung, all the while fading with the night’s darkness, until it is merely a thin transparent skin, helplessly dying in the growing light. A morning breeze stirs the branches awake. A plumped up squirrel skips out from behind a high crux, flashes its tail and creeps upside down toward the earth. Waves of new pink rimmed clouds are drifting in. By the minute, the window’s palette changes with the breaking day. The slothful moon informs the painting like a memory.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Amina Bhimla

AMINA BHIMLA is a Canadian poet, jewelry designer and artist.  Born in Quebec and living in Ontario, she has been writing poetry since the early 1990’s.  She also writes true stories about events in her life.

In writing poetry, her world changed. She enjoyed it so much that for many years it was all she concentrated on in life. She has never looked back.

She has self-published several poetry books: Blinding Colors, Every Word,  Amongst The Branches, as well as an eczema health book: The Journey Deep Within, and a photobook: Path To The Soul.

 She is currently working on, The Road Leading to You,  Jasmine's Secret Diaries (Story/ Poetry), Jenny and Penny (Children's), and Pieces Scattered (Poetry).

Her work is available at and at

Friday, August 12, 2011


Last Poem for Irving Layton

They are not long, the days of wine and roses
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for awhile, then closes
Within a dream
Ernest Dowson 1867-1900

A quiet woman, never far from tears
I contemplate the irony of life
how it often ends
not as we wish
but in implacable disintegration
They are not long, the days of wine and roses

You wanted pitchforks blazing as you left
striding with manly rage into the void
Instead, your memory failed; your daily smoke
was all that you had left of fire that burned
with such intensity
Out of a misty dream

I conjure you, and I sincerely wish
your slow departure into the unknown
your entry through that door marked Nevermore
could have been the one that you desired
Our path emerges for awhile, then closes
Within a dream

Norma West Linder


For James, with Love
I thought myself content
to live alone
until you came along
my stalwart knight
to slay, with your keen sword
of winning words
the dragon of loneliness 
I thought with my dog, Rocky
by my side
(my little white Shih Tzu)
I’d face the future unafraid
need nothing more
than my circle
of fellow writers and friends 
I felt the silent company
of books
would see me through
I’d lose myself in tomes
of others’ lives
I didn’t know the joy
of days and nights with you 
Poet of mine, your words
your eyes of azure blue
your smile, your wisdom
and a heart that’s true
have re-arranged my world
and made it shine
yes, made it shine like new 
      Norma West Linder


slide show

click click:       my brothers play road hockey

click click:       the sour cherries in blossom

click click:       my sister as a baby

click click:       my mother slim & pre-gray

click click:       my dead brother aims a snowball at the photographer
the rest of us smile cautiously

click click:       we lean against the dark tree trunks
some have maple syrup buckets attached

click click:       my dead father, proud of his belly & thick sideburns
let someone use his camera

click click:       my grandmother, visiting from England
her arm tight around her daughter’s waist

click click:       we are lined up, squinting at the sun
in front of the tent at long point

click click:       my children laugh at us

click click:       notice resemblances

click click:       joke about genetics

click click:       deny the inevitable
click click:       my mother cries quietly

click click:       looks away from the screen

click click:       & i am distracted

click click:       by the memories

click click:       of what happened

click click:       before & after

click click:       each pose

click click:       was struck

click click:       bright light

click click:       blank screen


Frances Ward (f.ward), (visual artist, poet, editor, publisher) was born in Manchester, U.K. of English/Italian descent, and emigrated to Canada as a child.  She has spent most of her adult years in Hamilton and surrounding area.  Ward is a multi-media artist who creates 2 & 3 dimensional works through the use of found materials and images; welding, collage, assemblage, printing, painting and photography Her visual art is included in private and corporate collections. She is the author of three solo collections of poetry; Side Effects, Life & Ledger and The Writer Seems Unaware…. publisher/editor of Hammered Out (a literary journal) and publisher/editor of Road Work Ahead (an anthology of images and poetry by Hamilton Poets).