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People and Pansies

Through cracks between slabs

Of the concrete path around our complex

Little pansies

Escaped from wall borders

Raise tiny faces to sunlight and warmth,

Brilliantly gold and purple.

And the footfall is checked

Through choice.


Nobody steps on a sky-seeking flower.

Grown-ups miss by an inch

What with parcels and keys

And stuff on their minds.

Kids walk in the ...

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The five, physical senses of animals:

Sound, sight, smell, touch, taste -

Excite fight or flight

For survival of the individual and the pack.

Or they invite association, sexual mating,

For continuance of the species.


We humans with our superior brains

Take our senses well beyond the physical

Into the broad sphere of emotion,

Which we call our 'feelings',


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Precise Advice

'I would like to be more

Than a turnip in the turf

Or a well-fed cat on a settee.'

I must have carried such a thought

Into my dreams last night.


And nipping sharply at its heels,

So succinctly put by my parents,

'Don't get your liver in a quiver.

Put an arrow in your bow, and GO!'

Because I woke up, chuckling.


I blew a kiss into morning sunlight

And thoug...

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The twins were three years old!

Their little cake had three candles on each side

So they could blow them out together -

My half and your half.

They were thrilled.


Three days later Daddy turned thirty-three.

Of course, he had to have a cake too,

With thirty-three, pretty candles.

No candles was ever an option,

Nor the right number either.


The girls were nappi...

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'How fast the world spins

As I mark through dark trees

The passage of the Moon.


The same for Sun, of course,

But there is an intimacy in shadow

Not found in daylight.

Night drops a veil

Over the familiar

And all becomes uncertainty.


It opens the universe

To our enthralled sight

As the invisible becomes visible,

Thrilling us to realize

How insignific...

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Heady Idea

I was not very old when I first thought,

'I wonder how you tell the difference between

What we say it is from what it really is.'


With the concept of 'we' presumably 'people',

It was contemplation, not confrontation.

I was not bucking parents on principle.


What did I mean by 'say' or 'it' or 'really' or 'is'?

With such words the whole world goes round!

What did I...

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Waking Up

In the seconds between deep sleep

And slippery conciousness

Sometimes I feel like a galactic receiver.


This morning, out of nowhere,

Clicked a thought pattern

Clear as crystal:

'Rationalise – theorize – extemporize – philosophize.'

And I pushed back: 'But I am an animal!

Physical - emotional - amoral -  temporal.

HA! Checkmate!'


I rose from my pillow, toddle...

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Staring out the window,

I watch my husband trundle our cart down the walk.

He's off to the grocery shop

With a clear list and loving care,

Wholly capable, looking fine,

Mentally ready for Covid restrictions.

All I want to do is kick concrete,

Bang walls and smash glass!

That would sure startle the neighbours

On this quiet spring morning.


There is now a period of ...

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On my TV screen,

Female presenters in stilettos,

Seated on sofas

Level with the camera eye,

Look like distorted spiders

With skinny legs askew

And kneecaps poking their chins.

Simply unsightly.


In a whole world of idiocies

I can't imagine anything more stupid

Than stilettos,

In crippling defiance of human structure.

Although blondes

With black-painted e...

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First Date

I was twenty-one, self assured, reasonably attractive;

Spreading my wings a bit, testing sophistication

In a black sheath with one bright flower on my shoulder.


I have no idea who my date was that night.

I remember we met friends of his at a popular club,

Four or five couples in a clique-y cluster of tables.


The evening was pleasant enough, people friendly,

Although ...

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First Job, First Day

The week prior to school's re-opening,

I had the first day of my first job!

Right out of Teachers' College,

Hired to teach a Grade Six class

In our Canadian capital, Ottawa.

My dream scenario.


It was an orientation day,

To meet the principal for the first time,

And my fellow teachers;

To familiarise myself with the school,

My own classroom,

And to secure the ...

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Associative Thinking

This little 'story' might raise a chuckle

If there is anyone else besides me

Who has run afoul of 'associative thinking'.


My husband and I married in Ottawa, Canada,

And honeymooned with my parents in Tokyo.

Dad was a security guard with the Canadian embassy,

A position related to his early army career.


We were made very welcome in the embassy circle,

Graciously i...

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It's very odd, certain experiences engraved in memory,

Especially ones you wish you could lock up and lose the key.


When I was eight I picked up reading fast.

I had books at school and at home,

And I enjoyed them all.

But not nearly as much as I craved comic books

Which Mummy did not provide.

'The funnies in the newspaper are quite enough.'


But they weren't.

I ...

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Country Platitudes

I grew up in a swarm of 'farming folk' sayings,

Buzzing around my head like bees,

Pithy platitudes, remarkably philosophical.

'Life' observations, wrapped in common imagery

Like these three:

'Play in the sunshine, rue in the rain.'

'You planted your own row; now hoe it!'

'You reap what you sow.'


These expressions carried weight.

There were always examples to point t...

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Little Window Flowers

In a pot on the window sill

I have some small, pink blossoms

Tucked into their green foliage.

The scouring bees

Riding high on air currents

And feisty, little wings

Spot them clearly,

And smack into the glass

With a thump.


I feel bad every time it happens

But I don't move the pot.

They never drop down dead

Or stunned, that I can see.

I wonder what they T...

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Ugly Faces

There are many ugly faces

On our TV this morning.

Covid 19 has tested society to the hilt.

But I find the tight-lipped commentaries

On the Cummings affair

Hard to stomach.

It's hard to separate 'political correctness'

From 'self service' in the spotlight.





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Still in Bed With the Big Three 'B's'

I don't want to write. I don't want to read.

I just want to lie in my bed like a seed,

Aware of the sunshine, its brightness and warmth,

Not 'on me', nor 'in me',  just 'for me', today,

With its rays marking bars on the floor.

The whole room is glowing, the curtains, the walls,

The smiling photos, the spread on my bed.

But not me.


'Don't worry, dear Sun!

It's just ...

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V E Day, 2020

My mother took me to visit a neighbour

On our street corner.

The lady was very quiet.

She offered Mummy tea and a glass of milk for me.

With a chocolate cookie!


Then she sat down at her beautiful piano

And played a song for Mum.

On top of the piano,

Beside the photos of her 'soldier boy',

I saw a paper covered with water spots.


As we walked home I said, 'Mum...

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Lockdown Wall

I was catching some afternoon sun,

Sitting on the garden wall by the pavement.

A woman came along with two young children

On their pedal bikes, a boy and a girl.

Riding along the side walk

As Mummy watched closely,

A hand ready for instant support.


They weren't going very fast.

I stood back and smiled, 'Hello.'

Their faces lit up with pleasure

And all three stopp...

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See a 'What' Skin!

That summer in the island cottage

Was full of interesting 'stuff'

For a curious eight-year-old.


I came home from school one autumn day

And dumped my books at the doorway.

'Where's Mum?'

'In the bathroom.' chorused my three younger sisters.

Well, nothing unusual about that,

And I plopped down to rest.



Her voice carried clearly out the door.

'Do yo...

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The Get-away Girl

In our home with three sisters privacy was unknown.

Sometimes I craved solitude and quiet to read a book!

I had bolt holes.


There was always crawling under a bed quilt.

But that was glaringly obvious, stuffy and dim.

And the blanket pulled on my hair.


A roomy closet with a flash light wasn't bad.

But awkward balancing the book and the torch

And turning pages with ...

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Political Science

Generally, all Sciences seek the ultimate good

For the Individual.

But Political Science seeks the ultimate 'goodness' goal

For the Community above that of the Individual.

Subject to much opinion, throughout civilised history.


In 'crowd management', control is the greatest factor,

Preferably with co-operation and not coercion.

In a 'co-operative' society opinions push the...

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Art or Action

Just a little fun today

In the wonky world of poetry.


'Plato was practical, pragmatic.

Aristotle was 'artsy', objective.'


I found this scribble in a folder: STUFF TO SORT.

How many years ago was that!

I have no idea what I was reading at the time,

Likely a textbook from a students'  sidewalk sale.

They jettisoned superb books for pennies.


So, I can't credi...

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Spring Canopy and Other Thoughts

The canopy thickens.

The great trees once again

Are 'home' for the birds and squirrels,

Their privacy screened from prying eyes.

The spreading boughs are beautiful,

But I do miss their naked eccentricity

And visibility of the small creatures.


Ah, Spring!

These animals struggle through the same cycle

We all share:

Mating – birthing – rearing – and feeding.


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Magpie in the Morning

I throw a cursory glance

From my open window

And a magpie strides across the lawn

Poking about in the grass for grubs,

A big, proud, beautiful bird.

In the spring sunlight

Long, strong tail feathers

Lift and hold as it bends its head

And prods the dirt for food.

Its black plumage is a brilliance

Of bright blue and green and purple.

I watch as it swaggers about


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The Dentist #2

He was not my regular dentist.

I was in the chair, reasonably relaxed.

His fingers were deep in my mouth

When the new assistant, a young lady,

Made a casual comment,

Something about going to the shop

For shoes or a handbag.

His fingers froze in place

And the tips sent shock waves

Through the tissue of my cheeks.


He said something short and she left t...

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The Young Minister

On a visit with my sister I attended her church

Where she was a devoted choir member.

The minister was young, mid-thirties maybe.

His sermon was broad, well-structured

And basically satisfying.

And yet, somehow, just a bit mechanical.

As I left the sanctuary and approached the exit

Where he stood smiling and shaking hands

There was a little gulf in the press of bodies.


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Sky Watcher

I am a sky watcher day and night.

When my spirit flounders

My uplifted eyes restore it utterly.

The beauty of the sky

Opens my soul to wonderment,

As in a raindrop or a seed,

A baby's fist around your finger,

Or a solved equation.

But, somehow, more powerful.


The sheer immensity of Sky, 'Atmosphere',

Forging Life as we know it on planet Earth,

Land and sea, fl...

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Jack Knives!

The year I was eight

My family lived in a small cottage

On an island of the St. Lawrence River,

Near Kingston on Lake Ontario.

Our new home was under construction

In a government housing project:

'Building for the Boys'.

For war veterans, like my Daddy.


The island was connected to the mainland

With a long, narrow causeway,

The waters on both sides full of lilies...

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It was an ordinary music class

Boys and girls together,

Thirty teenagers thirteen to fifteen.

I was strolling down the centre aisle

Addressing the day's study

When something happened, trivial but disruptive.

I made a comment, pointed but not mean,

And not personally directed.

But you never know what somebody else hears.

What nerve has been struck.


Suddenly a lad ...

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The Drive To Write

Last month I had two 'pieces'

Almost fighting each other

In their anxiety to be 'born',

In even the roughest scribble.

Me First! Me first!

They amused me with their squawking

But they were irritating.


Imagination is amazing.

Where does it come from,

The drive to be alive in words?

The 'need to write' is like a fish

Swimming through weeds in a murky pond.


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Buried Treasure - Stuff

In my busy, small town,

On the pavement

Beside the doorway of a small shop,

A battered wire basket

Full of varied books with faded covers

And a thickly scribbled note: 'Help yourself!'


'Ah,' I thought, 'Someone has died.

Probably elderly.

The books look weathered.

And Somebody is clearing out stuff.

A somebody who cannot bear

To trash or torch a book.

Just ...

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I so remember as a child

Struggling with the idea of 'down under':

Boys and girls of half the world

Living 'upside -down'!

But the joke is -

There's a part of me that still wonders!

Regardless of education,

The bizarre concept tickles.


How could I harbour the humour

Of such a thought?

I do know the whole matter

Is really understanding 'scale':

People on the...

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Early March Morning

Early morning in my small town:

Tyres whizzing over pavement

In varied tune of size and speed;

Tits about in bare trees with

Constant chat through twisting twigs.

People and birds are on the move.


But I am still in bed.

Yellow daffodils light the sill,

Their glow of gold as bold as sun.

The flowers and I just 'are'.

How grateful I am for their bright beauty


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A Very Strange Dream

…..... In a simple row boat ….........

Drifting to shore with the in-going tide,

Oars at rest, riding the surging swell,

At peace in my small craft, easy with the elements.

Glancing into deep water over the bow

I see a broad, little fish no longer than my arm

Swimming out from shore

Pushing against a dark, lidded pot the size of my head.

The vessel is floating in with the ...

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The Libra Factor

I feel a peculiar melancholy

As though waiting for a tide of tears

From some part of myself which I do not control.

More refreshment, I think, than despair.

'Sheer nonsense.' chides my brain,

But I take no heed.

Life is not purely Reason, Physics or Emotion.

Balance - all is Balance.

I'm not Libra-born for nothing.


As I grew out of childhood

And became more knowl...

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My Dad Said 3

'Cynthia, Honey,

Life is not all tea and roses.

Sometimes, it's slops and skunk cabbage.'


And Mum would add a line,

'Deal with it.'

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May Morning

That spring the twins had just turned five.

We were visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Canada,

Enjoying every minute with them,

Chatting and laughing, sharing stories.

AND – they had COLOURED TV!


One morning I awoke naturally,

Actually alone.

My window was open to the street.

The neighbourhood was so quiet

You could have heard a footfall a block away.

I hung over th...

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Winter Trees

Oh Me, Oh My!

I don't have the physical energy

I used to take for granted.

Now - pinches and jabs without warning

And the need for more rest,

Preferably in my own bed.

I'm so blessed to have a wide window

And from my pillow, trees to see.


Wonderful trees!

Reaching tall over the rooftops,

Dominating the street.

In mid-winter, stripped to their naked cores,


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Man in a Crowd

The late afternoon sky was magnificent,

Mounded with great clouds

Sweeping overhead at different altitudes,

Bathed in the slanted rays of the sun

Dropping into the scarlet west.


I stopped at the hospital entrance

Thronged with people

Coming and going with decisive steps,

Eyes cast down, focussed on private thoughts.

A little early for my appointment,

I leaned a...

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My Dad Said 2

My dad said,

Rubbing his nose and laying a hand

Across his heart,

'Aaaah, Cynthia,

I do wish you'd use your head

For something

Besides keeping your ears apart'

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The Waiting Room

The common room was large,

Seating patients for diverse appointments in the area.

It was well occupied that afternoon.


My husband and I found two, vacant chairs

In the front row of one section,

Facing the same arrangement a few feet opposite.

A woman directly across from us

Was seated with her skirted knees spread widely,

Offering a view 'all the way to China'.

The ...

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Thoughts in Daylight

Cancer has a one track mind.

Once it enters your body

Its sole goal is: Destroy The Host!

And it is devious.

If it finds one channel barred

It seeks another.

All the natural subterfuge and medical defence

Cannot protect everything at once.

Your whole self wobbles under attack,

Trying to 'keep its feet'

As the very ground shudders.


TIME! Treatment buys time.


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