OHF Abroad 2020


Scroll down to read all poems, or select the poem title to go directly to that poem. Select the author’s name to view a short biography (if supplied) and all poems by that author.

Indomitable SpiritRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

RebirthBauke Kamstra – Kentville, NS

Class of 1999Richard LeDue – Norway House, MB

Those days we stay home (Joy of confinement) – Don Macmillan – Lac Brome, QC

RegulationAngus MacCaull – Antigonish, NS.

Fire in the SkyEmily Macrae – Toronto, ON

Voice InsideElzy Taramangalam – Mysore/Mysuru, India

Poem by Bauke Kamstra

Can’t quite grasp that first day
memories evaporate like sound into air
from reports I know I stayed quiet
unsure of this new world
open, noisy, premature
it would be awhile before I put sound
to meaning
walked on shaky legs
I’ve gotten no further.

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Those days we stay home (Joy of confinement)
Poem by Don Macmillan

An invisible enemy out of nowhere attacks
Humbled humanity stopped dead in its tracks
Fear is abroad wherever you look
Politicians are spinning their gobbledegook
Flatten the curve just follow that chart
Wearing the mask, two meters apart

Hours of the day and days of the week
Empty of pleasures we long for and seek
Those days, those days, those days we stay home
When will it end, when again shall we roam
But what’s more important we now rediscover
Family and friends Zoom close with each other

Look to the sky, while it snowed and it rained
Learning of stories of nature regained
Lessons to learn of the abuse we all wreak
Destroying our planet the future so bleak
While streets are empty both here and beyond
Can man with this planet create a new bond?

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Voice Inside
Poem by Elzy Taramangalam

Interrupt your mounting anger
Forget the persisting fear.
No sages of secret wisdom
No seers of future
We are simply human
Facing the birth of another dawn.
Ominous one minute
Inviting the next
Hanging on to hope
Accelerating history
In enforced stillness.

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Fire in the Sky
Poem by Emily Macrae

A day off school in honour
Of a queen whose own
Birthplace has forgotten
Her birthday

Under porch lights laughter creates
Swirling speech bubbles
As wishes for summer hit
Winter’s waning wind

Pulling on socks and sweaters
To walk to the school yard
Twelve hours later
Than any other Monday

Instead of racing around the cracked
Track kids hang back
Slipping wax-paper-wrapped
Sweets from a Secord-stamped tin

Watching parents they’ve only ever
Seen at spring concerts
Stick oversized candles in buckets
Borrowed from the sandbox

The neighbours’ voices crackle
With caution steeped in tradition
The treats taste smoky
Seasoned by the shimmering sky

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Indomitable Spirit
Poem by Ron Gillis

Closed our churches
Closed our schools
Closed our daycare
Closed our theatres
Closed our libraries
Closed our town hall
Closed our concert hall
Opened our Indomitable Spirit

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Poem by Angus MacCaull

A true story: my uncle, a sea captain,
inspected ships at the end of his career.
He was a big man with a face like a steak.

An oil rig came in to Halifax Harbour
with its life boats fully welded to the deck.
“You’re not going back out there like that,” he said.

The oilers complained that conditions were rough,
the boats kept getting swept into the ocean.
So, on its next expedition, the rig sank.

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Class of 1999
Poem by Richard LeDue

Saw pictures of my high school reunion
on the computer,
I’m sure twenty years ago
my Saturday night plans
were bigger than staying home
with a son who had diarrhea in Quebec,
insomnia because the time change,
the last time we were home.
Only recognize four people,
weren’t friends, but faces who aged
the less- of over two hundred grads,
less than sixty were there.
I wonder how many are dead,
or still living on as names in that list?
If I had died, I’m sure no one
would have reported that to organizing committee
via facebook.
Who moved, like me, to find work?
Those left behind
preserve memories of a rough miners’ union,
proud steel workers in Whitney Pier,
and that’s what makes all those smiles worse.
It’s like they’re celebrating being the few
who found a way to survive
collapsing industries
just so their children can fall
as far as me.

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