July 2022


View Issue vol. 13, no. 6
ISSN 2369-6516 (Print)
ISSN 2369-6524 (Online)

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.

AMD Kyphosis

Graham AtkinNow this rampant species is consuming me

Nicole Basso« Mon Bonheur, Ma Valeur »

Claudette BoumanRuts I

Charles BullComrades

David DuCorner

Shawn ElfordMy Higher Power

Harry GarrisonPoker Words

Teresa KilbrideRobin Red

Scott Lynchshe, cutting my hair

David Mac EachernIn Support

Don MacmillanOur Veteran Skipper.

Mike McFetridgeTo Make a Difference

Lorie MorrisHere

Blynn TeeftReal Connection

Gordon YoungNo-hole

Return to Top

« Mon Bonheur, Ma Valeur »

Poem by Nicole Basso (en Francais)

Mon bonheur, c’est un nombre
Cent trente-cinq, c’était le but
Donc, pour déjeuner, je respirais
Et marchais les corridors seule
Pour dépenser ses calories
Pour diner, je disais que j’avais pas faim
Et après me cacher loin de la cuisine
Puis, le nombre, c’était
Mille deux cents – moins si possible
Donc, pour déjeuner, un muffin
Pour dîner, de la salade
Ces nombres,
Parfois ils me manquent
Mais ils sont pourquoi j’ai peur
Des miroirs, des balances, d’été
Pourquoi je me compare à toi, à elles
Et je me demande pourquoi
Parfois je respire encore pour déjeuner
Et me promène pour dîner
Enfin, je me rends compte que
C’est parce que j’ai besoin de la valeur
Et, ma valeur, c’est un nombre

(English translation)

“My Happiness, My Worth”

My happiness is a number
The goal was one hundred thirty-five
So, for lunch I would breathe
And walk around the hallways alone
To burn off its calories
For dinner, I would say that I wasn’t hungry
And would then hide far away from the kitchen
Then the number was
Twelve hundred – less if possible
So, for lunch, a muffin
For dinner, some salad
Sometimes I miss these numbers
But they are the reason I am afraid of
Mirrors, scales, summer
Why I compare myself to you, to them
And I am wondering why
Sometimes I still breathe for lunch
And go for a walk for dinner
At last, I’ve realized
It’s because I need some sort of worth
And my worth is a number

Return to Top

Real Connection

Poem by Blynn Teeft

Challenge to listen
To what’s really being said
To hear the words
The sound in between
To hear the silence
That scares so much
Challenge to feel
Emotions as they appear
What the body says to feel pain and joy
The emptiness, the fullness
The ability to stay alive
Challenge to be
Courageous and brave
Honest and loyal
Here and now

Return to Top

Now this rampant species is consuming me

As recorded and translated by Graham Atkin

Tell me about your past and your aspirations.
Well I’ve been circling the Sun for eons.
You can’t believe how tedious that can get.
The Sun sends me the occasional solar flare.
To amuse me with the Northern Lights.
But even that became boring.
So I wondered what I could do to occupy myself.
I realized that I was full of elements.
To tinker with and maybe combine into molecules.
So I started by making simple molecules like water.
Then I thought let’s be clever.
And make a self-replicating molecule.
So I made molecules with…
Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus.
To my amazement, single cell life appeared.
I felt proud when fungi and plants emerged.
And then came dinosaurs and mammals.
Some of these mammals evolved into apes.
Then came the homo genus such as the Neanderthals.
And then a species calling itself homo sapiens.
Now this rampant species is consuming me.
They are destroying the other life forms too.
And they pollute with their foul gases.
I ponder about how this species can be controlled.
A world war? No, they already had a few of those.
A plague? No, they can create vaccines.
Maybe the extreme weather they created will tame them.
Nope, some of them like warm weather.
I thought about a large asteroid. That could work.
Look what an asteroid did to the dinosaurs.
I will ask the Sun to slingshot an asteroid in my direction.
Once I get rid of them I can learn from my mistakes.
And start again. Yes, I am shocked, I want to start again.

Return to Top


Poem by Lorie Morris

Here you are!
Here I am!
Here goes a time.
Here goes all.
Here goes you.
Here I am.

Return to Top

In Support

Haiku by David Mac Eachern

Giving from the heart
For there’s opportunity
Real life insurance

Return to Top


Poem by Gordon Young

What is a no-hole?
It is a homemade black hole,
Into which an outreach falls;
From which nothing crawls.
Not even an echo.
It swallows light
And creates a nothing-night
It does not utter “no.”
It just makes “no” grow.

Why I Wrote This Poem

Sometimes we reach out to people who simply stare back, letting their silence speak rejection.

Return to Top


Haiku by David Du

Who makes this shape in
The world — a shadow jumps up,
A lonely soul dance.

Why I Wrote This Poem

Corner is like an invisible object; nobody cares about it. Only a shadow is close to him, as they belong together. They share the feeling. Sometimes I just think Man is like a corner. Passing into silence, lonely dancing.

Return to Top


Poem by AMD

Grandfather’s sister was a hunchback;
it is in the family genes.
I am probably the only hunchback
most people who have seen me have seen
other than the caricatured Notre Dame one
and I wonder why the cartoonist
thought it fitting to distort his face as well
with bulbous nose and crooked teeth.
Hugo gave him a wart over one eye
explaining Disney’s half-closed one
but both allowed him a kind heart
more precious than physical perfection
perhaps and perhaps kind hearts are
a hunchback’s redeeming feature.
One must look deeply and not away.

Mother scolded, urging me to stand
straight, buying me an unwieldy brace.
It showed through my clothing
pushed me into turning more fully
into myself. When I was thirteen
my cousin’s friend, on an otherwise
pleasant outing, said you’re a
hunchback, aren’t you, the first time
anyone defined me as other than
round-shouldered. Reclusion runs
in the family too, on the other side,
and unkind hearts have pushed me
into hiding, given me a silent tongue.
I bend my back toward a garden now,
my way to bring beauty to the world.

Return to Top


Poem by Charles Bull

Each one homesick for
Heaven, we gaze
Into the pulsing glow of embers
And a flickering flame
And sing to an easy strum, a song
Without words.

Tomorrow we must rise
And face again
The abominable power,
But in our song this night we have each other.
Perhaps this is the heaven for which
We long.

Why I Wrote This Poem

This poem is inspired by the support we gain from one another in the work of saving all we can save, in this time of climate crisis and ecological collapse.

Return to Top

My Higher Power

Poem by Shawn Elford

Feeling uncomfortable in my skin
Don’t belong here on earth
Struggling to exist at all
What am I to do
No answer to be heard
Frozen in time
Mind floating away
From my reality
Asking my higher power
To raise me up
To be happy
In my skin once again
Keep my feet on the ground
Higher power answers my plea
Now I’m whole again

Return to Top

To Make a Difference

Poem by Mike McFetridge

It takes a lifetime to make a difference;
It takes a lifetime to make your mark;
It takes a lifetime of trying and learning;
So the sooner is the better we start.
It takes a lifetime of loving another
To learn the knowledge of loving a soul;
It takes a lifetime of creating music
To learn the value of ol’ rock ‘n roll.

Return to Top

Our Veteran Skipper.

Poem by Don Macmillan

Honouring Richard S. Payne, 1954–2022,
OHF poet and retired Canadian Naval officer.

For years his great ship has been sailing, it’s true
Through oceans, high seas, and storms quite a few
Strength in the wheelhouse, steady hand on the tiller
Two eyes to the horizon, that’s our Veteran Skipper

As the years slip on by, is he still up to the task?
Maintain an even keel? – those questions are asked
While chewing his SCRAN, his answer is clear
Onwards my Jack Tars, with courage, no fear!

But dark on the horizon, winds billow and roar
Our Skipper is challenged like never before
The waves they are lashing, the ship’s in distress
Our Skipper now rises to give of his best

Back in the wheelhouse with all of his might
Hard to starboard he cries, safe harbour’s in sight!
Where cometh his strength, his crew is aghast
Our Veteran Skipper, in peaceful waters at last

Note: Don Macmillan is an Abroad member of OHF and brother-in-law of Richard Payne.

Return to Top

Ruts I

Poem by Claudette Bouman

Family ruts are unforgiving
They’re forgetting to know how to breathe
When penetrated by a single look, a gesture
It’s a heart thumping with so much fear
Your adult shadow falls into the shape
Of the child you were when it first happened
It’s being alive in penetrating unhappiness
It’s being frozen by silent looks in presences
Trapped in a lousy life of exhortations
You return to a replay of interior life’s pains
Any sweet rising expectations stagnate
Twist, turn, and stifle themselves to death

Why I Wrote This Poem

I wrote this poem after some friends mentioned returning to family ruts. Some people are raised in beautiful families, others are not so fortunate.

Return to Top

she, cutting my hair

Poem by Scott Lynch

she, cutting my hair
deftly navigating an aging pate
hedge trimming
ears and nose as needed
scissors and comb extensions
of her will
as we are interrupted by
an army of raucous bullfrogs
laughing she says:
“it’s a happy sound
just digesting
this isn’t loud
on a good day
patients in nearby operatories
have been heard
to question the rumbling.”

“Our foibles are really what make us lovable.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Return to Top

Poker Words

Rectangle Poem by Harry Garrison

three of a kind POPPY, SASSY
flush AEIOU full house ESSES

Return to Top

Robin Red

Poem by Teresa Kilbride


you might be made of steel
I don’t know my metals

someone shaped you like a bird
someone else
painted a red breast and yellow beak
managed an eye with the premonition
of song

every day I am surprised
you are still here

stay then so I won’t miss you
you’re the only one
who breaks my heart.


Still but for high winds coming
when everything gets hauled inside
her flesh and bone kin
hidden in giant spruce
she makes them more real
to the one sitting here
just as a woman on the walkway
skips lighter because she is seen.

Why I Wrote This Poem

This poem was written after time spent contemplating an ornamental robin that is placed alongside one of our tomato plants. She is pointed toward large spruce trees that stand opposite our eighth-floor balcony.

Return to Top

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.