OHF Abroad – 2022.2


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.

Check the map to see where OHF Abroad poems come from.

Time CapsuleConroy Dockal, Roswell, Georgia, USA

Creativity DeniedRon Gillis, North Sydney, Nova Scotia

Charlie’s Cart Ron Gillis, North Sydney, Nova Scotia

St Lawrence RiverGuohua Li, Montebello, New York, USA

Catriona, that highland lass. Don Macmillan, Lac Brome, Quebec

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Time Capsule

Poem by Conroy Dockal

(written 12:02 am – 12:10 am, November 26, 2017)

For hours I’m not moving and
some new friending is watching Ladybird and
Christ lighting is up and 
lasers cutting my eye and
blinding the corners and
can’t see them coming and 
bearing their gifts and
the dusk till dawn setting is repetition hell and
onion sage infused laundry and
days after twenty three’s repast and
it was vegan faring this year and 
as gluttonous re Babette’s Feast and 
even skeletal threads were gravy and
all while ribs were fusing together and 
for hours I wasn’t moving and 
festering and
dead wasting and
brining and
bleeding out an emoji filled end

Why I Wrote this Poem

Although despair won the night in this poem, there’s an attempt to exorcise and snap out of the lethargy that is sitting in front of a TV while on my phone endlessly scrolling… It’s a moment in time… a lesson… something I can look back on with cringe-worthy affection… Trump wasn’t quite a year into his term in 2017… hell was still in the beginning stages of breaking loose…

I jokingly refer to this poem as an “and” to the “end”.

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Creativity Denied

Poem by Ron Gillis

Creativity snuffed out of mind today.
Like on doting of wick on Candle display.
Thoughts bounding, dancing through head,
denied to the world respecting wife’s dread.

Days, weeks, eventually years
may poetic endeavour soothe quiet fear.
To solve dilemma thus mate understand
Please guide my pen explanation in hand…

Must release to World poetic muse
give me support, all I can use,
that wife of a poet, honor indeed,
gift does hold Divine rarity.

Why I Wrote this Poem

I started writing at fifty years of age, now I’m eighty-four years old. When I first started writing, my wife never accepted my newfound pastime, so, as not to offend her I used to get up early in the morning, very early and write. After several years with the pen another stumbling block occurred: when I pitched my work to be reviewed, their reply was my lines were too “doggerel.” That is when I started writing song lyrics, resulting in thirty songs performed by local artists, which made me feel elated as my doggerel words hit the airwaves.

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Charlie’s Cart

Prose poem by Ron Gillis

Charlie’s cart bedecked with all sorts of gatherings, winds its way down Charlotte, then over to Townsend, pauses awhile at The Credit Union building, where few candy wrappers in doorway a whirling, with haste they find way a top Charlie’s old cart amongst shiny hub caps and dusty old mats.

Then onto George, as the street light turns green, hangs a left at the crosswalk, my, ‘Old George’ is so clean. With the wind at his back, pushing gently along, glancing about, singing a song.

Tis time for a rest, approached donut shop, by passers acknowledged as they come to full stop, familiar they are with early morning scene, tip their hats to Charlie and his streets Oh! so clean.

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St Lawrence River

Poem by Guohua Li

Born in a glacial palace,
cold and mobile,
The behemoth of a beneficent prince
runs away to exile.

Why I Wrote this Poem

I wrote “St. Lawrence River” while driving through Quebec last summer. It is a brief ode to the giant waterway and a reflection on my son’s mysterious obsession with this river and my own immigrant background. Two summers ago, I took my son to Thousand Islands so that he could swim in St. Lawrence River. Last summer, we made the road trip to Canada because my son wondered where St. Lawrence River would end. I imagine that in my son’s fairy-tale mind, St. Lawrence River must be a restless yet beneficent prince running away from home to seek freedom.

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Catriona, that highland lass.

Poem by Don Macmillan

From the land of Ben Nevis, the crags of Glen Coe
She’s that highland lass with such a radiant glow
Now far from the Glen that once was her home
In the realm of the Maple yet far from alone

From the land of Ben Nevis, the crags of Glen Coe
Now courageously battling such an insidious foe
Her challenges have been many, too many by far
Yet a fighter, an example, a bright morning star!

From the land of Ben Nevis, the crags of Glen Coe
Yet we’re all heading home, some faster some slow
The roads can be hard and the gradient so steep
Now she’s seen it all, whether awake or asleep

From the land of Ben Nevis, the crags of Glen Coe
So constant in time, as those rivers still flow
Dreams of the homeland, a final embrace
Come the end of life’s trail, what beauty awaits

Why I Wrote this Poem

This poem is a tribute to a late courageous friend from the Old Country. Catriona died of cancer just over a year ago having shown, for so many years, great courage, resilience, and dear friendship. Her husband John, a lifelong friend of mine and a fellow Scott is himself living defiantly with cancer. This poem I composed as a tribute to our friendships and the exemplary courage and inspiration that both Catriona and he have exhibited. They were Highland sweethearts and both “from the land of Ben Nevis, the crags of Glen Coe,” the heart of the Scottish Highlands, full of great beauty, history, and romance.

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