OHF Abroad


This page features poems from writers living outside Halifax, but with some connection to the city or Nova Scotia. The map shows the locations of the authors (blue dots). Halifax is the red dot.

Read the poems by scrolling down or selecting the titles.
Select the author’s name to view a short biography (if supplied) and other poems by that author.

03/2021 – DamageConroy Dockal – Roswell, GA, United States

01/2021 – the wringing heartMeg BairdCalgary, AB

01/2021 – WhyRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

12/2020 – RebirthBauke Kamstra – Kentville, NS

05/2020 – Those days we stay home (Joy of confinement) – Don Macmillan – Lac Brome, QC

05/2020 – Voice InsideElzy Taramangalam – Mysore/Mysuru, India

05/2020 – Fire in the SkyEmily Macrae – Toronto, ON

04/2020 – Indomitable SpiritRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

03/2020 – RegulationAngus MacCaull – Antigonish, NS.

02/2020 – Class of 1999Richard LeDue – Norway House, MB

08/2019 – Haint BlueConroy Dockal – Roswell, GA, United States

07/2019 – Barrington Street Life Julie Smith – Seoul, South Korea

05/2019 – Maritime RhymeMeg BairdCalgary, AB

05/2019 – Nature’s SoundDon Macmillan – Lac Brome, QC

02/2019 – IschyodusR. E. Stansfield – Port Hilford, NS

02/2019 – My Son’s JourneyRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

12/2018 – Christmas Cheer Throughout the Year!Don Macmillan – Lac Brome, QC

12/2018 – The Jungle Conroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

11/2018 – Days with No NameDon Macmillan – Lac Brome, QC

11/2018 – Coriano RidgeRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

10/2018 – ThanksRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

09/2018 – Jack FrostMeg BairdCalgary, AB

09/2018 – The ArcherConroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

08/2018 – Iona 1949Ron Gillis – North Sydney, NS

08/2018 – Obliteration of the AlliterationConroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

07/2018 – When I Think MotherRon Gillis – North Sydney, NS

06/2018 –Early Construction, Hammer Out, Edward Martins-Berki – Toronto, ON

06/2018 – 3 HaikuConroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

04/2018 – Growing Old Ron Gillis – North Sydney, NS

04/2018 – Gage ParkConroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

03/2018 – Aslant Conroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

02/2018 – Holland HarbourR. E. Stansfield – Port Hilford, NS

02/2018 – Barn SwallowConroy Dockal – Suwanee, GA, United States

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Poem by Conroy Dockal

I wish I was a better person
more loving, more caring 
I wish I was perfect 
inside this box
How hard can that be?
four walls, a floor, a ceiling

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the wringing heart
Poem by Meg Baird

yes, you have described it correctly
the medical professor said
but is it poetry?

five hundred and more years ago
Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks show
the chamber to the bottom left
is housing for a vortex which
ejects propels and thrusts the blood
up through the heart
the organ thus becomes a pump
a living circulating thrumph! of energy
into the flesh
and the mass it gives a twist
in order to accomplish this
pa-pum pa-pum pa-pum

so every heart it ticks along
and what you make of it
becomes your song

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Poem by Ron Gillis

Why do I put my woman down ?
Why do I make her cry ?
Why do I put that hurt in her eye ?
Why oh Why ?

Why do I go out on the town ?
Why do I pour that whiskey down ?
Why do I make my woman sad ?
Why oh Why ?

Oh ! Lord it’s time to change my life around
It’s time to take that hurt from her eye.
It’s time to say I love you.
It’s time to stop saying Why.

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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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Haint Blue
Poem by Conroy Dockal

Shriek sing curse
the bell witch not cross
salted corners like child fears tawse
believe it or never there is not verse

Shriek sing curse
pasted newspaper the walls
give reason to distract their calls
frustrating will make them terse

Shriek sing curse
the haints come to take mine eyes
but the bottle tree says otherwise
they’ll cross the doorway in reverse

Shriek sing curse
azure, royal, never brush electric blue
wasps won’t build nests up high there too
maybe rice or broom straw will coerce

Shriek sing curse
the morning creeps up on porch
before sunshine starts to scorch
counting did the tricks disperse

Shriek sing curse
invisibles surely resist all sheens
them never harm past soft blue green
paint porch ceiling to make work worse

their shriek sing curse

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Barrington Street Life
Poem by Julie Smith

derange ya
those friday
nights by the
khyber we could
hit every damp
note in to
a sky forgiving
days of cobblestones
of stationery but
we didn’t mold
stretched taut from
ferry dock to shore
fumbled drugs could
take us somewhere
we thought real
he danced with
me and not
your hand held
there you drew
the crease in
our linen miles
of empty texts
unanswered dreams and
lullabies until
frozen ponds cracked
reflections told tales
float and passed

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Maritime Rhyme
Poem by Meg Baird

there by the sea
in the Maritimes
there are many poets
writing rhyme
the wet clime ringing
with the fog horn’s singing
low to the ships
that pass in the night
up above the world so high
twinkle twinkle little stars
and the lighthouse on the rock
is our thought of safety
any souls who there did perish
well they know that they are cherished
for many nights and many days
the fog and rain and drizzle stays
locking us in wet grey grief
to contemplate eternal sleep
to contemplate the sea
and how we cannot bear to be alone

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Nature’s Sound
Poem by Don Macmillan 

Where simple pleasures still abound
I listen close to hear her sound
Breeze beneath the bough upon the lea
Set the silenced sounds of nature free

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Poem by R. E. Stansfield

We were walking under the cliffs, you and I,
Our fingers lightly intertwined,
As if afraid to acknowledge what we already knew,
What lay before us, what lay behind.

Pondering where this path would lead us, you and I,
You saw it first, twisted in final torment,
The bony remains of an ancient fish,
Once swimming alone, now part of the escarpment.

We ran our silent hands over those old bones, you and I,
Lost in our mutual contemplation,
What happens to a soul of a thing, you asked,
After 300 million years of isolation?

We were standing under the ocean, you and I
When a great fish swam by, unblinking,
It looked at us as we looked at him,
Each wondering what the other was thinking.

They will find our bones here too, you and I,
Entwined together, eons hence,
Embraced by the rock above a long-lost sea,
Not alone, but together, in our innocence.

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My Son’s Journey
Poem by Ron Gillis

Conceived in mother’s womb, birth cradle.
Two years old under mother’s feet, working at table.
Five on way to school, to learn subjects of the day,
Mom home in peaceful bliss, quietly going grey.
Eighteen high school graduate, world beckoning at your feet,
Wait have four more years to obtain college certificate.
Twenty six at altar waiting for woman you dearly love,
Join hands in matrimony, guidance from above.

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Christmas Cheer Throughout the Year!
Poem by Don Macmillan

As festive season now draws nigh
Fill the stockings, hang them high
Deck the tree and make a wish
Welcome friends and check the list

Gather round our fire so warm
Secure from swirling winter storm
Listen close and you will hear
Rustling bells – HE must be near!

So, fill your glass, prepare to toast
Counting blessings cherished most
Our loved ones here and far beyond
United in our far-flung family bond

With those we have and those we’ve lost
Forever celebrate what we love most
So, keep the warmth of Christmas cheer
And make it last throughout the year

As one more year is all but gone
With a New Year’s path to stand upon
What lies before we can scarcely guess
But striding forth we’ll surely do our best!

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The Jungle
Poem by Conroy Dockal

Street trade,
lined eye,
souls played,
glances fly.

One born,
hidden gash,
clothes torn,
out fast.

John found,
metal spins,
cat sounds,
atoned sins.

Small tirade,
pierced parts,
milk, lemonade,
fetish starts.

Lips seethe,
talk segued,
dog eat,
or beg.

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Days with No Name
Poem by Don Macmillan

Discover those days, those days with no name
Time to rejoice in nature’s own fame
No hours of the day, no days of the week
Those arbitrary things of which we all speak
So, look to the sky offering life’s giving rain
Of seasons that drive nature’s joyous refrain

Discover those days, those days with no name
Time to rejoice in nature’s own fame
From insect and flower to planet and star
We christen with certainty things near and afar
With our names and our things, we are confident clowns
We think we are master of this planet of ours

Discover those days, those days with no name
Time to rejoice in nature’s own fame
Find some humility before it’s too late
For the earth keeps on turning and the moon is on high
And the universe is expanding but not to our feeble eye
So, discover those days, those days with no name
And find time to rejoice in nature’s own fame

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Coriano Ridge
Poem by Ron Gillis

Coriano Ridge and The Alamo
battles of history oh so long ago.
By gone warriors fighting side by side,
settling the issue, supreme sacrifice.

Young soldiers, they free from apron string,
marching in battle, liberating enemy’s sting.
Some lie fallen, never see sunset,
a lesson learned, why oh why unrest.

Concluding my story, one sad so true,
never again children be subject to.
May peace be the answer from by gone war,
lives lost in action, lost for evermore.

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Poem by Ron Gillis

Word in Webster one should embellish,
Word “Thanks” forever we cherish,
Directed to Moms, our Dads too.
For bringing us up, so strong so true.

Infant, adult stops between,
Parent is Protector from dangers unseen,
Grateful we are for leading us through,
Acknowledge you now, Mom and Dad, Thank You.

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Jack Frost
Poem by Meg Baird

Old Jack Frost
is comin’ to town
Gonna paint some
pretty scenes tonight

Grey and dwarfed
with icy frown
Each fingernail
a long curved knife

He scores cold glass
without a sound
His fragile dreams
x-rayed in white

The canvas warms
and melts them down
He’s mad enough
To spit and bite!

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The Archer
Poem by Conroy Dockal

A Gitche Manitou on knees crowned
While haunches lesser ache assuage
Centaurs await in glistening rage,

afraid of tales reeking sounds

Coiled in a field wildflowers taste
The Archer incants tongue’s harden
Sleeked eyes scan a smash-mouth garden

and lash unfeigned on a carcass of chaste

True to form, Achille’s first kiss stayed
Hearts boiled reduction thick
The Archer’s arrow pointed wisp,

unwavering on the battle abatis splayed

Night’s sheathed hollow by the fend
Centaur’s flesh open wounds seethe
Down a hillock before light can teethe

The Archer mild, lays at dawn’s bend

This   time   her   fetters   unbound

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Iona 1949
Poem by Ron Gillis

A station a bridge,
Graveyard a church.
Evening bells ringing,
Train whistle screaming.
Dogs scurrying,
Men with tongues waggin’
At hitching standing.
Little children playing,
Evening birds nesting,
Babes in mother’s arms, resting.

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Obliteration of the Alliteration
Poem by Conroy Dockal

What started as prose
Ended up keeping me on my toes
Therapy or closure, one never knows
Once writ, paper and pencil anastomose

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When I Think Mother
Poem by Ron Gillis

When I think mother, I think caring, compassion
When I think mother, I think forgiveness, understanding.
When I think mother, I think of father,
Who together with mom made me a human being.
Thank you mom, Thank you dad.

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Early Construction, Hammer Out,
Poem by Edward Martins-Berki

all was silence
save bang
which echoed through the air
striking those who heard
and lived among the buildings
a box
out of place
made right again by hammer
the building slowly rose
for work was done
under clear
the labour of earth and mortals
know nothing of gods and heaven.

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3 Haiku
by Conroy Dockal

Useful your words told
After all was said and done
Sent from my iPhone

Ciel est tout bleu
Un étang de réflexion
à une galaxie

Bald dandelions
Bending over barren slopes
zephyr cuts a path

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Growing Old
Poem by Ron Gillis

Age is a curse robs one of youth
Brings creases to face, shoulders a stoop.
A receding hairline, arthritic knees
Dimming of eyes accompanied by wheeze.

Adds pounds to frame says bathroom scale
To see correct weight one has to inhale.
Years pass so fleetingly a constant reminder for me to see
To take life easy and rest for a while, to slow one’s pace as I travel last mile.

I’ll savor old age which I accept, you see,
Please come a calling when I’m a hundred and three.

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Gage Park
Poem by Conroy Dockal

A hedge, a tangle, our bodies slip through
Bone on branch shared the deep bruise,
Charcoal scrape, newly rubbed tributes to view,
The crest of leaves slithered the light, our muse,
We clung, we gnarled, we got lost in the grooves,
It rained, it poured, we tightened victorious the old yew,
Bark and ashes then greenness gone too soon,
In the cotyledon that rustled in short true,
Near a bandshell, the half shell and all of its blues,
Our bodies ripened crouched in trees next to purlieus,
Grey matter yet to be seeded one afternoon,
Shin splints pounded on gravel, the new tattoo,
We watched, we craned for our shine later bloomed,
Long limbs lingered now crushed shells at the root,
While colossi groan mercy to spent curlicues

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Poem by Conroy Dockal

I sleep diagonal when you’re not here.

Fingertips over the edge, food for creatures
beneath. The bed is plated, garnished in
layers, striped black and welt then rolled like
a cigar spreading arctic to tropic sear.

Better feng shui when you’re not here.

Answers gleaned from the hidden. Toes
ripped sheets in a race to the arms of
Morpheus and when wraiths erupted out of
hands there was no pain, only REM that
spoke reverie unashamed.

I sleep diagonal on a cross that’s necessity

Spine a torc wrapped tight around the fetal.
Kingdoms clamour, windows push back
light, armoured flanks keep fractures away,
you see. When you’re not here I sleep


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Holland Harbour
Poem by R. E. Stansfield

The road’s not much
Of a road this time of year
More like a muddy trail
Slouching away from the highway
Down into the tangle of trees and underbrush
Gnarly black spruce and soft tamarack
Fighting back the unrelenting alders
While awaiting next winter’s nor’easters
To claw at their branches
And tear at their roots
With screeching icy fingers
Until they fall crashing to lie
Patiently for the earth to embrace them.

Just off the road and into the woods
The remnants of a stone fence
Just a jumble of rocks
Poking through tall green ferns
Beyond, the square outline of a foundation
And beyond that, another
And then more beyond
Remnants of a human presence
Clinging to this bit of empty coastline
Stubborn like their ancestors
Determined to survive, like barnacles
On the hulls of their longliners.

By accident we discover the graveyard
And the hardness of their living
Painful in a single headstone:
“Annie E
Dau of Warren G &
Clarissa H Baker
April 25, 1879
Aged 4 weeks”.

We row across Haulover Cove
Past Gull Shelf to Reid’s Island
In a skiff borrowed
From the German at the end of the road
And eat our breakfast in silence
Wild duck eggs
Cooked over an open fire.

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Barn Swallow
Poem by Conroy Dockal

Glide one two free
On backs my breath takes
Huntress on the prowl spree
By death’s door insects forsake

Boomerang through atoms elect
Beauty the work survival
Fate stands still for the select
While wings push air none rival

The chain complete to awe
Severed spirit now creed
Sleek machine I saw
Glimpsed in an instant speed

Dethroned am I to bottom rung
As meek swift arrows morse
Implore shelter none
Before dusk her next course

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