Saturday, 13 January 2018


that part of the boat, I thought … standing,
near a nook, where starboard met stern …
would make an amazingly brilliant hiding place …

~ ~ ~

I used to think, a lot, about hiding places …
when I was a kid … hiding and seeking,
with friends on my street … I remember …

huddling beneath wooden back steps
or in the prickly tall grass behind old sheds …
pumped, by the thrill of clandestine maneuvers …

imagining the adventures that had led
to my concealment … and the fate
that awaited me … lest my refuge be revealed …

eventually, my hiding days ended ... along with
other – really great – childhood games … to be
replaced by much nastier games …

the games grown people play … games with
plenty of losers … and seldom, a clear winner …
games that most of us, don’t want to play … 

~ ~ ~

it has been eons since anyone has searched for me …
but I still feel a quiver of glee when I spot 
an awesome hiding place … a good game will do that …

photo:  Ferry to Vancouver Island - B. Bourke

 © 2018 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Retirement Party

I realized over the holiday break, that I hadn't posted a rhyming satirical poem in quite some time and I thought that it might be nice to start the less-than-highly-anticipated year 2018 off, on the lighter side.  This is an old poem - that I thought needed a bit of a dust-off and rejig.  I also added the final three stanzas.  It was inspired by a retirement party I attended, where a much loved lady was not only retiring, but was also leaving the city.  No one wanted to see a mass exodus before the guest of honor departed.  Unfortunately, she didn't seem inclined to go.  It was an epic 'good-bye' - lots of tears and lots of hugs - but, as it finally ... finally ... began winding down, most of the people present - including the retiree - were laughing. 

We felt the pressure to pumped –
so when the Good-byes finally clomped 
through two dozen toasts and one thousand wishes,
on carrot-cake-sauvignon-blanc infused kisses
all of us there . . . flat as tires . . . sans air . . .
fizzled – and slumped – into our seats:
content to be zapped, sapped dead beats.

But then, just when,
we thought, we ought – to try and
sputter back again,
or, at least, get on our feet –
and roll on home
down down-hill-street
DRAT ! ! !   the Good-bye girl was back . . . 
dispensing – yet more hugs at that. 

It seemed the woman did not know
the concept of go – go go go.
Apparently, she’d left her purse . . . so . . .
the first Good-byes, we’d just rehearsed.
(It looked like this could take all night.
Or, ‘til we got Good-bying right.)

Good-bye, Good-bye, Good-bye – again:
All aboard:  the Good-bye Love Fest Train.
She Good-byed-Good-byed round the floor. 
Good-bye, Good-bye.  Oh Look – the door.
At last it felt like she might go.
Gawd knows – we prayed:  let it be so.
We really mean Good-bye, you know.

Good-bye, Good-bye, Good-bye.
 Just . . . Go ! ! ! 

When – FINALLY – she cleared the door:
“Gawd spare us, from a third encore,”
a frail voice whimpered from the floor.

“Turn off the lights and bolt the door.”
“Sh-h-h-h . . . no one speak – not one word more.”

But, for a sigh, heaved now and then . . .
silence fell on the darkened den . . . 
when all at once, came a haggard curse . . .
and someone screamed:  “Is this her purse?”

photo:  retirement photo/graphic - W. Bourke 

© 2018 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 15 December 2017

A Holiday Puente


in that gentle place of light
between the peace of solitude 
and the joyful companionship of good souls

~ glad spirits bask in the warmth of illumination ~

when we find our way back to that sanctuary … 
we are comforted  …  we are renewed  …  it is the gift … 
that we seek  –  again and again  –  all the days of our lives

Best Wishes ... Peace and Joy throughout the Holidays and the New Year …
I am taking the rest of the year off from blogging, and will return in 2018.

photo:  This is the tree in the lobby of the Hotel Vancouver that I snapped this time, last year, when my children took me for Christmas High Tea, there, as a treat … a lovely afternoon with family - W. Bourke

© 2017 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Family Tree - A Tanka Prose Piece


In the days when life was less loud and messy … and mostly, fixable with a good night’s sleep, my family was as big as the biggest oak tree that you could imagine.  There were branches and branches of relatives in every combination and configuration, with which, a human being can lay claim to a leaf on a family tree … grandparents and great grannies, cousins galore … and, as if that wasn’t enough … second, third and fourth cousins … likewise aunts and uncles … to say nothing of the once and twice removed, lot – that nobody ever got … but counted them as kin … or, at least – ‘married-in’. 
From time to time, all the leaves on all the branches, from all over Ontario, would return to the family tree, for giant reunions, held in our small town of Port Arthur – where the best cooks in the clan had ended up.   The women prepared food for days in advance … and the men made homemade potato champagne … in vast quantities. 
And then, the party would commence.  Records were played, of someone’s favorite tunes – that, inevitably, conjured forth special memories.  The words ‘remember when’ rustled through the air like colorful autumn leaves fluttering before the fall.   And immense backyard bonfires were lit, that threatened to burn down the house of the host … but never did.  Instead ‘goings-on’, such as those, were celebrated in hilarious family anecdotes … to be retold, again and again, at future reunions … and funerals.
Those were such good times ... looking back ... extraordinary times.  There was joking and fun.  There was laughter.  There was abiding affection and a sense of belonging – in some which-way – to that strange ‘warts-and-all’ tribe that didn’t have much in common, really … other than – from the youngest to the oldest – we considered ourselves … part of the family. 
Small town Canada … like small towns, everywhere … has changed a lot, since then.  People move away and no one ever goes back.   Many of the leaves from the family tree have fallen … or toss … on far off winds, never to return.  Those wonderful, wonderful ‘get-togethers’, of people who genuinely wanted to spend time with each other … who wanted the best for each other … are gone … long gone … many years now … though my mind casts back to them … often … in my rambles ………… 
I linger before
a huge dead tree trunk 
feeling the serenity of acceptance
there ... in what remains
of what once was

note: 'warts and all'  means to reveal something in its totality, and not conceal the less attractive aspects.  The expression is said to have come from Oliver Cromwell’s instructions to his portrait painter to paint him ‘warts and all’ and not in the style of the day, which was to flatter the sitter.

photo:  taken in Lynn Headwaters Park in North Vancouver – P. Bourke
© 2017 Wendy Bourke

Friday, 1 December 2017

burden of ancients

I had expected
I would be more at peace
at this place in my life, for ...
I have sought it
these many years,
in my way

I carry the weighty woes
of this planet,
like a big bass drum,
to the fragile heartbeat
of our earth

to know
what it is, to live …
is to know,
that survival is precarious and hard

perhaps, ancients
are not meant
to find peace
in bearing witness to
failure to exist harmoniously
and with diligence
perhaps, it is part of the price we pay,
for the gift of long life –
the burden of owning
the state of the world
we will leave behind, at passing

“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit. … We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.” – David Suzuki:  Canadian environmentalist, scientist, and writer.

photo:  Ucluelet's Wild Pacific Trail – B. Bourke

© 2017 Wendy Bourke