Thursday, 13 June 2019


the dawn awoke in ragged sheets
of gainsboro gray fog ...
draped along familiar streets

… hidden, lost … in the smog ...

it was an otherworldly backdrop
to a phantasmagoric day ... and then ...
in the thrill of the extraordinary

… I watched it float away ...

clear, as the rising of a curtain
on a vague, unfinished play 

... though … 

the gothic mists were poetry as spires
recast as trees

… alas … those ethereal … 

wisps of poetry
… passed, too … upon that breeze ... 

photo: the fog - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 7 June 2019

time and remembrance

the story of a life ... in remembrance ...
is the most enthralling story of all stories ...

today I awoke from a solitary saunter
along an ocean beach ... the name
of which I have forgotten ... wondering ...
what became of the pearly pink-lined
conch that I once had as a teenager ...

awakened by a yearning to hear the sea … 
only to recall, I had lost that gift ...
a friend ... now passed ... had given to me ...
a thousand years ago ... back in the mists,
in days of yore ... so ancient now … 
they are become, as myths in memory ...

the accidental conjuring forth of that
particular myth ... a tale in which
our adventures blazed so brightly ...
had left me feeling alone and forlorn ... and so ...
I laid back down and closed my eyes ...

immediately, I was there ... back on the beach ...
with her …  the waves splashing like picnic music
as she walked towards me holding the conch ...
she smiled ... and then ... she laughed her lovely
signature chuckle and whispered,  'It's all good'

'I'll remember you always,'  I promised …
'even in memory ... you surprise me still'

photo: Long Beach (taken, I believe 5 or 6 years ago) - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Sunday, 2 June 2019

in the stream of consciousness

I like to imagine that there had been a Great Lilac Tree Sale, years before I landed in the town where I grew up.  For – come spring – that small, mostly unexceptional, Northern Ontario dot-on-the-map, exploded in lilacs. Trees dripped with light purple bouquets – their petals falling everywhere.  For one or two weeks, of the year, the place was a lilac wonderland. The scent, of course, was heavenly ... but it was that enchanted colour that seemed to bathe the world – and everyone in it – with serenity. I've never felt anything like it, since. In fact, these days I consider it a small miracle if I spot a single mauve flowered ... anything.

I was thinking about that, the other day, as I lit a stick of lavender incense and reclined on the sofa. So many things ... I have left behind ... or have left me behind ... and yet ... life only seems to get ... heavier ... the more I lose.

At the back of my mind, was a writing exercise a fellow poet had shared, that flowed from a stream of consciousness.  I breathed in and exhaled, three times in a row ... and the first thing that came to me was ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ lilacs ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ and then, a line followed ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ lilac is the colour of the hour of peace ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ My eyes were closed, and the darkness slowly evanesced to purple.  Enfolded in the fragrance coming from the incense burner, I smiled as I thought ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ today ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ lavender is the colour of the hour of peace ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I rested there, for a time, and upon rising, I penned the poem: the lavender hour

photo: the lavender hour - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 31 May 2019

the lavender hour

lavender is the colour …
of the hour ... of peace ...

somewhere …
in all the moments
of day ... or night ...
or dusk ... or dawn ...

there is a flowered confluence …
hidden amongst the heavy fronds of living …
a portal to a space ...

far ... far away ...
from the revving fatigue ...

time rests ... there ... in that place
above the pale
intents and purposes ...
the sorrow and the pain

... and floats … 
as simple as a leaf
upon a lavender sea

... and drifts ... and drifts ...
eyes closed …
it whispers from the deep
nebulous of being

let it be ...

note: this is a poem I wrote using a method laid out by Elizabeth (in an interview she had with Sherry) in the Monday, May 27 Blog of the Week Feature, this passed week, entitled: How to Write a Poem When You're Blocked. Check it out, if you haven't already. I found it very helpful.

photo: the lavender hour - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 24 May 2019

the wedding

Here we are, already heading into June.  And June being the month for weddings, I thought I would Head-Doodle Back to one of my first light/rhyming poems:  The Wedding.  When I wrote this piece, I had actually just come from a wedding where (as all the highly trusted babysitters being present at the event) it was decided to bring the baby (apparently, up until that point the best baby in the entire world – who almost never let out a peep).  But, of course, children being entrusted with the task of keeping their parents humble, that was not the case on the Wedding Day.

the bride was a picture of beauty.
the groom decked in damper black tie.
the church couldn't hold one more flower.
then the baby decided to cry.

it looked like the windows would shatter.
the pastor developed a tick.
a crowd formed around the bride's mother,
apoplectically pitching a fit.

the bridesmaids cast eyes to the heavens
appearing to summon a prayer.
the ushers and best man looked downward
and plotted their break out of there.

the organist ceased his recital,
as nary a note could be heard.
some pondered:  can "I do's" be legal,
if no one can catch the "do" word?

the crying tore on even louder
much more like a scream than a howl.
so the father inched out of the packed pew,
in an odd "let-me-vanish" hunched prowl.

but its hard to proceed with discretion,
when one's child is screeching with rage.
several shows were unfolding together,
but one show was on center stage.

then the father shot straight down the aisle,
clutching the imp to his chest.
the door banged shut loudly behind him,
to rebukes from the tiniest guest.

the bellowing slowly abated,
as everyone present wondered:
how could mere vows ever surpass
a first act that literally thundered?

all eyes were now pinned on the couple.
no one at this wedding was bored.
then the bride and groom smiled together,
grinned, tossed their heads back and roared.

photo:  The Wedding - W. Bourke

© 2011 Wendy Bourke

Thursday, 16 May 2019

A Sprinkling of Childhood Observations

Five small childhood observations set in tanka that have trotted along with me through life. 

those heady days
of contemplation ...
how to spend a nickle
in order to produce
the greatest amount of pleasure

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

the kid who left
when he struck out  
and took the bat with him ...
the manager
nobody wants to work for

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

sunbeams on water ...
that feeling
something lovely
is quietly

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

dad's saturday night
sauerkraut stew
a loaded dish
his children's portions ...
a measure of their wish to please him

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

sometimes a simple truth
falls upon a moment
as clear as a mending stitch 
noticeable ... 
in a good way

photo: Me on a pony edited in - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 10 May 2019


the day that took my breath away
evanesced into an enchanted evening

the streets popped like vibrant canvases ...
impressionist paintings that sparkled
in wet oils ... tiny brush strokes
that dipped and danced
with light

and I knew ... I just knew ...
the dream of travelling to that place
was much more, than simply true

I was in a lovely reminiscence,
as it unfurled … mesmerizing me
in a theatre of laughter and languages
and blue linen tablecloths

. . .

sometimes magic finds me
... alas, the spell, exceptional and rare ... 

when, by chance,
a fragrance from that distant long ago, evokes ...
or candle glow bestows a charming bistro silhouette ...
or the cottage idyll of a roaring hearth
accompanies a swallow of bordeaux ... 

and I begin to wonder:  is that la vie en rose, I hear
in notes as faint as breathing
far away and yet, so clear 

is that the music of that night
 tinkling the air ...

I shouldn't be the least surprised ...
just then … for I am there

photo: Evening in Paris - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

magical humor

we had laughed until we cried
remembering hil-ar-i-ous episodes
from our stone age past ... 
until, we came to the hour of good-bying ...
wiping our eyes and sighing ...
'I've missed you so much'

our separations were always
cavernous and every reunion
was greeted with misgivings that
… this time ...
we would not be able
to navigate the space between

two strangers, a thousand miles apart,
alone in a boat, without a clue
how to begin to steer the thing … 

until, happily, once again …
humor found us … as it inevitably did ...

coming back to us slowly … floating magically,
like a pair of paddles, in a metaphorical sea,
which, naturally … very naturally … we seized upon
enthusiastically … and with fondness … and then, 

off we glided … easily glided … into the dazzling day, 
sniggering and chortling across the great divide ... 

all the way back to the other … and to all that we shared

photo: Sailboat on the Fraser - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019


paused before exhaling

though the lantern path was lit
and cast
a mellow glow
upon the park

that flowed
through the neighbourhood

beneath the yawning tree
I look up
 to the canopy of branches
and see
shards of stain glass indigo
as if set 
in a heavenly realm window

in the nave of a cathedral
under a dancing dome of leaves
at the letting-go-breath of sunset
how awesome a moment can be

'If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere'
 - Vincent Van Gogh

photo: Awesome Twilight - (taken on the meandering path round Como Lake, Burnaby, BC)  - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke 

Friday, 19 April 2019

trust and betrayal

I have cloaked myself in music ... even so ...
feathers from the phantom albatross 'betrayal' ...
fall in needled quills amongst the chords …

and though  plumes ignite to ashes in the notes …
I know a trace of black soot will remain … to take
a shadowed form and float unbidden  back to me, again

to think one
brush from the betrayer's wing,
 was all it took ... and all it takes … a single thing
to pierce the heart … and tear the cloth of trust apart

while  time and talk and thought and music mend ...
and sea and sky and vista scape, assuage ...
trust is never quite what it once was … when

the purity
of trust has been betrayed … alas ...
sure as ... man treads this earthly stage ...
mortals will trust ... and mortals will betray

photo: Pacific Ocean, White Rock, Surrey, BC - W. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke