The Hiss (Isaiah 7: 18)

God will simply whistle

And help comes to the table

Scans the far horizons

For one that gets His heart

Lands upon a village

A home, a hearth, a hero

Jars him with a vision

That gives the job its start.

Here we all perspire so

As if to help Almighty

All is well in motion

So why the panic’s push?

Quiet now, and listen

He may be at your doorstep

Bright tomorrow’s calling

Just settle down, and hush.


She has this moment

And greets it with a smile

Though fast will be the fading

Of Memory in a while.

She asks of friends

And wonders how they are

Long gone Mom, the answer

To her not quite that far.

She has her strength

And moves through days

As if a younger girl.

The room, the plants and photos

The limits of her world.

But still that smile

And other quaint congenial stuff

Show to the Home

A ruse that thoughts are clear enough.

“Where does he live

And what’s his job

And has he found a girl?”

Such facts of grandson

Oft’ repeated in a swirl.

And “Oh you’re here!

I didn’t know the plan.”

Though thrice we spelled it out

That she might understand.

“And who’s that man

Young Lauren gets to see

…You like him, don’t you Son?”

And I say yes eternally.

The failing hurts

As we recall her mastery

Of friends and fun and function

From the past we see.

Just get her talking of the school

Old neighbourhood

Danish Aunts

Or nursing, golfing days.

And Memory seems another sort

And rises, registers and gladly plays.

So is it all so sad

Her fleeting map?

As she still revels at a country drive

And laughs and loves the moment

My Mom, so very much alive.

D. B.

Heeland Coows


The road climbs up the heather

And brushes azure sky

And passes crofters’ lodgings

So ancient, we espy.

A rook takes the advantage

Of wind swept through the glen

And mounts with keen adroitness

These timeless haunts of men

Who clashed in bitter battle

Each standard bore a clan

And swords would ring

And pipers sing

In hopes to save the land.

For powers were looming dreadful

And King’s might

Bore the curse.

And Scotsmen braved each season

As times got worse and worse.

And over yon, some creatures

As broad as they were tall

And ruddy, rough

The stalwart stuff

Who grazed and saw it all.

(NOTE: The above painting hangs in our home. It belonged to my parents and was a gift from a Scottish lady who lived across the street in the old neighbourhood. Betty Mann. Her son Steve was a dear boyhood friend, but he always beat me at marbles. Betty used to love my Dad’s take on the Scottish accent. A kitchen coffee table friend to my Mom.)

Shaded Visitor


Folks are troubled

By my presence

Never welcome

No, not I

The assignment

Souls to harvest

And to transport

Up on High

I will gather

At the last breath

Leaving pain

And wounds behind

Almost weightless

As I bear them

Oh the suffering

That I find!

But to some

The change is easy

They have seen

Of what comes next

And they almost

Hear my coming

Neither panicking

Nor vexed

And they know

Their earthen treasure

Now is headed

For the Blue

And with them

My grim deliveries

So much easier to do.

But they prove

The bright exception

Others writhe and wail

In pain

Never guessing

I was blameless

When the bombs

Began to rain.

When the jealousy

And avarice

Used the whip

And whistle-blow.

It is men themselves


But they never

Seem to know.

Note: This poem was inspired by the arresting book entitled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005). Death is the narrator and war-torn Nazi Germany is the environment and the point of view is a pre-teen girl coming to know the power, threat and comfort of words on a page.

Think of a beautiful flower now thriving on the other side of the wall. We the faithful will see that flower again in glorious reunion.

Old Friends*

Dundas Street, London ON

Don’t ask why I do this

Alone on this bench

The City alive with new pace.

This once was my corner

I served up the meals

But now I can’t click to one face.

I’m just old and past it

I once worked long hours

My wife seeing diners well fed.

But now it’s the paper

And grand-kids to watch

And most of the old friends all dead.

But you Sir, yes you there,

I seem to recall

Your face from a happier time.

The sport shop your baby

The laughs that we shared

Your business familiar with mine.

Yes…Jack, now I have it

You’d come through the back

And chat up the cook and the girls

And order “the special”

And tell a clean joke.

Remember that kindlier world?


(*George Kerhoulis and Jack Blair)

If Kids Only Had the Insight

Aunt Betty was married to my Grandmother’s Brother Bill. In earlier years he had been a railroad engineer in Sarnia plying the line over into Michigan. Betty kept herself busy managing a Variety Store. They shared their apartment with my Great- grandmother Elizabeth Watson.

There was a time when the two women held it together with an alcoholic bread-winner. The day did come when Uncle Bill was healed (by Grace and loving support).

That’s when young Doug got to see the picture. Two seniors in retirement and enjoying themselves entirely. Thankful with a capital “T”.

Uncle Bill had a large smile, a broad girth and a booming voice. He would always make a big fuss about my parents’ little dachshund “Otto”. The little pet would always give a happy welcome. Bill and Betty would visit on their way through to the racetrack or perhaps going South for a couple of weeks in Florida in their compact Austin vehicle.

Aunt Betty would probably remind one of Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show on television. Always smiling, bearing gifts for children, baking.

Even after she was widowed Betty would make the trip occasionally from Sarnia to London. I can still recall the sight of that dear little senior with trip bag in hand hopping off at the Greyhound Bus Station on a dreary autumn day, waving and smiling. Courage and character.

I know nothing about Betty’s position in faith. Old Mother Elizabeth would have been a great help. I got to see her a few times before she passed. Sitting in front of the television and watching her beloved Detroit Tigers baseball team, calling out to her favourites. Often the “Good Lord” was a term issuing from her lips.

“One of these days I’m gonna sit down and talk with the three of them.”