Domestic Migrations, poem by Carol A. Stephen (WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series)

Silver Birch offers a great opportunity to share work on a wide variety of themes. I’ve moved, a lot of times, so this submission call was something I knew something about!

Silver Birch Press

bookboxDomestic Migrations
by Carol A. Stephen

When I moved away from home the first time
I didn’t know much beyond how to cook roast beef,
and badly or how to boil potatoes into mush, but I learned quickly
that a tiny budget can run out before the next pay.

And when I moved again it was to the sky, an 18th floor apartment,
far above the hum of traffic and mosquitoes. We could see
for miles and miles, the eastern sky and sunrise. Inside,
our first real furniture, all teak and glass and fabric for cat claws…

Each time we moved, we accumulated. More things, more books,
more clutter. Each move we needed more space to store the things
that made our lives real. A bigger television, electronics, and pictures
hubby painted for the walls, no matter that he wasn’t very skilled.

He moved on, back to Mommy’s house and…

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Smoking Pipes, Sour Cherries and Blackberry Honey



Today’s challenge from The Daily Post on WordPress is a photo challenge from Ben Huberman. Share a photo of something rare, a family heirloom for instance. I first thought of a wonderful honey I had back at least two decades ago, blackberry or blackcurrant, from Chilliwack River Valley in B.C. We brought it home to Ontario and I hoarded for at least 10 years.  We were on the last jar when we headed west again, and managed to find the seller at Granville Island Market.  I also picked up some Fireweed Honey and a couple of other flavours. More recently I’ve been able to order online, but the flavours are different. Still wonderful, but with honey bees in danger of disappearing, truly a rare treat. These are not blended honeys, and they last a very long time.

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifer...

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) with eggs and larvae. (Wikipedia)

Ben posted about sour cherries, and that brought another memory: driving from Montreal to Kitchener Ontario AND back to Montreal the same day, about 13 hours total, to buy buckets of sour cherries, not available at the time in Quebec.  My late husband bottled them in brandy. They too lasted for years.

Then I remembered something else that John left me when he passed. Two smoking pipes. They’re quite old, and rather interesting, although the market for them is certainly much smaller than it used to be. One is, according to what I was told, a lady’s pipe, and the other is a devil’s head.  Although neither is worth a fortune, they would sell for a few hundreds each. But perhaps only in the U.S. market.  I did not sell them though, and they are a bit of a conversation piece. On the lady’s pipe, you can see the ribbed stockings.  She would have been smoking a cigarette or cigar, but that piece has unfortunately been broken off.

Photos C.Stephen












Ten or Fourteen Things Saying Summer

In response to a Discover prompt seen on The Daily Post, The Poetry of List-Making, I offer my list, although not quite ten things…  Go here to view the challenge and participate.

This is my list poem:

Ten or Fourteen Things Saying Summer


Perfectly ripe berries

The sweet flesh of a white peach

English: White peach and its cross section iso...

White peach and its cross section (Wikipedia)

Garden centres at the supermarket

Dandelions carpeting the lawn

Shouts from my neighbour’s pool

Yellow ears of crisp corn

Deep red field tomatoes bigger than baseballs

Shorts, sandals, ceiling fans

The town street bazaar

Black-eyed Susans, Petunias, the scent of roses

English: Overflowing petunias.

Overflowing petunias. (Wikipedia)




Carol A. Stephen
August 17, 2016


<a href="">The Poetry of List-Making</a>

Malheur Before Dawn

Mississippi Quays, Carleton PlaceThis is a thoughtful post reblogged from Heart Poems, and says something that is so easy to forget as Jan notes, when confronted by mass killings and the terror of them. How seldom we take the time to be in our natural world, so filled our time with the assault of information and tragic news of how the human race is the one most likely to kill its own. This moment, though, I am hearing a chorus of frogs and the solo notes of loons down by the river’s edge. — Carol

Heart Poems

Malheur before Dawn

William Stafford

An owl sound wandered along the road with me.

I didn’t hear it–I breathed it into my ears.

Little ones at first, the stars retired, leaving

polished little circles on the sky for awhile.

Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon.

Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound.

From across a pond, out of the mist,

one drake made a V and said its name.

Some vast animal of air began to rouse

from the reeds and lean outward.

Frogs discovered their national anthem again.

I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy.

So magic a time it was that I was both brave and afraid.

Some day like this might save the world.

At a time like this in this troubled world, my senses are attuned to what might make me remember that life is good…

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