Above the Hum of Yellow Jackets


An unexpected and nice surprise today to see this on Claudia Coutu Radmore’s blog. Claudia senses things in these poems that I have not seen myself, and at times brings me back to the place inside where the poems began.

Originally posted on claudia radmore:

Above the Hum of Yellow Jackets, Carol A. Stephen (2011, Bondi Studios)cover hum carol your sideswipe smile, thin lips only/ no eye involvement/ just enough to bait your trap/ no longer enough to spring it/ lost widows and orphans control

Here is a chapbook to delight. You know someone just like she has described above, don’t you. And don’t you wish you’d written a poem about him/her…Carol’s deft word choices, facility with metaphor and connections to the here-and-now make her poems comfortingly precise and on point.

The excerpt above is from her poem ‘no eye involvement’ from this chapbook; I love its perfect title. Carol lives in Carleton Place, a small town, our small town, but her poems encompass the places she has been, her neighbourhood, her garden, as well as emotion, description and philosophy.  When she takes you to a place, you will discover something you never knew or…

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Born Without an Umlaut by Carol A. Stephen (All About My Name Poetry Series)


My poem, Born Without an Umlaut, appears on Silver Birch Press as part of the All About My Name Poetry Series!

Originally posted on Silver Birch Press:

Carol Stephen Grade 7
Born Without an Umlaut
by Carol A. Stephen

Born to an unpronounceable surname,
I wandered through school always
far down the list at roll call, knew
my turn had come when teacher stopped
after my first name. That same cough, a glance up,
then the struggle: Swuh, Swuh, SSSS –
Embarrassed, I’d raise my hand, call out “Here!”

Always the middle vowels tying tongues. “AE.”
I could see by their wrinkled frowns
they were thinking: Is it AY? Or the long Ah?
Swaebe. Could be Swayb, could be Swab, or even Swabby:
that odd name missing its precious umlaut.

Dad’s long gone. I search for him online, looking
for clues to never-mentioned relatives and ancestors.
Discover Dad, born under another unpronounceable name.
Not Swaebe at all, he was a Pfahl! (Fall or Pfffal?)
I cough, I struggle. I wonder if he ever knew.

How would life have unfolded, if our…

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Gelato Love Story

Visited Stella Luna Gelato on location at the Carp Farmers Market twice this summer. I was so pleased to find them a little bit closer to home! Pure indulgence. My brother, Norm, had the Ferrero Rocher and I had the Chocolate Toffee flavour on the first visit, Lemon on my second. What a lovely tasty treat!

The Summer Day


I commented on this post over on Jan Falls’ Heart Poems blog: Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. In this poem, she captures so well in her last question that elusive thing that I have not yet managed to capture for myself.
That thing I need to grasp before I too die too soon, never having made peace with the journey.



Originally posted on Heart Poems:

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

view the whole poem here

On the cusp of solstice, this poem seems like the perfect reminder, an invitation, to pay attention to how we are living.

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