Collected and presented by Darcie Friesen Hossack

Buson’s Bell – Emissary from shakeyFILMS on Vimeo.

(Above) The words and voice of Patrick Friesen along with the musical composition and production of Niko Friesen (father and son). Available on all streaming services. Video by Ryan Flowers [also featuring a short clip of the burning house footage from ‘The Sacrifice’ by Andrei Tarkovsky (1986)]

patrick friesen

Patrick Friesen has published more than a dozen books of poetry, a book of essays and, with Per Brask, co-translations of several Danish poets.  Friesen has also written stage and radio plays, text for dance, and has recorded three CDs of spoken word and music with Marilyn Lerner and Peggy Lee, most recently Buson’s Bell with Niko Friesen.  In March 2018 his book of poetry, Songen, was published with Mother Tongue, and his play a short history of crazy bone was staged by Theatre Projects Manitoba.  His second Selected Poems, Outlasting the Weather, is coming out in August 2020 with Anvil Press.

Foreword by Darcie Friesen Hossack


Before social media, it would’ve taken twelve lifetimes to meet the writers, activists and peace-makers who’ve come into my life. That is as true for this unexpected collaboration with Mbizo Chirasha and Time of the Poet Republic, as for the Canadian poets and storytellers who responded for this very special issue.

Even if we weren’t featuring themes of Tolerance and Peace-building, it would still be necessary for this collection to feature writers as varied as this country itself. And so, I went everywhere I could, asking Indigenous, People of Colour and writers from our vibrant LGBTQ2+ community for their words. Soon, the poetry, followed by prose, began to arrive, from the West to the East coast, and the cold far North.

Our first offering came from Calgary, Alberta poet Lori D. Roadhouse Haney, and it was immediately clear, within a single line of verse, that this issue had the potential to be bring us to our knees with grace.

Juan Ramirez, meanwhile, calls all who will listen to participate in a social re-Genesis, while Dew Williams brings us into the realities of her Indigenous-Canadian life, through the simple act of drawing her teacher a picture, and then drawing it again. And again.

Our youngest storyteller, nine year old Raelynn, carries with her the hope that our next generation is already as gifted and inclusive as anyone who’s been spilling ink for decades. Hers is a talent that needs to be supported in the literary arts, and we’re proud to do that here.

We have a sonnet. We have a poem about the human mathematics of war. The Poet Laureate of the Yukon has graced us with two selections, while yet more poets of note than I can mention, including first-time authors, award winners and a contributor with 17 books to his name, have poured out their pens to speak peace and love and heartbreak to a listening world.

I have no diplomatic status, but I have nonetheless anointed one honourary Canadian in the person of Iraqui-American, Pulitzer Prize nominated, Pushcart Prize winning poet, Faleeha Hassan. Although she’s made America her home, Faleeha embodies the deepest, best, shared belief of our two countries: that an immigrant is as Canadian, is as American, as anyone whose great-great-grandparents were born here. With that belief in contention in the nation she’s adopted, we welcome her into this collection with gratitude and love.

Then…then there’s Patrick Friesen

Patrick (of no known relation to myself) is a Mennonite writer who needs no introduction to Canadian writers and readers. A pioneer of writing about the culture and religious tradition into which he and I were born, a generation apart, this poet has been shortlisted for our country’s highest literary honour, while clearing a path for writers like me to speak truth into and outside of our communities. If you missed it at the top of this page, scroll back before reading on. Turn on your sound and hear the voice of the poet himself. In this graciously-given video, Friesen’s words are punctuated and amplified through the extraordinary musicality and production of his son Niko Friesen. We couldn’t be more proud and grateful to them both for allowing us to present this gift to you.

Dear readers: Thank you for spending the following time with us in Canada. In choosing the order of works, I tried to tell a story.


Darcie Friesen Hossack




Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael,

sit a moment

rest with me


in this circle of women.

Take down your veils

and permit me to anoint your feet

allow me to cleanse you

as I cleanse myself –

of sin

of hate

of covetousness.

Our fathers were ancient brothers.

You are my cousin

my sister

and yet we do not know each other

we feel no bond

no family ties to bind us.

Still, we know a mother’s fear –

share a longing for a healing world

need a safe place for our children.

So let me rub your feet

my sister.

I promise to love your children

as my own.

As our mutual God commands us

I will obey.

Please let me obey.

Lori D. Roadhouse is a Calgary poet, writer and aphorist. She is involved with various poetry organizations and is a Board member of the Single Onions Poetry Series. From 2008-2010 she was co-artistic director, performer and MC of Lotus Land at South Country Fair, and was the 2009 Poet-in-Residence for Radiant Lights eMagazine. Lori co-created the Writing Toward the Light Poetry Contest and Concert. She was the Poet Laureate for the 2015 Peter Gzowski International PGI for Literacy event for CanLearn Society.  She is a featured reader at poetry and spoken word events, and has been published in many anthologies, magazines, newsletters, websites, radio programs, and a CD.



Set Not Your Face in Grief


Set not your face in grief against the wind

This death is but a word

That wanders in the night

Planting sorrow in the hearts of men

Cast down the seed

Set not your face in grief against the wind

I am the rose so full of life I cannot die

Celebrate me

For this death means nothing

I am beauty in full bloom

Set not your face in grief against the wind

For I am new and perfect

Like the snow that falls around you

I the silent miracle sift down from heaven

Knowing heaven

Set not your face in grief against the wind

For I am Raven, free in spirit

Soaring highly without bound

I am Legend reminding you of life

Reminding you to live

©pj johnson 1988

Read more:

My brother Dwight was born at a time when being bi-racial wasn’t alright. My brother Dwight was born at a time when being gay wasn’t alright. We both ended up in the system. Only one of us survived. A part of me will always be missing.

This poem was inspired by a true story.



dwight was born bi-racial

at a time

when it wasn’t alright

to be bi-racial

dwight was born gay

at a time

when it wasn’t alright

to be gay

dwight’s mother

abandoned him

because she didn’t want

a bi-racial child

dwight’s foster parents

ridiculed him

because they didn’t want

a gay son

dwight jumped off a bridge

in vancouver in 1969

because he didn’t want

to live

he was my big brother

his name was dwight

©pj johnson 2020

pj johnson, the daughter of a Yukon trapper was invested on July 1st 1994 and given the title Poet Laureate of the Yukon during a ceremony in Whitehorse where she became the first officially-invested poet laureate in Canada.

A storyteller in the oral tradition, her poems stories and songs have been televised and performed nationally and globally and published widely.

Active in the arts for decades as a mentor and performer, she is also an author, playwright, actor, musician, composer, Yukon ambassador and passionate animal rights advocate.

Diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder in 2005 johnson encourages people with learning disabilities to realize they can still pursue their dreams.

Known as the Yukon Raven Lady, johnson led a campaign to have the northern raven declared the official symbol of the Yukon in 1985.

On Canada Day 2020 pj johnson celebrated her 26th anniversary as Poet Laureate of the Yukon. She is the longest-serving Poet Laureate in Canada.

Her book “it’s howlin’ time!” is available at Mac’s Fireweed Books in Whitehorse.  

juan ramirez (2)



“You Think I Care About Being Cool Or Rich?

That’s Not Why I’m Me….


I Just Want To Help A Little Bit… A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There….

I Want To Believe That We All Want To Help, Not Just Ourselves But Each Other….

I Want To Believe That Human Beings Are Like That…

That We Would Prefer To See One Another Live In Joy Rather Than Sadness….

I Don’t Believe We Want To Be Full Of Division And Separation….

I Want To Believe There Is Inclusivity And Exclusivity For Everyone….

That The World As We Know It Can Nurture Us And Provide For Us…

But Somehow And Someway… Along The Path Of Our Self Discovery…

We Have Forgotten Who We Actually Are….

Our Need For Excess Has Left Us Empty, Separated From Self…..

A New Age With Tremendous Reach That In Mere Moments Has Left Us More Distant Than Ever….

Technology Has Us Looking Around The Corner For Our Next Convenience….

While Access To Information Has Made Us Misanthropic….

And The Never Ending Stream Of Data Synonymous With Our Modern World….

Can Make It Seemingly Impossible To Discern A Simple Thought From Knowledge….

We Over Analyze And Forsake Intuition….

In An Attempt To Emulate Our Machinations…

Forgetting Ourselves As Alchemists And Creators…

Ashamed Of Moments Where We Lacked The Flair And Gumption To Do Right…

More Than Successful And Rich, We Need To Be Fair And Just….

More Than Handsome Or Beautiful…. We Need To Act Beautifully….

We Have Forgotten To Be This To One Another And In Kind, Treat Kin Like Foe….

While Networks And Social Platforms Have Demonstrated That All We Seek As Human Beings Is….




Even Now… My Words Stretch Across Miles With The Capacity To Reach Every Man, Woman And Child Trapped In The Same System I Am…

And If You Are Out There Listening For Some Reason, I Want You To Know…

“What Your Doing Matters.”

The World As We Know It Will Not Belong To The Dark Forces That Guide It Forever….

In Their Stead Will Rise A New Generation Of People Who Do Not Fear Human Progress…

A New Generation Of People Who Will Pass Over The World And Starve Dictators, Presidents And Despots Of Their Power….

A New Generation That Will Return Power To The Hands Of Its Original Owners…

The People Of This Planet….

And So Long As We Persevere…. So Does Our Vision Of Freedom

My Brothers And Sisters, Fellow Samurai And Warriors Of The World…. My Brothers In Steel And Banner….

Do Not Die For These Men…. These Men Who Know Your Cause But Not Your Purpose…. The Same Men Who Beat You, Break You, Brand You And Belittle You….

Do Not Lend Them Your Hearts Or Your Ears… You Are Not A Construct Of Their Bidding… You Are Not A Tool…. You Are Greater Than Your False Sense Of Patriotism And You Need To Fight For Your Freedom, Not Your Enslavement!

The Universe In It’s Divine Wisdom Has Placed In All Of Us As A Whole, A Small Piece Of All That Ever Was….

Therefore The Universe Lives Through Us, Exists Through Us And Belongs… To Us.

That Means We Have The Means To Shape Our Environment And Experience..

We Have The Tools To Craft A World Where We Don’t Need To Emulate Our Machinations And Forsake Our Humanity

We Have The Knowledge To Live In Peace And Love…. To Live In Light And Harmony

Together We Have That Capacity…..

So Begin Now,

Begin Creating A New World That Will Give Impoverished Children A Chance To Create A Better Future…

Begin To Fulfill The Promises That Were Denied To You By The Same Men And Women Who Allow You To Work For Theirs…

Begin By Enslaving Your Captor In Cages Built By Their Own Greed And Corruption And Begin Freeing Yourself

It’s Time To Do Away With The Small Thinking….

Its Time To Do Away With Childish Things And Begin To See Life For What It Is….




Begin To See A Vision For The Future That Is No Longer A Fantasy

But A Reality!

Fulfill Your Divine Capacity To Do So

And Simply


Juan Ramirez is an author, musician, and athlete from Calgary Alberta Canada

Born in Guatemala, Juan has made a name for himself in Canada by writing about the tough and gritty subjects we face in life through the mediums of poetry and music, Juan is also an active boxer representing the Calgary Boxing Club

Likes: Comic Books

Dislikes: Racists



Antoinette Tuff was Scheduled

to Have the Day off on Tuesday


This is 911. Stay on the line with me now;

where are you?

I am in the front office. Two of our staff came in and he let them go. He just went outside and he’s started shooting.

Can you get somewhere safe? Keep the phone on. Put it down beside you.

No, I can’t go. He’s turned around and he’s coming back in. He’ll see me running.

He said he should of just went to the mental hospital instead of doing this, because he’s not on his medication.

Antoinette Tuff, a school bookkeeper in Georgia, was scheduled to have the day off on Tuesday, but a last minute switch put her in the schools front office to substitute as secretary for the day. Early this morning she was confronted by a gunman in his early twenties.

Oh…  he’s coming back in.

We’s all going to die today, lady and there ain’t nothing you can do.

Look, you want me to talk to them and try? Let’s see if I can work it out with them. I can let them know you’re not trying to harm me. You just shot outside the door. You didn’t hit anybody. What if I walk outside with you right now? What if I walk out there with you and tell them you want to give yourself up? Where are you from?

It’s going to be all right, sweetheart. I just want to let you know that I love you. OK? Bad things happen to everyone. So just hold on. You know my husband of 33 years old left me a while back. I almost took my own life but you know what, I am OK now and you will be, too. Give me that gun.

What your name? Oh, Michael…Michael Hill. Do you know that I am a Hill, too. My mom’s last name is Hill.

Look, honey, you wanna lie down here, instead?  OK, good. I’m gonna sit here. OK? So just stay there calm. Don’t worry about it. I’m gonna sit right here, so they’ll come in and see us and they will know you’re not hurting me.  Give me that gun, OK? It’s a good thing that you are giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life. I am proud of you.

Operator, he’s on the ground, now with his hands behind his back. I’ve got the  gun. Tell those officers: don’t come in with guns. Don’t come in shooting or anything. Tell them to come in; I’ll buzz ‘em in.

It’s going to be all right, sweetheart.  And I’m proud of you. So just hold on, Michael. That’s a good thing that you are just giving up. I’m gonna let them in when they buzz.. You did good, honey.

Find out what they’re waiting for. What’s taking them so long?

Operator, he said: what are you all waiting for? What’s taking them all so long to come on in?

All right, one moment.

This is POLICE. No one move!

There’s just him. There’s no gun.

Oh, Operator, hello?


I’m gonna tell you something, baby. I never been so scared all the days of my life.

You did great!

Oh, Jesus.

Susan Koppersmith is a poet living in Vancouver BC. She is interested in all poems and stories where people overcome themselves.

Faleeha Hassan


No one said London is very cold


Because I only sailed in the warmth of my city

And I never shook a snowman’s hand

I didn’t notice the wool socks or leather gloves

And because quoting is forbidden – in my mom’s opinion –

I did not borrow a coat from Gogol *

Or anyone else

I packed a bundle of my hot memories

And I left


The loving hearts shortened my farewell with fast beats

And reduced all their wishes to one “stay warm”

But before I could blink

Her watch came close to me

Shouted in my ear -: Big Ben*

I was terrified

When my stories froze.

The watch fell on her back laughing

When I told her:

I was hiding in the pocket of my poem

Warming by the fabric of letters.


*Gogol is the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol, author of the coat story that novelist Turgenev said, “We all got out of Gogol’s coat.”

*Big Ben is the famous London clock that started in 1859

About the war a talk


What if I slept all that time


I had hibernated from 1980 to 1988?

To be a safe bear

Or wood frog with full body parts

Is much better than being locked in a damaged soul

Your meaning of existence is peeling harshly

Whenever the storm of war is blowing.


1980 to 1988 , the duration of the Iran – Iraqi war

wood frog, this frog dies in the winter time and comes back to life in summer


About the war a talk


Even the survivors of it

Their heads are still overloaded from pain of memories


What keeps you tied to this chair

when the forest in the morning is flooded with perfumes

Like a woman is ready for a date?

The walls are grey here

So is the time

Little by little you are trying

To take back yourself

But a bloody memory falls from

The tip of your pen

Draw your photo on the face of the paper

While you are running breathlessly

Trying to hide from the siren, attacking aircraft, buildings that fall on those around,

Shreds of your friends that collide with each other randomly in the air

Memories one after another

You become invisible to yourself

Days are dry on the calendar

Echo of life dies silent

The more you try to get away from the past

But a heavy question weaves itself around your feet

What do you want to do?

The forest only needs a moment of silence

Just like you

Faleeha Hassan is a poet, teacher, editor, writer, playwriter born in Iraq, who now lives in USA

Faleeha is the first woman wrote poetry for children in Iraq. She received her master’s degree in Arabic literature, and has published 25 books. Her poems translated into (16) languages

She received many awards in Iraq and the Middle East.

Pulitzer Prize Nomination 2018, Pushcart Prize 2019, IWA

Cultural Ambassador – Iraq, USA



Notes on Finding Peace

To stop the sound of one’s footsteps

and kind of make a trade

with tall neighbourhood fir trees

and the wind winter offers the morning

seems easy when no thought is needed.

Then what is not to be called debris

can be observed all along the sidewalk

to entertain in a way both ear and eye,

caught in a crack the frost caused

in the shape of a familiar mystery,

one I figured out during other walks,

one I have found more than once,

an icy broken twig,

a tiny discarded peace sign.

Last of the crickets

Every morning I wake up

with this line

going through

my challenged mind:

“I hope this is the day

he’s been shot twice

between the eyes.”

Happily today a new bother

occupies my head instead

being out of the house

intentionally removed from news,

all the ongoing Trumpian dross,

I open the garden’s gate

stopped by the musical legs

another inescapable line

playing over & over as the sun

lowers during a late afternoon,

as the new season called Fall

allows me to be slowly lulled

by the frightened last cricket.

Chad Norman lives beside the high-tides of the Bay of Fundy, Truro, Nova Scotia. 

He has given talks and readings in Denmark, Sweden, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, America, and across Canada.

His poems appear in publications around the world and have been translated into Danish, Albanian,  Romanian, Turkish, Italian, and Polish.

His collections are Selected & New Poems ( Mosaic Press), and Squall: Poems In The Voice Of Mary Shelley, is now out from Guernica Editions.



The Drawing

A school day, when I was nine or ten

the class was asked to draw a picture of their family

I drew the planet earth, a beautiful mixed blue and white marble

It took up the whole page

I added crazy swirls of green. A few mountains

and shapeless countries

My drawing! Not perfect, but I was proud

I handed it in with vigour and a smile. My teacher, her face withdrawn, didn’t seem as impressed

She turned the page back towards me, frowned and said
That’s a very nice picture, but not what I asked for. Please go draw a picture of your family

I sat back down and thought

I drew again

I drew a river flowing next to a shoreline

where a fire pit was alight with flames.

I drew horses in the background standing in high grass in front of great trees

I drew a teepee held up with tall sticks wrapped with hand printed cloth.

A women sat cross legged on the ground with a feather in her hair

She tossed colourful bits of unknown things into a large basket

while her babies busied themselves crawling about the dirt and grass

I drew a man with feathers around his neck

trailing down his bare-chest while he hung fish from a vine

There! My family. Even though my horses looked like goats

and the crawling babies could have been grasshoppers

I placed the picture on the teachers’ desk. She only sighed
Do you not understand? Your family! Who you live with now!

Your parents your siblings!

She handed back the page, unwanted

My Native Status taken away a second time

since I was adopted at the age of two.
I drew a third picture, with less than half my heart

and watched the other children turn in drawings,  their pictures taken at face value

In my third drawing, my mother and I stood next to a large high-rise building

A man next to a house waved an enormous hand

I drew a dog by my father and a cat by my mother. A rainbow decorated the sky

I colored the sky blue and the grass green

I filled in the bricks on the building and the wood on the house

I added trees, a car in the driveway

Was this my family?

I walked slowly over to the teacher’s outreached hand

 Good job! What a fantastic drawing

And this time, she placed a star on my page

Dew Williams is a French Ojibwa writer born and raised in Ontario Canada. She is a writer of poetry, non fiction and fiction. She holds certifications from the Humber school of writers.

josephine lore


Cradle Rhythms


New Canadians, they called us

the families on our street

Italians and the Greeks

Portuguese, Ukranians—

New Canadians

To distinguish us perhaps from the old Canadians

like Mrs. Brown two doors down

who had a moustache and a stubby black dog

who waddled when he walked

and a carpet-beater of metal and wood

New Canadians who brought old words

from the old country like sculapasta

for draining spaghetti and sculapiatta 

for draining plates, paletta and scupa 

to sweep the floor

who brought old habits from the old country

like wearing black the rest of your life

if your husband passed away, bonarma

and praying to Sant’Antonio for the recovery

of something lost, praying the Madonna

for safe travel

who brought old ideas from the old country

like indulging children, li picciliddri

and respecting the elderly, li vicchiarriddri

and not forgetting where you came from

Unforgettable moments, this growing up in this

new Canada, like 45s on the record player, dancing

when company arrived, like pleating, tying

unfolding Kleenex into rainbow-coloured flowers

to tape onto the silver Strato-Chief when cousins

married, like watching nanna roll paper-thin lasagna

from the magic of flour, eggs and a pizzicuni of salt

using the stegnatore, a four-foot rolling pin

my father fashioned by sanding an old broomstick

like picking basil from the garden, fresh and fragrant

for the jars of tomato sauce simmering

in the bagno marina


And then there were the rhythms of a language

that predates Italian, this Sicilian with roots as wide

and wild as its branches, not just in Latin but in Greek

and in the tongues of the Spaniards and Moors

the Normans and Carthaginians who came

to this sun-drenched triangle of an island

and never left

Rhythms that continue to resonate like the ninna-nanna

that soothed us as babes, the tarantella we danced

the pluckings of the mandolin, sad strains

that speak of longing, of leaving the beloved land

to and crossing an expanse of salt

These were my cradle rhythms, the sounds

I in turn rock my babies to, the snippets and stories

I pass on to them of the subtleties, the complexities

of what it means to me

to be

a new Canadian

a pearl in this diamond world … Josephine LoRe has published two collections:  ‘Unity’ and the Calgary Herald Bestseller ‘The Cowichan Series’.  Her words have been read on stage, put to music, danced to, and integrated into visual art.  They appear in anthologies and literary journals across nine countries. 



Color No Assumptions

The doctor thrusts you in my arms

Wailing and flailing in protest

Joined by my umbilical cord

I carefully examine every familiar limb

Trace my trembling finger on

Your smooth stark white, white skin

that glistens and shines

Against my lustrous cafe latte hue

a color contradiction

this biology lesson forgot

My Snow White. My Snow White

There is no border

There is no race

My womb

Is the twain

Where worlds collide

Mingle in red, red blood

Colorless love


Kelly Kaur’s poems and works have been published in SanscritWest CoastSinga, CBC, Mothering Anthology, New Asian Short Stories, Short Story Dispenser (Central Library), and YYC Portraits of People. She is a 2019 Borderlines Writers’ Circle participant through Writers’ Guild Alberta and Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary, and she has completed her first novel, Letters to Singapore.



The Gem and the Rainbow

There lived a girlboy named Rylie. One day she was going for a walk and she saw a bottle. She opened it and saw a map. She opened it up and she saw a world that had a lot of things. There was the Volcano of Doom and the Speaking Stones Valley. After Rylie was done, she packed her bag and wrote down in her notebook, “The Map of Fantasy.”

When the long ride was over she thought a lot about what would happen. She put on her rainbow shirt and lay in bed thinking and thinking.

When she woke up she saw it was morning. Then she heard a knock on the door. She opened the door and looked at a boy in a skirt.

“Hi!” She said.

The boy said, “Hello!”

She invited him in. She thought for a second and asked, “Would you like to come for a trip?”

The boy thought and said, “Sure. How long would it be?”

“I’m not sure,” said Rylie. “What’s your name?”

“Oh, I’m Joshua,” said the boy.

“That’s a nice name,” said Rylie.

“Thank you,” said Joshua.

So they walked for a while. Then Rylie said, “What is that?” She was pointing at something in the flower garden.

“I don’t know,” said Joshua. He picked it up. “Wow!”

Rylie asked to see it. She was so glad. “It’s the lost Coin of the Sea!” She said excitedly.

Joshua was so glad. He had never heard of the Coin of the Sea, he told her. “What’s it for?” he asked.

“Oh, it’s a key to what we’re looking for, the map.” said Rylie.

“Oh. Why do we need the map?” Joshua asked.

“Well,” said Rylie, “there’s a rumour that says that if you find the map you can use it to find the most prized thing ever: the Gem Crystal!”

“Wow,” said Joshua. “Hey, I have a question.”

“Yes?” Said Rylie.

“Um, can you call me Josh?”

“Sure,” said Rylie. “Can you call me Ry?”

“Yup,” said Josh.

Rylie held the coin and said, “Let’s take a looksie. It says we have to find the…I don’t know what it says at the end.”

“Let me look,” said Josh. “It says we have to find the…um…the gold feather!”

“The gold feather?” Asked Ry.

“We should look in bird-like places,” said Josh.

“Okay…hey Josh,” said Ry.

“Yes?” He said.

“I’m a girlboy.”

“That’s okay,” he said.

“And I…” said Ry. “Nevermind.”

“Please tell me!” Said Josh.

“I really am very glad there’s more of us,” said Ry.

“Well that’s good. We’re very lucky,” said Josh.

“Hey Josh…can we make a rainbow flag?”

“Sure,” said Josh.

“Yay!” Said Ry excitedly.

Ry and Josh said, at the same time, “Let’s start looking for that map.”

“Where should we look first?” Asked Ry. “Um…what about the museum?”

“Sure,” said Josh. “We have to look hard.”

The two went to the museum and looked around. They were very tired of looking until Ry said, “I found it!” She was pointing at a picture.

“That’s just a picture,” said Josh in confusion.

“Well, go through it,” said Ry.

So they crawled through and then they came across a glass container. They saw a piece of paper inside.

“Is that the map?” Asked Josh.

“Yup, I think it is…” said Ry.

Josh opened the glass door and picked up the piece of paper. “It is the map!” Josh said. “Let’s start our adventure!”

Raelynn, age 9,  lives in Alberta, Canada. Creative at heart, she sings, draws, and, of course, writes! She loves all things unicorn and snuggling her favourite cat. She aspires to work at an animal shelter when she’s older, and has a heart so big it could heal the world.

ken cathers


the turning

hard to believe

we were taught

to lie down

in hallways

hide under desks

turned the threat

of nuclear fire

into a kind of game

wiggled our bums

at the unseen enemy.

not so funny

now, watching

my little ones

alive with the idea

of forgotten wars

I see them

hands waving

eager to answer

origami children

at the very second

they become ash.

*  *  *

you can never

and you can never

step into the same

poem twice

how slippery

the words feel

against memory

against some idea

of yourself

once believed in

before everything

changed, became

more than words

was swept away

*  *  *

one never

one never wins

an argument

with the dead.

they never change

forgive, grow

into anything  better.

are too busy

becoming stone, water,

some undiscovered element.

they are cunning

the dead, forget

things, invoke

a vague borealis

of doubt, are full

of lies, betray

every whisper, every

trust. are always

right. reveal nothing.

they are a silence

that never listens

a town abandoned

windows broken

doors ajar.

one never wins

with the dead.

they never quite leave

feast on shadow.

keep their secrets


Ken Cathers has been writing and publishing for over 50 years. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies and his seventh book of poetry, “Letters From the Old Country” was recently published by Ekstasis Press. He has a M.A. from York University. His lives on Vancouver Island with his wife, sons and grandchildren.

Kim Goldberg


Somewhere a Creature


Upon the planet’s stony hide unloved

Where sandstorms scour bones to piles of chalk

A kaleidoscopic rash of domes erupts

Passing sense orbs swivel, rumble, gawk

Each hemisphere a mystery inside

Bauble, beast, arcane chemistry?

To look would alter flow of sun and tide

The world’s awobble with uncertainty

Beside one dome a garden grows abundant

Beside another knives do claim some flesh

There’s talk of secret springs, an end to hunger

Somewhere a creature slips its master’s leash

Once the drift toward meaning has begun

It is a thing can never be undone

*  *  *

Written in response to Nanaimo’s DisconTent City that stood for 6 months in 2018 on unused industrial land in the heart of the city. At its peak, the encampment housed 450 people. It became the target of far-right group Soliders of Odin on multiple occasions.

Kim Goldberg is the author of eight books of poetry and nonfiction. Her latest is Devolution, surreal poems of ecopocalypse (Caitlin Press). Her Red Zone collection of poems about urban homelessness has been taught in university literature courses. She lives on Vancouver Island. Twitter: @KimPigSquash



Devalued and Discarded

It was nothing personal.
We were thought to be dying trees,
the wrong species in a long
ridge of cultures and colours.

In spite of torn out pages, broken branches,
we glue ourselves back together,
scarring up beautifully;

our inflorescence thunderous
in tone, primed in loud, burning hues,
rooted in opaque and dimming shades –
we know where we stand,
who we are.

There’ll always be someone,
in a sea of dead wood,
destined to fertilize
what can’t be killed.

The Wisdom of Flowers

Despite the terrors
unleashed upon our earth,
the madness of days,
the honeysuckle blooms,

the din of coral bells,
though trifling –
out-rings the tongues
of angry men.

Trees, Bees and Other Things

In our land of native flora
do you know the colour of milkweed in bloom,
crawled inside a nurse log,
lounged in wildflower’s golden meadows,
or climbed the pliant willow at water’s edge?

Within these canopies,
colours burst with bees refusing
to give up their lives for false alarms.
Even the wasp has no time for attack.

Yellow with reflection,
observe, the business of pollen,
listen to the soft burrrr of transparent wings –
hive-imprinted dance celebrates
its measure of collective purpose.

Lynn Tait is an award-winning poet/photographer living in Sarnia Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, Vallum, FreeFall Magazine, Literary Review of Canada and in over 100 North American anthologies. Her photo art has graced the cover of seven books of poetry. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets.



Smoke Hangs

Smoke hangs over Cologne. Fires rage in all sections of the city. Yesterday, for six and a half hours, Allied bombs pounded buildings and streets. It is a victory for an ancient calculus. Nearly six thousand bombs fell. Large bombs.

Today the noise is wood burning, rubble settling. It is those maimed yesterday dying today.

The loss is mathematical. It is the feet of the dispossessed in shoes that are not even shoes on pavement wrinkled and buckled or melted to original tar. It is the pistol fire of thieves looting homes known to be well larded. Even in this ruination, murder is a crime. But who has the will to make accusations?

The noise is the caught breath and cry of an infant just born in the refuge of a family tomb. The noise is bellies hungry. It is the sobbing of the child Lev, mother Leni Gruyten, father escaped Russian prisoner of war Boris Denko, both of whom subsisted hand to mouth among the city’s underground population. Both are now dead.

Prayers reach for the quiet sky.

The war is over in Cologne.

Wade Bell is the author of four books of fiction, A Destroyer of Compasses, Tracie’s Revenge, No Place Fit for a Child and The North Saskatchewan River Book (stories set in Edmonton and Jasper). From Edmonton, he has lived in Ottawa, Barcelona, Spain, and now Calgary.

david lake photo change


We Are All Connected


“We are like islands in the sea,

 separate on the surface

but connected in the deep.” ― William James

The world body is a house of horrors,

as uninvited germ guests have arrived,

via pancontinental travel transmissions.

Walls of false security exposes uncertainty,

plagues tense question of what is next.

Fear a vice grip pressures our breath.

Histories wise eye does not blink.

Confined to stay at home cells, for the “Public Pause.”

Ann Frank’s ghost counterbalances any discomfort.

Complain no eggs at the supermarket, recall Bosnian

soldiers’ story imprisoned nine months on a hillside.

Honour heroic frontline workers grim shifts.

Disturbed if N95 masks, gloves, face shields,

protective gowns enough to avoid infection.

Praise all workers keeping us semi-functional.

Heartened and saddened by double TV news

102-year-old Italian woman survivor of 1918

Spanish flu recovered from the COVID-19 virus.

Julie, a sixteen-year-old girl near Paris, doesn’t.

Striking without morality equal in ferocity,

from princesses’ politicians, priests’ atheists,

doctors’ nurses, police officers’ prisoners,

seniours and one-year-old infant in Chicago.

Isolated ICU ventilator records last gasp.

Funerals a solitary desert of cactus tears.

Death bells are ringing everywhere.

I oscillate between despair and delight,

then see green buds after brother prunes

seven shamrock kitchen windowsill plants.

A day later one clover and fresh shoots

head straight for sunlight, as nature deeply

works its deified grace of regeneration.


Am delighted life will triumph because we

are always connected to a radiant resilience

no shadows of suffering can ever extinguish.


David C. Brydges is a cultural historian, and community legacy builder, whose visionary mission is to bring the world more poetry. He’s artistic director of Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in Northern Ontario. Memberships include Stroll of Poets, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Parkland Poets, Ontario Poetry Society, and League of Canadian Poets.

michele rule 2


Lean In

Lean into me

You won’t hurt me

I’m actually tougher than nails

Not my fragile body

But my spirit and my heart

Lean into me

I have so much to share

And so much to learn

Together we can grow

Until this body doesn’t matter

Lean into me

I know it seems strange

This frail body hides an

Inner strength

Betrays a fierceness of will

Lean into me

It only takes patience

The effort will be mostly mine

But the reward will be more

Than you imagined

Michele Rule began writing poetry and short stories in elementary school. She lives in Kelowna, BC where she raised her children while serving as City Councillor and an activist for women’s rights and housing. Six years ago Michele developed a rare disease which left her in chronic pain. Her writing now focuses around disability and ableism.

Darcie Friesen Hossack is the Danuta Gleed runner-up and Commonwealth Prize shortlisted author of Mennonites Don’t Dance stories  (Thistledown Press) and forthcoming novel, What Looks In. She’s a foodwriter, a photographer, and lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, an international award-winning chef. Sign up for food blogs with recipes at



Mbizo CHIRASHA,  UNESCO-RILA  Affiliate Artist. Freedom of Speech Fellow to PEN- Zentrum  Deutschland,Germany. Alumni  of the International Human Rights  Arts Festival in New-York, USA. Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie. Globally Certified Arts Mediums Curator and Influencer. Internationally Published Page and Spoken Word Poet. Writer in Residence.  Arts for Human Rights Catalyst. Core Team Member of the Bezine Arts and Humanities Project. His illustrious poetry, hybrid writings, political commentary, short fiction, book reviews  and Arts Features are published in more  than 400 spaces notably the Monk  Arts and Soul in  Magazine  in United Kingdom. Atunis in Belgium. Demer press poetry series in Netherlands. World Poetry Almanac in Mongolia. Poesia journal in Slovenia. Bezine Arts and Humanities Webzine in USA. The Poet a Day in Brooklyn, USA. Litnet Writers Journal in South Africa. African Crayons in Nigeria. Poetry Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Pulp-pit USA. The FictionalCafe international Journal, Texas USA. Best New African Poetry series in Zimbabwe, Zimbolicious Poetry Collections in Zimbabwe. Co-edited Street Voices International Publications with Andreas Weiland  in Germany. Co-Edited  Silent Voices Anthology, a Tribute to Chinua Achebe. Co-Edited the Corpses of Unity, solidarity collection to victimized Cameroonians with Nsah Mala. Curated and Edited the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry, Inside Digraceland speaking poetic truth to the Mugabe regime and other bad regimes.  He owns the Time of  the Poet blog zine, MIOMBOPUBLISHING that published the #GlobalCallforPeaceProject titled the Second of EARTH is Peace. A LETTER to the PRESIDENT his experimental  resistance poetry colection was released  in August 2019 by Mwanaka and Media Publishing. Co- Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi with Sweta Vikram in India. Good Morning President his first poetry collection was published in 2011  by Zimbabwean published based in United Kingdom, Diaspora Publishers.COVID 19 Satansdeadly fart is forthcoming. Chirasha is  Founder  and the Chief Editor of Brave Voices Poetry Journal, and WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS,


A Note on Time of the Poet Republic, Canada Gig: In bringing so many Canadian poets and writers into the Time of the Poet Republic, our Republic has become a bigger and more perfect country, where all of the world’s kinds of people speak and write towards a peaceful future. In this issue, we began by calling on themes of tolerance, but the responses far exceeded that scope by reaching for a higher bar, that of acceptance, unity and love of diversity. In what is expected to become a powerful partnership, Mbizo Chirasha and Darcie Friesen Hossack intend to forge further cultural exchanges through creative ideas and literary arts activism.


bookshelves @DarcieFriesenHossack

7 thoughts on “True North, with Canadian Poets and Storytellers

    1. We love you very much Darcie Friesen Hossack , you are great star , your way of doing things , curating, editing , coordinating ,organizing and communicating is exceptional. Your leadership prowess is amazing , the world requires more people like you .


    2. Darcie Friesen Hossack ,my revolutionary sister. Isam always a fan of hard workers, action takers , genious , prolific and hands on comrades , you are such one . You are one greatest literary arts human I have with such admirable , genuine verve and positive vibe , with you I stand and walk knowing , I met my great literary arts revolutionary sister , unmatchable.


    1. Thank you greatly , you are beautiful soul Darcie Friesen Hossack , I have also learnt a lot of things , ideas , excellence and dexterity from you. You are my revolutionary sister. Aluta Continua!!!


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