Wednesday 1 March 2023

Five Poems by Bob MacKenzie


earth that is me breathes every moon

indentured swelling fading flooding

canalled and diked terra firma I

adrift unremitting awash washed

within without and yet withal sea

rising falling moon bound of for by

earth that is me breathes every moon

mourning dove

in mourning there is a mellow light

grief cannot darken nor dark remove

day's glow arising beyond the dark

night only a flicker between scenes

calm heart set like a dove on a limb

life sitting still between dusk and dawn

sun rise as a dove waits in morning

shadows softening in warming light

heart mourning past time shudders gentle

prism of tears letting in the new dawn

warm heart waiting for this too to pass

limb-set a dove waiting to take flight

the thoughts


the lady aged

the mouth the same

and the eyes

she sat

across from me


the years

two no


you who

following me

following from



picked up

fifty or

so to add

to your

twenty three



bones brittle

hair dry

skin the

mouth the same

eyes watching

me watching

her eyes on



in thought

the eyes

the same

tears welling

her stop

near me


to speak

and you

her gone


the man sets his glass down

you mind he asks then sits

easy like he belongs there

tanned and old at maybe forty

cigarette hung off his lip

like some wild west cowboy

his eye constant as he sits

watching me and the room

wary as some old barn cat

I finish my beer quickly

give the waitress a nod

ready for another draft

you got to space them out

he says leaning toward me

across the barroom table

here we go again I think

close my eyes for a second

the old man just smiles

fades away with the room

the waitress and the table

fades like an old sad song

sunrise through a bottomless mug

convex against concave walls of glass

skew and reshape this world without end

clarity of daylight shining through

from below dark flows into the light

the void restored in black perfection

becomes death the destroyer of worlds

a boy observes his bottomless mug

restored by the waitress once again

night rising as worlds die in the dark

god of small worlds the boy reaches out

drops frozen light deep to the bottom

edge of dawn on the horizon spreads

morning light rising softens the dark

dawn flows black to deep brown to warm taupe

between walls of glass while new worlds wait

a boy raises his bottomless mug

swallows up the dark and light alike

calmly creates new worlds without end

Bob MacKenzie grew up in a photo studio in mid-century rural Alberta with artist parents.  His father was a professional photographer and musician and his mother a photo technician, colourist, and painter.  By the age of five, he had his own camera and ever since has been shooting photographs and writing poems and stories.  Raised in this environment, young Bobby developed a natural affinity for photography and for the intricacies of language.  

Bob’s poetry has appeared in more than 400 journals across North America and as far away as Australia, Greece, India, and Italy.  Bob has published nineteen volumes of poetry and prose-fiction and his work's appeared in numerous anthologies.  He's received numerous local and international awards for his writing as well as an Ontario Arts Council grant for literature, a Canada Council Grant for performance, and a Fellowship to attend the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi, Georgia.  

With the ensemble Poem de Terre, for eighteen years Bob's poetry has been spoken and sung live with original music and the group has released six albums.

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