Thursday 29 June 2023

Five Poems by Bob MacKenzie



the winter wind plays piano

to the beat of crackling ice

the trees softly sing a hush

as skiers draw lines in snow

skaters waltz across the lake

and above a lone gull watches

even this matters

the dog walks beside a wood fence

black silhouette against the snow

still falls the snow soft as a cloud

study in white

trumpeter swans fly low by the river

deer wait at the edge of the woods

kids play joyful games in the snow

ermine feast on fresh roadkill rabbit


the artist

like a matador, dances in cautious daring

her feet snapping Tarantella across the floor

raising ancient memories from the forum’s dust

as she eases toward the beast raging nearby

exhaling hot steam or smoke or mists of time and

breathing mystic fire from some dark eternity

still lingering deep in the artist’s memory

flashing red around the artist the cape snaps and

beckons, taunts the dormant beastly image to charge

its horn pierce her, release some wild force deep within

release the beast to rage across the stadium

and she senses the shadow fall across her form

dancing with her as she dances toward the light

toward the bright eyes of the beast burning with her

she charges, pauses, tilts her head, charges again

toward destiny, toward the beast wakening

fires in her as she puts her little foot out

pauses then steps to this side and that then charges

brush held like a sword tipped with paint blood she arches

growls and swings her weapon down at something living

just beyond her understanding softly touches

fire in her eyes she squints, rages, roars sword upheld

slashes hard and vicious at the beast but some force

slows the sword’s stroke to a gentle loving caress

and the waking beast purrs at her soft disclosure

the artist feels the life beneath her brush and smiles

as deep within the pigment something comes alive

and the forum floods with light from somewhere else

with her smile.


With one great Godly finger

Michelangelo made David:

some painter’s Pantheons make,

but having lost the Potter’s art

leave the mud to other gods -

make, not David, but each other.

Bob MacKenzie grew up near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in 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. He now lives and writes in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Bob’s writing has appeared in nearly 500 journals across North America and as far away as Australia, Greece, India, and Italy. He has published twenty volumes of poetry and prose-fiction and his work has appeared in numerous anthologies. For eighteen years Bob’s poetry was spoken and sung live with original music by the ensemble Poem de Terre, and the group released six albums. Bob has 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.

Bob MacKenzie's novel "The Miriam Conspiracy" (, 2023) is now available.

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