The blog is a space for anyone to display work which has been somehow inspired by, or which is somehow connected to the Poets’ Pathway in Ottawa. Visual art, music, video, poetry, stories, narrative, song, dance, other performance, or…
To submit your work, or the link to your work, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The first entries on this blog are the poems which won the high school poetry contest held by by the Poets’ Pathway in 2013.
Poets’ Pathway Poetry Contest Award Winners 2013
ELLIOT SETZER FIRST PLACE
Meditation on Chinatown
I walk through a veiled Chinatown
up Somerset and past trees like angular
nerve endings or a Japanese watercolour,
past Phoc Loi grocery store
and Pho Bo Ga 2, Pho Bo Ga La,
Pho Bo Ga King, New Pho Bo Ga La,
Pho Bo Ga 4, and New Pho Bo Ga.
A Volvo fishtails in intersection slush.
Over Booth, birds perch on the ice-covered wires
and scatter when the lights change.
Snowflakes like duck down obscure my view as
an old Chinese man with a cane and Kamiks
walks up the hill to wait for the number 2.
The arch, usually a parade of golden yellow,
fierce red, and jade blue
is pure white.
ADELE KEYES SECOND PLACE
Watch white stars spin dizzy as drunks, and yearn
To find out what it really means.
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger
From the lightning in the sky,
It will choose its language.
Why should the world be over-wise,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Back in the city many things you lived for
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
Fill all the emptiness with neighbourhood.
I know my mountain breezes
Are bolted to the floor in a bomb-proof concrete room.
Taste the air, the morning and the evening,
The wide blue sky and the air and the idea of
This imagined earth together. You have the feeling
There are no stars tonight
EMILLY RENAUD THIRD PLACE
A Walk in the Bytown Market
For Brian Doyle
Your words transport me
Transport me to a time when
Pride and nationalism hesitated in the Bytown air.
I could listen to you all night,
Listen to your stories,
listen to you tell your stories about
Growing up during the war.
What was it like to be a part of a nation filled with people?
People who had no idea of how the world was about to change.
I can see you skipping past all the commotion,
With innocence still tucked away in your book bag.
I can picture the women frantic, kissing their solicitous husbands goodbye.
I can visualize the newspapers filled with political fibs.
I can imagine the smell of coal choking the air.
I can envision lines of trains pulling ammunition past Parliament.
I can see the propaganda and the children.
The children pretending they’re soldiers like their fathers,
The propaganda papering the street poles.
Whispering hope in wives’ ears,
Putting fear and guns in their husband’s hands.
Do you ever wish you could slip back into your old mind?
The mind you once thought with, before your angelic thoughts
turned into nothing but shadows burnt onto brick walls.
Do you ever wish you could just forget it all?
Forget the pain and the sorrow.
Forget the Dear Brian letters you got from your father.
Forget how lonely they made your mother feel.
Forget the government’s lies,
And never have to tell another story again?
ABIGAIL CARLETON FOURTH PLACE
A place of great importance for statesmen and politicians alike,
Whilst shimmering Ottawa River glistens and sparkles
Lights up the old cobble stones of gray.
Beautiful green lawns of public acceptance,
Winter illuminates from its walls while lights are projected.
Grand halls, room of chairs green,
So handsome and proper, serene.
Great business and future prospects this castle beholds,
But yet a key to the past, of the white-haired men of old.
For from this tower the whole nation is geared,
Not turning left or right, but straight-ahead is steered.
Decisions, debates, proposals that touch our lives from east to west,
North and South,
Let us hope our best interest is at the heart,
Spoken from the words of their mouth.
Such a vital organ of a beaming and teeming land,
Equivalent to the importance of a thumb to a hand,
Or a heart to a man.
We need this place and the story it tells,
Tells of a history and future of purpose and peace.
Though old, it is alive
Though far, it is near,
Though physical and material, made of brick and stone,
Its legacy lives in the life and breath of the people.
This is our Canada, our Parliament.
ALEXANDRA THOMAS HONORABLE MENTION
Wear Your Dreams
Delicately handed to me by my grandmother,
Hanging around my neck; resting on my chest,
Passed down to her from another
A weightless gold necklace in my hand I caressed.
The links, unparalleled
and strong, united me to her
A keepsake of her beliefs, for me to infer.
Symbolizing dreams and their limitless boundary,
Like a chain with no end,
It dangles endless possibility. Complementary,
Worn night and day secures a trend
Of opportunities, knocking at your door
One after the other.
Encouraging perseverance and furthermore,
Hard work and equality towards each other.
In this jewellery of mine I unexpectedly found
Aspirations and hopes; my solid ground.
Liberation and imagination were a clear team
To me, as I envisioned one day reaching the dream.
Now in older years, time and devotion spent,
Through it all, nothing earned to my discontent.
My eyes are unlocked, seeing what appearances hide,
I look closely at the chain and am petrified
To see not a beautiful necklace
But a metal chain—cold and dull from too much use in its place.
Now unworn and confined to a jewellery stand
I observe every day this constant reminder; a gift:
Dreams don’t always come true as you planned,
They are rare and when they do occur, are makeshift.
Free to say when worn, the world of fantasy,
Provides a place of safe mentality.
However it does not last forever,
Despite the promise it brings of opportunity,
The outcomes may place you wherever,
Even if you believe you have immunity.
It is clear as glass now, truth is found not in,
But outside of the reverie, time and time again.
This unreality is nothing but a state of abstraction;
Leading to one’s personal dissatisfaction.
In the end, the necklace is not a representation of dreams,
For it is only a piece of jewellery.
EMMA MCGINNIS HONORABLE MENTION
I hide my deep dark feelings,
Inside a box that never cries.
I hide my true emotions,
Behind a mask that always smiles.
There are two sides to me,
The one I feel,
And the one you see;
Behind my mask that always smiles.
No one can read my thoughts,
For I designed my mask to blind one’s eyes.
No one can sense the sincere truth,
Behind my mask that always smiles.
From inside my mask I can see,
A fake reflection staring back at me.
I feel the need to shield my soul that lies,
Behind my face that never smiles.
In my head I can see,
My soul sinking slowly to the bottom of a sea.
It hits a rock, and shatters into lies,
I’m watching the world whiz by,
As I hide behind a shadow of a former life.
As I turn my light on,
And lift my hand in the air,
I can create shadows;
Of whatever I care.
I can make them soft, angry, or scary,
But that one shadow never leaves my mind.
I hide it along with things in my head,
And lock them into my box before going to bed.
I follow my nightly routine,
And wash my smiling mask off,
Before crawling into bed,
And hiding away.
As I lie on my back and to myself,
I wonder if I could do without
My mask that always smiles.