Hidden Hills


Away, if I could but go

And climb like days of old

The hidden hills, clinging

‘Mid the horizon’s lowest folds

Tell me when the greys will brighten

And ease recover haste

And sharper relief lay to rest

The years that went to waste

The forest thing


Back then the forest growled when you were to stay away, and if you still went in, the bracken ate up every little piece from fingertips to ribs. And in the creaking of the boughs the trees would be licking their lips.

These days Margaid is bent almost double, yet she still watches the forest as it grows tame alongside the village pastures.

The sheep no longer shy away when the sun dips low and shadows lengthen over the knolls; they chew absently and they wander, heedless until one of the dogs comes bounding up. The shepherds are no longer suspicious, but let the sheep graze almost until nightfall.

Margaid watches the forest and grumbles, thinking it does this to spite her. Perhaps only when she is dead and buried will it come back, gnaw up the stray sheep, and set nightmares loose among the cottages again. She is being stubborn but would it not stand to reason that roots can be more stubborn yet?

As the light fails she rises from her seat and stiffly turns for home. Each day, she might not be back again. Each day, she longs to hear the trees as they used to be.

A shrinking space


You’ve left me with a square-ish space

These four walls and hours baked

With horns, insults, demands pounding through.

The drywall can’t hold back the swell

So my space shrinks and time retells

The same stories of trippy, sleepless, broken nights.

Squished and squished and cut down some more

To fit your size, should I go out the door

Not daring to protect my face, my heart,

My lungs that cry to breathe apart

From the taunts that follow masks or medicine.

God forbid that we should be free

To live in peace or quiet or safety

That we should learn from what has kept us whole so far –

So scream and pollute and tear from me

My flags, my stoop, my grocery

And call it your freedom, duly crowned.

More of you


I want to give more than I can

All those years without you

The baked grass of my childhood

And the nights in red and black

It comes with wanting more of you

The yous that I can never meet

Samson hair and fresh-eyed grin

You as you are now

With all you were then

Cecil Walden


When we step into time again

Memory is slow to show

The truth of discontinuity

And the silence that has grown

What time has left, what we have lost

A spectre blooming overblown

Conversations we still carry on

With the ones we used to know

If the unspoken can be a legacy

If disbelief can make life so

We can forget what has been changing

And the silence that still grows

https://ottawacitizen.remembering.ca/obituary/michael-ip-1082083615

The Righteous Tax Evaders


Ironically, they have begun levying taxes. Or “tithes” as they prefer to say.

What began as an earnest protest, and journeys downriver to avoid the tollbooth on the very road they had helped preserve and protect, has ended as do all journeys towards regional importance.

The thing about protecting places is that it inevitably costs money – a militia, walls, wells, equipment. And if you, the ruler, pay for it all out-of-pocket, you might create enough inflationary pressure that monsters become a lesser concern. The dragons, they could deal with. The forces of macroeconomics not so much.

So the Righteous Tax Evaders are in the process of quietly burying their old moniker, much aided by the fact that until recently – despite all their giant- and undead-slaying – no one had really known who they were.

One could say they are disgruntled, but above all, they are realists.

What I am missing


You told me I was missing Monster

And until I saw the insides of

Doki Doki Literature Club

I would be incomplete

But I am always looking

Away from darkness, unless

Mundane worries lurk

Or there is the perfect niche

To hide my messes away

I believe you even though

I will never watch or play them

And if you were here, I’d gladly hear

You saying it all again

https://ottawacitizen.remembering.ca/obituary/michael-ip-1082083615