Tuesday, August 1, 2023



Wash Away


I scrub and scrub,

trying to erase stains gravelled upon my face.


Age has defined its mark,

solidified a presence in folds and furrows

raked over a once-smooth fabric now heralding me as old.


These seams line my skin,

years claimed my youth

from time I hadn't known had passed

and disappeared too fast

like thieves in the night

creeping without warning.


I smell that newness born with babes,

Oh, how it escapes me,

leaving soiled flesh in its wake.


I'm alive,

still breathing,

but it's sighs of old.


Vibrancy and youth permeate my spirit

until the mirror silently highlights worn flesh,

illuminating my face and

haunting me like a ghost

forever lurking around me.


When I peer closer, I see more yet less of me,

fragments of remaining years shadow daylight gone,

like dirt disappearing from a child's face in the rain,

innocence turned to the sky,

tongue gathering pearls.

Age is dark. Quiet. Unobtrusive. Unwelcoming.


These common threads live to capture us all.

Winter’s Dead Hostas


I wrench the dead from thawed ground

to allow blooms to emerge,

yanking hollow stalks,

snapping thicknesses in two,

bending spongy ones,


I pile parchment-like meshes of leaves

once moulded tight beneath the snow,

bittersweet and moist, but now ready to go,

life ending as it does every spring,


The blood seeps and I try to quash it,

as I’ve tried to stop the flow before,

pale stalks lay in piles,

war-time bodies waiting for burial,


I gather the dead in my arms and enter the woods

where I gently lay them upon nettles

and dried leaves to find life again

after they fragment and disappear into the soil,

melding into earth from whence they came,


I caress those fallen timbers,

limbs that stained my hands bright red,

while I mourn another year gone,

time lost forever, never to be recaptured,


Our bodies lay like those old stalks

when we are laid to rest,

we disintegrate too and families mourn

while we return from whence, we came.

A Façade 


You attempt to hide behind

your façade of bricks,

layers piled high between the mortar,

but your soul seeps through the cracks

as the mortar weakens over time,

and the bond,

once boldly red,

is now an ugly grey

aged by time and death.

Of The Night


‘Twas a dark night when I caught you there,

Twinkling stars highlighting your hair,

Coal black it was, the colour of death,

Though I glimpsed your snowy breath.


A silky dress flowed ‘round shapely legs

Hidden under cloth like tables’ long pegs,

Your face turned from whoever might see

You lingering there, happy without me.


You brushed away a strand or two

From your eyes once true and blue,

Where was he, your man of the night

Who caused my heartache and woeful plight?


I loved you with everything I possessed,

Our union was one that God had blest,

You forsook our life and what we had

For someone else, that worthless cad.


Who are you to decide our fate,

To fill me up with so much hate?

My love for you was ever true

And now you’ve made me very blue.


I will love you still if you return to me,

If you leave that wanton man and flee,

Come home to me, my dear, before I die,

Before you hear my endless sigh.

The Final Curtain


Upon the canvas I sketch your face,

Hair I draw, features I trace

Cover youth that time did erase,

Seams that remained after life did race.


When you were young, time did withstand

Particles of dust that dared to land,

Many seeds upon your face and hand

Now reveal years that time did brand.


I display the painting to your scrutiny

But I’m not trying to pull a mutiny.


There’s no privacy, your age is there,

Crevices and crannies you now wear

Are on display to those who stare,

Time takes all, no one’s youth to spare.


I speculate at lines I’ve drawn,

Those that appeared before the dawn,

I see your tears at that night’s yawn

Shrouding a face that will soon be gone.


A cloth can cover peoples’ scrutiny,

But death remains to pull a mutiny.




CATHERINE A. MACKENZIE: Cathy’s writings can be found in numerous print and online publications. She writes all genres but invariably veers toward the dark—so much so her late mother once asked, “Can’t you write anything happy?” (She can!) She published her first novel, Wolves Don’t Knock, in 2018, and Mister Wolfe (the darkly dark second) in 2020. Two volumes of grief poetry commemorate her late son Matthew: My Heart Is Broken and Broken Hearts Can’t Always Be Fixed, which she hopes will help other grieving parents. As well, she has written/published other books of poetry and several short story compilations. (All her books are available on Amazon or through her.) Cathy also edits, formats, and publishes other authors under her imprint, MacKenzie Publishing. Her grandchildren provide much needed joy and laughter in this crazy world. Along with her husband, she divides her time between West Porters Lake and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



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