Category Archives: Personal

A birthday poem

Two little people in my family have birthdays this month. I set out a couple of weeks ago, after we’d spent some time with these littles this summer (they live far away from us), to write a birthday poem for each. Well, I got one written, and then a long break and finally last week, wrote the second one. I spent some delicious hours yesterday using Comic Life to combining my writing with photos. Today those poems, mounted on stiff paper, are going in the mail. I’m sharing one with you today. I hope you enjoy this poem for my 6-year-old grandson.

David 1

David 2

“David” © 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda at Teacher Dance.


Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Form poems, Kids, Personal, Poetry Friday


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“Flag” on Canada Day

Today is Canada’s 148th birthday. And this year our flag turns 50!

I’m celebrating by reposting my poem “Flag,” written a few years ago.

One of Vancouver’s downtown hotels sported a gigantic Canadian flag during the 2010 Olympics. It helped  foster the Canadian spirit which infected  the streets of Vancouver during those fabulous weeks. (Photo © 2010 by V. Nesdoly)


National flag of Canada
two by length and one by width, red
containing in its center a white square
the width of the flag
with a single red maple leaf
centered therein”
flies majestic since 1965
over town squares
by cenotaphs and schools
from Cape Spear, Newfoundland
to Beaver Creek, Yukon
Alert, Nunavut
to Middle Island, Ontario.

Proudly raised at Olympics
wrapping the grim coffins of soldiers
feted on Canada Day
marched in to the skirl of bagpipes November 11th
this silk-screened symbol
stitches together
our experience and destiny
sea to sea to sea.

When so plentiful at home you no longer see
till it’s reincarnated into jester caps
umbrellas and wind socks
painted on faces, stamped on T-shirts
decaled onto mugs and beaver pens

abroad even one
grabs your homesickness
like the initials of a sweetheart.
Meet someone with your flag stitched on his pack
and you know he’ll understand Tim Horton’s
hockey, Z that rhymes with “bed”
loonies, toonies, Bruce Cockburn, Diana Krall
Cirque du Soliel, CBC, Air Canad, O Canada.
Sorry, but great is it to have found someone
who speaks your own language, eh?

© 2008 by Violet Nesdoly

* Official description of the flag taken from the Public Works and Government Services Canada website.

The Canadian flag had a 40-year gestation. Read the story of its birth HERE.

The first flag was stitched together by Joan O’Malley, daughter of Ken Donovan, who Prime Minister Pearson asked to provide prototypes of the new design for a meeting with the premiers with just a few hours’ notice. The story is HERE.



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Canadian Rivers

Our poetry group is part of the Abbotsford Arts Council meet and mingle event at Mill Lake Park on Saturday afternoon. We’ll even be giving a short poetry reading.

Because Canada Day is just around the corner I was reminded of and have decided to read a couple of Canadian poems that I wrote a few years ago. One that I’ve been practicing is “Canadian Rivers.”

I’ve posted it on the blog before but I’m re-posting it today, along with a recording of it. Maybe it will whet your appetite to discover some of our beautiful Canadian rivers for yourself!


Unnamed Alberta river seen from the air

The river in the photo (name unknown) meanders across the Alberta prairie between Lethbridge and Calgary. (Photo © 2007 by V. Nesdoly)


Canadian Rivers

Headwaters drip from snowy melt of mountain glaciers
gurgle down glistening rock faces in nameless rivulets.
Fed by rain and sibling trickles they become sinuous streams
adolescent-eager in descent, unafraid to dash against boulders
froth into canyons, course over rock beds till they reach the flat.

Mature and strong they gouge valleys, meander through meadows
nurture forests, bears and eagles, rejuvenate farms and hamlets
flow regal yet restless through villages and cities
under bridges and over tunnels
ever pressing on to an ocean destination.

The watermark of veins, arteries and capillaries on our maps
they carve their initials, scrawl their signatures
all over Canada: Snake, MacKenzie, Coppermine
Exploits, Hillsborough, Saint John, Margaree, Moisie
St. Lawrence, Red, Qu’Appelle, Athabasca, Cowichan…

Named by Indians and explorers for Indians and explorers
they inscribe the plot lines of our history
hide the gold and call the salmon
propel the ferries, carry the logs, barges and ships
pave thoroughfares for tugboats, speedboats, kayaks, canoes.

We settle beside them for their sustenance and beauty
feel betrayed when, with spring-fevered earthlust
their swift-flowing waters bite off chunks of our land.
Then we fear them, dredge them, soil them,
treat them, dyke them, dam them.

I have toe-squished the mud of the South Saskatchewan
pulled Jackfish from the North
been awed by the Hell’s Gate fierceness of the Fraser
spied loons and cormorants gulping fish in the Nicomekl
otters cavorting in the Serpentine

driven miles beside the Thompson
as it winked at me through clearings
admired the canyons carved by the Bulkley
dreamed the legends of the Kispiox
listened from a tent to the night secrets of the Skeena …

Oh for more lifetimes
to make all of them mine.

© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly


Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday. It’s hosted this week by Carol at Carol’s Corner.
This poem was first published at Utmost Christian Writers Canadian site where it received honorable mention in 2007 Canadian Landscape Poetry Contest.

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Learning to Skate

Poet Maureen Doallas tagged me this morning in a poetry-writing meme. Her poem, “Learning to Jump Rope,” is based on Lisa Hesselgrave’s painting Jump Rope Pink Room.

I took my inspiration for the poem below from these lines in Maureen’s poem: “your wrists will begin to ache / at a quarter to three…” As I recall, a skipping rope isn’t the only thing that gives a kid aching wrists.

girl in skates

Photo courtesty

Learning to Skate

My natural klutziness stumbled
more than Cinderella kissing her fella,
kept me stuck on twosies in jacks,
botched up numberless rounds of hopscotch
and learning to skate.
Ice’s cool smoothness
my magnet despite no toe picks
to trip up white tube skates.
Flailing arms broke my fall
dozens of times, wrists ached
from first recess and through the day.
Books were much easier
on the body.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

1 Comment

Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Personal


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Beware Retirement

Glynn Young’s insightful blog post “Poetry At Work: The Poetry of Retirement” reminded me of when I went through some of the same things he and any new retiree faces—wondering who I would be now, what activities would my life consist of, would I find new purpose and direction?

The poem below came out of that experience. I think I wrote it for a friend, though I don’t believe I ever sent it to her. But I’m sharing it here today. My message to all of you at that stage of life… (Click on the player below to hear me read it.)



I had been drooling about retirement
watching the months crawl by as I
X’d off days like a kid
waiting for Christmas or summer
dreamed of sleeping in, lunch at 3:00
watching all the late movies
time-oblivious as on a holiday
only this one perpetual.

It was a honeymoon at first
as I lay around with books all day
ate out or from the fridge
whim and indulgence my companions
even dusting, laundry, dishes
an imposition.

Then came my life’s day after Labor Day
when everyone was rushing off importantly
in new clothes, their backpacks heavy
with long pencils, empty notebooks
hope and the future.
I missed the challenge of learning,
growing, being stretched, being needed,
making a contribution,
doing something significant.
I wanted familiar rhythms back
the uphill of Monday
the plod of Wednesday
the ecstasy of Friday
and feeling so bone-weary I’d earned my nap.

So I applied for a new job.
Got a new boss.
She began to write me lists.
Not only did I need to do today’s work
but catch up on all the work I’d missed.

Now I hate Mondays again,
jump off the bus on Fridays
like a kid released from school.
Trouble is, this time
there’s no relief in sight
no retiring, now that I’m already retired
and my new boss is me.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Personal


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January sunrise

Pink clouds reflecting sunrise

Sunrise – January 21, 2015 (Photo © V. Nesdoly)

Walk in day’s first light
to a wild chorus of birds
sky grows more intense
surroundings come alive as
we stroll under milkshake clouds

© 2015 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

On clear days it’s so encouraging to see the sky begin to light up as early as 7:15. Spring is on the move!! This photo was taken on Wednesday, January  21st at 7:55 a.m..

We’re back into clouds and monsoons again now. But I console myself with how much longer the days will be when we next see early light under a clear sky. Our local weather lady said the days are getting longer by 2.5 minutes per day right now.


Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Nature, Personal, Tanka


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January day (for #poetryatworkday)

papers and shredded paper

Shredder fodder – Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly

January day
ends in blizzard of white sheets
what keep? what throw out?
slips and papers piled in drifts
shredder working overtime

© 2015 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


Someone has dubbed today “Poetry-at-work Day.” I’m good with that. In fact, every day is a good day to blend poetry with work in my books.

“January day” is the product of a new poetry practice I began last summer after being inspired by the tanka in a Dawson Creek park.

Mine are a cross between a journal entry and a poem in this five-line form. I call mine “tanka-type” poems because I usually title them (traditional tanka don’t have titles). This may be the first one of these I’ve posted here.

To bring poetry into my work every day my goal is to write one of these every day, although I don’t usually live up to that and am happy when a week yields two or three. I wrote today’s (a reflection on last night’s file-cleaning) this morning before I even realized it was Poetry-at-work Day.

To see more poetry at work, check out #poetryatworkday on Twitter. Find out about the origin of the day and download some goodies including a book written especially for it at Tweetspeak Poetry.


Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Personal, Tanka


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