Bo's Poets Contest - 2011 ... January 1st to April 1st, 2011

The winners are ...

1st Place and a $100 AO Gift Certificate ........... I TURN TO WAVES .. by Chuck Hammill (#15)

2nd Place and a $60 AO Gift Certificate ............ ALGONQUIN LOVE .. by Ian Hanna (#12)

3rd Place and a $40 AO Gift Certificate ............. EYES .. by Doug Elliott (#10)

(Bo arranged the above prizes with Randy Mitson of Algonquin Outfitters)

Very special prize of a fishing lure (donated by Bo) for a poem's uniqueness, originality
and creative endeavour ...................................... THE PADDLE .. by Jurnee Molson (#7)

The theme was "On, In, By or Looking Over The Water In Algonquin". That includes waves lapping at a shoreline campsite, portages along a river, the power of a torrential downpour, floating around in your PFD on a sweltering hot afternoon, fishing, sunset over your favourite lake, the pleasures of canoeing, your favourite cold water spring .. anything remotely related to "Water in Algonquin".


- by Mike Ormsby

If I get out and paddle my canoe, I feel freedom.
But freedom from what?????
Certainly freedom from stress.
Possibly freedom of expression

I am able to express myself in a way that is definitely free….
Not only in cost,
But in freedom of spirit and emotion.
Canoeing is physically freeing too.

Something about gliding on water….
Going with the flow….
Having a way to get into spots on the water
That no other water craft can so easily….

Sometimes just drifting along…
Others moving with purpose and direction
Such as when paddling from point A to point B
And even in a certain time frame.

But no matter how you travel in a canoe,
There is part of you that just naturally slows down….
Finds a natural “groove” at least….
A rhythm….

Eventually you become one with your canoe.
It might take some practice….
Learning how to paddle your canoe efficiently and properly….
But with time, you do become in “sync” with your canoe….

Just as it becomes one with the surroundings….
Blending in so to speak.
That’s part of this freedom….
Travelling under your own power in a canoe

And you don’t even need music to make your canoe dance.
Maybe just the song of your paddle.
But the harmony that you and your canoe can form is truly beautiful music.
Maybe you become as proficient as a Becky Mason or a Karen Knight

Then your paddling seems almost effortless….
Too easy in fact.
But even for those of us without such skill,
We can still paddle our own canoe very freely….

Still find a way to free ourselves….
Just being on the water is a way to feel free.
I believe we have an inherent part of us that is in tune with water….
The human body is largely water….

So we are all part water….
And consequently, water is part of us….
Add in a canoe that is so well suited to being on the water,
Being part of the water,

And you have an interesting equation….
And there is a very real “flow” to it.
Maybe something as simple as:

2.   Making Beauitiful Music Together

- by Mike Ormsby

I paddle a canoe as a past-time.
Beyond the simple mechanics of paddling
Is the actual dance of the canoe.
We create the sheer poetry of motion

By making a rhythm or even music with the canoe;
Literally making the canoe dance.
Just as there are no wrong notes in making music
At least in the purest sense

Even if we don’t know the exact correct paddle strokes,
We can move that canoe,
Creating our own poetry or dance.
As we become more proficient in paddling

We can create a more intricate dance.
But when we come to add emotion to our paddling,
We create a vision.
Then that canoe dance almost seems to takes on a life of its own.

It is more than just mere paddling…
Almost as if that canoe becomes an extension of ourselves.
Freeing ourselves.
And the canoe is the vehicle or instrument to such freedom.

The freedom found in making beautiful music
Together with my canoe.

3.   On A 'Trip' With Your Canoe

- by Mike Ormsby

A canoe is a very good way to get close to nature.
While it is possible to make a canoe go pretty fast,
It is the thrill of slowing down
That appeals to most canoeists.

Even when canoes do go fast,
When they rocket rapidly through whitewater,
They are still canoes.
Still close to nature and its environs.

It is not the canoe that provides the power,
It is the water.
The canoe rides the water and its occupants humbly steer.
In a canoe you can’t help but feel the body of the country

You notice the shape of islands or hills,
Hear the cries of birds and the sound of the wind,
Yet still respond fervently to the hundreds of small things
That make up the world about you.

Take a canoe onto a lake at night and enjoy what it can do,
Acting as a launching pad to distant worlds,
Opening up a vista of stars in the sky.
The canoe seems to float up to these very stars and far away planets

As the night sky becomes one with the dark silent waters,
Twinking stars reflected in murky depths
Until water and sky all seem to blend together in one great expanse.
And the canoe seems to float up to these very stars and far away planets

4.   Leaving Shore

- by John Scarlett

Amy Jo

our only daughter

is adopted at age eight

and takes her first canoe trip

only two months later

a journey within a bigger journey

our adoption by her

just beginning.

That July of 1986 on McCraney Lake

she tells us she will run away

and quickly disappears

behind a tree

at the edge of the campsite.

On every portage

we work to keep up

with two skinny legs

under a red backpack

that race to be first across

and always win.

Amy is very good at taking tests

and testing

for her life depends on both

on winning laud and love.

So today a year later

here on Catfish Lake

she decides to prove she can swim

without a lifejacket

and I must prove

I believe she can

from this nearby islet

to that big island where we camp.

She insists on her competence

and shoves off

beside the canoe.

Lacking in strength and flesh

her body angles 45 degrees

into the tannic dark

a legless torso

its head arched backward

to raise a levee of lip

arms flailing.

She splashes forward

oblivious in her delight

to the opaque oblivion

that obscures half of her

and into which the rest could slide

faster than my grasp.

Still she sputters onward

behind her smile

and sometime in my old age

stands triumphant

on the granite shore.


5.   Algonquin And Me

- by Locksley E.

The Water is calm,
The Air is fresh,
My Mind is quiet,
Complete Content,
My breath is taken,
For I can`t speak,
My eyes decieve me,
My legs are weak,
So if I die by where I sit,
leave me here!

Alone and free,
amongst peace,
I close my eyes,
And understand,
The world at which,
fate put in my hand,
To nuture and preserve such a prosperous land.

In a world of grey walls so obsolete,
Surrounding giants of concrete,
In this world,
Lacking love is hate,
Sitting in darkness with watchful eyes,
It stocks and prowls but does not pry,
Your guard is down,
your back is turned,
Wickedness strikes and watches you burn,

My eyes now open for I can see,
The stillness of evening,
And trees,
So go away!
And let me be,
Algonquin and me.

6.   Innocent Advice

- by Locksley E.

I'm angry, mad, and sad,
These emotions are sturring because I've been had,
It's been three damn days and no fish I've land,
I can't believe I wasted my time,
It's amazing how this can't be a crime,
I paid money to be here where I sit,
Still! I can't seem to catch sh!t,
even my arse is getting pissed,
it's sore and a soft chair is missed,
I want to go home!

dad.. DAD!

Whats wrong,
Your so quiet not one word in an hour,
And look at your face expression so sour,
You missed it there was a big bird in the sky,
Oh how high and majestic it did fly,
but then it dived down now in the water it lies,


Look at the trees,
The way they shake like they have wobbling knees,
One more day can we stay,
COMMON PLEASE! YES is what you must say,
It's only been three days and I still want to play,
Look at the moose walking so still,
Even the goose are not scared they are staying at will,
Even though if we...

son,..My Child, (soft voice)

I have grown stubborn and narrow minded,
For I was angry before you reminded,
me of all the splenders of this park,
The Moose that venture out at dark,
The Goose who banter amongst each other,
The Yearlings lined behind the mother,
The Trees that stand above all,
Except the breath taking granite rock walls,
The loon who mysteriously dives out of sight,
Even the presistant fish who choose not to bite,

My boy,

I forgot why I love this park,
When I was a boy it had left its mark,
A sum thirty years later it's still in my heart,
So YES!, one more day well stay,
One more campfire one more song well play,
But when time comes to leave,
Remember this place in your heart BELIEVE,
So when your all grown up and have your son,
Take him to Algonquin and have some fun,
For by then you might have forgotten,
The reason for which your soul had got lost in,
This BEAUTIFUL space,
It just might take your son with a smiling face,
To remind you why you cherish this place,




8.   Lost in Time

- by Locksley E.

The sky is nearly lit with the approching dawn,
I'm sitting amongst the water mist rising all is silent and calm,
Alone absolutely, not a person, not a bird, nor fish,
And I wish, I can remain in this moment forever and not be missed,
One hour, sixty minutes, three thousand six hundred seconds,
My mind is perplexed, my old world time is worth more than diamonds,
Remove the watch, There is no time in this world,
Let it drop, it sinks watch it disappear in the depths as it flutters and swirls,

Time such an evil word on has created,
With time comes deadlines your early or late,
Too organized, to much stress, anxiety and hate,
But here stopped in this moment, I need not think of time,
I'm blind by civil sophistication,
Simplicity of nature, alone without means of communication,
The sun is rising, how silent she is,
Eyes closed and surely her ressurection would be missed,
Happy to embrace the warmth she amits, "goosebumps" like a first kiss,
NO words can describe the sensation she is,
Almost as if she had been the turn on switch,


by - Allan Down

Canoe lake
spreads itself, black waveless empty as a new moon,
almost as far as the barely finite cosmos above.
There is a ledge of distant pines, serrated and rough,
like a beaver dam holding back the eddies of shimmering stars
from spilling into the subdued waters below.

I would give anything for northern lights tonight.
To see the reflection of red flecked sheets of firefly green
rise from the polished surface of the darkened lake
and leap to the pole star like trout imagining they can breathe;
imagining they can comprehend the margin where reflection meets initiative.
Here, now, there is only the low shimmer of a campfire's dying coals,
slight waves of orange heat and ash white as whitecaps
weaving across the charcoaled driftwood,
the only sound the occasional snap of the fires' footfall
as it cracks another coal, setting free a volley of sparks.
Stale smoke, the frail signature of the end of all things,
drifts slowly away from the fire.

After a day spent doing neither more nor less
than hunting for the driftwood needed to fuel my now faint fire
in the barbed undergrowth of this ancient glacial seabed;
I could set this little fire flaring again, if that were my choice;
I could dismantle and burn
the overturned canoe that washed up on shore
in the late hours of the afternoon...
After all, that well travelled canoe will not leave shore again
nor slice into the whitecaps of canoe lake
that rise without warning over the lurking stumps and submerged timbers,
that rise and roll and gather and break
round as commas joining and dividng the jumbled thoughts
of a long incomplete sentence.

But I will leave that canoe where it lies
the dangling fishing line still attached to its bow;
I will wait for the coals to die
until no one knows that I am here except the stars
and the darkness that will obscure the canoe
in its' own way.

3rd Prize

10.   Eyes

by - Doug Elliott

It's tempting to philosophize
On camping's hold that grips these guys
Who've spread out maps to best surmise
Where we'll feed the wild black flies

Low on sleep before sunrise,
Throw in the food, recheck the ties
Kiss the wife, who's patient eyes
Betray her fear of my demise

Through darkened streets, collect the guys
Proceed to make Tim Hortons buys
Back roads routes, then gravel flies
Load up the boats, initial pry's

The seating plan does well disguise
The early time of wat'ry eyes
As heart and muscles 'climatize
To freedom, peace, and clear blue skies

The first portage brings burning thighs
Should have got more exercise,
But our goal's not an athlete's prize,
Just photographs, and fresh fish fries.

We pick a site, pitch tents then flies,
Count the errant hoist rope tries
First night chile satisfies
As campfire smoke seeks out our eyes

A zillion stars in jet black skies
Cosmic thoughts, and campfire sighs
Chocolate bars and fire flies,
Snoring mixed with loony cries

While 'tempting to philosphize
On camping's hold that grips these guys
Words aren't enough, however wise
Unless you've seen it through your eyes.

11.   Ode to the Commode

by - Doug Elliott

Those lucky enough to canoe deep inside
Algonquin's pine forested land
Bear witness to vistas displayed far and wide
Of beauty completely unplanned.

This scenery sometimes remains unobserved
By campers distracted by chores,
Where careful attention is duly reserved
For requirements of living outdoors.

But every campsite has one lookout spot
That's perfect to view nature's gift
Where time can be spent, just a bit or a lot
To commune, and let your mind drift.

Discreetly positioned, its back facing camp
The thunderbox gives us the chance
With time set aside and no schedule to cramp
To give mother nature a glance.

To savor the view that's a random selection
Of boulders, shrubs, trees, birds and bees.
Everything seen is a natural collection
(except for your own naked knees).

So next time you wander from camp down that trail
Armed with your rolled single ply
Remember the message I've told in this tale
And rejoice in the nature nearby.

2nd Prize

12.   algonquin love

- by Ian Hanna

algonquin love
you paddle softy
subtly, dreamlike
through mist of memory
'cross silver lapping lake
of fantasy

soft memory swirls
thing wispy hints
scents, smells, sensations
hair, skin, breath
taste, tender
lips, tongue
soft silky
soft sensuous
soft shivering

canoe glides
'cross calm
dream lake
dream like

gently heals
to the gunnel
water laps

hips shift centre
canoe rolls soft
to the edge
sensuous edge
dangerous edge

softly stirring
paddle pulls
gentle strokes
'cross placid place

water parts
waves ripple
to far off shore
in softy rolling swells

forward stroke
gentle lurch
and recover

hips, thighs, body
to fluid flowing
boat motion

being with you
is like being
in the Park

shifting scenes
and weather cycles
bold beauty
piney rock and water sky
rolling vistas
subtle musky details
bold, invigorating, refreshing

shifting shapes
water, trees, rocks
hips, thighs, breasts
heaving gentle curves
raw mystic murky
Park, parts

parts push
parts part
forward stroke
glide, and recover

paddle plys softly
through foreign landscape
we softly merge
with the park
with the parts

forward stroke
and recover

13.   Trek

by - Tess Johnston

Even the hardest rock shatters -
sometimes suddenly as in a rockslide
sometimes slowly as by the cadence of a waterfall.

begins the journey,
the journey made by rain and river
bark and pitch
delays along the way
stuck in sediment of flood
re-routed by the wind

clasped in glacial frivolity,
delays as any trip
up to a million years,
inevitably released
by frost and wind
to complete the ordained pilgrimage
to check in at last upon the esker;
a grain of sand
a beaver tail paddle.
Algonquin Woman.

14.   Based on a true story

by - Liz Sanli

as the rain kept coming
for day number two
we sat round the table
to choose what to do

the visitors' center
was ever so packed
though no lightning had flashed
and no thunder had cracked

well isn't this silly
I said with a grin
just because its raining
why should we stay in?

so I ran to my tent
in which I did root
twasn't long I emerged
in my bathing suit

oh my family did laugh
they thought I was nuts
I'm hiking I announced
no ifs ands or buts!

inside they went shopping
not hubby nor I
we were off in our suits
to give the "bog" a try

it wasn't very long
we'd been on the path
we were wetter than wet
like we'd had a bath

we heard quite a strange sound
and we turned to peek
what we saw up ahead
did leave us quite meek

yes lumbering along
the path up ahead
was a tiny bear cub
WHERE'S MOM!?!? we both said

we backtracked quite quickly
went back to the truck
met up with my family
and shared our good luck

so learn from this story
don't hide from the rain
hike in your bathing suit
you've only to gain!

1st Prize

15.   I Turn to Waves

by - Chuck Hammill

I turn to waves and wonder
Of those who passed here first
And the centuries of slumber
Since first they quenched this thirst

The paddle dip delivers
A sense of place and pride
And quiet revelation
To the traveller inside

I come again to water
To where the river bends
I come to offer homage
I come to make amends

Amends for wrongs delivered
To water, sky and earth
I come to ask forgiveness
And to seek a soul’s rebirth

In a land so vast and fragile
A land of lake and shore
The mystery and wonder
Are calling out once more

The portage trail still beckons
The pleasure and the pain
Of muscles long untested
Are calling me again

So I turn to waves and wonder
Of this need to quench a thirst
In the kinship and the comfort
Of those who passed here first