This hush

Late-winter evening, a light snow,
6:30 on the first day
after the clocks spring ahead

standing on the road below my house
surrounded by fields, woods
and a profound quiet

my ears throb with stillness and a faint ring
from the city traffic I’ve left behind
for minutes no other sound comes by

I listen beneath soft flakes
in a luminous glow
of muted afternoon sun on snow

then solitary barking carries over far fields
brief squawking rises from the trees
down the long trail of the road

around the bends
an engine slowly draws near
and yet I hear



When he was a little boy … Elliott’s 15th-birthday poem

When he was a little boy
he’d whisper
in his mother’s ear

(Do you remember?)

Standing close, beside her chair,
so no one could hear.

“Tell them yourself!”
his mom would urge,
when he’d whisper
in her ear.

But he’d just shake
his auburn curls,
so no one could hear.

Now he is a grown up boy,
standing tall and speaking loud.

He does interesting things
that get him noticed in a crowd!

Teaching tiny kids to ski,
sometimes he has to speak up loud.

And it’s not just anybody
who can play keyboard
for a Blues Fest crowd!

He’s a nice lad to be around,
standing tall and speaking loud.

And when his parents look at him
you can tell
they are so proud.


we do miss that little boy,
speaking so no one can hear.

We like to think
he’s in there still,
in his big boy’s ear.


To hear this poem read aloud, play the Evernote audio file

August Rain

The year has turned
to the round month,
the orange one,

month of steam and droning bees,
time when we first remember
the end is tumbling near.

Green and yellow hang in the air
and we bask in the sun’s fullness
like sweet, plump raisins

curving toward a scarcer heat,
the crust of summer
sun-buttered and baked to a crisp sheen.

Some mornings, mist hangs so heavy
a solitary heron blends with the water’s edge,

into grey.
This afternoon, thunder strikes a pose,
proves itself rain’s herald

and swallows the sun. Rain pours heavy
along the river. Later, in the opening air,
thick with humidity and a soft

leaves drip with relief and a deeper green
moves from the centre of things

to hover at the edge
of the trees’ dark spaces. Silence
moves aside for the first bird.


“August Rain” first published in Economies of Gratitude by Ellen Symons. Penumbra Press 2007