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Members Poetry

In honour of Poetry Month, OIW curated the best poetry from our members for your pure reading enjoyment.

All poems are published with the author's permission. The author retains sole copyrights of the work.


by Alison Whiddon

There’s a brothel in my garden. Penthouse to basement root to crown each bloom reveals its tenants. Under the voyeurs eye the metallic oily backs shimmer. Crawling and copulating in all the petal pink corners. Chewing lace patterns through every green sheet. Piles of caviar sludge remain as rental deposits. A futile raid with the mist of doom brings only whispers in the evening air. ‘We’ll be back’. But whose voice is it? The rose or the plague.

Image by Hasan Almasi

Previously published in "" 2020

Holding Hands

In memory of my loving mother, Giuseppina Lofaro Fulco This poem is about my sweet departed mother a strong Italian woman who loved her family dearly. In her early forties she was diagnosed with breast cancer which resulted in one of her breasts being removed. About five years later the cancer returned and she had to have the other breast removed. She continued with her battle by taking anti-cancer meds, which were hard on her body but her love of family was stronger than the cancer she was battling every day. She fought this battle with cancer for over forty years until the age of 84, at which point she succumbed to it.

My Mother's Hands

by Angelo Fulco

My mother’s hands. Warm, soft, loving hands From my birth, those hands That cradled me, Bathed me when I could not Lifting me, tickling me to make me laugh. My mother’s hands The kindness and warmth she did impart Reflecting the love she held in her heart. As the years went by my mother’s hands began to age. Yet those hands that I so loved, still looked as beautiful to me As when I was young. All the while I did not know, her silent pain that continued to grow The beast within would not depart But was no match for my mother’s courage, grit and heart. For many years she won that war Until she chose to battle no more And when it was time for her to go She sat down with me to let me know. With tears cascading down my face She dries them ever so gently with such grace. A full life lived, her time is near As she waits to be with her Creator, she shows no fear. By her bedside I now sit, As I cradle my mother’s hands in my own To give her comfort to let her know. And now as my mother’s hands are getting colder I kiss them and hold them and forever remember The times she held mine.

what time is it

by Anna Romano Milne

morning, afternoon, night spring, summer, fall, winter death scans the possibilities always at the ready Today is not the day laughter, compassion, forgiveness humility, kindness, gratitude, love it’s your time

Brass Clock
Image by Tina Xinia


by Barbara Florio Graham

Who stripped skeletons? Further on, they disappear, Turned into fence posts. We keep the door closed. Each small detail still intact, Except for the rope. A voice like chocolate: Rich, smooth, tasting of promise, A laugh like champagne. ​Watercolor sky ​Aqua streaked with salmon hues ​Ocean on my mind. ​When at last he leaves, ​The door makes no promises, ​Opens just one way. I caught the yarn as Garment unraveled, leaving Shredded memories.

The Nadir of the Night

by Bob Barclay

Catch the moment Turn and freeze-frame Hold the thinking on a point Change the angle of perception Peering slantwise Off the axis Around a corner in the mind Don’t look straight on Failing focus A corner of the mental eye Shadow sliding Eluding capture In the inch high, mile wide vacuum Twixt the sleeping and the world It’s there, but sliding Out of compass Where mental phantoms go to hide Dim, elusive psychic fingers Slipping sideways Lost in dream-break At the nadir of the night

Moon Clouds

Fragment After a Battle

Image by Nsey Benajah

by Elizabeth Zimmer

we are driven to words

by what we love, to rage

when love and words

have failed us, to love


                                 when the arrow

                                 splits the apple,

                                 quivers in the tree—


we sit beneath it,

eating the pieces


                                 and blessing each other

                                 for our accurate aim.

the poisoned soul

by Guddi Sharma

The gods are unhappy infused my body with anger poisoned my soul I can feel the rain they are crying cleansing my poisoned soul

Image by Milada Vigerova
Plastic Flower

a glimmer of hope

by Kelley Raab

I’ve been so sad for so long I don’t know what joy feels like plodding through each day missing her wishing she were here spring, summer, fall, winter they’re all shades of gray to me viewed through grieving eyes of necessity I turn inward I cannot make sense of her death of her no longer being in my world yet I realize I am not alone death happens all around me how do others cope? I have no particular moment of illumination but rather a growing sense that somehow she is still with me this hope enables me to bear my suffering without being overwhelmed a glimmer is enough

Tree Canopy Calypso


By Kimberly Peterson

Downy woodpecker displays a jaunty red tam as it chips out a nest in the dead limb of our backyard maple. It accepts our meagre suet and sunflower seed offering without ceding territory. Perched on our downspout, it drums out a metallic warning that echoes over cornfields and dairy farms. But not into a deciduous canopy. Mere kilometers away, hundreds of trees are felled. Acres deforested to feed our land avarice. Still, we’re shocked when rivers weep floods and the sky curses in forest fires.

In Memoriam: The Victims of the Barrhaven Massacre

Shards of Compassion

By Kumudini Nicholas
a.k.a R.E. Siliente

The blood smeared doorsteps manifested images of five angels, They astounded him, and Reminded him of the love he once shared. They waved their wands to soothe his grief-stricken mind, And whispered in his ear: follow your dreams; those may remind you of us. He collapsed. His dashed hopes solidified on hapless bodies jarred his mind. Visions, once glistening with flare, now appeared dull, dire, and doomy. Flames of anger percolated in a convoluted heart engulfed him, and Burned his spirit, weakened his knees, and killed his soul. He mourned. Yet, he aimed to crush the unruly flames with compassion. Would that do any justice? Or would it be like pouring a thimble of water on a wayward Bonfire? He labored!

Closeup of comforting hands
Image by Nastya Kvokka

Springtime Pleasures

by Pearl Williams

What is more satisfying In the early days of spring than feeling the sun on closed eyelids as you sit in a garden chair or on a park bench absorbing it all … You smile as the soft heat warms your face and ultimately your heart.


by Peter King

We, for our joy, do daily strive On lasting happiness to thrive. And hear the laughs of children playing But not of pundits daily braying. To hear the sounds of harmony But not those of cacophony. To see on baby’s lips a smile As kisses on it we do pile. To watch as couples closely hold Each other to in love enfold. To hear the sounds of wind and rain That soothingly reduces pain. Help animals to come in trust From outstretched hands to get a crust. To sit upon a shore and gaze On nature’s beauty and so praise The bounteous world in which we live And which to us much joy can give.

Children Playing

Previously published in "Life's But a Poem", by Peter King

Image by NASA

Valentine to Earth

by Ruth Latta

“It is I, Chaika, Seagull. Everything is fine. I see the horizon, sky blue with a dark strip. How beautiful the Earth is... Everything is going well.” In 1963, after three days in space she ejected from her capsule four miles above terra firma and parachuted in strong winds down to Kazakhstan. This Russian cosmonaut with a shy smile and curly hair, had worked in a factory, put herself through tech school, and learned skydiving in her free time. Her name was a whisper: Valentina Tereshkova. Struggling under snowdrifts of homework in a cold climate, I dreamed of ascending great heights, and hoped the future would be brighter for women - and all humanity. Perhaps the earth would be beautiful and everything would go well. In the recent past, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the West placed sanctions on Russian public figures, and froze Valentina’s assets.

You Are My Ocean

by Scott Bury

Once there was a sailor Who fell in love with the sea With cool green depths and shining sky And gentle living breeze. He lifted sail and chose a course No knowing the way to any shore Just to feel the swells and kiss the dancing waves. I can’t wait to sail away. I want to gently kiss your face. I want to taste the salty spray, No matter how hard the wind may blow Or if I ever reach another shore. Once there was an ocean Who loved a sailing man. She drowned him in gently stirring seas. She teased him with foaming spray Silent currents and sudden waves And winds that stung sudden and hard. I’m in love with storm and surge No matter how much you rage I will never wait to cast off my line. Every wave and every gale All the damage to my sails Reveal the love and passion in your soul. I don’t know how to find my way From shore to shore on gentle waves And though my searching only angers the sea I will never stop searching for the way. You are danger with every breeze, You are life and love and breath Wind and sun, never twice the same. Let me drown in your green eyes. A softness deep beneath them lies Intoxicating power that drowns, brings life, delights. You are a gentle loving shore A clear blue sky, you love me more Than such a poor sailor could deserve. Let me drink down your green pools Let me taste the light that shines From deep within your darkest, hottest core. The ocean is a patient love Endless is its gentle touch And deep is its generosity. But it will swamp and drown the sailor Foolish enough to try to tame her Rash enough to set his anger free. For calm green waves and gentle wind Hide the power and majesty within. The fury unleashed cannot be matched By any man with any ship Or strength of arm and leg and back. I am deep in love with you With every storm and wave. Don’t leave me dry or far from shore, For I would rather drown at sea Adrift on the ocean that is you.

Sailing on Sea
Books and Magazines

Literary Lament

by Susanne Fletcher

I regret my lack of True Grit, that I was not, nor ever will be one of All The Pretty Horses, that in Surfacing I am drowning in ignorance, that to make this writing life work I should have read at least one book by Jane Austen but Persuasion was lost on me. I considered retiring To The Lighthouse to self-administer a course of study, improve odds of learning Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, undertake a crash course in Jane Eyre perseverance but I have little will to move beyond my gated garden’s rocking chair, tilting idly in nasturtium perfumed air or to read Ulysses or Lincoln in the Bardo. I remain despairingly devoted to Best of anthologies, delight in dangling my toes in the bone broth of selected relevance far, far away from The Wasteland, in a place I fly with Wild Geese into an infant sunrise filled with “You don’t have to walk on your knees” on a gravel path of literature to venerate black ink on cream paper, the inventive chemical smell of processed pulp, and the scratch of cursive scrawled from head to page to worship roots of story.


by Sylvia Ralphs-Thibodeau

I am amethyst. I am the colour of February when you will come into this world. I will wrap my amethyst arms around you with love and bring you comfort. I was made with a hundred thousand tiny loops; Each loop made with love and anticipation. Your tiny hands will decipher the braille of my design. Perhaps you will suckle on a corner of me. I will be carried with you everywhere when life seems to have betrayed you. Others may frown at your bond to me but I will always comfort you in a way they may not understand. One day you will not need me. I will be tucked into a bottom drawer for a few years and finally lost somewhere forever. But part of you will always remember your amethyst friend. Together we created a story of life’s beginnings and endings.

Baby Toes


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