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Halcyon - Winter 2013


HALCYON MAGAZINE CONTENTS Snow by Marion Mutala 4 Effect by Marion Mutala 5 Snowy Days, Icy Roads by Sarah Winn 7 Gazebo’s Elegance by Rebecca R Taylor 8 Christmas Joy from Jason Constantine Ford 9 Haiku from Sterling Haynes 9 Ring Around the Sun by Norma West Linder 10 Snow Fairies by Anne Mason 10 How to Know That One is Warm & Breathing by Elena Botts 11 Wind and Snow by Douglas Polk 11 Winter Weather by Douglas Polk 12 The Big Snow by Carmen Ziolkowski 13 Drifting by Anne Mason 14 Tempest by Theresa Milstein 15 Winter Heartbeat by Dawn Schrieber 16 Leaves Ascending by Joseph A Farina 17 Haiku by Patricia A. McGoldrick 17 Haiku from Venera Fazio 18 The Hockey Game by Lorna Pominville 18 Winter Fun by Lorna Pominville 19 Blizzard by Lorna Pominville 20 The Hidden Helicopter—When Santa Clause Came to Town by Sara Etgen-Baker 21 Meeting the Snowman by Jason Constantine Ford 22 First Blanket of Snow by Debbie Okun Hill 23 Haiku from Jane Blanchard 24 Winter River Song from Gigi Meade-Jabs 25 When It’s Quiet Out by Dawn Schrieber 26 Snow Day Shut-ins by Debbie Okun Hill 4

Halcyon Magazine ISSN: 2291-0255 Frequency: Quarterly Publisher|Designer: Monique Berry

Halcyon - Winter 2013 |


Contact Info 1-905-549-3981

Special Notices Halcyon has one time rights. See website for subscription details. No photocopies allowed.

WINTER 2013 FROM THE FOUNDER Happy birthday, Halcyon! This issue makes the magazine one year old. Birthdays create change in appearance and height. And it will be the same for the magazine. In addition, I am purchasing new design software so Halcyon’s second year will have a new cover, a new editorial format and section. Plus besides the contributors, content, and images. I am looking forward to next year. I read the following quote in a local newspaper: “It’s the end of another year of words.” Indeed, it certainly has. I consider my magazine a word warehouse. My archive is shelved with a year’s worth of seasonal memories. I can’t wait to read through four more terms. Congratulations to Rebecca R Taylor for winning the writing contest. Her entry was the closest to match the accompanying photo. Thank you to all who entered. I’ll be holding three contests for the spring issue in mid January, 2014: one for photographers, one for writers, and one for teachers and students. One more thing. It was fun to mail out 12 contributor gifts! Spread the word. If you submit something and get accepted, and you know another previous contributor, you both get a thank you gift in the mail. Until the next time, think Halcyon thoughts!

Halcyon Magazine, Founding Editor MONIQUE BERRY is the founder of Halcyon, Praise Writers, and Twisted Endings. She also founded the former Perspectives and Christian Perspectives magazines. Monique has published stories and poems in Personal Journaling, The Sitter’s Companion, Searching for Answers Anthology, and Rock Bottom Journal. She is the workshop leader of a local writers group “First Impressions.” Monique lives in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Halcyon - Winter 2013


Snow By Marion Mutala Inside Through the windowpane Snow looks perfect White, pure, powdery flakes Mesmerizing, fantasizing snow My eyes are drawn to their magical crystals Their true essence; glitters and sparkles Its natural beauty tricks me To open the door Regretfully reality hits The real truth and power blast of Cold Snow! Above: © Dinadesign | Left: © PublicDomanPictures |


Effect By Marion Mutala

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See how the hoar frost covers the tree Passing by I am pleased Mother Nature creates such bliss Harmony hanging sealed with a kiss The radiant sun creates a bright glow This brilliant effect made by pure snow

MUTALA has a masters degree in educational administration and taught for 30 years. With a mad passion for the arts, she loves to write, folkdance, sing, play guitar, flower garden, travel and read. Marion’s teaching and life experiences help develop unique stories and songs and her poetry and short stories have appeared in print as well. Her bestselling, award winning book (Anna Pidruchney), was the number one selling children’s book at McNally Robinson. (2010, 2011, 2012) “Baba’s Babushka: A Magical Ukrainian Christmas” was her first book. (Third printing) “Baba’s Babushka: A Magical Ukrainian Easter” her second book was nominated for a Sask. Book Award (Publishing in Education, 2013) and the third book in her trilogy “Baba’s Babushka: A Magical Ukrainian Wedding” was launched October 2013. Visit

Snowy Day, Icy Roads By Sarah Winn SARAH

WINN lives in Fairfax, Virginia. She is a Completion Fellow at George Mason University's MFA in Poetry program. In her professional life as a librarian, she reviewed books for School L i bra r y Jo u rna l , a n d currently reviews for So to Speak. Her poems have appeared in Halfway Down the Stairs, and will be appearing in the Sacred Words edition of Ilanot Review, and the Winter 2014 Midnight Circus: Classic Lit on the Side. Contact Sarah via email or

At seven, out from under covers, before the alarm, before the dog or cat jumps down, before leaving the dream's warm grotto, something calls. Barefoot to the window. The street lamps are still on. Frosty breath fogs the glass. Perfect paired rabbit tracks lead away through flower bed, into the azalea. Whether the snow blew from the dream, or found its way into the dawn, the sun’s startled out of sleep, brightest eye. Settle into the full weight of silence, undisturbed by traffic. Ice has driven commuters away, has steadily overpowered the salt and sand. Enter weather blessed meditation. Lean into sacred sudden gift of time. A white shifting mandala, a glimpse of paradise bright clouded. Practice of the sufi snow, spinning—the world stops.

© Turkkinen |

Halcyon - Winter 2013


Halcyon - Winter 2013 |


Š Alexy Stiop |

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Cain Chiropractic Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 1-905-523-7246 |

Gazebo’s Elegance By Rebecca Rose Taylor Snow falls lightly, beauty glistening from the light of the moon and street lamps Gazebo stands so elegantly all year round but Christmas time is my favourite Colourful lights and decorations brighten its weathered wood Representing its years of service bringing joy to the community Children visit and make angels in the snow Proving it’s value for all those young and old Tree lined paths make it a popular wedding aisle Shoppers find the gazebo’s benches a welcome spot to sit As they take a break from carrying holiday gifts wrapped with care A moment to sip coffee or catch up with friends Joyful activities center around the gazebo And settles into the hearts and memory books of everyone who knows it.

The gazebo … settles into the hearts and memory books of everyone who knows it.

REBECCA ROSE TAYLOR lives on a farm near the St. Francis River in Quebec. Her recent works have been included in

Long Story Short, Barebacklit, The Montreal Review, Dark Fountain Magazine and Perspectives Magazine. When Rebecca isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys knitting, quilting and crocheting. Contact Rebecca at

Halcyon - Winter 2013


Christmas Joy By Jason Constantine Ford On this day, my clan is filled with mirth as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. Blessings of this day are enough to provide a means of putting past grudges aside. We enter the lounge room and behold a baby’s crib as our joys unfold. Mary and Joseph are standing between a baby endowed with beauty most serene. His outstretched arms are one which invite each eye to gaze on his love with pure delight. Company of angels, shepherd’s and three kings provides the feel of what true reverence brings. Each eye is paying child Jesus homage as atmosphere of love surrounds his image.

© geralt |

JASON CONSTANTINE FORD is from Perth in Australia. He works as an employee at a book shop. He has three years of experience

in writing fiction and over fifteen years of experience in studying various styles of poetry. The major influences on his style of poetry are William Blake, Edgar Alan Poe and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Blake’s ability to address the social issues of his time through poetry and painting has had a lasting impact upon Jason’s early years. His man influences for short stories are Edgar Alan Poe and Phillip K. Dick. For correspondence, contact Jason at . Halcyon - Winter 2013 |


icy cold dawn frost glistening on glass as day becomes Sterling Haynes

© tiire |


is an octogenarian writer of humour with a medical theme. He writes CNF and poetry for magazines, journals and newspapers. His first collection of stories is called “Bloody Practice” was a best seller in B.C. and his second book “Wake Up Call: tales from a frontier doctor” is also published by Caitlin Press. Both are available as E-books. His third book is in the making – “Where Does it Hurt Now.” Contact Sterling at

Ring Around the Sun By Norma West Linder First published in “Ring Around the Sun”

I wanted to write of winter in prose but sculpted a man of white planted a kiss on his icicle nose as we danced in a northern light.

© tpsdave |

NORMA WEST LINDER is Past President of the Sarnia Branch of the Canadian Authors Association, a member

of The Writers’ Union of Canada, The Ontario Poetry Society, and Writers in Transition. Author of 5 novels, 12 collections of poetry, a memoir of Manitoulin Island, a children’s book, a biography of Pauline McGibbon, and numerous short stories, published internationally and aired over the CBC. For 24 years, she taught English at Lambton College in Sarnia. Linder wrote a weekly column for The Observer for seven years. Her latest publications are Adder’s-tongues, a poetry collection edited by James Deahl, and a collection of short stories, No Common Thread, released in August of 2013 from Hidden Brook Press. She has two daughters and a son. Halcyon - Winter 2013


Snow Fairies By Anne Mason One frosty eve when snow lay soft and deep, white fairies drifted o’er to touch my feet, they danced a little jig upon my tongue while lacy wings brushed feather light, and clung upon a lash, she sat so dainty there, eyes wide upon my tongue, they lingered where her dying love did fade and melt away as crystal teardrops fell, on that white day An angel came to touch her eyes to mine, she cupped my cheek as if to give a sign that Light had sent the little ones, all white, to brighten days and gentle darkest night. She bade me follow in her steps, instead, and beckoned me to lie upon the bed so deftly spread by purest hearts of snow that I might see the magic, and to know That little ones, the brightest gifts do shine upon the eyes and ears and lips of hearts divine and in the simple stillness of one flake a secret world lies hidden, for our sake. The night drew near, e’en as the soft ones fell, and clouds did part to show a wondrous well, of glittering darkness twinkling and aglow against the deepest beauty I would ever know. My heart, my breath, my soul flew like a dove to fairies and to stars of Angel love. And so, if angel-fairies ever pass your way, remember, always listen, always stay, for in their gentle touch you’ll ever find the sweetest secrets of your heart’s true mind. Above: © Dianne McFadden |

Below: © Hans |

How to Know That One is Warm & Breathing By Elena Botts what if i were stuck in time like snowbanks, my frozen feet like tiny sheep adrift in cloud. a shepherd is a noun for a human being who guides others. so my mind may, far astray, find where my body lay, while my soul sits, condensating in the snow.

ELENA BOTTS grew up in Maryland, and currently lives in Northern Virginia. She is still

attending school. She likes to run. And write. She's been published in multiple magazines in the past year and is currently working with a small-press editor on a book of poetry titled 'a little luminescence' (check it out at Halcyon - Winter 2013 | 10

Wind and Snow By Douglas Polk

Winter Weather By Douglas Polk

Wind from the north, snow from the south, the plains hostage, and under attack, a battleground, snow drifting eleven feet high, cold in the bitter winds, unprotected on the treeless plains.

awaken to an overcast sky, cold and lifeless, a gray pall, overshadows the sun, snows soon to begin to fall, the thaw only temporary, within the soul, cold storms ahead, while the suffering increases, exponentially on the television screen, being unfeeling, not a choice, only a means of survival.


poet living in the wilds of central Nebraska with his wife and two boys, two dogs and four cats. Polk has had over 350 poems published in over 80 publications within the last two years. Contact Doug at

Š Hans |

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© PeJo |

The Big Snow By Carmen Ziolkowski Through a childhood memory of the 'Big Snow,' Carmen remembers when she and her younger brother Nicholas begin to learn that life is full of new and mysterious worlds outside their own.


armen loved the snow. On some of her best childhood days, she would make angels, spreading her arms and legs wide in the fluffy mounds of white to create a perfect, heavenly figure; soon after, a snowman with a long carrot nose, would stand proudly nearby. The day her family moved began a special time in her life. She holds an especially poignant memory of her first winter in the new city. The major storm that came through just after they arrived was forever known as the ‘Year of the Big Snow.’ Carmen, her mother, father and younger brother, Nicholas, moved that year from Toronto, Ontario to a house in Sarnia, Ontario to accommodate a promotion that her father had received from Imperial Oil in Chemical Valley. They had barely settled in when the snow came down in all its glory, big magical flakes covering the ground in no time at all. A house across the road from where they lived presented the perfect curiosity for two active young minds. Carmen and her brother spent hours pondering the mystery of that house— who or what might be lurking in its dark depths and how long it had been resting there. The lights were never on, leaving it always shrouded in darkness. Nary a soul was ever seen movHalcyon - Winter 2013 |


ing about from within, or without, sparking fantastical images in their minds. Nicholas, especially, had an inventive imagination and liked to make up stories. “I bet you a witch lives over there,” he announced one day in fascination. “You’d better not let mother hear you say that,” Carmen warned, poking him in the ribs. Nonetheless, the day of the ‘Big Snow’ came, all white and mystical, bringing with it a moment that would change their view of the house and its occupant from that moment onward. Through a dense snowfall, the two children saw the figure of a lone woman struggling to dig a little walkway in front of the house where they had so studiously kept watch. From behind the safety of the spacious living room window, inquisitive eyes were glued to the scene as the woman continued the onerous chore of clearing a path through the deepening snow. “She seems an ordinary enough woman to me,” Carmen observed casually. “Watch the snow disappear any minute now!” Nicholas replied in a hushed voice.

“You kids should go and help that neighbour,” their mother commented from the kitchen doorway, having appeared silently from behind them. Startled, the children turned toward her. “We can’t,” replied Carmen’s brother, wide-eyed. “You can and you will!” their mother decided firmly. “Put on your Wellingtons and away you go.” She always used this term when referring to boots. With Nicholas dragging his feet, they started across the street. As they made their way through the deep snow, Carmen knew that he must be feeling nervous, since she was a little reluctant to face the unknown woman herself. The trek across the road seemed to take forever, but finally they made it. As they approached the elderly woman who was still shovelling her walk, her face brightened into a big smile. Her cheeks were rosy red from the cold and her sparkling eyes were dancing. “You’re the new neighbours,” she observed with enthusiasm. I’m glad someone has bought that house. It has been empty for too long.” Introducing themselves, Carmen explained that they had come to help. Though the three worked diligently to dig through the heavy drifts, they only managed a narrow walkway to the road. Finally, exhausted and out of breath, the woman said, “That’s enough for now. Come inside and have some hot chocolate.” Carmen glanced at her brother. His face looked uncertain and scared. Nevertheless, she pushed and prodded him toward the door until, at last, they stood inside a warm, unique kitchen. They could hardly believe their eyes. Candles were strewn across a wooden table surrounded by other strange items. An assortment of miniature figurines stood amid greenish moss. Tiny boxes sat piled up among small green branches. Mesmerized by all the unfamiliar things spread over the table and continuing even onto the floor, they slowly ate warmed oatmeal cookies and drank hot chocolate in silence. “You see,” said the woman, pointing at the array of articles before them, “I am building my presepio. Presepio, for me, is similar to your manger scenes here in Canada. I would like it very much if you would come back on Christmas Eve when everything is arranged properly and the lights are all aglow. It is how we celebrate Christmas in Italy. You decorate a beautiful Christmas tree and I have my presepio. Smiling warmly, she gave us a box of cookies to take home. Now, on days when the snow lays softly deep and large, lacy flakes drift lazily toward the earth, Carmen remembers back to the ‘Big Snow’ of so long ago when a quiet old lady fed hot chocolate and cookies to two wide-eyed children, opening their eyes, for the first time, to the magic of other worlds beyond their own.

CARMEN ZIOLKOWSKI was born in Italy. Following

World Word II, she lived in England where she worked as a registered nurse and later as a midwife. In 1955 she immigrated to Canada and later studied journalism. She is a member of the Writer’s Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, the Association of ItalianCanadian Writers, Pen International, Writers in Transition (WIT), and The Ontario Poetry Society.

Drifting By Anne Mason Winter on my window sill, Brave sparrows come to feed, Their taloned footprints on the snow Bring memories back to me. Of skating on a little lake, Of snowmen plump and proud, Of chasing goosey gander Under a moonlit bough. A humble junco nimbly hops And nibbles round my face, Her silent tiptoes brush my ear To catch the flakes of lace. A dream of woven wonder Drifts round me from aloft, Deep bed of newborn snowdrops Lies round me, feather soft. An angel drawn beneath me On snow of purest white, Sings lullabies, a calm refrain, My yearning soul takes flight Upon a single snowflake That falls from heaven above, To shower earth with blessings And gentle prayers of love.

ANNE MASON’S creative spark evolved while

writing a novel about a Butterfly and a Grizzly Bear. Her repertoire includes several poems and short stories, in which poetic images seem to give shape to her ideas. She has had poetry published in Halcyon, has a nonfiction short story accepted for a local anthology for Sarnia’s one hundredth anniversary and received third prize for a short story in a local contest. Anne currently resides in Sarnia, Ontario where she regularly attends ‘Writers in Transition,’ a writing group that encourages and inspires. Contact Anne at

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Tempest By Theresa Milstein The storm swallowed the city. He was a beacon offering fleeting shelter for lost patrons who’d been led astray. She gazed at his lighted inn between her shutters. Distance insurmountable— snowstorm not the only obstacle. She’d consumed his seared spirits. Tumblers fell fractured. She scarcely escaped secure. Betrayal bittersweet on her tongue. Sorry offered no solace. Regret meaningless. This chasm he created— after he left her helter-skelter. The night he’d murmured, “Je t’aime,” her fragile heart purred. Passions possessed promises, as did his last adieu sweet-wine kiss. She’s warmed by his radiance— enticed to venture through the tempestuous night savoring his ripened lips once more.

THERESA MILSTEIN has several short pieces published in

anthologies and journals. While her published works are for adults, she primarily writes for children and is active in the New England chapter of SCBWI (Society for Book Writers and Illustrators). She lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. Contact Theresa at or visit her website at

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Image credit:

Winter Heartbeat By Dawn Schrieber Even in the dead of winter it’s there. You can hear it if you stop walking, stop compacting the snow beneath your heavy boots. That satisfying crunch. When you stop you can hear the silence of wind holding its breath. Snow snuggled into the trees and along the frozen ground. But if you listen you can hear the water rushing beneath the ice. Muted. Far away. And you realize there is no trail here in the summer, for there is a river beneath your feet. Below layers of tightly packed snow, under a bridge of ice, the river runs crashing into river monuments, stones, as large as slumbering bears. It thrums, reverberations felt in your legs. Muted rushing, you can hear it echoing off the walls of an icy cavern. Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, it rushes down the mountain.

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Leaves Ascending By Joseph A Farina on leaf littered park gazebos turned mosaic with wind and rain i walked with songs within me waiting to taste winters' air each breath visible rising to the hidden sun a swirl of poetry and rhythm my morning offerings to the source of visions attempting to reveal emerging from fallen leaves as i step upon their colors their spirits to this season of ascension

Š Debra Millet |

Joseph A Farina is a practicing lawyer in Sarnia, On. He has been published in many journals in Canada, the USA and Europe. He is the author two books of poetry, The Cancer Chronicles and Ghosts of Water St. Contact Joseph at Halcyon - Winterof 2013 | 16

rooftops are wearing winter white on this crisp morn cold season descends Patricia A. McGoldrick

PATRICIA A. MCGOLDRICK is a Kitchener, Ontario author who writes about the every day in her poetry, blogs, and essays; also, writes fiction. W EB : Pat r i c ia A . McGoldrick--Author Site BLOGS: PM_Poet Writer; PM27's blog.

© tpsdave |

along the shores of Lake Huron I walk in a womb of winter fog

Venera Fazio

VENERA FAZIO was born in Sicily and now lives in Bright’s Grove, ON. Before dedicating herself to writing and editing, she worked as a social worker (MSW). Altogether she has co-edited six anthologies relating to her culture of origin including the recent Descant issue, Sicily: Land of Forgotten Dreams. Her poetry and prose have been published in literary magazines in Canada, Italy and the United States. She is currently working on an anthology highlighting Italian Canadian women writers. © séb_compiegne |

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The Hockey Game By Lorna Pominville Ice, sleek and hard. Players, eager to “show their stuff,” are honing their skills in pre-game warm-up. The home team sport their blue uniforms. Their opponents are dressed in white. Face-off at centre ice starts the game. The referee drops the puck, blows his whistle. Two players poking at the hard black disc remind me of the steeds that knights rode into battle, pawing and snorting, anxious to join the fight. The players hurtle down the ice to my left. Now they’re going right, now left again. Players go flying as they are rammed into the boards, only to jump up again to join the fray. One is tripped by a stick whose owner claims to be innocent. When the referee blows his whistle, A power play produces frantic forays around the net. Then the announcer yells, “He shoots, he scores!” One little mistake, or a lucky break, has turned the course of the game. The crowd goes wild. A loud roar goes up. Fog horns blare. Cow bells clang. Sticks slap against the boards. Proud parents in the stands beam their pleasure. Smiles a mile wide light up the faces of the home team. They’ve won the game!! Halcyon - Winter 2013 |


Blizzard By Lorna Pominville Wind howls and moans around corners. Trees creak as they bend in the wind. Fluffs of snow, frantic for sanctuary, collapse in swirls on the patio and soon become drifts reaching to windowsills. Solar lights sport tall white hats, then disappear from view. Shrubs become mere sticks poking through the snow. An abandoned barbeque is now a fluffy mound. Suddenly the storm is over, spent. Tree branches sparkle in the sunlight, ice coating their boughs. Evergreens look like a postcard, snow clinging to their drooping branches.

Winter Fun By Lorna Pominville Small children learning to skate push chairs along the ice. Boys practice slap-shots and wrist flicks. Girls spin and cut figure eights, on the frozen pond.

LORNA POMENVILLE is a retired nurse living in Sarnia, Ontario and attends the writing group, WIT (Writers in Transition). While traveling to various parts of the world working as a cruise ship nurse, she wrote monthly travel articles for an on-line magazine for eighteen months. In 2011 she wrote and self published a book of short stories titled, "Alpha! Alpha! Alpha! Tales of a Cruise Ship Nurse." The recent publication of WIT's anthology, And a River Runs By It, contains two of Lorna's short stories about Sarnia. She also dabbles in poetry.

Š tpsdave |

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The Christmas Helicopter— When Santa Claus Came To Town By Sara Etgen-Baker Learning the truth about Santa Claus helped prepare this narrator for the disillusionment she would later face in adulthood.


nside our home, the Christmas lights t wi n k l e d ; t h e t i n s e l glistened; the ornaments sparkled; and the Christmas tree silently awaited Santa’s arrival. I peered out our living room window and noticed that newly fallen snow had blanketed the neighborhood streets; the barren, frost-covered trees shivered like frail skeletons trembling in the blustery winds; and silent icicles hung from the shimmering housetop roofs. The mercury had dipped well below freezing, so mother wrapped me in my heaviest coat; forced my hands into last year’s mittens; and covered my ears with my father’s furry ear muffs. When I stepped outside, I watched my warm breath mingle with the crisp, cold air as it stung my cheeks. The gentle snow crunched under my boots as we began the one-mile trek from our house to the downtown plaza where Santa was scheduled to arrive. As I stood in the plaza with the other children, Christmas waved its magic wand over me. So when I looked up in the sky, I was certain that off in the distance I saw Rudolph, heard Santa’s sleigh bells jingling, and believed that Santa would arrive shortly. Suddenly though, I glanced above me and discovered that I wasn’t hearing sleigh bells at all. Rather, I was hearing the polemounted Christmas bells swaying in the wind. I continued to wait, though, in the bone-crunching cold—the kind of cold that wrenches a child’s spirit—until I heard an unfamiliar sound approach the crowd of children. I heard a steady but rhythmic wop-wop, wop-wop sound; then out of nowhere, a red helicopter emerged from the wintry sky and slowly descended toward us. The propellers beat the cold air into submission until the helicopter gently landed a few feet from me. In disbelief, I watched as Santa turned off the engine, grabbed his bag of toys, disembarked, and headed straight toward me and the other children shouting, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas boys and girls! Hope you’ve been good this year.” For some reason, Santa’s unconventional arrival both shocked and disturbed me and ignited some fiery questions in my mind. So later while sitting on Santa’s lap, my burning curiosity took on a life of its own as I blurted out, “Where’s your sleigh, Santa? Why didn’t you ride it into town?” “Well, little lady…it’s at the North Pole being repaired.” “What’s wrong with your sleigh?” I continued.

“Just some minor repairs…nothing for a little girl to worry about,” he retorted. “Who’s fixing it?” I further inquired. “Well, the magical elves are, of course,” he chuckled while holding his stomach. Then logic diluted my childhood naivety, and I quickly formulated some more serious questions: “But I thought elves made toys! Will they really be able to fix your sleigh in time? How will you deliver presents all over the world without it….and…and,” I stammered, “What about Rudolph and all the other reindeer?” My innocent persistence rendered Santa speechless; he nervously cleared his throat and disapprovingly raised his right eyebrow—which was brown rather than white like his beard. In that instant, the Santa Claus illusion was gone forever. I cried as I climbed off Santa’s lap, and my mother lovingly wrapped me in her arms; wiped away my tears; and said, “You’re gonna be okay, sweetie. You’re so smart, and I’m proud of you for discovering the truth.” Then, my mother got down on her knees, looked me straight in the eyes, and explained, “Santa Claus is a wonderful made up story like the storybooks you read in school. Even though the stories aren’t true, you like them any way, right?” Reluctantly, I said “Yes,” then sniffled back my tears. “Well,” she continued, “sometimes storybook writers make up stories to tell lessons or share something important. The story of Santa Claus is like that; it’s made up to tell children about the spirit of kindness and giving—that’s what’s important. Do you understand, sweetie?” Her honesty comforted me as I began to acknowledge Santa Claus’ nonexistence. Her forthrightness also allowed me to reconstruct a more mature reality in light of the new evidence I’d witnessed that day. In the end, the day’s events actually prepared me for adulthood, for my mother wisely taught me how to maintain a grip on reality independent of the stories I’d eventually hear."

SARA ETGEN-BAKER retired three years

ago and began fulfilling her life-long dream of writing memoirs, short stories, and personal narratives. Her manuscripts have won several contests and have been published in anthologies, Halcyon Magazine, Page & Spine Magazine, The Storyteller Magazine and at Her manuscript “Intangible Ingredients,” received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Euple Riney Memorial Award. You may visit Sara at her blog: Top left: © Robb Williams | Opposite: © glaz |

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Meeting the Snowman By Jason Constantine Ford Sound of a bird wakes me out of bed As sense of duty enters into my head From clock ticking to half past three On a day set to be adorned with glee. I look out my window and see the snow Gently falling down upon the ground. I decide to go down to the floor below And feel a coldness most profound. Despite a chill which penetrates my skin, I leave my house as I prepare to begin A journey to a snowman my hands made Standing beneath the oak trees’ shade. Will his unique features be the same When I pay him my Christmas greeting? Shall I see the imprint of his name As Clive the Snowman at this next meeting?

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First Blanket of Snow By Debbie Okun Hill With snowshoes strapped to their feet, they trudge through white powdered trails gather pine cones like friends they have found along their way some perched like glittering angels on evergreen limbs, others settled closer to the earth each individual, red berry and seed, a celebration of seasonal beauty See how the snow clings to their mittens, how the open fire cackles and crackles releases warm feelings from frosted fingers

DEBBIE OKUN HILL is one of five Canadian poets featured in ENCOMPASS 1, a new TOPS anthology series published by Beret Days Press. In the spring 0f 2014, Black Moss Press will publish her first trade book. She is also currently working on a new poetry manuscript thanks to a grant from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Writers’ Reserve program. Š PublicDomainPictures |

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Š Anggie |

new brew of coffee filtering through the morning melting mental frost Jane Blanchard


Š S_Photo |

BLANCHARD resides in Georgia. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Healing Muse, The Raven Chronicles, and The Seventh Quarry. Halcyon - Winter 2013

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Winter River Song By Gigi Meade-Jabs

© werner22brigitte |


am a river girl, a North Saskatchewan River girl. I haven’t thought about this for a long time, but this river that flows through the heart of Edmonton has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. In every season the river flows through my heart. Every spring the river rises to greet willow branches hanging over its banks, bending with blown catkins, rushing in great mudbrown swirls curling around tangled roots, and branches. The river dances with gnarled trunks of long-dead trees carried a great distance from their former mountain homes. In summer, the river settles into its bed, as lazy and slow as the long northern summer days, flowing languidly between verdant steep banks lined with trees. By autumn, the river is at its lowest. Gravel-covered sandbars emerge from currents carrying silt, rocks ground into rock flour by the North Saskatchewan glacier, high in the icy snow-covered peaks of the Columbia Icefields in Alberta’s Jasper National Park. Silt turns the river into a jewel. Green chalcedony waters flow by the gold of autumnal poplar and trembling aspen trees. But winter, and the coming of winter, is the most wondrous season of all, for this is the time when the river finds its unearthly voice. A hushed, slushy, whispering voice of ice comes from water as it freezes into cakes of ice that circle and bump against one another, rubbing hard edges round. As the water begins to freeze, the river becomes stilled at its surface by increasingly frigid air. Snowflakes fall on spruce and poplar trees lining the banks along the river’s traverse through the frozen city. Snow falls thick and faster now, clinging to branches, piling ever deeper. The river turns colder. Icy edges show the first frosty signs of winter. The river begins to sing, and the music begins.

A quiet, shimmering, soughing sound. A sibilance of sound—ssshhh—came sighing up from the river. The soft sound seemed to come from down below us, from ice pans coming around the bend in the river that swirled into other ice pans held up at the shoreline. One ice floe after the other slowly crashed into and spun around ice jammed up against the riverbank. Even though I consider myself a river girl, it was the first time I had heard its voice and now it was speaking to me, quietly, reaching deep into my soul, into a place inside me that belongs to this land, this river. Never before had I heard that hushed voice, the singing of the winter song, the last song of the river before it sleeps in the winter, and I wanted to remember the icy song that had touched me so deeply. I wanted to stand there forever, listening to that fairy sound, a sound I’d never heard before but that was as familiar to me somehow as the bike leaning on my legs.


GIGI MEADE-JABS is a writer and teacher of writing at

very year, in early winter, my husband and I ride our mountain bikes close to the river, along unusually dry trails exposed by unusually low receding water. But never had we gone out so late in the season. Snow had fallen, lightly dusting the trail. It was here that I first heard the river’s winter voice. We’d stopped briefly on the frozen trail to admire the sight of round cakes of ice slowly curling in eddies of dark indigo water. Watching the ice pans twirl about in lazy circles, bumping one into the other, I heard a faint whispering. A hushed sound as icy as the ambient air. Halcyon - Winter 2013 |



hen winter finally settles in, ice covers the river, silencing its voice. I often think about the winter river’s song, knowing that another year will need to pass before I hear that music again. Ice melts with coming spring, water rises throughout summer with the melting of mountain snows, and with the coming of autumn, water levels drop. Ice begins to form along the edges of the river once again, and I know the river will sing its winter song again. A song that speaks to my heart.

MacEwan University. The Alberta landscape is her muse and she finds joy in painting it with words on the page. She especially loves the way the changing seasons enhance the beauty of the land and trees. When shes not writing in winter, she can be found gazing out at the antics of chickadees, nuthatches, and juncos in the birch tree just outside the window of her study. Or you may find her curled up in a big chair under a cozy blanket with a book and a mug of hot chocolate.

When It’s Quiet Out By Dawn Schrieber When it’s quiet out everything seems so far away As if you’re the only one still breathing Still out walking down sidewalks snow-shrouded Listening to the world rumble past Like a jet engine muffled by sky over-clouded

“Your exhale ghosts in the late evening air.”

A world slowly leeched of its colour Flurries drift listlessly from an overcast sky Not yet ready to come down in earnest Land on your hood, your shoulders As you pass, eager for home and furnace

The snow is really coming down now Thick flakes blotting out the houses You keep your head down, your pace quick Thinking of home, your mom cooking supper Your dad complaining about the traffic

Your exhale ghosts in the late evening air Ice crystals forming where the moistness Soaks into your scarf, your cheeks blooming red Your inhale brings cold air and smells of home cooking Into your lungs, the aroma of oven-fresh bread

Your scarf hides your lips but I know there’s a smile As snug as you are in your thick winter parka Life slows in the winter, beyond any doubt We appreciate the little things more When it’s quiet out

DAWN SCHRIEBER is an aspiring novelist and poet who has been greatly influenced by her experiences camping

in the Alberta wilds. She finds poetry both challenging and rewarding as, unlike prose, a single moment in time must be expressed with all the feeling of experience and emotion in just a few tight lines. She enjoys nothing more so than watching nature unfold, unaffected by human hands, and hopes to recreate the moments she has been privy to in her writing. Contact her at

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- Winter |2013 ©Halcyon PublicDomainPictures

Snow Day Shut-ins By Debbie Okun Hill Two sweet boys exuberant with lollipop faces these grandchildren shut-ins on granny’s brown velvet sofa! Watch them bob like two marshmallows in hot chocolate slide with sock-skates down polished hardwood floors drop oatmeal cookie crumbs like Tasmanian devilled blizzard on cushioned window sills! Later in afternoon hush, when white storm subsides when red dragon roar of fireplace calms, flickers a hypnotic lullaby watch the twins curl like toasted cinnamon buns around heated blankets, a golden lab their aproned granny, a sleeping giant nestled in arm chair beside them.

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