Halcyon - Winter 2014
HALCYON MAGAZINE WINTER 2014
INSIDE 3 A Word From the Founder 4 Haiku | Emily Jo Scalzo 4 Cinquin | Ruth Deming 5 A Time for Everything | Scott Thomas Outlar 6 Journey on Valentine’s Day | Sara Etgen-Baker 8 Winter Bouquet | Joan McNerney 8 Arctic Flurries | Joan McNerney 9 Quilted Dreams | Lorna Pominville 9 Shiver | Joseph Farino 6 Angels and Snow | Irene Ferraro-Sives 12 Walk in the Woods | Kathy Foye 13 Winter Wolf | Kathy Foye 13 Winter’s Beauty | Lorna Pominville 14 Few Snow, Much Dark | Paul R. Davis 15 Christmas Day | Paul R. Davis 15 My Father Skates the Winter Lake | Donna M. Davis 16 First Snow | Emily Feng 16 Snow Day | Emily Feng 17 Seasons at Fox Hollow: 4 Sijos | Margôt Maddison-MacFayden 19 Snow Women | Norma West Linder 20 Holiday Baking | Debbie Okun Hill 20 Evergreen: Against the Snow | Debbie Okun Hill
Halcyon Magazine ISSN: 2291-0255 Frequency: Quarterly Publisher|Designer: Monique Berry
Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
Contact Info http://halcyonmagazine.blogspot.ca email@example.com 1-905-549-3981
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A WORD FROM THE FOUNDER
Welcome to the 2014 winter edition. First, I’d like to give special thanks to Halcyon’s new contributors: Emily Jo Scalzo, Ruth Deming, Scott Thomas Outlar, and Margôt Maddison-MacFayden. Well done! I appreciate your literary talent and encourage you to submit more of your creative inspiration for the next issue. Second, everywhere I look I see buildings that seem to be alive with colors and lights, and people are celebrating. And while I join in that jubilance, my thoughts are toward those who find it hard to celebrate—those whose expectant hearts have been frozen by wintry trials and disappointments. If you are one of those described above, I wish I could hug away the hurts. But since I can’t, please accept my extended rose of compassion during this winter season. That’s it for now. Keep the ink flowing and keys clicking.
Halcyon Magazine, Founding Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
MONIQUE BERRY is the founder of Halcyon, Perspectives, Praise Writers, Twisted Endings, and Christian Perspectives. She has published stories and poems in Quills, Personal Journaling, The Sitter’s Companion, Searching for Answers Anthology, and Rock Bottom Journal. Monique is working on her first novel and is pursuing a career in photography. Halcyon - Winter 2014
Haiku By Emily Jo Scalzo A polar vortex looms subzero over us; how long until spring?
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EMILY JO SCALZO has an MFA in Fiction from California State University, Fresno. She currently resides in Muncie, Indiana, and is an assistant professor at Ball State University. Her work has been published in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The Mindful Word, Ms. Fit Magazine, and Midwestern Gothic.
Cinquin By Ruth Deming Blue lights framed the house we saw from afar. Drove like we were on camels coming to the Inn.
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RUTH Z. DEMING, winner of a Leeway Grant for Creative Nonfiction, writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry from her home in Willow
Grove, PA, suburban Philadelphia. Her poems and prose have been published in a variety of lit mags. A mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. See www.newdirectionssupport.org. Her blog is www.ruthzdeming.blogspot.com Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
A Time for Everything By Scott Thomas Outlar The world turns in Winter December. Empty branches casting silhouetted shadows are lean, clean and light; all the heavy load of leaves carried diligently throughout the year are released. The work is done. The job, complete. The tree rests, relaxes and stiffens in the cold, having earned a short respite. It has been a good year – another ring is added to the trunk as a trophy of achievement. A steady life continues. A stoic warrior stands strong in the snow, unmoved by harsh winds. He has experienced it all time and time again, never wavering in his methodical movement through the seasons. Yet, something is not quite right – even though the rest is peaceful and the branches are easier to hold up now than they are during the Spring, there is a tiny tug upon his heart that looks forward to the next growth, for the tree knows, more than anyone, that thankless work is good for the soul.
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SCOTT THOMAS OUTLAR lives a simple life in the suburbs outside Atlanta, spending his time reading, researching, taking
meditative walks, and writing prose-fusion works dedicated to the Renaissance Revolution of the Phoenix Generation. He is inspired by the likes of Miller, Hesse, Kerouac, Thompson, Bukowski, Casey, Campbell, Starlin, Mailer, Huxley, Silverberg, Zelazny, and, of course, countless others. His work has appeared in venues such as Dissident Voice, Ascent Aspirations, Common Line Journal, Struggle Magazine, Loose Change Magazine, The Fanzine, and Strike-the-Root. Scott can be reached at 17Numa@gmail.com. Halcyon - Winter 2014
Journey On Valentine’s Day by Sara Etgen-Baker While journeying through the winter countryside, the narrator embraces
solitude and discovers some of life’s essentials elements.
bitter wind howled around Smith Hall, blowing sharp ice pellets against my dorm room window. I peeked through the curtains and noticed that flakes of lace and crystal had blanketed the tree-lined courtyard below. I quickly dressed and headed downstairs, hoping to take advantage of this perfect winter day by making a solitary drive through the countryside. As 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 I walked toward my car. The mercury had dipped well below freezing that Valentine’s morning, leaving a layer of pearly-white frost on all the car windows in the parking lot. Daylight had not yet turned the slumberous, dark blue clouds to their morning gray, and for a moment I lingered outside my car, not wanting to disturb winter’s peaceful silence. Through the darkness, I reached for the door handle and yanked on it—its cold, rusty hinges groaning like an old man. When I turned the key in the ignition, the engine reluctantly sputtered to life. Once the engine warmed, I drove through the parking lot and ventured onto the nearby highway. After only a few minutes though, I’d left the well-lit highway and found myself meandering down poorly-lit roads through the East Texas countryside. My headlights reached out in the dark, making the snowflakes look like stars moving faster than the speed of light. I inhaled the sweet, heavy smell of smoke emanating from log fires. Soon, winter’s tranquility and purity surrounded me—naked trees, crystal glints on snow, and icy ponds cloaked by frost-covered pines. I found East Texas simply breathtaking in the wintertime. I embraced the subtle privacy of driving through the wintery countryside with its longer, quieter stretches of road where I could savor belonging to myself and could come to grips with the truth. So I stopped my car as memories of my fiancé gradually drifted by on a blustery winter breeze. Stillness set in until I felt alone and desolate. In that winter darkness, I slowly discovered that things are reduced to essentials—the bones of the land, the bones of the trees, the bones of truth, and the stark elegance of the underlying structure of life. I escaped into winter’s magnificence seizing the silence around me until I once again heard my fiancé’s words—those icy shards of truth—as they cut through my heart and wrenched my spirit, leaving me stunned and frozen. “I need to talk with you about our future,” he said over the telephone. “I just can’t live a lie anymore; doing so would be unfair to us both. I know that I love you and believe you deserve the truth now, rather than discovering the truth after marriage.”
“What are you talking about and why all this ambiguity?” Um . . . um . . . um . . . ,” he hesitated. “I’m pretty sure that I’m gay. “What?” I snapped in disbelief. “You see,” he continued, “I have to be me; and, although I love you, I can’t marry you.” The telephone in my hand felt as heavy as my disbelief as I struggled with what to say. “I suppose you have to be who you are—that much is true. Right now, though, I don’t know what to say to you or how to react. I need to hang up; but before I do, you should know there’s a space that only you can fill . . . I love you and always will.” He hung up the telephone. Then silence—powerful silence. The truth was now somewhat easier to grasp here in the gentle splendor of the wintry countryside. Just before leaving the country roads and turning onto the main highway, I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed that daylight had transformed the countryside into a soft Monet-like landscape painting. Serenity washed over me as I ended my solitary journey feeling refreshed and ready to return to campus. I returned to campus, attended my morning classes, then stopped by the campus mail station to pick up my mail. When I turned the key to my post office box and opened the door, the contents—small red and white children’s Valentine envelopes—spilled onto the floor in front of me. As I scooped them up, I counted them—exactly 100 tiny envelopes—each bearing a six-cent stamp and meticulously addressed to me in my father’s handwriting. When I opened each of the envelopes, I discovered that he had signed each Valentine with Love you, Dad. In some envelopes I also found a special surprise such as a piece of chewing gum, a quarter, a one-dollar bill, a five-dollar bill, and even one ten-dollar bill. On some cards, he wrote encouraging quotes like: “You’ve outgrown my lap but not my heart.” “Take comfort in your strength.” “You’ll one day find someone special to capture your heart.” “You‘re beautiful and precious in my eyes!” and “You’ll survive….” I wept uncontrollably, though, when I read this quote: “One hundred hearts would be too few to carry my love for you.” My father’s words and actions washed over me revealing an important truth—that I was uncommonly strong, beautiful, and the most precious thing in his life. Thanks to my father and my Valentine’s Day Journey, I learned that truth—magnificent truth—must be embraced, for it is as inescapable as winter and an essential part of life.
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 womensmemoirs.com. Her manuscript “Intangible Ingredients,” received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Euple Riney Memorial Award. Visit Sara at her blog: http://saraetgenbaker.blogspot.com.
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Halcyon - Winter 2014
Arctic Flurries By Joan McNerney Winds toss foliage in air. Birds bend against frost their wings catching the last sunlight. In cosmic dance snowflakes light up evening. Diminutive galaxies circling abandoned gardens. We hunch our shoulders with winter. Our shadows are long now.
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Wintry Bouquet By Joan McNerney This December during wide nights hemmed by blackness, I remember roses. Pink yellow red violet those satin blooms of June. We must wait six months before seeing blossoms, touch their brightness crush their scent with fingertips. Now there are only ebony pools of winter’s heavy ink of darkness. Dipping into memory of my lips touching petals tantalizing sweet buds. My body longs for softness. I glimpse brilliant faces of flowers right before me as I burrow beneath frosty blankets. Bracing against that long, cold nocturnal of wind and shadow. © K.-U. Häßler | Pixabay.com
JOAN MCNERNEY’S poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse,
Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane and Poppy Road Anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013. She has three e-book titles. Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
Quilted Dreams By Lorna Pominville I dream in mosaic Quilt patches of sensation Sending shivers up my spine.
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LORNA POMINVILLE 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. Contact Lorna at email@example.com.
Shiver By Joseph Farina Anesthetized by cold a shiver stumbled through my brain evoking a memory of warmth of a scarf you gave me one silent winter long ago the one you made with your own hands in colours that so mattered then the way it felt upon my neck your woven caress our last embrace a warmth that never leaves lies dormant until needed as on this cold and bitter day
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JOSEPH A. FARINA is a practicing lawyer in Sarnia, ON, an award winning poet, and has had two books of poetry: “The Cancer Chronicles” and “Ghosts of Water Street” published by Serengeti Press. His poetry has appeared in Poetry Journals and Magazines throughout Canada and the US, notably Quills Poetry Magazine, The Windsor Review, Tower Poetry, Fiele-Feste, Mobius, Boxcar Poetry Revue, Ascent Aspirations, Arabesques Reviews and Philadelphia Poets. Halcyon - Winter 2014
Angels and Snow by Irene Ferraro-Sives © vieleineinerhuelle | Pixabay.com
For some, a mountain of snow and a winter’s day, is neither a barrier or a challenge. It is an invitation.
he lonesome wail of the speeding freight train horn carried over the long, icy distance. Its urgent sound mingled with the smoke curling from the chimneys of the residences and commercial plants. There was the comforting warmth of home and the smoggy puffing of smoke stacks. Both sent confident messages that come summer, or winter, or any season in between, the homes would still be there, powered by the fury of industry and the passion for inclusion that it engendered. The train sped on, taking its lonely call with it. It faded beyond the lush evergreens and bare black branches of trees stricken by sun-stingy winter. The piles of blackened snow lay beside the tracks, a temporary mountain range destined to disappear in the spring. The train had gone, but it would return. “Old woman, old woman,” crooned the wind in the wake of the freighter, “Wake up. It’s morning.” The cold breeze shook the glass panes and wood frames of the open window. The elderly female lying in her bed shuddered and opened her eyes. She had forgotten to close her window the night before. She rose from the softness of the quilt Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
to shut it now. Outside, beyond the crystal window glass, etched with delicate frost, the brief sun beamed from the secretive, blue sky.The sun lit up the sky with a golden blush, casting blue shadows in the white snow. Though the sun burned with fire, it did not heat. The sun was a winter sun. It did not warm this portion of the earth at this time. Alongside the sun, in its own corner of the heavens, the white-gold moon looked close enough to walk upon. The woman observed the invisible bridge that joined the two bodies. She let her imagination find the climbing path between her bedroom and the moon, and then the sun. If she put her head back on the pillow, she could visit both right now. But she had slept enough and it was time to get up. “Hello, good-bye,” said Mabel to the freight train. The sun rose as high in the sky as it could go. From its esteemed spot, it shone with futile ferocity, barely melting the formidable mounds of piled snow. The top layers liquefied beneath the well intentioned rays . Later, when the night returned, the melted part would freeze, and the white hills would be coated with an icy glaze. “Opportunity knocks only once,” said Mabel to no one.
It snowed again during the night. Fluttering curtains of white dropped dollar-sized snowflakes on the stillness. Rainbows danced on the frosty drapery which shimmered in the veiled lamplight and under the dusky moon. In the deep darkness of night, the freight train came and went. The clamor of its wheels and the song of its horn broke the silence. Mabel dreamed as she slept. She dreamed that she was outside in the winter. Large snowflakes twirled and fell like doves’ feathers. The frosty air swarmed over her as she ran across the new-fallen cover. She flushed with her pleasure. In the distance, the train approached. She sipped her morning coffee and pondered the out-ofdoors. She did not often venture out in the frigid months, at least not alone. She could not remember when she had walked out on glassy paths unaccompanied. But today was going to be different. She donned her wool sweaters and corduroys. She laced her boots and buttoned up her overcoat. Her fingers found her gloves. Her hearing was muffled in her hat. Once outside, the January air pressed its cold hands to her cheeks. The wind snapped and sparkled, sending diamond dust skimming along the snow dunes. Mabel opened her mouth to catch the flying snow on her tongue. Then, she lay on her back , in the snow, to make an angel. Today was a day foe sheer abandon. She was going to do everything she had been told not to do. She let the gales take her caution. She let herself get cold and damp. “Mom! What are you doing?” a man shouted. He ran to Mabel and carefully helped her stand. He brought her efficiently onto her comfortable home. She began to laugh. “Oh, stop, I’m fine. I was just taking a small bite of forbidden fruit.” The rumble of the freight train sliced their conversation in two. The blast of its horn was a solitary call to action. “That train goes and comes all day,” said Mabel. “It’s not the same train, Mom.” “I know that, Tommy.” “Tom, not Tommy.” Mabel laughed again. “You’ll always be Tommy to me.” “And you’ll always be my mom and that’s why I came to see you, to make sure that you are well”, Tom said, as Mabel removed her wet coat and hat and gloves, “I’m going to stay here tonight.”
“If you had a wife, you would not fuss over me the way you do.” “Not true. If I had a wife, we would both fuss over you.” It snowed again during the night. Fluttering curtains of white dropped dollar-sized snowflakes on the stillness. Rainbows danced on the frosty drapery which shimmered in the veiled lamplight and under the dusky moon. In the deep darkness of night, the freight train came and went. The clamor of its wheels and the song of its horn broke the silence. Mabel dreamed as she slept. She dreamed that she was outside in the winter. Large snowflakes twirled and fell like doves’ feathers. The frosty air swarmed over her as she ran across the newfallen cover. She flushed with her pleasure. In the distance, the train approached. The red light blinked. The barriers fell into place. The warning horn demanded attention. In a fraction of time, it sped by her, melting snowflakes with the heat of its engines. “You’re going now, but you’ll be back again, later,” she said. Mabel awoke the next morning as the last of the snow was falling. She made coffee in a pot that dripped and watched as the city energetically pushed the snow off the road. Tom would be awake, soon. He would make sure she was fine, and then he would go home. “Wake up and smell the coffee, Tom, you young fool,” called Mabel to her son. She could hear his waking groan behind the painted yellow wall, so painted so she would always have sunny thoughts. A few minutes later, her son stood before her. “Mom, promise me you won’t lay down in the snow, again,” Tom said. She handed him a cup of coffee. “I’m not making any promises I can’t keep.” “Do you want to make yourself sick? You could get pneumonia.” “Pneumonia, at my age, makes very little difference in the vast scheme of things,” said Mabel, “Angels in the snow are important, forever.” “It makes a difference to me. You are important to me.” “Someday, I am going to hop on the freight train and go where I can do anything I want,” said Mabel. Tom laughed. “Just like a hobo of long ago,” he said. He leaned over and kissed her cheek before he left. “Stay warm and dry, Mom.” Mabel waved good-bye at the doorway as he pulled away down the street. Once again, she climbed into her boots and gloves and scarf and hat and warmest coat. She trekked out into the snow to join some children. “Hi, Mrs. Mabel,” they called to her. The emerging and persistent sun slanted off the snow’s surface. Mabel shielded her eyes from the rays. She lifted the tether of a child’s sled and began to pull it. “Faster, Mrs. Mabel, faster,” he said. “Patience, my boy, patience, “ said Mabel, “Winters come and go, but sledding in the snow is forever.”
IRENE FERRARO-SIVES was born in Brooklyn, NY. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband. Irene has been writing since she was nine. Halcyon - Winter 2014
Winter Wolf By Kathy Foye Walking through a winter wonderland Through a window of arched branches, waiting wolf was eying his prey. The lone fawn taking her chances will likely not live through this day. The white wolf wandered through the wood toward the water near the willow, nearing the spot where the fawn stood, changing wind began to billow. On the wind the fawn caught the scent of the predator on her trail, not a moment more had she spent waiting for the wolf to prevail.
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How she managed to get away from fate and the white wolf’s plunder; the fawn survives another day and this is truly a wonder.
Walk in the Woods Kathy Foye Listening to the sounds of the night quiet, but for the crunch in the snow; all else is silent in the moonlight the owl waits, surveying below. Our slow movements along the pathway are quiet but for the crunch in the snow. Beauty’s all ‘round, but too cold to stay, long shadows chase us in the moonlight. Our steady movement ‘long the pathway is punctuated by Jack Frost’s bite. Nip in the air; we hasten our pace long shadows chase us in the moonlight. © Denis Pepin | DollarPhotoClub
Snow on the branches looking like lace dusts all the ground like confection. Nip in the air, we hasten our pace, wandering in winter’s wonderland. Enjoying the new snow on the ground dusting all around like a confection, Nature in her finest perfection.
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KATHLEEN FOYE started married life as an Army wife. She went to Europe where her husband-to-be was stationed and they married in Switzerland. For the next three years, the Army was family and some of those friendships are still good today. Traveling Europe when possible and starting a family was all a huge adventure! As a past President of the American Legion Auxiliary, she is still patriotic and very proud of our military.
WINTER'S BEAUTY By Lorna Pominville Huge chunks of ice along the shores of Lake Huron, create a jagged profile of shadows in the silver moonlight.
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©motivjaegerin1 | DollarPhotoClub
Halcyon - Winter 2014
Few Snow, Much Dark By Paul R. Davis Calendar says December, autumn, not yet snow if we’re lucky. Tonight, the yard yields few snow, cannot yet cover all the grass. The trees are black worm masses, all crawling, swaying with each wind. Calendar says not yet, not yet, the snowblower can wait another week or two, but every morning at the bus stop, our legs are cold, our eyes blink and quiver. The anticipation is the cruelest part of winter. We gauge the summer past, the early flight of birds, foraging of squirrels, calculate the need for extra blankets. Rising in darkness, coming home in darkness, slight daytime flurries raise fearful expectations: will it be tonight? The intercourse of snow and we, the twining of the dark and windfilled trees, all the preparation cannot excuse winter’s bitter execution.
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PAUL R. DAVIS lives in Central New York State with his wife, parrots and cats. Now retired, he enjoys operating model trains,
philately, gardening, and preparing meals with his wife. His work has been published in Latitudes, Comstock Review, Comrades, Hot Metal Press, Georgian Blue Poetry Anthology, The Externalist, Centrifugal Eye, The Good Men Project, PoetryRepairs and others. He believes in a simple poetic philosophy: to wit, the joy of expression, the necessity of communication. Contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org | paulrdavis.com | Twitter: freddiesdaddy Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
My Father Skates the Winter Lake By Donna M. Davis The lake has frozen over, its banks submerged in billowy drifts. My father once raced over its miles of ice with sharp gold blades on black boots, and laces tightly crisscrossed. Frigid waters moved under his feet, while he swept from left to right. He tucked his hands behind his back, felt the cold seeping through his socks, the pulse of steel beneath his arches. When he reached the shoreline first, he heard the cheers of skaters far behind him. His fear of breaking through the ice was a blurred and distant threat. © Adam Sims | Photoxpress.com
Christmas Day By Paul R. Davis I see the bare branches of the locust tree welcoming the natal, lifting up as angels’ wings, triumphant in annunciation. Beyond the sheet of gray that claims the sky, I know the sun is there, for us, for lovers united, for the ones alone this day. The locust tree is a family of trunks and branches, of leaves fallen or blown away. Yet it stands in all the seasons and especially now whether on a greeny lawn or in depths of snow, eternal as heavenly love. I am not annoyed by the lack of snow, or by the lack of the sun’s fierce fire. I hold my lover in my arms, hold her love in my eyes, hold her life in my heart. Today is Christmas and the locust tree reminds me of the greatest gift.
Even now I picture him racing his way to the other side, riding the water’s brilliant blue. And the sky has captured my father, who, though gone for many years, still skates the lake away.
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DONNA M. DAVIS is a former English teacher and current owner of a book design and resume service in Central New York. Her poetry has appeared in Comstock Review and its precursor Poetpourri, The Milo Review, The Centrifugal Eye, The Altadena Review, Latitudes, and others. Halcyon - Winter 2014
First Snow by Emily Feng The whole world lay dreaming ’neath night’s magic hush, when ten thousand snowflakes first came out to dance. Each delicate crystal sparkled bright as a star, graceful and lovely in its whirling ballet. They brushed the air with silvery ice, then mantled the earth in velvety white. And when morning came and the world awoke, all laughed in delight to see winter’s first snow. © erika8213 | DollarPhotoClub
Snow Day by Emily Feng Laughing, we head home, our coats dusted with snowballs. Hot chocolate waits!
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EMILY FENG is from the Pacific Northwest. She fell in love with books when she was seven years old, and has aspired to become a writer ever since then. When she isn't voraciously reading or writing, Emily enjoys listening to classical music and hiking. Contact Emily at email@example.com. Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
Seasons at Fox Hollow: 4 Sijos by Margôt Maddison-MacFayden Full moon pearls over powder snow; mice tunnel in last year’s grass. In the woods, a soft rush through branches—a dangerous shadow. At dawn, a snow angel, each feather perfectly sculpted. Bumblebees thrum in thickets; chickadees sparkle in sylvan pools. Shy lady slippers tip toe through jubilant forest litter. A silver fox, feathered lunch clamped in her jaws, slips by. In the ancient hemlock forest, dust motes swim in golden beams. Underneath, fringed ferns; above, a woodpecker’s tap, tap, tap. Curled in a giant’s toes, a sleek silver fox, sleeping. Hemlock, their heads above the forest canopy, look to winter. Maple, naked, their finery at their feet, protest coming frost. Mice cozy in grass; chickadees roost in bush; fox? a mystery.
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Essays, stories and poems by MARGÔT MADDISON-MACFAYDEN have appeared in anthologies and in both academic and cultural journals, including the Newfoundland Quarterly, Canadian Stories and Still Point Arts Quarterly. She has won Cox & Palmer Island Literary Awards in short fiction and in poetry, and she is the co-editor of and an included author in the anthology A Gathering of TWiGS, which won the 2014 Prince Edward Island Book Award for Poetry. Visit Margot at her blog: www.margotmaddisonmacfadyen.com. Halcyon - Winter 2014
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Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
Snow Women By Norma West Linder
or a few moments, Doris thinks she’s dreaming. Then the voice becomes louder, more insistent. Reluctantly, she rises, rubs her eyes and goes in search of the strident sound. “Don’t frighten the poor dear, but you’d better get out there!” The words, dripping with concern, are issuing from the mouth of Edith Brown, Doris’s nosey next-door neighbor. What can she be doing at my door at this hour of the night? Doris wonders. And why is our front door wide open? “I just now noticed her from my picture window,” Edith goes on. “And what a picture it was! She seems to be making a snowman. Can you believe it? At this time of night! And wearing nothing but her nightgown.” Doris pulls her blue velour robe tightly around trembling shoulders. “Good Lord, Edith! I thought Mom was asleep in her room. It’s well after midnight. I didn’t hear her go out. Thank heavens your ringing the bell woke me.” For once, Doris is glad her neighbor’s such a busybody. “Well, my dear, I’ll run along and let you handle the situation. Your mother gets a little tetchy with me lately, so I didn’t want to interfere. You’re such a dutiful daughter, Doris. Not many offspring would sacrifice themselves the way you have. Now that you’re retired from the bank you should be free to do as you please. It’s a real pity, your being tied down like this. A real pity.” No, it isn’t, thinks Doris. “It pleases me to look after my mother,” she murmurs, as Edith leaves. Easy to be good to a woman who’s been so good to me all through the years, always cheerful even though she’d been abandoned when six months pregnant with me. Besides, she muses as she pulls on her parka and winter boots, I haven’t sacrificed anything. No man has ever asked me to be his blushing bride. Nor have I ever really wanted marriage and a life other than the one I have. Doris grabs her mother’s long tweed coat and hurries outside, calling softly as she does so. People who know about such things have told her the urge to wander after the day is over is called sundowning. True, her mother has taken to roaming around their two-storey house at all hours. This, however, is certainly a first. She’s never before ventured outside in cold weather clad only in her pink flannelette nightgown. But Doris is relieved to see her mother has had sense enough to pull on her high black winter boots. They should help. Obviously, the dementia is getting worse. Good thing she’s made that appointment with their family doctor. He’s been a great help, explaining as best he can the various stages her mother is likely to go through. Perhaps it’s time for her medication to be increased. Not that it’s apt to do much good. “Here, Mom,” she says, as she helps the white-haired woman struggle into her coat. “It’s time to go inside now. Time to go back to sleep.” Her mother’s brown eyes gleam in the street light as she protests. “No, Dorrie! Want to finish…Frosty. He needs a…a…”
“A head.” Doris supplies the word her mother needs. She’s been doing this more and more of late. It’s painful watching a woman who, all her working life has been a saleswoman in an exclusive clothing store, and is now unable to find the words to express her thoughts. On one of their many holidays, they’d both kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Now only Doris has the gift of the gab. “I’ll help you with his head. But first I must get you a hat for your head and some mittens so you won’t get too cold.” “Not cold. See full moon? Keeps me warm and…” Her sentence trails off in the chilly night air. After a little encouragement, Doris has her mother dressed for the weather. It is perfect packing snow-- the right kind for their project. Together they roll another snowball for the body, then a smaller one to make a round head for Frosty. Doris can see her neighbor watching them from behind the lace curtains in her front window, but she doesn’t care. “Snowman needs a…needs a…” “A face,” agrees Doris. “We’ll go inside and get two black buttons for his eyes, a carrot for his nose, and some of those little grape tomatoes for his mouth.” Unexpectedly. Doris finds she is truly enjoying herself. She feels like a child again, recalling winter days when her mother had helped her make a number of snow people on their front lawn. She’d thought of them as friends, and because they lived in the North at that time, their creations usually lasted for the whole season. An introvert and plain looking, Doris had never had many friends. But she and her mother had always been close, taking trips together, enjoying the theatre, going to concerts, and trying out new recipes. A good life. Let the townspeople think her a martyr. She knew better. Actually, the last year or so had been increasingly difficult, Doris confessed to herself.. There was no escaping the reality of the situation. No point in denial. Even her mother had recognized something was terribly wrong. She’d told Doris she didn’t want to end up being a burden. A large woman, she’d known she’d be too much to handle when the time came when she wouldn’t be able to take care of her personal needs. Doris was slender, and on the frail side. Together, they’d checked out the three nursing homes in town and put her mother’s name on the waiting list of the one they thought best. Then they’d gone home and wept on each other’s shoulders. But then Doris recalled the old maxim, What can’t be cured must be endured, and they’d set about trying out a new recipe for a pork and rice casserole. It had been delicious, as had all of their culinary adventures. At one-thirty in the morning, the two women stood back under a full silver moon to admire their creation. Frosty had a cheerful face now. The upward arc of tiny red tomatoes, they agreed, made for a perfect smile, a perfect smile for a perfect man.
NORMA WEST LINDER (p6) 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. 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 2014
Holiday Baking By Debbie Okun Hill Steam fogs her glasses like a sugar-plum dream every time she opens the oven door pulls out a dozen freshly baked cookies mmmm, that gingerbread scent, a delectable taste. Safe from winter’s wrath, she paints Yuletide shapes with holiday colours: red and green icing with white sugar sprinkles.
Oh, how they jingle and dance these animated cookies bell-shaped and star-glazed. Her unexpected guests stomping snow from boots onto kitchen floor. Come in! Come in! These final ingredients! This festive recipe: warmth of company and peppermint tea.
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Evergreen: Against the Snow By Debbie Okun Hill We are all evergreen like pine trees family and friends growing older, side by side standing, wandering in life-changing forest, some sturdy, some frail, some leaning falling against others and when the season turns cold, snow flutter flakes swirl drifts in blinding storm, we embrace our faith, our love for each other, wait for a clearing, a lit candle to flicker, shine, melt away all heavy ice from our branches.
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DEBBIE OKUN HILL is currently on tour with her first book of poetry: Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press). She is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and a recipient of two Ontario Arts Council grants through the Writers’ Reserve Program. Visit Debbie’s website at www.okunhill.wordpress.com. Halcyon - Winter 2014 |
Snuggle up to loved ones and keep the warmth going! Thanks for reading the 2014 winter edition of Halcyon.
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Halcyon - Winter 2014
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