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Somewhere Still In Wind The Tree Is Bending

by Bob MacKenzie

Silver Bow Publishing

Published by Silver Bow Publishing at Smashwords

Copyright 2018 Silver Bow Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-927616-76-5 (electronic book)

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somewhere still in wind the tree is bending

Silver Bow Publishing

Box 5 - 720 Sixth St.,

New Westminster, BC

V3L 3C5 Canada

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

~ Omar Khayyám, Rubáiyát,

trans. Edward FitzGerald

somewhere still in wind the tree is bending

Bob MacKenzie

Title: somewhere still in wind the tree is bending

© 2018 Silver Bow Publishing

Author: Bob MacKenzie

Cover Art: ‘Survival’ by Richard Gold

All rights reserved including the right to reproduce or translate

this book or any portions thereof, in any form


In cooking, often a recipe needs only to be introduced to an onion to achieve

the perfect flavour. The flavour of this collection would not be all that it is without the support and patience of a very special onion who has become

an important

part of the stew that is my life.

I also thank poets John Ambury, Joseph Anthony Farina, and Meg Freer who

have looked over the manuscript for this book and offered valuable suggestions;

the many individuals in all the poetry communities through which I have passed

and who have given helpful suggestions on various of these poems; and family

and friends who have been so supportive of me over the course of my career.


Versions of some of the poems in this collection have been previously published

by: Alien Pub Magazine, Alive, Big Pond Rumours, Free Lit Magazine,

Generation, Literary Review of Canada, Modicum, Ottawa Poetry Magazine,

Quoin, Rat's Ass Review, Speak Out, Special Song, Stanza Room Only,

Stimulus, Thee Hellbox Press, The Tower, and Ultraviolet Magazine.

The long poem “Edge” is indebted to many sources and influences, including:

Desiderata (Max Ehrmann), Howl (Allen Ginsberg), If I Had aHammer

(Pete Seeger & Lee Hays), Still Falls the Rain (Dame Edith Sitwell),

The Hollow Men (Thomas Stearns Eliot), The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

(Thomas Stearns Eliot), The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

(trans. Edward Fitzgerald), The Second Coming (William Butler Yeats),

The Sound of Silence (Paul Simon & Art Garfunkle), The Spirit of Radio

(Geddy Lee Weinrib, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart), and What Have They Done

to the Rain? (Malvina Reynolds

Table of Contents





the words are not the same

read aloud

A Thought Rides the Wind

Time and the Prophet

she says


Friction Drive

reflections in a gallery

Hard Times Come Again


the least of these

The Flower

leaving it behind

The Girl

the woman

jazz café


upstairs the dogs howl


and I will dance



Pyramid – a trilogy

Long Time Passing

mark: my words

cocktails in a well-lit room

black rain

refugee blues


The New Police


all the old men

Leaving America


how the light gets in


among the hoodoos: an old house

A Beginning and an Ending



The Rose and the Secret Balloon

Poet Profile


you start out with just one thing:

a person, place, or object.

for example:

this woman in the large hat,

skirts blowing around her legs.

you look around her closely,

learn where she is standing now:

see her close by the lamp post

in the cone of light at dusk.

standing forlorn in the rain,

is she there to meet someone?

who has drawn this woman here,

could it be her secret love?

ask yourself what happens next

in the rain on the corner.

for example:

a black sedan approaches,

stops and the rear door opens.

had you noticed the music

blended with the sound of rain?

softly heard in the background,

music sets the scene's blue mood.

there's a threat now, a tension

music's attack escalates.

the black sedan vanishes

along the dark rainy street.

there is only the lamplight;

there is only the soft rain.

cut and print.


there are poems


what I write

poets beside me

burning bushes

they made themselves

why choose one

smile for the cat's

jive is more hep

blowing crazy lines

Cheshire and glib

ivories glinting dark

between webbed branches

crimson lip

synchs that flick open

mouthed words like cats

have teeth and they

glisten pearly white

in the shower

bloody makeup runs

singing in the rain

not words but scat

the safe refrain

from unknown forms

words don't do

do they at times like

this outside time

you face lips suspended

bleeding in the rain

burning in the bush

the words are not the same

the words are not the same,

and yet, they are somehow

the same words we have

used so many times

before we found our way

of using words alone

as meanings slipped

away from us, we talked

the words together meaning

what we together decided

and yet, they were somehow

not what we meant at all

to say in that brief space

and time in those few words

all there was we had

to say was not the same

message after message passed

between us in silent codes

after the words had passed

beyond our comprehension

of the words and meanings

we created ourselves, the words

alone and meanings separate,

we too grew apart in silence

read aloud

the words don't matter

here only

caress wash ravage rush

through and across

senses of sound

writ everywhere

it is not written

it is not


it is

not written

the moving finger

writes but having

writ leaves

cold stone remains

take two

and call me

he said

not wrote

call me

not write


the power is

not in but

behind and before

the words

in the beginning


but thought

sound and light

energy pure

and simple

electric power


were and were


the first and all

saying by

eye gesture intonation

flow flux howl rant rave

dance fire smoke captive

words undone



the power is


the words

don't matter

A Thought Rides the Wind

A thought rides

and soaring above,

like a feathery autumn leaf

or a hawk at the hunt.

A thought drifts,

ever upward, ever upward.

A thought rides the wind.

Time and the Prophet

Borne on the storm,

father before

followed the ledge–

thunder his foe,

lightning his load,

upward the peaks.

Ever the wind,

searching for peace

over the clouds.

Born of the storm,

I am the door hung on the edge–

you are my foe,

(what is my load?)

climbing the peaks.

Ever the wind,

promising peace

over the clouds.

she says

she feels like metaphors

with diamond sharp edges

words flung on the table

in the space between us

not meant to puzzle me

but inform me of what

she can't say otherwise


There is a rustle in your name, like the

passing of the years; the sound of days

falling like leaves around you, inevitably

to leave a barren scarecrow in the wind

without a rustle.

There is already a look of scarecrow in

your eyes, a certain hollow in your face

and hunger in your mien that can only grow,

like Chaos, inward upon itself.

There is a beauty about you, but it is the

derelict fantasy of a long vacant mansion

or the prairie in November rather than

that of youth in search of life.

There is a rustle that follows you as you

move, carrying autumn from room to room

and filling every room with leaves until,

one day, you shall have shed so much of

yourself that none shall be left for the present.

Friction Drive

Man must lose himself in action

Lest he wither in despair

T. W. Pylypiuk, July '71

What cash cropping self can say

which is the harvest?

Unrelenting action or

perhaps Action's end?

I cannot say which profits,

unending planting,

harvesting and planting, or


the seasons as they pass

and no effort spent.

I only know if I stop–

then I shall stop dead

reflections in a gallery

black and white photo of a homeless child

abandoned to the dangers of the streets,

peering from a dark space between buildings,

the dusk-light stippled like an engraving.

hand on his top hat a man scurries past,

looks away as bitter wind grabs at the child,

fails to see this child pull worn rags tighter,

believes everything is alright and walks on.

one hundred years later razed neighbourhoods

give rise to gentrified condos and lofts and

unseen in the shadows the tattered children

bring unreasoning fear of the downtrodden.

Hard Times Come Again

Seeing old news photos of men

in long Depression bread lines

my mother noticed mostly this:

no matter how hard times were

the men's shoes were polished,

creased pants freshly pressed

and their hair neatly combed.

As a kid in mid-century prairie

towns broken by the recession

I saw men, old I thought, sitting

on benches, porches or chairs

by buildings grey as they were

with work clothes freshly washed,

shoes polished and hair combed.

Youth unable to find employment

now sit on sidewalks downtown

or outside stores in strip malls

sometimes wrapped in blankets,

paper coffee cup set in front,

thrift shop clothes laundered,

worn boots clean and hair combed.


this is what you don't know

we’re all very afraid

this is what you do know

we’re all very afraid

we block out the terrors

but lock the fear inside

this is what I do know

there are walls here

they are your walls

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