A poem I put together sometime ago. David Thompson was probably one of the world’s greatest explorers yet he receives little credit or recognition from his Canadian host.

Two Shillings and Six Pence

(David Thompson 1770-1857)

This winter’s shade  ‘s so cold and pale

It besets my gaze and arthritic limp

With chills and hunger’s ceaseless laugh

I sit with poverty’s brazen pimp


I sense death’s subtle whisper here

As she smothers all thoughts of present, seeing

No past, no future, no joyful screams

Just drains my life-blood’s present, being


Too weak to cry or beg to feed

Only Charlotte’s love to soothe my fear

To lose all pride and my self esteem

For a morsel’s taste of youth to cheer


Two shillings here and six pence keeps

My life away from some beggar’s fate

How I laugh at such a meager scrip

Of a legacy lost to some scoundrel’s bait


This Judas touch forsakes my warmth

Within this cloak of adventurous tales

While hunger sings its cryptic, sorrowful song

So hauntingly long, so distressingly stale


Yet my hands betray my mind’s ambition

Of an artist’s touch that sowed this land

From the chartless wasteland’s fearsome grasp

To mark and plot from a surveyor’s stand


Dear Philip, you saved such a restless being

With patience you taught this wretched card

From falling so deep in a darkening abyss

With death so close and knocking hard


The heavens await your observer’s touch, you said

So make your mark and claim your stake

Unlock the secrets that our lord has cast

And chart a course for man’s knowledge sake


I observed the cold Prince Rupert lands

That surround the grey vast inland sea

As I tracked the tundra’s hard core frost

And fed my mind’s curiosity


I observed the wasteland’s magnetic strength

That draws one in like a madman’s gaze

And witnessed the great white creature’s feats

These lords of the barrens, of the inland bays


I observed the lands where the muskrat calls

And let the beaver seduce the zealot’s mind

I observed, and marked…ten thousand times marked

And culled the wilderness’ fearsome grind


I observed and marked…ten thousand times… marked

With my dear and dependable friends

I marked the time on my sextant’s arc

And undermined the sun’s eternal bend


I observed and marked ‘cross prairie grass

Stark contrast ‘gainst the granite’s stoic stance

As far away as my eye could see

Just wave upon wave in a dreamlike trance


I observed the rivers that fed a thousand lakes

As their headwaters announced a torrent of spring

I observed the power of the snow pack’s flood

That fed and nourished my soul to sing


I marked the mountains with my measured glimpse

As they dwarfed my being within heaven’s glance

I observed their snow tops blinding strength

Like whitecaps whirled in some frightening dance


I reduced the stars from their heavenly maze

Like magic that masks the mathematician’s skill

Or the illusionist’s trick that traps the ignorant man

To marvel at some sorcerer’s will


I dreamt of stars to capture thus

With my filtered plates and their golden arc

And hear my mark like some winsome sonnet, ring

And resonate through the superstitious dark


I marked the paths across this special land

Each river, each stream, each mountain pass clear

From Superior’s strength to Columbia’s Bar

With the 49th line in my sextant’s mirror


Yet my great map there in the great hall falls

Like a silent echo of some passionate deed

Observe… deceit in its projection thus

While rotting there with its mold-like seed


But the pain that lives within my heart

Not sorrowful pity or self-loathing disgust

It’s Arrowsmith’s torment, which lingers so

And rips my heart with such subtle thrusts


Just memories now to ease my pain

Such wondrous thoughts that no wealth could bring

 As marvelous dreams of dreams await

On the plains and the foothills, where the mountain streams sing


I’ll embrace death’s call for my observer’s touch

For I made my mark and I claimed my stake

I unlocked the secrets that my Lord did cast

And traced a course for man’s knowledge sake



Cancel Canada Day

I cannot believe it. Cancel Canada Day over the discovery of unmarked indigenous graves at some of the residential schools in Canada. What about the 61,000 Canadians killed and missing during World War 1, or the 40,ooo Canadian graves in Europe as a result of the Second World War? Shall we cancel Canada Day because of that, or honour them?

The virtue signalists are at it again as are the “Idle No More” movement and the more radical elements of the First Nation bands. Their motto? Never, ever, let a good indigenous issue go to waste against Canada. As tragic as the residential school issue is, it has been addressed over and over and over again in this country. Billions of dollars have been spent. It is becoming the gift that keeps on giving.

We do not know the circumstances surrounding these graves. Are they all indigenous? Were they all children? How did they die? And when? Some of these schools were over 125 years in operation in an age of TB, the Spanish Flu, Diphtheria, Polio and other lethal childhood diseases. To come out and say that the Catholic nuns and priests deliberately murdered them is a stretch. What of the other denominations involved such as the Anglican and Methodists? If the forensic analysis confirms murder or blatant physical abuse leading to death then the perps should be exposed and punished. To do otherwise in the court of biased public opinion is not appropriate or a responsible course of action. Unfortunately my thoughts will not fit the official Trudeau and indigenous narrative therefore I will probably be vilified for making these comments. So be it as that is the way of the “cancel culture” culture we now live in.

And why are these graves unmarked? I do not know the answer but I do know that many of these grave sites were marked using wooden crosses. Over the years these crosses would have rotted out and, given that these schools were poorly funded by the federal government, it could be that gravesite maintenance costs were undermined or forfeited for higher priority requirements – like food. We do not know that unless the records reveal as such. And if the revelations do come out they will never see the light of day if they do not fit the accepted narrative of abuse and neglect by white Anglo Saxon Canadians.

I am not a racist. I am not a bigot. I am not a red neck. I am not guilty of genocide – as our Government would have me believe. I am a good person. I am a Christian. I am Catholic by birth. I believe in a God’s laws. The atrocities committed against the indigenous people in this country in the years past were committed under the auspices of man’s laws and not God’s laws. God should not be held to account but man should.

I am proud of my country – but not of the clowns that are currently in charge.

When will it end? Never, and unless our leaders address this and put it behind us my fear is that Canada will be ripped apart. And Trudeau and his incompetent governmental cronies will have nobody to blame but themselves. This guy will not stop the tear letting. Like Obama in the US, his virtue signaling and political correctness are tearing our country apart.

Forget trying to assimilate the indigenous people into Canada. They do not consider themselves as Canadian. Never have and never will. Give them full autonomy: their own (productive) lands, their own government, their own laws, rule of law, enforcement; their own education, their own everything.  Let them be a nation within the geographical area of Canada. And get rid of the Indian Act.

Hey McKenna resigns and will not run in the next election. Why? She wants to spend more time with her kids and fight climate change. Pah-lease. That is a new one. What about her husband, Scott Gilmore? Doesn’t he count for anything?  And hey, what about that gold plated pension coming her way after only 6 years of service?

Oh, I can’t say that as it is racist – so says Trudeau.

Few facts in Canada or reasons I will never ever vote again as I cannot bring myself to be culpable to a government intent on destroying our country:

Trudeau supports Quebec’s unilateral decision to remove English as an official language in Quebec – only French. The other anglo provinces have to retain the dual language schizophrenia;

Quebec can change the Canadian Constitution, which they never signed, whenever they please but the other provinces cannot. So says Trudeau; and

Trudeau says that the only good PMs were/are from Quebec. That Quebec owns Canada…and on and on it goes

Rumour has it that Trudeau wants to give McKenna’s seat to Mark Carney. Who is Mark Carney? He used to be the Gov of the Bank of Canada before moving to the UK to be the Gov of the Bank of England. Now he is back in Canada and will be parachuted into a safe liberal riding to run in the next Federal election.  Yes, he is yet another elite appointed by his highness Trudeau. Am I cynical? You bet. Is the Family Compact alive and well in Canada? You bet? Is Canada run by the centralists, as in Quebec and Ontario? You bet. Am I going to vote? Never again unless we change the electoral process in this country because all we have here now is an elected dictatorship run by the so called Laurentian elites – as in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. The west be damned. Interestingly the original Canada of 1867 comprised Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

I want no part of that.



This is why, as a society we are doomed:

Data has shown that tipping can perpetuate inequalities of class, gender, race and sexuality. It has also been identified as reinforcing a dynamic of servitude — only one constant in the guest-server equation has the power to give or hold back money as they see fit — and contributing to the social stigma of hospitality work as a stopgap, not a career.

“No matter how you do it, tipping hits BIPOC workers in the pocketbook, it exposes more female workers to sexual harassment, and it keeps all workers from making a steady, solid salary,” Canadian chef and anti-tipping advocate Amanda Cohen of New York City’s Dirt Candy told Eater in September 2020.

Okay, sorry. I didn’t know that my tipping equated to my white privilege and racist undertones. I will never tip again.

Yes we are:

R.I.P Bob Einstein. Super Dave. It is funny how you know what is going to happen before it does yet you still laugh about it.

Great Canadian Band – April Wine




Monks Orchard 3

Another excerpt

He looked about. It was all too surreal for him. His world was crashing down in a tailspin of terror. Small snippets of his current situation bounced in and out of his thought process: the helmsman, the crew, the fallen main mast, the storm, the howling wind, the crashing waves, below decks, Henry. The scene in his mind’s eye kept repeating itself over and over again…unrelenting, spinning, out of control and eerily silent. Everything seemed to occur in slow motion.

“And what of Marijke? And the children. How will she survive
without me?” He cried.

“Sir, sir…SIR!” His mind’s hallucinations were suddenly shattered
with the interruption of reality’s discourse. Michael looked about
and saw the sailor directly in front of his face, yelling at him above
the noise of the storm. His spittle mixed with the salt in the air.

“Right” Michael thought out loud.

“Sir, we have cut most of the lines but I am afraid some are
unreachable.” He paused and drew Michael’s attention to the port
side. What Michael saw disturbed him. The ship was now leaning
dangerously to port. Heeling hard. Every wave off of the starboard
quarter was pushing the port side gunnels and bulwarks under the
water. The main deck was now at a dangerous angle. Soon, if things
do not relent, the ship will reach its tipping point and go over.

Michael ran back to the helm. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have
to. He could see the pain and stress of effort as the three men tried to
keep the ship upright. He could also see the fear on their faces. They
looked at Michael pleadingly as if he could enact a miracle to save
them all. He couldn’t.

Suddenly a loud crash, then a boom. A loud, nerve wracking,
spine tingling scraping noise. The ship stopped abruptly from its
forward momentum. So much so that Michael and all of the crew
were thrown to port. One or two of the men working amidships
were thrown over the side into the cauldron of churning water with
current. Gone! This could mean only one thing to Michael. They had hit a reef, or one of the shoals off Gravelines. The ship was lost.

The ship began to bounce hard across the shoals, periodically rising like a cork then floating on the crest of a wave or swell, and then down hard again on to another pinnacle of the reef. No movement. The ship was leaning more and more to port. Water cascaded across the decks, down the hatches and through the openings of the holds. At the same time the hull on the port side was breached. Water flowed in undeterred. The ship was sinking and going over fast. A capsize was imminent. The crew knew this and understood the dangers. Every man was for himself. For Michael a decision was not necessary. The very next lurch cast him over the side and into the cold water. He was gone and alone.

Somehow, when Michael awoke to his reality, he found himself holding onto a wide wooden plank. He did not know how he had done this as he had no recollection of going over the side or finding this plank. He was in shock. He looked about and could no longer see his ship. Flotsam abounded. Barrels and bales of cloth were floating everywhere. Waves crashed in and out of the shoals and reefs. He could not see any of the other men who may have survived the sinking. It was bitterly cold. He tried to climb up onto the wide plank but to no avail. The sea around him remained chaotic. The storm clouds were dark and foreboding. It was raining hard, falling sideways and stinging his eyes. It was late afternoon but it seemed like nightfall. It was cold…the air and the water. Michael could feel himself passing out. He fought hard to stay awake. Passing out meant certain death. He had to fight the feeling of hopelessness. He prayed hard, as best he could.

Just then some rope passed him by. He grabbed it then secured
himself to his wooden float. It seemed to take forever to accomplish
such a simple task. A few minutes of time after securing himself he
passed out.

The Eighty Years’ War between the Dutch and the Spanish in
Flanders and in northeastern France, which began in 1568 was
still raging. It had morphed into the Thirty Years’ War, which
would end in 1648 in the Dutch’s favor over Spain in a few years
hence. Nevertheless, Spain controlled the area around Gravelines
and ran regular patrols off the coast. During one of these patrols
some Spanish soldiers witnessed the destruction of the MONK’S
ORCHARD II from a safe and secure shelter above the beach.
Expecting debris from the wreckage that may be of value some of
the soldiers braved the weather and walked down to the beach. There
they found flotsam: bales of cloth washed ashore, barrels of wine
floating in the shallows along with other shipboard equipment and a
few bodies — drowned. One sailor thought he saw a large batch of
artifacts from the wreck a way down the beach. As he approached
the debris, he saw that it was a body attached to a broad wooden
plank. He ran over and discovered that the body was warm and still
alive. He yelled out to his colleagues:
“Hey, hey felows. Por aquí. Ven rápido…come here, come here,

See the source image

What, me worry?

See the source image


Have a great weekend.


Have a read.


Monk’s Orchard 2

Carrying on:

He ran back to the afterdeck and to the helmsman. Try as he might the helmsman could not control the movement of the ship. The canvas sails were beginning to be pulled over the sides; the weight and downward pressure from the sea was pulling the hull dangerously over. The ship was out of control.

“Where is Henry?” Michael yelled to the helmsman over the noise and confusion of the storm. The helmsman, shrugged. “I do not know sir.”

“Try to point the ship directly into the wind, if you can.”

“Aye sir but it is tough. I can feel the strain on the entire ship. The
rudder is under tremendous pressure.” He yelled back at Michael
above the ambient noise level. Michael looked at him, then forward
then back again. Suddenly something to port caught his eye.


“How can this be?” he thought to himself. Then it dawned on him.
The ship was dangerously close to the shoals and reefs of Gravelines,
a small port off France’s northeast coast. The irony was not lost on
Michael. Here, just over 50 years ago, his grandfather and the Royal
Navy had it out with some of the galleons of the Spanish Armada,
at least those ships that had escaped the ‘hellburners’ but had not
reached the open North Sea to escape.

“God damn it.” He cursed under his breath, and then made the
sign of the cross.

Michael ran forward as best he could. The men below were now
on deck. Michael yelled at them to grab axes, swords, anything sharp
and begin to hack away at the ends of the running rigging that were
still secured to the ship’s superstructure and hard points. They had
to free the end of the rigging that was still secured to the ship to
relieve the pressure of the sails in the water and let them run free
and hopefully clear of the ship’s hull and keel. The sailors began to
hack away. They had to be careful as the rigging was as taught as
harpsichord wire. Tremendous pressure was exerted on the rigging
so much so that as the axes came down and cut the lines they flew off
at such a force that a man’s head could be cut off cleanly if caught in
the line of trajectory.

Michael ran forward up the starboard side, which was now the
high side of the ship, dangerously so. He looked aft and saw that
the helmsman was being helped by two of the crew. By the look and strain on their faces it would appear that they were having little luck in controlling the ship.

He continued forward. Suddenly he heard some screams below him. He looked down and was shocked to see Henry caught on the underside of one of the booms, which had separated from one of the main mast yardarms when it came down. Michael bent down to examine Henry’s condition. He could see that both of his legs had been crushed and were pinned down by the weight of the yardarm and mast itself. Michael tried his best to relieve the pressure but to no avail. He yelled at Henry as best he could over the noise of the storm. To make matters worse wave after wave of cold channel water crashed over the starboard side bulwarks soaking Michael and Henry.

Henry could not move. It was impossible for Michael to save Henry. Every slight jar of the boom caused Henry unbearable pain.

“You Michael…sir. Forget about me…I am finished. Save the ship.”

Michael was caught in a moment of indecision. He knew he could not help his friend and shipmate but did not want to leave him. He looked about for help but all hands were busy.

“Go Michael…go. Forget about me. Save yourself and the ship.”

Michael stood up. He felt considerable remorse and guilt considering his current situation but he knew Henry to be right. Slowly he walked back, away from Henry’s sight. He could not bear to see the hopelessness and fear on Henry’s face. He knew that death was sure to come. Another wave came crashing over the bow drenching Michael. The shock of the cold water woke him up to his reality.