Act One (1918)

He pressed against the rough parapet,

Ankle deep in putrid mud

Oblivious to the stench of filth and rot

Meandering through the trenches,

Home to:

Red-eyed rats — fat and satisfied,

Blank-eyed soldiers — gaunt and terrified.

Heedless of the horror below, a soft spring breeze

Unwittingly wafted Death’s miasma

Beyond crater-pocked hell

Into the battle-ravaged town.

Palms sweat-slicked, licking dry lips,

He waited—

The officer’s whistle shrieked once,

Over the top, he sprang, bellowing,

Head low, rifle clutched, sprinting

Towards barbed wire tangles.

 

Machine guns clattered.

In mid-step, he paused, confused,

Features softening, rifle dropping,

He slid slowly into the slime.

In a gun’s flash,

All dreams, all hopes extinguished.

Forever, nineteen,

His friends called him Jimmy.

Act Two  (1944 )

He crouched inside the landing craft

Sweat-drenched, shivering, teeth chattering,

The bloodshot dawn broke over him

As thunderous shelling ceased.

A silent shroud blanketed Normandy

For an eternal second.

 

Suddenly, revving up, powerful motors

Propelled his squad

Towards the strip of dreaded beach;

Enemy mortar fire, defiant, roared back.

Bursting shells, rocking his LST,

Exploded others into lethal fragments.

Clasping his helmet, he hunkered

 Into the steel womb’s safety,

Broken by the sergeant’s yell, “Ready!”

The ramp dropped.

Out he shot, shouting,

Head held low, rifle held high,

Stumbling and splashing,

Toward scarred sandy shores.

 

Machine guns clattered.

In mid-step, he paused, surprised,

Features relaxing, rifle dropping,

He slid beneath rolling surf.

 

In a gun’s flash,

 All dreams, all hopes drowned.

Forever, nineteen,

His friends called him Jimmy.

Act Three (l970)

He lay in the tall grasses, tense, listening,

Mud slithered up his arms, down his neck,

Oblivious to teeming insects and dank, steamy heat,

He waited.

 

Behind him the jungle slid closer

And still he waited, motionless, silent,

Blending with waving ferns and tawny earth.

 

Then, he heard it

Softly in the distance, a humming,

His heart leaping, eyes searching,

He waited.

 

Then— the beat, beat, beat of rotors,

As the menacing jungle inched nearer,

And one battered Huey set down.

 

Up he leapt, legs pumping,

Head low, rifle swinging, he raced

Towards the helicopter and life.

 

Machine guns clattered.

 

In mid-step, he paused, puzzled,

Features loosening, rifle dropping,

He collapsed, sucked into the bog.

 

In a gun’s flash,

All dreams, all hopes squashed.

Forever, nineteen,

His friends called him Jimmy.

-Eleanor Kidd-

A book of poems by Eleanor is now available for purchase at Jamieson’s General Store.

Midnight has passed,

The lake is black,

Masses of distant stars

Shimmer, decorating the sky,

A dazzling Christmas tree.

 

The lonely wail of a train

Disturbs this stillness,

And, then, leisurely fades

Beyond shadowy hills.

 

Abruptly, like an echo,

A solemn, sonorous cry

Reminiscent of despair

Bursts from inky water,

Haunting, illusory.

 

Answering the call,

An erratic, trembling peal,

Inducing spine-tingling,

Preternatural feelings,

Ancient fears re-visited.

 

Provocative, alluring,

This demonic aria,

Flawlessly proffered

By Nature’s unique gift,

Mary Lake’s loons.

– Eleanor kidd

Butterflies, in delicate dress,

Yellow, orange, ebony tinted,

Dance, weaving flirtatiously

Amongst flower petals

Ablaze in scarlet and lavender

In our sun-drenched garden.

Monarchs and painted ladies

Enticed by the light.

 

Moths, creatures of the night,

Sombre in smoke shades

Of beige, taupe and gray,

Buzz, bump and batter

Against glassed panes,

Yearning for the light.

 

People, diverse ages and origins,

All together but separate,

Gathered on a subway platform,

Eyes shifting to the dark tunnel

Expectant—-

Searching for the light.

-Eleanor Kidd-

Note that a collection of Eleanor’s poems is available for purchase in Jamieson’s General store in Port Sydney

Tiny insatiable creations of nature
Driven to pierce mercilessly
All bare flesh;
Fussiness is not an issue,
Delicate nips blossom
Into lingering itchy welts
Plaguing the victim
By day and night.

Mosquitoes whine,
Black flies are visible,
But, no-see-ums,
Lillipution fiends of the insect world,
Defy all competition.

So spray, swat and swear,
Do the arm waving dance,
Too bad, you lose, no contest;
Bloody-minded and vicious,
Gnats are the champions,
Black Belts of the South.

Eleanor Kidd, Port Sydney

Across the rippling lake,
Beyond the island necklace,
Rising imperiously over manicured hills,
Cascades of billowing clouds drift,
Sun-dipped to slate shades commingle
Creating shifting phantom shapes
Or bodies in postures of repose,
Allowing mortal thoughts to float,
A fleeting escape from reality
And day-to-day anxieties
That ambush and snare our dreams.

Eleanor Kidd, Port Sydney

It’s late and I sit alone
Staring at the blackness,
Window image staring back
As frigid gusts howl and roar.
Streamers of snow slash by,
Tree branches whip violently,
Autumn’s leftover leaves
Surrender, swirling madly
Down and up and away.
Squirrels and chickadees
Cling to their shelters
And one another.
Spring has disappeared.
And so I wait, listen and stare,
Water tanks filled,
Candles and oil lamps ready
For the inevitable.

-Eleanor Kidd

Coal-black, sleek, cackling titans,
Foreboding, demonic and dark
Edgar Allen Poe’s fond familiars;
But—those aren’t our ravens, oh no
Muskoka’s are practical jokers
Bursting garbage bags with ease
Willful, comedic tricksters
Partaking of gourmet delights
While scattering the odorous rest
For all with less delicate palates:
Bears, mice, skunks and—Thelma,
The welfare bum’s hound.

Their secret, coded messages
In endless variety and volume
Echo through the trees
Imitating and confusing
Bluejays, crows and, yes, Thelma,
The twanging guitarist’s hound.

Top gun fliers, dauntless and bold,
Swoop and swerve, narrowly missing
Tree trunks, branches, hydro wires
And, yes, Thelma,
The irritating neighbour’s hound.

Over the cliff they loop the loop,
Barrel-roll, dive and coast,
The Red Baron, no match, whatever
For these Olympian fliers.

Chief Raven, half a beak missing
Hell’s Angel of the bird domain
Spots Thelma and her dead-beat pal
Out for an evening stroll.
Cawing raucously, he plummets—
Plopping capriciously
On our irritant’s bare head
Copious dog dung, flat and frozen.
Just imagine the rest!

So, to savour poetic justice,
Raise your glasses high,
To our jaunty cliff-dwellers,
Pugnacious, daring and wild.

  • Eleanor Kidd

The vista unfolds before me
A familiar, though ever-changing picture
Viewed once again from my comfortable niche.
At ease, I sit, pillow surrounded,
Contemplating reflectively
On fall’s stealthy intrusion into this scene,

Albeit early.

Chipmunks and squirrels, legs spinning, lawn ornament style
Cheeks acorn-stuffed, frantically build their winter stocks,

While jays squawk and hawks soar,
Ravens pillage garbage treats, nonchalance inborn;

Hummingbirds sensing winter,
Have taken off in a blur of wings
For southern comfort.
The maples and oaks, flame red
Or patterned in shades of yellow,
Proffer a vibrant palette.
The last hurrah,
Before leaves, wind-driven,
Reluctantly abandon their perches,
Drifting in a death spiral to cover the ground
In a bizarre patchwork quilt, wrinkled in places
As leaves, crisping, curl upwards
Reaching vainly for that comforting, secure branch.
The distant hills draped in a mantle of vermillion and russet

Mock the deep green pines

Who will patiently wait to enjoy an ironic chuckle
When those most brilliant turn stark and grey

As the cold deepens.

Crickets and grasshoppers sing their final arias
To the virtuoso accompaniment
Of leaf blowers bellowing,
Rakes scratching or scraping,

And smouldering fires exuding pungent, leafy scents.

As autumn captures centre stage,
Nature’s plan flows on,
A lingering reminder of our transitory role
In Life’s grand scheme.

Eleanor Kidd

A murky veil blurs the hills
Shades of gray depress the sky
Mary Lake lies still, leaden,
Islands squat dismally,
While sodden leaves, drooping
Absorb this wearisome deluge.

Hanging from the glistening rail,
Shiny droplets lose their tenuous grip;
Petunias in baskets, slump, defeated,
Deck flooring shines wax-like,
Birds, animals and bugs
Hunker down and wait
For a glimpse of sun
As do I!

Eleanor Kidd, Port Sydney