Archive for the Category Poems with Port




Shutters never closed;

sunrise-white curtains

cut the dazzle of first light.


sun on our backs

down to and up from

the village.


sun sautes,

tans us to gold.


sunset skies

help us ignore the chill.

Festival of stars and

phases of the moon

accompany our nightcaps.

Shutters still open

Last sight

amber lights

ascend to mountain villas.


Took a bus to Lisbon

early Sunday morning.

Toured the world-class city

And palaces of kings,

Verdant gardens, and boulevards–

Imitations of opulence

on the Champs Elysee

or  Versailles.

Portuguese splendour, however, a very poor cousin.

Rossi Square, the tramway, the Funicular,

The walking streets, the Fado Club,

The nocturnal , downtown taxi ride

Serve the city better.

Made a stop at Sintra.

What a difference here!

Driving up the mountains,

our bus squeezes by

the rambling gypsy market.

Glimpsing gracious dwellings

among flowering trees

on slopes


Stopping at a café

with a blossoming

pink magnolia,

tasting almond pastries,

sipping good white wine—

giddy with joy.

Through the village,

exploring quaint shops,

taking in

the royal summer palace,

savouring sights

of blue Azulejos-tiled walls

in glorious living and dining rooms

(luxurious, but not excessive),

glancing up to see the

Moorish fortress wall

crowning the village,

Looking everywhere—


Driving back to the Algarve,

Sintra is gleaming still,

Estoril beaches are shimmering with spring,

And even Lisbon has its charms.

Through the windows of the bus,

darkening Algarvian countryside–

with its orange groves and corktree farms,

its rice fields and the vineyards—

naturally presenting itself

to heavy eyes

at the end of our day.

A sadness slides through

the windows of the bus:

the people desert the vineyards;

the people are emptying

the countryside

taking the bus to Lisbon

early in the morning.


From our sundeck

we face North Africa.

The head defines the major gap.

Eons ago, teutonic plates shifted,

separated Africa from Europe.

But the Sahara feels so close

when the sun

in the morning

warms us from curling toes

to the hair on our heads.

Our eyes even believe they see

the African coast—

not just a cruise ship

traversing the horizon.


the man in Silves

at the fossil shop

offers much to think about.

His shop full of fossils from Africa,

from the Sahara Desert

where the sands used to rest

2000 feet below water,

where fossils had been cast up

the effluence

of volcanic


The fossil man from Silves

has made a life of searching

for these pieces from the past.

He skillfully cuts open



like big round seashells—

Amethyst inside.

He diligently polishes



caught in volcanic flow

in a vertical school.

He rubs so hard

the skeletal


of the fish

leap white

from the

black onyx


Perhaps it is the fossil man

who makes us feel the nearness of Africa.

A lifetime spent

sailing between the Algarve and Morroco;

winning the trust of Africans who see him

as a brother in love with their fossils;

and he respecting their knowing

where to take him hunting,

their helping him return his findings

so he can make


for the world.

Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal



Facing Carvoeiro

from the Atlantic

at sunrise,

the village looks like

a huge birthday cake—

one slice already eaten.

Chimney-top candles

count a thousand years;

white-icing houses top

a golden layered cake.

Carnivale time

on Shrove Tuesday


the spirit of this

ancient fishing village.

Children and teens,

dressed as brides and devils and angels,

remind us of Halloween,

the autumnal blend of

pagan and Christian customs.

Winter visitors

like butterflies from Madeira

flutter to shops and cafes.

Canadian ones

At Smiler’s


in marvelous numbers

sharing stories,

helpful hints,

touching base.

When sun sets

in the Atlantic,

the village is a haven

holding the heat of the Portugal sun,

hosting visitors at dinner or drink,

housing everyone for one more scene

of miraculous serenity:

In cosy comfort

on our balcony,

we check out vermilion skies,

the rising moon,

the crystal-clear constellations.

Fireplace smells

remind us of winter at home

for one second.

Then amber lights replace

birthday candles

for the night.

Mornings in the Algarve

Waking to see


every day:


Listening to


with eyes closed

on the sundeck:


Feeling the

sun rays


skin and bones:


Smelling sea salt

tasting oranges

hearing waves fall

embracing the heat:



In Ottawa

it’s Winterlude;


it’s Carnivale.

At home,

cold blasts as

I squeeze out the door

for the papers.

Coffee on,

we read the news.

In Portugal,

we read the village,

the tide at the beach,

the clouds. The news:

Clouds have cleared out;

sun bathes the village.

On the mountain,

we hear a workman’s hammer

bang the message from the village:

The sun is here to stay.

Dawning sunlight


the west side of the steep slope

of the fishing village;

painting a collage of

white and green;


the beach has more bars

than bait sheds and

more sitters than fishers.

In Ottawa,

few people we know

show themselves

in the snow and the cold.

they huddle inside

or they jump in their cars




In Carvoeiro,

people walk their dogs down

to the village

or bask in the morning sun

or open shops for the day.

Someone kind phones to welcome us,

neighbours watch the parade with us,

another neighbor invites us to visit.

Thursday at Smiler’s

is Canada Day:

red wine, cold beer, and company,

talking about eating and sightseeing,

moments of laughter and cheerful chatter,

challenging one another on the Canada Quiz,

new acquaintances from across our land

winter in the Algarve

finding their respite

from the ice and the snow.