My Great Grandpa built boats for a living
Names that you likely would recognize
I didn’t notice that when I was small
He was the Grandpa who carved me toys

Summers in the boathouse at Scott’s Bay
Tales of brigs, schooners and barques
He crafted wonder from words and wood
Gifted me an imagination uncharted

Swashbucklers, sea monsters and mermaids
In mirrored boxes, with waves of plaster
Miniature craft of such exquisite detail
He wove tales of pirates, adventure and disaster

I wonder, when people look at his handwork
Displayed so pristinely in museums
Do they feel the magic that’s held inside
And see the treasure charts to dreams

~ kei
Sometime in 2012

Built at Scott's Bay, NS by Harris Thorpe (and many others)

Other ships were also built in the Lockhart Shipyard by other builders include the ‘Huntley’, a four-masted Schooner of 600 gross tons. Built in 1918 by James Harris Thorpe.

The Huntley was the last ship to be built in Scott’s Bay, Nova Scotia.

History of the mills and shipyards in Scott’s Bay. Great Grandpa’s schooner’s are listed here.

The Watchers ~ One

I was so deep in my own thoughts that the shove, when it came, sent me stumbling.

That’s another thing I really dislike about Michael, besides the fact that he can be a pompous arse. He roughhouses like a highschool jock sometimes. I think he forgets that I’m a girl, something else that he just can’t seem to wrap his head around. Besides, my shoulders still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.

As I was pushing gingerly up off my knees to stand, I could hear Gabe saying “Mike, leave her alone.” Gabe’s voice really is like music to the ears. You may have read that and wondered, but it’s true. He’s often followed around by a little posse of the Chers, they add harmonies, fills and do-wop kinds of backing vocals; annoys hell out of me.

“Turn that frown upside down Nefil Nettie! It’s not like you have to do really hard work.” I turned slowly to look at Mike, biting my lip hard. I was trying to stop from showing how much my shoulder hurt, and to clamp down on the tears that threatened to spill over.

“Leave me alone Michael”, the words were barely out of my mouth before he came back with his favourite line, “I don’t know why they bother letting you back, there’s no use sending halfbreeds to do this work.” Gabe, who is like the big brother I never had, interjected with “Mike, seriously. You are such a jerk. Back off”. Mike’s response was another typical one, he shoved Gabe’s shoulder and said “Make me.” They are like brothers, all of them are, but these two in particular.

I think Michael was caught off guard by the tackle. He’s really oblivious to how much he sounds like an arrogant jerk or when people have had enough. I love Gabriel. He doesn’t have to but he tries to understand what we’re all about and he’s always willing to go to bat for me with Michael. I think that’s because Gabe knows who my Mother was.

Watching the two guys rolling around, wrestling in a way that looked like it could become serious if someone didn’t referee; I wished he’d tell me.

~ kei
23 November 2013

To Be Continued…


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The coyote is back again today…

When I stepped outside this morning, I could see him, paws on chin, watching me from the grassy hillocks several yards away. He’s becoming bolder everyday it seems. Perhaps because he watched the day that Okwaho left and he knows I’m alone.

As much as I can, I keep to my normal routine, even though its become harder with this big belly of mine. I always step outside to welcome the new day as soon as dawn breaks and I don’t want coyote to sense that I fear. I do feel fear though. I think all of the Creator’s children in this hot, dry part of the plains are fearful now.

I’ve been hungry before but not like this summer. No snow in the winter, no rain in the spring… finding water fit to drink has become  a near impossible task.

Water is the only reason that Okwaho consented to leave me and our soon-to-arrive first born. He left, on foot, 6 days ago. Walking because some days before, we’d had to let Horse go to seek water.

Coyote showed up the morning of my second day alone. He waits and watches. His ribs are showing a little too, just like Okwaho’s do and there is an intensity in his gaze that causes prickles down my back. We sit, both of us looking at each other across the dust that separates his grassy retreat from my place in the shade outside our wigwam.

He with his paws crossed in front of him, me with my hands crossed over my belly.

Watching the sky for rain, watching for Okwaho, watching Coyote watch me…

Published in A Grain Of Truth~ Book One, by Karin Bole Tupper

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When I last saw Evan Dancing Boy, he was standing still…

He stood on the thin strip of grass between the children’s playground and the gravel strewn access road to the highway. He was staring, enraptured by the firefly like burn of the sparkler he held in his hand.
Evan Dancing Boy… He truly did dance everywhere. Or skip, in that blissfully unselfconscious way that little boys are allowed when they are small, and before the world wants children to be bound by definitions and not to be just children.
Such a beautiful child. Big brown eyes like his daddy and his hair past his shoulders but blonde, like his Mama’s, my sister-in-law. I had braided his bangs to keep them off his face in the hot summer sun. He loved his auntie, we danced together often that weekend. He would run up to me, smiling his heartbreaker-in-training smile, grab my hand in his small, still toddler pudgy hand; “Dance with me Kateri”!
On the last evening of pow wow, as dusk was giving way to full dark, we brought out marshmallows and sparklers for the children. We all of us round the fire that night, family and friends, a large group, were sunshine and happiness tired. Content in a successful sharing. The children ran about, tumbling through the open spaces of the campground, in and around the tents, camper vans and the playground.
I lit sparklers along with some of the other aunties and uncles and handed them to our kids. Evan’s eyes went wide when he took his. “Like fireflies Kateri”! He said with excitement and reverence. I watched with affection, as he danced and skipped away, waving the sparkler.
Scant moments later, I turned to look and saw that he stood stalk still, further than he should be and staring into the woods just beyond the campground. His sparkler still sputtered in his hand.
“Evan! Come see your auntie”! I called but he seemed oblivious and a snake stirred in my belly as I watched the sparkler, dying now, fall from his hand and the blackness swallow up his little frame.
I started to walk, then run as the snake squirmed but when I came to the spot where he’d stood; I could see he was gone.
Only the red hot tip of the sparkler in the grass, showed that anyone had stood here in the last few moments…

~ kei

kateri darkwolf

Every Picture Tells A Story XIV ~ The Runaway

Standing at the bottom of the stairs and looking up at the door. His door. His home.
She felt the strength run out of her legs. What on earth had she been thinking to come here?
A wave of nausea caught her along with the rush of adrenaline. She looked around her wildly for somewhere to bolt to; anywhere, a coffee shop, a park. Somewhere away from here, before he opened the door or pulled into the empty driveway.

She was behaving like a stupid little girl. Stupid. Looked like one too, in her skirt and jean jacket with the fishnets and high top Converse Chucks… dark ringlets in a cloud round her shoulders. From a distance, she still looked young… probably a disappointment to the twenty-something boys who approached her when she was out with friends.

She’d left home the day before, didn’t stop to think, just threw a toothbrush and change of panties in her purse… he’d never seen this side of her, and what was she thinking?!
Why would he want to? Hardly a femme fatale… she’d not even tied up her shoes! He probably wouldn’t recognize her…

Another wave of panic caught her. What if he DID recognize her but was disappointed. What if he just closed the door on her?

It wasn’t something she’d considered before leaving. He had seemed so lonely for her and the quiet sadness in his most recent goodnight phone call, had hurt her heart so badly; and had prompted this headlong rush into probable catastrophe.

It was too late though, she had pressed the doorbell, and this whirlwind of thought had occurred almost before she had pulled back her finger to put her hands in her pockets.
And felt the small cellophane packet nestled there. Her heart sunk a little. Sentimental idiot! Full on terror seemed about to grip her when she heard the sound of cursing coming from behind the closed door. Heard it clearly over the strains of some 80’s band, her ears had registered as she’d walked up the steps.

She took a step back, thinking that running and hiding behind the house would be a great idea. In fact, it seemed the best idea of her life. The cursing had been coming closer to the door, and was that a dog barking too?

Too late. Just as she turned on her heel, ready to make good on her high school sprint record; the door was jerked open and there he stood. Just for a moment though, before quickly lowering a hand to the still barking dog’s collar. “Damn it dog! Shut the hell up!” The dog stopped immediately, looking up at his master, who then winced and shifted his weight, evidence of a stubbed toe…? It appeared he still hadn’t really registered her presence… Growling from his stooped position,; as he peered through a fall of dark hair over his eyes. “Yeah, what do you want?” Not exactly unfriendly but clearly, he’d been interrupted and was not happy about that.

In the few seconds between him finally looking at her and she being able to move her feet forward and pull of her hood; she registered the faded jeans and bare feet, his faded cambric shirt mostly open over his bare chest. He was still trying to button it, crookedly. Oh yes, she’d arrived at a bad time but… Oh God! Her breath caught in her throat to see him. Really see him. And even as she was thinking this, she watched his eyes widen as he finally, really looked at her. The expression on his face was a turmoil of surprise and happiness, as he took a step toward her, raising his arms as he did so and his voice was disbelieving but there was no mistaking the joy and welcome in his voice as he said “Kar”? “Karin, you’re… oh my god! Baby, you’re here!”

He gathered her up in his arms, waltzed her in a circle and dog came outside and danced with them, stepping on his master’s toe and unleashing a small yelp of pain and a laugh at the same time.
Putting his arm round her, he walked her through the door and into the foyer, still smiling at the dog’s antics as he explained, “I heard the bell ring and all my shirts are in the dryer, so I grabbed one to answer the door but the stupid dog – I know you’re not stupid big guy, this as he scratched the dog’s ear affectionately – was messing with one of my shoes and when I tried to step over him, I stubbed my toe and…”

His voice trailed off as he closed the door behind them and he stopped, just looking at her. As the moment spun out, she felt the crinkle in her pocket and pulling out the little bag of jelly beans, held them out and said “I brought these for you. They’re maple sugar flavour” and immediately, she felt like the world’s biggest ten-year old, blushed and looked at the tips of her converse.

His hand was tender, as it tucked a stray curl behind her ear, and cupped her chin to raise her face to his. “My favourite”, he said softly and lowered his mouth to hers…

Every Picture Tells A Story XIV

Didn’t Make The Headline News…

She looked out through the window over the sink at the backyard. The dish in her hand dripped unheeded onto the toe of her sneaker. She saw but didn’t register that autumn was making its mark on her beautifully maintained gardens. Her mind was miles away…

The path grew more rutted as she cycled into the overgrown woods surrounding what had been an apple orchard in the last century. Past the field stone foundation of the old farmhouse, all that remained of the family that once lived here. Just moments later, the path disappeared completely and she was beginning to feel very groggy and loose-limbed.

She stopped pedalling, got off the bike, not dropping it so much as it ceased to exist to het and continued walking into the deepening green. It was like walking underwater, she thought, but even her thoughts didn’t feel like her own anymore. It was like holding a conversation with someone else deep under the waves.

She thought briefly of her two children and her heart gave a squeeze of pain. It floated away though. Like all things did.

Her tears, when they came were few, as she sagged to her knees beside a huge rebel oak at the edge of the apple wood. Far away from where any stray hikers might pass. Quiet. Blessedly, peacefully quiet. So tired, so very tired, she thought. The pills in her gut lurched and she felt the dreamy waves circling round her brain with increasing strength.

The kids would be better off … without her and wasn’t… that sun… beam on her hand… pretty… very pr…

Cináed I

(The King of the Picts, the King of the Celts and Me)

When I was young, wild and free
A beautiful man came to me…

Tall and dark, eyes like the sky
Ask me nary a question, Ill tell nary a lie
He beckoned, I followed
Never thought to ask why

When I was young, wild and free
A beautiful man came to me…

He said, “Lovely One, please tell me your name”
I tried to discern, find the rules to his game
Then he stole a sweet kiss
And he touched off a flame

When I was young, wild and free
A beautiful man came to me…

We ran with the wind, the thunder, the night
With my wilde, black-haired lover, all was all right
Never minded the shackles
That bound my heart tight

When I was young, wild and free
A beautiful man came to me…

Didn’t care for his titles, his castles, or wealth
He won kingdoms by force, my heart with stealth
A touch of his hand,
And I found my true self

When I was young, wild and free
A beautiful man came to me…

As I tell you this now, I am old, Cináed too
But his eyes still reflect Gwendraeth blue
It’s been said Time’s not a friend
I tell you, that is untrue

When I was young, wild and free
A beautiful man came to me…

Friends of your youth, friends always be
One look in his eyes and still I see
Our wild, beautiful selves, together but free
The King of the Picts, the King of the Celts…
Cináed and Me!

(c) KeiB, 11 December 2010

~ English to Welsh translation ~


(Y Brenin y Pictiaid, Brenin y Celtiaid a Fi)

Pan oeddwn yn ifanc, gwyllt ac am ddim
Mae dyn hyfryd ddaeth i fi…

Tal a thywyll, llygaid fel yr awyr
Gofyn i mi nary gwestiwn, Salwch dweud celwydd yn nary
beckoned ef, yr wyf yn dilyn
Peidiwch byth â meddwl i ofyn pam

Pan oeddwn yn ifanc, gwyllt ac am ddim
Mae dyn hyfryd ddaeth i fi…

Dywedodd, “Beautiful One, ddweud wrthyf eich enw”
Ceisiais i ddirnad, dod o hyd i’r rheolau i ei gêm
Yna efe a dwyn melys cusan
Ac efe a gyffyrddodd oddi ar fflam

Pan oeddwn yn ifanc, gwyllt ac am ddim
Mae dyn hyfryd ddaeth i fi…

Rydym yn rhedeg gyda’r gwynt, y taranau, y nos
Gyda fy, cariad Wilde-gwallt du, pob oedd popeth yn iawn
Peidiwch byth â meddwl y shackles
Dyna fy nghalon rhwymo dynn

Pan oeddwn yn ifanc, gwyllt ac am ddim
Mae dyn hyfryd ddaeth i fi…

Peidiwch byth â gofalu am ei teitlau, ei gestyll, neu gyfoeth
Enillodd teyrnasoedd drwy rym, fy nghalon gyda stealth
Mae cyffwrdd ei law,
Ac yr wyf yn gweld fy hun yn wir

Pan oeddwn yn ifanc, gwyllt ac am ddim
Mae dyn hyfryd ddaeth i fi…

Wrth i mi ddweud wrthych hyn yn awr, yr wyf yn hen, rhy Cínaed
Ond mae ei lygaid yn dal Gwendraeth glas
Mae wedi bod yn dweud nad Mae amser ffrind
Yr wyf yn dweud wrthych, fod yn anghywir

Pan oeddwn yn ifanc, gwyllt ac am ddim
Mae dyn hyfryd ddaeth i fi…

Cyfeillion eich ieuenctid, ffrindiau bob amser yn
Fi jyst yn edrych yn ei lygaid, ac yn dal yr wyf yn gweld
Mae ein gwyllt, hunain hardd, at ei gilydd ond rhad ac am ddim
Y Brenin y Pictiaid, Brenin y Celtiaid …Cínaed a Fi!

~ think of it as a rollicking tune to be accompanied by hard cider, clapping hands and the bodhrán ~

Every Picture Tells A Story V

All she wanted was to get the hell out of Dodge. She was pretty sure she could call herself independent but had no way to be sure, she’d never been alone. Not really. She’d always had fantasies about being out on the open road. Came close in the days when she could borrow her cousin’s Kawasaki and race the twisting road up and down Blomidon mountain. She ached for something different, something new, something that would make her feel alive again. She wrote stories about taking off, laughed with her best girlfriend about how they should do a “Thelma & Louise”, took pictures of Camaros and Mustangs at the vintage car show that happened every Tuesday in her neighbourhood. Dreams… she’d passed on getting her driver’s license, had a baby that day instead, never bothered to reschedule. She could imagine how it would be to have someone pull up at work one day. First thing. How she’d be surprised and mildly freaked and wouldn’t hesitate for even a second. Hearing the words “Get in. I don’t know where we’re going, close your eyes and point”. They’d be like that video, child of the wild blue yonder. Top down, flying along miles of highway to anywhere And the destination just wouldn’t matter anyway… as long as they were going together.

The path not taken…

The Reluctant Watcher

I wonder sometimes how it is you have the faith to entrust this beautiful human to my safekeeping.

I thought my days of guardianship had long gone.

I was sure that I was on your chosen place for me now. And yet, here I am in a place that I barely understand.

You have placed this perfectly imperfect gem into my hands. And I am grateful everyday for your faith in me but…

You know I am old, you know the cost of the fall to me.

In knowing, I see the increasing difficulty of my tests. I accept that this must be for me to remain in grace.

In knowing, I still shake my fists as any human. I feel human anger, futility at the bonds placed on me this time.

How will I know what is right? Time is no friend to these skills and weapons once kept so finely honed.

How will I achieve what is that you wish? I am a broken down angel, too long among the banal and mundane of an earthly existence.

Help me with this gift you’ve given me. He is rare, unique, meant for so much, tempered and strong already.

Help me put aside my too human-like failings. I must be strong, live up to my former ideals, my own kind.

In this moment, I wish that I could go home. I am so afraid that I will make a mistake and never see Gabriel or Michael again.

In this moment, I feel the scars down my shoulders and back burn like a brand. I am afraid that his love has become my holy fire.

This man, this paragon among all men, is my charge and my chosen.

This man, your beloved, has returned A Fallen from the frozen.

Avalon Falls

At first, all I could see were my hands, they were broken and bleeding
My dress was thin, silky… torn, bloodied. Why had I not donned my armour?
Freezing. Bewildered, I rose from the ground in the slate grey of morning
The rain was falling in mist and there was smoke in the air, as if from fire
Crying… not much… the nothing of dread I felt inside was eating all my tears
Bending and picking up one rock after another, I began placing them in a pattern
Adrenaline and abject fear made my labours frantic and my thought incoherent
My body, my hands were hurting so bad. Bruised from the inside out
A permanent reminder of  unnecessary battles fought and lost again and again
Walking to a little stream nearby, them in the icy water.Flinched at my bruised visage
When I stood to continue my work, totality of the fire and destruction, struck me.
I saw the rocks and boulders I was trying to put back had once been a castle or keep
The wind blew graveyard dirges through the mist and the smoke… and I was alone
Realization dawned, as I looked down on my longbow, quiver and arrows scattered
The marauders had found us again. We had been breached and this time, they’d won
They had taken down the fortress we had sought to make impervious to any assault
I fell to my knees weeping and in the blood that had never stopped flowing from my wounds
Mortal, I could see and taking their final toll…
I wrote my last words, in my life’s essence on the greatest stone I could find
A warning, a prayer a plea for whomever might find me:

To all who in future may pass this way, looking for fair and blessed Avalon
Should you see these frail bones, feel my loss and weep to see me gone

Heed me well and listen because this tale’s moral too, is the greatest sin
That mighty Avalon, when she fell, had been attacked by those within…