The Ontario Poetry Society
- Presents The 2018 Ted Plantos Memorial Award Winner -

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Members' Poetry


Ted Plantos






Owen Wagg

His lyric poems are beautifully descriptive. I most especially enjoyed Loosen Winter's Hold, a three page poem capturing
the activity at a winter bird feeder, sustaining the reader's interest throughout with the
lovely simplicity of his vivid language.
I also enjoyed "The Frost that Stings" describing a walk in a frosted
over landscape.

- John B. Lee, Poet Laureate, Brantford, & Poet Laureate, Norfolk County.

Poems by Owen Wagg


Windblown leaves make music
Like an obedient rustling orchestra,
onstantly changing with the wind's tempo.
Once the wind-wafted symphony is done,
The wind's wiffled instruments hang limp,
Unable to entertain in their windy musical incline.
Until the next gusty conductor puffs along
To begin the next whirlwind melodic blow.

The Frost That Stings

A tender line upon the western red;
The far off city towered and roofed in blue,
Gives off a illuminant haze
That seems to have power over
The stars that singly, then in flocks appear,
Like jets of silver from the violet dome.

Trudging along the darkened trail
Silence pervades
The loneliness of this forsaken ground,
That has seen time march along,
For an eternity it seems,
While it remains here.

The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek
Makes me remember that I,
Am indeed still alive out here,
While I see ahead
Across the open fields for miles ahead
The frost yet waiting for me,
Blowing fiercely with bracing intent,
With its hoarfrost fire.

Perhaps I will daydream my way through
That too, which has not happened yet,
As I daydream my way here
Through this same frost.

Once I have walked upon
The rippled sheet of snow where the wind blew,
Turning one cheek after the other,
In steely defiance of its unrelenting blow,
I'm finally triumphantly heading
Towards the city lights
And then the golden moon to light me home?
To Ottawa.





Loosen Winter's Hold

I watch the birds outside, while winter's indifferent winds
With invisible commands
Wave the bird feeder around.

Winter's resolute grip,
Jealously clutches
The land-now snowbound.

The world is under winter's spell,
Fall's demure hinterland
Now blanked out
By the unabridged, snow-cloaked descent.

All things living
Hide now, or hibernate,
Hoping not to be
Singled out
By winter's icy intent.

What could not escape south
Is brought to cessation,
Meekly slipped underground.

This frozen will,
And snappy command,
Now ever so cruel
Brings wind's cold surround.

Frost's icy cosmetician
Paints the window
With ghostly ferns,
Resembling what the garden
Meekly grew fair.

A sharp blow has now
Spread a hoary visage
On all that valiantly
Stood outside,
In hopeful defiance
Of the inevitable.

But all must shake
Against the cold ravages,
Against the havoc wind
That sends unruly snow
Skittering ruthlessly.

Except for me,
And fire-warmed,
Watching acquiescently
In my comfortable chair.

Tree skeletons
Clack and rattle
In the cold wind,
To show the world
They are only frozen,
But not dead.

They are not alone:
Bird's in puffed attire,
Answer empathically,
Meekly seeking shelter
In any leeward haven.

Against cold's brutish measure,
They scan for seeds
From their limbed lookouts.

A bird's lonely speak
Echoes expectantly
High off the ground,
That signals
It's time to begin.

Blue jays in the blue sky
Like feathered kites,
Weave and wobble
Without formation
Descending to the scattered seed.

But the chickadees,
Perching politely
On their own feeder,
Remove one seed at a time,
Then fly off
To begin the process
Of hulling their
Summer-borne snack.

There's plenty to go around.
Donning my parka,
I journey out
With seed supply in hand.
Their patron, I ensure
Their hunger will be appeased.

Braving winter's onslaught,
My face wind-lashed,
I hurry back inside.

The red squirrels
Chase each other around,
tumbling and squeaking
In heated negotiations
Who's the reddest of them all.

My entertainment gone,
I look out over the lake
Locked into hibernation,
Whose once restless waters
Lapped against
The rocky shore.

Now a frozen vista,
Save for wind-blown
Snow-dune patterns
Mimicking the waves
That once roiled
And tossed spray onto the land.

In the distance
Dark clouds come,
Bringing more
Of winter's vengeful,
Smothering bane.

Conifers can
Barely take the added strain,
Bowed and bent,
Slowly rocking
Back and forth
Unable to shed
Their weighty restrain.

Everything sees the sun's brightness,
But barely feel the warmth
That I, and everything else
So desperately needs.

Spring hides somewhere
Out there,
Anticipating its rebound
To loosen winter's hold.

Come forth spring,
To deliver winter's demise,
Not with crashing thunderous
Chaos and calamity
Sure to astound

But with sun's renewed succor
Ensures the transition
With your mighty herald,

- the quiet thawing sound



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Ted Plantos Dedication Page