The Ontario Poetry Society
- Presents The 2020 Ted Plantos Memorial Award Winner -

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Members' Poetry


Ted Plantos






Jerry Jordison

Here are a few words of praise for his poetry:

We who are baby boomers sometimes say in tones of lamentation "whatever happened to the hippies of the nineteen sixties?"
We look to that generation of young people born into the age of aquarius dedicated to peace and love, and wonder why so many
contemporary elders have morphed into pensioners watching their stocks and bonds with two wet eyes on the money.
Well, one latter day hippie reminds us "we're still here, and we're still dedicated to the same ideals." One latter day hippie has become
a poet. Like all of his generation, this poet is experiencing the loss of his parents, but he still keeps the flame of idealism and love of
music alive, albeit from the vantage point of his armchair. Anyone who keeps hope alive and writes poems to fan the flame is alright by me.
I wholeheartedly and without equivocation endorse Jerry Jordison as this year's recipient of the Ted Plantos Memorial Award.

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

Poems by Jerry Jordison

This Moment

My father is dying.

For nearly nine decades
The sun hardened his body.
Working in the lumber camps,
Chopping wood, pounding nails,
The trees knew his name.
I arrived, alone.
Walked into his bedroom,
Squeezed his big gnarled hand.
He squeezed back.
I've come to say I love you.
His eyes acknowledged mine,
And he leaves.

I stand silent,
Knowing he had waited for this moment.

Canoe and the Camera

I was enjoying the meander.
Drifting down the lazy river,
Soaking up the sun and sounds,
And the scent of forest in the air;
Unaware of time and place,
Merging with the soul of nature.

A moose splashed the water.
Alerted I grabbed my camera,
Fiddled with the on switch,
Searched for the zoom,
Pointed in the direction of the moose
Only to see the swaying trees
Engulfing the majestic creature.

My senses missed the total experience.
In my rush to capture a 2-D image
Frustration pulled me from life.

I allowed technology to rob me
Of the beauty and essence of nature.


Armchair Hippie

I was an armchair hippie
During the war in 'Nam.
I read Time and Life.
I cheered Ruban
And was awed by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert.
My hair was long.
I made peace symbols in the snow.
Inuits, back from school in the south,
Shared their hash with me.
Friends grew the weed
In grandma's flower pot,
And made brownies during the dark-less nights.
I protested pollution in the Northwest Territories,
And wrote to Trudeau;
And wrote words of wisdom:
I shot an arrow in the air
And it stayed there.
   Unwrap the parcel of water,
   Keep the stamps,
   And drink it.
Peal a million Balloons
And breath the fresh air.
Psychedelic man!
During my programmed holidays I bought music:
Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel,
Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd.
I dug it!
I wore bell-bottoms, painted T-shirts,
Bought incense and black candles.
During the winter we would fondue
With wisps of smoke entwining our noses.
I was at Woodstock-in my head--
Sliding in the mud,
Number nine, number nine.
My stereo never stopped:
Country Joe and the Fish.
Far-out man!


Armchair Hippies - Sequel

As I age
Sitting in my armchair,
I think about the hippie sixties-
Much more than beads and drugs,
A time of great psychic change.

The revolution saved thousand of lives-
Stopping the dissolute war in Nam.

Ecological consciousness shifted then-
Rachel Carson, energetic youth, we needed you
To escape from the ignorance of the fifties.

The church invoked power-
"Produce a baby a year."
"Masturbation is a sin."
"Women are subservient to men."

Religion controlled our morals-
Dogma, rituals, rules, fear.
The sixties changed that.
Hippies discovered spirituality-
Sure, it started with drugs,
But it ended with meditation.

I'm thankful for them.
They cut the strings of oppression
And set us free.
Religion, as we know it, will die
A new world will evolve,
And it all started with the hippies
In the sixties.

Sun Dance

From sun-up to sun-down
we dance to the beat of the drum.
Focused on the Creator
we cry for vision.

Four days we fast-no food, no water.
Four days we commit ourselves to the dance.
The hot summer sun blisters our skin.

We smudge with cedar to purify-
offer tobacco to the buffalo for strength,
to the Eagle for spiritual endurance.

Every day a few people drop out-
the heat, the thirst, overpower us.
Someone's dry heaving over there.
To my right, somebody's crying.

On the second and third day some pierce:
insert wooden dowels through their skin,
tied by thongs to the Creator-tree.
The skin rips and with it his problem-

On the fourth day some choose to drag:
pierce the back, and with long thongs
drag buffalo skulls over the ground.
The skin ruptures
and his intent is accomplished-
life for a dying sister.

Each summer at full moon
in the traditional Native way,
the people worship:
searching for vision-a direction in life,
enduring pain to overcome personal problems.

Their customs are foreign to our eyes.
Yet, not so different from what we did-
sacrificing upon the cross;
pilgrimages on bleeding knees.

I experienced the Sun Dance.
I felt honored and loved,
but I had expected joy and revelations,
(not doubt and confusion).
Why do we feel we need to suffer-
believing that our suffering will free us,
or save others-
when Great Spirit loves us all?

Angels, Devas and Gnomes

There is more in this world than we can see,
'Cause we're all tuned to the same frequency.
Our truths exist only in our vibration.
Our essence is only our perception.

Our eyes are tuned to the white light spectrum.
There are colours that we can't imagine.
Our hearing has chosen a narrow band.
There are worlds that we cannot understand.

There are realms within realms out there,
Which only a few people are aware.
The inner realms have been given names
Astral, causal, etheric and soul planes.

Within these planes other life forms exist.
I want to tell you a few on the list.
Angels, cherubs, devas, fairies and gnomes
Are a few that are not very well known.

Children see them play and dance in the trees.
Gurus and Sages talk to them with ease.
The devas provide life to our gardens.
The angels guide us to ease our burdens.

They're all real and a part of the One.
Working together towards perfection.
We are all Spirit learning together...
Sharing, helping and teaching each other.

Angels, devas and gnomes
Are as real as our own... physical reality.
Astral, causal and soul
Are beyond how we know... physical reality.

Integrity is a Handicap

I was raised to tell the truth,
To be honest and fair.
I would tell the teller
If given too much change.

My ethics prevented me
From cheating on exams.
My friendships were honest,
Relationships open.

Today young people tell me
How they sneak into movies,
Shoplift candies and pens,
Download music for free,
All with a smile on their faces
And pride in their voices.

Buying curriculum essays
Is easy on the Internet.
Embellishing the truth
Is expected on date sites.
Politicians make promises
They don't keep.
Stores guarantee products
That break after a week.

Many of these people
Are envied in life,
With careers, big money,
Big cars, big homes.

My life remains mediocre
Because my
Integrity is a handicap.

I Forgive Them Too

"You have anger issues with your father,"
The intuitive doctor diagnosed.
"To cure your neck problem,
You must seek the cause of your rage."

"I want you to beat your pillow,
Scream at the top of your lungs,
Express your resentment
And work it out."

I walked to the backfield,
Away from houses and people.
It was a frosty autumn day.
I stood there and screamed.
I yelled my father's name.
I swore at what he did to me.
Tears erupted. Nose ran.

I rejected his values.
Out of fear of confrontation
I didn't tell him-I let it fester.
I blamed him for limits on my freedom.
We didn't discuss things-anger grew.

Then it hit me...
It's not my dad's fault I feel this way.
His intent was not to hurt me.
He was taught not to express love,
Not to talk about sexuality,
To fear the Lord, don't rock the boat.
His culture, taught him what he knew.
He passed his 'wisdom' to his children.

Break through!
Society is to be blamed for my anger.
"I forgive you Dad."
Except society has been immersed
In two thousand year-old values.
Religion is responsible,
But man invented religion
For they know not what they do.
I forgive them too.

My neck feels better.

Grand Canyon

Raven guided me to this spot-
flying along the cliffs as I approached,
tree-sitting, waiting while I dined.

I'm five thousand feet above the river.
A whole day to climb down to the Colorado,
or I can fly.

I've chosen the Fleet-80 first.
A three-sixty check, nose in the wind,
full throttle, stick back-Earth-free!
Level off over the canyon-
instantly I'm five thousand feet in the air-
set trim for gradual dive.
I gasp at the intense red rocks,
and speckles of trees.
I inhale the pinion pines, ponderosa pines.
Mesquite send giggles-through my nose.
Clear air - blue sky with just a wisp of cirrus.
Level off, tip to the left.
Red buttes jut up at me,
pointing to Raven overhead.
My ears begin to pop.
Banking right to follow the river-
a green anxious ribbon, foaming at its bends-
I see seven mules carrying their passengers
laboriously for the hundredth time,
plodding along their narrow, switch-back path.
I fly closer to the canyon walls
beholding cotton and juniper trees,
ground squirrels, and mountain goats.
That earth-cave, over there, is pre-Hopi.
Millions of years for the Colorado to dig this ditch,
and here I am at this point in time.
What will it be like in another million?
Will reincarnation allow me to see it then?

The Fleet centers on the Colorado-
too narrow for a landing.
I'll follow her beauty until I ascend.

I'm off again on a hand glider,
soaring with Raven...
Her real beauty is in the silence.



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