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Madelaine Shaw-Wong



A Gift from my Father

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (5)

My bookshelf looms

Holding many stories

The imaginings of many writers

I reach my hand

Touch the cool covers

Smooth and familiar

My old friends and companions

My father gave me this book

A History of Alberta

I remember his face

Calm disposition

The way he spoke

The way he listened

Read this, he said

Tell me what you think

His hand warm

I put it on the bookshelf

And there it stayed

I have yet to read it

Now it’s too late

My father is dead

Photo albums

With their puffy, plastic covers

Much handled, much loved

Spines broken

I open to the pages of my childhood

The home where I grew up

My sisters and brothers

So long ago

My teenaged friendships

Giggling and whispering

A photo of my father

He is smiling

I know he forgives me

He encouraged me

When the world beat me down

He knew I needed to be stronger

I am shy, like he was

I take down the book

Sit on the floor

Flip pages of text and photos

The laying of the railroad

The First Nations people

Looking sad and confused

Calgary one hundred years ago

Dark and barren

The World Wars

Black and white misty images

Dead soldiers splayed on battle fields

Oil rigs

A hope for the future

I hear my father’s voice

Telling me stories of long ago

His voice

Deep and soothing

I turn to page one

And begin to read

                                                                                                             Dedicated to Albert Shaw 1920 - 1995

My Journey with Cancer

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The medicine that heals me

Makes me sick

My hair falls out in clumps

My brain swirls


A fog that will not lift

I despair

I see fear in my children’s eyes

They suffer also

I’m afraid

Don’t take me from them

Do you hear me?

I cry out in anger

This is wrong!

Do I deserve to suffer?

Help me understand

You know me

You know my heart

Truth will set me free

I don’t know what that means

You live in eternity

We live in time

You created the universe from nothing

 And saw that it was good

You did not create suffering

We rebelled

And fell from grace

You suffered

Showing us the horror


Suffering points to the evil of sin

To the evil one

Your innocence

You could have called on the angels

But did not resist

Your suffering



Help me

What can I do?

Can I trust You?

Put your yoke upon my shoulders

Take up my cross

So that with You

My suffering will be redemptive

You are all-knowing

I submit to Your will

I trust You

Not passive acceptance

But a struggle

I fight for my children

Against the evil

That brought this illness into my body

And into my home

I ask again

And again for strength

So like Job

I can honour You with prayer

A powerful weapon

Against hopelessness



Understanding Suffering

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (1)

At the sound of His voice

Winds subside

Be still


Have faith

We are wounded


The cross


Our joy


A thing of beauty

Hope will not disappoint

Understand suffering?

Our minds are too weak

Understand His promise?

Our hearts are too hard

Set me free

I'm foolish

Slow of heart to believe


Memories of Mexico

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sudden sunrise

Sleep drenched tourists

Push worries away

Long for a taste of heaven

Middle-aged matrons

Hanging flesh and sagging breasts

Walk the shore with pot-bellied husbands

Thin legs prop up round torsos

Constant breeze

Sand crabs roll onto shore

Pelicans drift and dive

White albatross floats on ocean breezes

Conserves her energy for long voyages

Then alights


A belly full of fish for heryoung

Web-footed birds

Sharp beaks and piercing cries

Scrounge for scraps

Desperate locals wait at locked gates

Hungry eyes

Any job openings?

He is the lucky one

His tips buy the rice

To feed his children

With supplicating manner

He sets a drink before the tourist


He takes the coin

My pleasure to serve you

This is the chant of the disenchanted