Poetry Niche – May 2024

Gabrielle Blair was  born in Kimberley, South Africa. When she transitioned from being a professional ballet dancer in London England and South Africa, she emigrated to Canada where she taught in various performing Arts Schools in Toronto until retirement. She is married with a son and two grand daughters. Now she spends six months of the year in Ajijic and six in Ontario and Quebec. Her poems reflect the world as she sees it, inspired largely by nature.

Apple Blossom Snow

A sparkling, spring morning, pristine and new,

still as the grave, leaves sprinkled with dew,

Mother and child, with senses so clear,

breath in the scented, mild early air.

They come round a bend – its majesty unquestioned,

stands the tree, all adorned, with branches festooned.

Still nothing has stirred,

as they stare in a trance.

Then coming from nowhere,

as if waiting His chance,

the Maestro, mysterious,

with unseen command, raises His baton –

the tree moves to His hand,.

Branches, laden and heavy with petals like snow,

quiver then heave their gift to bestow

on our mother and child, who gasp, stand in thrall,

beneath blossom snowflakes,

fingers staying their fall.



I leave deep imprints in the moist and mossy path,

sprung cushion to my shoeless feet.

Cat-like I pad across the forest floor,

my footfalls beat a rhythmic thud,

percussion sounds from snapping twigs.

Once through the trees,

I tread towards the wind-free bay

where pungent herbs crushed under foot

perfume the air with aromatic scent.

My footprints left on grainy, grey-brown beach

are soon erased by billowing stormy waves.

I cross the ancient, glacier-rounded rock

to dip my feet ni crystal pools

where once a baby falcon bathed.

Rough beneath my unaccustomed city soles,

I step with caution over spniy stone,

fossil-filled and flecked with snowy quartz.

Then like an otter, slip into the cool, clear amber-colored lake

and let the bottom’s muddy ooze squeeze up between my toes.


Good Morning Misery!

Damn those crowing roosters, celebrating peeking light!

Those wretched hungry dogs whining for absent owners,

with their incessant soprano and baritone barks.

The charging morning seeks out the cracks in bedroom blinds

to blind with sheering brightness

the aching eyeballs of a sleepless night.

The Sierra mountain’s purple folds

like frowning brows sulk down on me.

The burgeoning day receives no welcome.

I am glum.

I had forgotten our appointment when the doorbell rings –

a Mexican smile and the mountain sings.

And then the miracle!

Apurple gift lies on the dewy cobbles:

a jacaranda blossom that’s escaped the Winter cool.

I think it is a harbinger of Spring.


Horse Play

When we were little, life one long day,

We’d play at horses, whinny and neigh.

Galloping, cantering, ‘cross white hot sand,

Barefoot we’d race til unable to stand,

We’d leap in the ocean, ice cold and raw,

Rush back to the sand, then the breakers once more.

Hopping and leaping over rock pools – what pleasure,

Filling buckets with starfish, shells and sea treasure.

Then trotting back home, sun-burnt and hungry,

We hadn’t been missed and no one was angry!

The years take their toll, now the trot is an amble.

I smile when remembering the two of us scramble

Over rocks, glassy pools, in the African sun,

And I’m glad we played horses when running was fun.



Soft glow illuminates.

Deep shadows hint of things unseen.

Objects by day mundane

transform by night with magic touch.

I trim the wick, observe the ritual of the setting sun.

No flick of switch to offer instant blinding light,

but flickering flame gives grace to darkness

and a blessing on the coming gift of rest.


Larry Of The Bingo

Larry’s gone! His desk outside her office door is empty.

Eighteen years a fixture at the bingo hall –

Now he’s gone and left a hole.

She’d climb the stairs past ‘Maintenance’ – his tools and ladders,

of her window-less office, then listen for his shuffling steps.

Seventy-seven years, white hair, he didn’t look his age,

he’d fix her with his steady gaze then give the ritual greeting:

“Nice of you to show up! Plan on doing nothin’ today?”

They’d chat politics, sports, baseball or last night’s hockey game.

Salt-of-the-earth, he had advice on everything:

“Raccoons’ gnawed through my plastic composter,” she said.

“Chicken wire’ll do the trick,” he said.

She locked herself out of the office

He picked the lock.

They’d seen him looking il, long bout of flu, ashen faced.

Said he was just tired, and now his desk is bare.

She misses his uniform – the purple ‘Delta Bingo’ shirt,

his gruff humor: “She does nothing! Never gets to work!”

Now who will rag on her?

Acted like the bastard, trailer park trash – but he wasn’t.

Everyone knew she was his favorite, as he was hers.

He touched a lot of them …

With Larry gone, ‘the bingo’s’ not the same.


Simple Joy


energy flows harmoniously.

Utter joy.

So little needed.

Gentle camaraderie, laughter, friendly teasing.

A meal, a candle and kind word.

Recognition. No fuss.

“Moment stay, thou art so fair!”

The day has come and gone.

That’s all.

I am content.


Tea And Talk

Let’s meet for tea and talk we said

Tea cup brushes lips, absently we sip.

The fork-speared chocolate meringue forgotten,

eye to focused – we talk.

Heartfelt thoughts pour out,

empathy and advice flow ferry,

friendship affirmed,

female bonding over tea and talk,

precious camaraderie,

life’s travails unburdened,

sorrow’s shadows shared,

load lightened with a laugh.

Let’s meet again soon for tea and talk

The Guitarist

Enfolded, resting in his lap,

his body molds to fit her shape.

Eyes shut, he listens to her sounds,

invokes the muse to guide his hands.

Holding her with firm embrace,

he plucks and teases out her chords,

like lover grooming knotty braids.

Fleet fingers putter over wood,

then shock with smacking palm –

an echoing drum!

A change of mood and gentle touch

recall gurgling brook and lullaby.

On bolder note, evoking Spain,

he strums Flamenco’s rhythms strange.

The final chord, languid, sustained,

lingers, touching somewhere deep:

memories of Granada and Alhambra nights,

of castanets and wild heel beats,

the smell of fires and past romance,

a warm embrace and sensuous touch.


A Magic Garden

Behind our house I hear them

little girls who laugh and scream

playing at house around a spindly pomegranate tree.

Rusty metal chairs and bench with tiles arranged as seats;

a bicycle wheel for table-top, they serve pretend meals,

unperturbed by the mess around them.

A self-sown, enormous prickly pear

occupies one corner of this wretched yard piled with junk:

an abandoned naked doll with dusty mop of hair,

folded patio umbrellas without stands,

tipped metal drums, rumpled tarpaulins,

plastic bottles everywhere –

a pack-rat’s collection of useless rubbish.

It’s Christmas!

A small fake tree with baubles

adds festivity to their little space

where, oblivious to the chaos

the smell of chickens cooped or roaming free,

a child’s imagination has made of this disorder

a magic garden.


For more information about Lake Chapala visit: chapala.com

Mel Goldberg
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