Thursday, 14 April 2011

" Water Cycles"

Water Cycles

The spring melt is filling low lying niches.
The thaw is seeping to puddles and ditches.
Rivers and lakes flow from the interior.
In watery veins, there's a heavenly mirror.
When the liquid is deep, our vision is deflected.
For light is held on a threshold, reflected.
Air and water often kiss and mingle,
Unified where they cannot remain single.
Evaporation rises, like birds gently winging.
Clouds absorb moisture, and later start wringing.
Rain then drips to the watershed, flowing.
Fluid gathers, whether coming or going.
How dependant we are on this water, sharing.
Within of our bodies, H2O we are carrying.
We drink and pee like the land and the sky.
Water keeps cycling, from the wet to the dry.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Political Unrest

Few know where political unrest will lead,

Especially in Libya, with Gaddafi’s misdeeds.

The internet has power to  start revolutions.

New leaders are rising with varied solutions.

All this is happening as democracies crumble.

World orders no longer strive to be humble.

People have access to so many things,

Both illusion and political power, it seems.

Koran burning in Florida caused riot reactions.

Yet dead Afghan civilians are taken for granted.

Morality, freedom, consumer needs,

There’s a struggle for rights. Sometimes just greed.

Money speaks loudly. Folks are offended.

Balance is fragile and must be defended.

We frantically look for solutions that last.

Then, new mistakes are analyzed and trashed.

Well wishing, compassion and prayerfulness,

Often are lost in powerlessness.

This process is frustrating, like turning stones.

Nothing is perfect. Skill must be honed.

Thought is essential. Revenge is not good.

Be part of solution and knock on wood.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

"Thoughts on Disaster"

Earthquakes rattle.  They put much in limbo.

The horror of this, few things resemble.

Then add a tsunami , re-ravaging Japan,

Moved the country 8 inches. Hard to comprehend.

The stretching of cables, wires and plumbing,

Creating  destruction, with years overcoming.

Infrastructure damage is danger enough,

Leaks of substances, radioactive stuff.

It’s worse than living in the oldest of homes,

Where there’s been no upkeep. Everything groans.  

Death shakes us, warning us to take heed,

With questioning  stretching from sea to sea.

Then there’s the pending nuclear disaster,

Causing anxiety and a need to work faster.

Fall-out in water and the rationing  question,

Discussions on what can provide protection.

The world wonders if we’re safe anymore.

Who do we trust to tell us the score?

Oil spills and radiation threaten  life styles.

Research is needed, with ecological profiles.

Governments must seek and court our trust,

By being forthcoming, honest and tough.


Ellen Van Laar

Batchawana Bay




Thursday, 10 March 2011

How Do You Feel?

You’re not well, feeling beat up and blue?

You may be getting a cold or flu.

Sick to your stomach, dizzy in the head?

I say,  “You’d better go to bed”.


So your stress level’s high. You work too much?

Tension has knotted your head and gut?

Your nerves, on the surface of your skin today?

Are they screaming “ REST!” or they will fray?


Altered cells try to reboot and reply.

Your brain is fried like scrambled egg pie.

You’re stirred in your stomach. Your intestines are lax. 

Your emotions are dormant like unpaid tax.


Absorb new options through your sick haze.

Forget about your mental waves.

Relax until your yuck subsides.

You’ll soon be feeling more alive.




Go to  the hospital, and get poked and charted,

Vulnerable, rattled, packaged and carted.

With your amazing lot of physical symptoms,

They’ll fill you with drugs and electric transmissions.

You’ll look like a robot, a walking computer,

Dancing with nurses, drips and monitors.

They’ll test you with squeezes, tests and clocks,

Keep you awake with needles, buzzes and knocks.

So, please get well soon. Look forward to fun.

You’ll be OK when they are done.



ACTIVITY: Discuss illness and emergency situations with your children. For instance, when should one stay home from school?  When is a hospital visit required?  What are symptoms that constitute the need for a doctor’s care?


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Culture Galore on the Dance Floor

Traditional cultures are hard to retain,

Once homogenized, there are losses and gains.

Last weekend we went to an “Ol’ Timey” dance.

People held hands, circled and pranced.

Seniors, children, folks all got loose.

Together, last Sunday, at the “Moose”.

Algoma Trad hosted Japanese students.

A great welcoming!  and culturally prudent.

This weekend, there’s a “Pow Wow” at Algoma U.

Drop on in.  This was scheduled for you!


Fiddle tunes, pow wows, culture galore,

Quilting, quill work, crafts and more.

Pottery, jewelry, costumes and such.

Sharing old ways unites us, so much!

Celebrate history!  Put conflicts aside!

Community is cultivated with joyous pride. 

Whether Native, Mid-Eastern or Asian,

Festivals include African and Caucasian.

For richness resides in spices and lore.

Each person’s story holds much to explore!


Friday, 25 February 2011

Storm on Lake Superior

Big storms are exciting, awesome, not frightening.
Waves go "thump", they splash and jump.
The sky moves in layers, shifts and wavers.
Snow brushes by, wisps and flies.
Erosive whining, new forms defining.
In the drive, snowdrifts rise.
They have grain, like wood on plane.
Why remove them now? No way, no how.
I must haul wood, not could or should.
Flooding snow has an emerald glow.
Fluid moves ice and makes a new sites.
It re-composites to new hills and pockets.
Storms command the water and land.
I watch and wait, no escape.
Roads are closed. Not everyone knows.
I like creation of ice formation.
You would too, if you could view what I do.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Song for Love

Yes, we sing a song for Love

We suckle sound and taste.

With what’s here and that above,

We dance with what we face.


We’re free to stumble and to leap

In loves reflecting pond.

We still and stir the waters deep,

With the spirit of our bond.


On fruit and meat we daily feed.

Seasons clock our rhythmic breath.

Within each heart, thought and deed,

We birth our lives ‘til death.


Within our frail mortality,

Tears and kisses turn to dust.

We wander towards eternity.

We hold our lives in trust.


What Fills my Cup with Thee?

What fills my cup with thee?

The presence of Love you spill,

Our course of mind and laughter,

Entwined living, feeling filled.


What encompasses me?

Your outstretched heart, say I,

Dancing eyes that reflect and see,

The beauty of  knotted tie.


What stirs my mysteries deep?

What attraction pulls me to you?

Dreams we seek, merging heat,

We mix and meld as two. 


What bonds my soul with thee?

What’s more than yours and mine?

We are fed by a common tree,

And crossed over space and time. 


Thursday, 3 February 2011

"Don't Get Wacky or Whack!"

Anger is healthy if you’re abused,

But often people get violent and rude.

Some learn to verbally defend themselves.

But, conversation can escalate and not go well.

Appropriate reactions are commiseration,

Compassion, and legal separation.

Lashing out can make things worse.

This makes circumstances hard to reverse. 


War, addiction, and mental illness,

Illustrate the need for mental stillness.

But our culture wants virility,  power, and action.

This perpetuates conflict and the forming of factions.

Sometimes there’s nothing that we can do.

We might make things worse by stirring the stew.

When we try to solve problems overseas.

We ‘re held in suspicion for motives and greed.


Folks are sometimes attracted to fights.

They get in-between. They just want what’s right.

Most often they end up as  another “bad guy”.

A gun makes them look like a thug or a spy.

So let this be a cautionary warning-

Sit still. Watch reactions that you are forming.

Be contemplative if verbally attacked.

Trust yourself.  Don’t get wacky or whack!



Ellen Van Laar

Ellen will be at the Stokely “Women’s Getaway” on Sunday, February 6, 10:00-2:00.  Call for reservations.




Friday, 28 January 2011

Wolves can be Dangerous

Seven dogs have been killed by wolves this winter -in the Batchawana Bay area.


Wild animals have been known to eat pets.

So learn to be wise, respect and protect.

Wolves are predators that will go in for a kill.

Yet, they are gentle, with fine parental skill.

They can run 40 miles an hour and smell distant goals.

Wolves are trained by the pack for specific  roles.   

There are stories about wolves nurturing human young,

Romulus and Remus were raised as sons.

Territory infringements are now causing strife.

Society shares habitat with wildlife.

So, please guard your pets. Learn safety rules,

Especially in wilderness where folks can be fools.

People  encounter wildlife  and aren’t always aware.

Carnivores have young to feed-yes wolves, also bear.

They are attracted to what your dog may eat.

An animal on a leash is a treat of fresh meat.

Pets should be kept in your house at night.

Outdoor bones and  food may cause a  fight. 

Yes,  animals hunt and protect their own.

So mark your territory and keep pets at home.



Ellen Van Laar-the “Algoma Rhymer”

Ellen will be at Stokely “ Women’s Getaway” on February 6, 10:00-2:00.


Friday, 14 January 2011

Water 'Round Our Blue Green Orb

This watery subject gets more attention each year.

Once purifying, now jeopardized and unclear.

 Asian Carp,  metals, and  acid rain,

Are causing systemic worry and pain.

Warming, levels, pipelines and trash,

There’s much going on, for business and cash.

Nitrates, estrogen, pharmaceuticals.

Don’t shut your  ears, even a little.

How does one measure  the health of this planet?

Scientists do check-ups. They’re  like medics.

There are blood indicators in veins called rivers,

Measurable data that studies  deliver.

Atmosphere embraces the earth, our home.

We live  under a terrarium like dome.

What’s exposed or burned gets circulated-

Through water and weather percolated.

What goes up, must come down.

And so it goes, around and around.

Her system may  get heated, off, or ill.

Our earth  may need rest or perhaps, a pill.

So listen to what the scientists say.

And don’t deny cycles of death and decay.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Organize Your Tackle and Reel in Your Tasks

Thoughts are private, challenged or shared.

They take some time to harness and snare.

Unruly, temperamental, ragged and wild-

Ideas can be sneaky for an adult or child.


But and if, why, what, and where-

Distractions are defined with focus and care.

There’s a shape to the talk going on in a head-

About priorities, time, and what can be said.


So, write things in poems, doodles, and lists.

The tricks of sanity should not be dismissed-

Grist for the mill, for a brain that is busy,

Prevention of the dizzy tizzy.


Management prevents one from going crazy:

Before you organize, all can seem hazy.

Multi-tasking gets a lot done- fast.

As long as your spin doesn’t loosen your grasp.


Reeling in big fish while you spin through the air,

Could hurt your body and mess up your hair.

So with your thoughts I’d better take care,

And mind the things that you love.


Happy New Year


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas or Xmas?

I’ve checked and eX‘d things off my list.

Is that why they say “X” mas instead of “Chris(t)”?

Sometimes the “mas” seems like a mess,

An awful result when we want to bless!

Sometimes the “peace” turns into pieces.

(Our Christmas cheer should not deplete us.)

Celebration, gluttony, booze and food,

Then we all feel fat, like that ol’ Santa dude.

Scrooge comes to visit too many times.

Love can be fleeting, consumerism blind.

Pray there are no family schisms-

About: values, stuff, and television.

Keep your events holy and light,

Like on that first Christmas night.


Oh Holy Night.  The stars are brightly shining.

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till he appeared and the soul felt his worth.



Ellen Van Laar

130 Batchawana Bay, P0S-1A0







Friday, 17 December 2010

Want Riches? --Acknowledge Each Other

Gifts to each other have a multiplying effect.

They are not just about what you give and get.

There are spin-offs when buying from local folk.

Community success is what it’s all about.

Pass cheer around, Share wares and ways.

This means supporting friends with your pay!

Their trades provide services, goods, and knowledge.

People work hard through apprenticeships and college.

We want kids to stay in our local region.

So put people first in every season.

When we frequent big stores and food chains,

We stifle what makes us healthy and sane.

It’s better to buy from artisans and shops,

Gift certificates are really tops.

For example: If we all eat the same food,

Watch the same programs, date the same dude,

Wear the same clothes, and say the same words-

Society gets boring. Life gets absurd.

What kind of society seeks one way expression?

Buying things is not about empty possession.

Don’t frequent chains or shop over the river.

Be locally focused as receiver and  giver. 

Acknowledge each other.  It’s a catalyst for riches.

This blossoms us into ourselves and our niches.


Friday, 10 December 2010

The" Rhymer" Digests Wikileaks

Governments are pursuing  Julian Assange,

For exposure of international secrets and plans.

The US handed him folk hero  status,

By calling him  “spy” and  “persona non grata”.

He’s now a “fall guy”, but he will have his glory.

For his goal is truth and  democratic story.

Perhaps, a martyr he has become-

He and Wikileaks have been put “on the run”.

Nations trump charges that seem legitimate,

Avoiding the real issue of their own embarrassment.

The world community wants him locked out.

Many have their “pants down”.  That’s  what it’s about. 

War machines and big business now feel threatened,

For the internet has  power to expose deception.

What is the crime? Is democracy deranged?

The international viciousness is a bit insane:

Fierce, anti-open, imperialistic defense.

Is our media free?   Who is the most arrogant?

Will there be a revelatory spat?

Wikileaks will relish the power in that.

Many citizens suspect that they’ve been had.

Lies and innuendos have been bad.

Folks want transparency and a balance of power.

To eat “humble pie” can taste sour.

Most accept that the truth is not rotten.

And, vulnerabilities must not be forgotten.


By Ellen Van Laar—the “Algoma Rhymer”

See Ellen Van Laar “Wave” paintings at Downtown Association-SSM.

The show will be ongoing until January 5.



Sunday, 21 November 2010

Fall, a Sleepy Fat Bear Time

My meals are now fueling  an engine that can’t.

My body has slowed and I want to rant.

Food congeals on my waist. My figure’s now flawed.

Impulses move fast, from my paws to my jaw.


Food slithers down and then wants to rest.

I want a nap.  I’m losing my zest.

My intestines  sluggish,  yet wanting treats,

And bear-like hibernation after a feast. 


I could live for a year with the weight that I’m carrying.

It’s not easy to escape from tummy full ferrying.

It’s hard to accept that I’m growing so fast.

I’m feeling  blimpy. I have a heavy task.


Sure, my body image is distorted.

I look in the mirror and know I’m contorted.

It’s probably not as bad as it seems.

So please pass the butter, the cake and the cream.


Friday, 19 November 2010

Haviland to Wawa, Prepare Yourself!

So, no: gas, supplies, shelter or bed.

From Haviland to Wawa,  nowhere to be fed.

In winter, it’s possible to lose your view. 

Ice closes the road.  No recourse for you.


200 kilometers, take lots of gas,

A blanket along to warm your mass.

Travel with: water, food and tools,

Flashlight, cables, and safety rules.


How can it be that along the Trans-Canada,

There are areas where cell phones can’t get connected?

We were taxed in order to get folks on-line.

That we still can’t communicate is almost a crime.


It’s dangerous to travel without a cell phone.

Tourism doesn’t  survive when one can’t call home.

Something I deal with, living up here,

Folks knock on my door, worried with fear.


It’s usually dark.  They’ve run out of gas.

Broken down, hitch hiking, low on cash.

Late for a wedding, A dog with no food.

A car stalled out, the kids in a mood.


So, take heed now that winter has come.

Have safe travels, and some fun!


The “Voyageur” of Batchawana Bay will re-open in January.


Written by Ellen Van Laar

I have an Art Show coming up-- SSM Downtown Association, December, “Wave Paintings”.






Friday, 12 November 2010

Trail Conditions Since the Big Storm


After recent storms, trees uprooted and fell.

The condition of trails now horrible, like hell.

One needs a chain saw to walk through the systems—

And a very strong back on such a mission.


I’ve written some parks ‘cause I’m worried about skiing-

Snowshoeing, and enjoying our winter season.

Would I dare clear and saw off trees in a park?

I’d best get permission or take my lark in the dark. 


Far from town, walking is done in the woods.

I live between parks,  where the living is good.

I wasn’t mad about breakage during the storm-

Until the damage threatened my exercise form.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Natives and Residential Schools

After settlers arrived with new and more rules.

Native children were required to go to school.

They weren’t allowed to speak Ojibway.

They were pulled from families and traditional ways.


The goal was to have cultural blending,

But English was demanded for societal rendering. 

Natives were seized and told how to act.

The result was emotional damage—a fact.


The English boogeyman seemed horrible.

Fear and depression for natives was normal.

White people were monster aliens then.

What if  you were forced to be Muslim?


What if you were forced to speak Arabic?

Yes, we know who’d get mad real quick.

Now we have two national languages.

Guess who got lost in this equation?


So please understand when Natives get mad.

Feeling can fester. Wounds re-open. It’s sad.

There’s a fear that history repeats itself.

Hmm…   Power is bullish. Can humility be wealth?


This rhyme is written as commentary about the Native Experience Event held at Algoma U. on November 5 and 6.






Friday, 5 November 2010

Windmills in Algoma

Sudden surprises can be bitter pills.

Like --some want wind farms in the Algoma hills!

Amidst wild land and magical lakes-

Windmills are green, yet a possible mistake.

Zoning and impact studies need doing.

Both pro and con— now mental construing.

Some worry about taxes and other costs.

Do backup systems create energy loss?

Folks will  reduce fear through study.

Propaganda is conjecture and very muddy.

When decisions are made too quickly-

Suspicions develop and people get prickly.

A few wind farms may be allowed in this region-

But in the Lake or near parks, for what reason?

A corridor should be in a government plan.

All the projections may soon  be canned.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Winter Preparations

I restock the wood closet every day.

I‘m sleeping in often--  long nights, cold gray.

The  heat  fire sizzles and the chimney smokes.

I’ve put away summer, and retrieved winter coats.

Our vehicles prepared, and the snow blower fixed.

I’m digging the root crops in my wooly warm mitts.

Outdoor tasks  now replaced with the “ in”.

I’m relaxed on the couch, with a book and my pen.

The humidifier-ON, and slippers to boot.

I’ve set out my skiis,  snow-shoes and suit.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

There is a Hole


      There is a Hole


There is a hole that must be filled.

Sometimes, it is shaped like a “fish”.

Go! Catch one, and when you get home-

I’ll cook it up for your dish.


There is a hole that must be filled.

Sometimes it has a “moose” shape.

Go! Hunt one, and when you get home-

We’ll dine with music and grape.


There is a hole that must be filled.

It’s “time” with your wife or mother.

Sit awhile, and talk to me-

Then do those things I call “other”.





Thursday, 29 July 2010

Nature and Technology

Nature and Technology


There is an illusion that adds to confusion.

People don’t always make time.

A mind may rush while wasting the day.

Thoughts make the world go away.


Nature can suffer ‘cause blood can’t flow-

From you to a television.

Whereas, experience of earth and sky-

Unites nature with vision.


Beauty can speak beyond the brain.

Its’ impulses balance a schism.   

Technology and mental worlds-

Divide mind from physical mission. 


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Fight with the Crashing Sea


The winds were against us. Our sails were defenseless.

The Boom shaka laka went bash.

The Elie Jack took a wackety smash,

This, our fight with the crashing sea.


The waves made me puke.  I couldn’t handle my soup.

I went down to rest and compose.

But the shaking lingered, so ill defined,

No respite down below.


I want to make time, not distort space and mind.

I’m amniotic in fluid floating.

I want relaxation while I’m on vacation.

Upwind isn’t pleasant or kind.




Thursday, 10 June 2010



Blood binds wounds and opens hurts..

Relatives are a blessing or a living curse.

Parenting, no break from: raise and tend,

Trial and error, we don’t know which or when.


As mothers we go on nurturing.

Children yearn, and learn discerning.

Fathers are baffled by it all.

It’s a dance, a stumble, a magical ball. 


Not measuring wonder at: this or that,

Amazement, kisses, and caveats.

Time marches onward until it’s all gone.

Love softens our pain and helps us belong. 


Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Shake some sod. Poke a hole.

The smell of dirt soothes my soul.

I’m grateful for my garden land,

There is a flower in my hand.


If I was a bug, so small,

That flower would be very tall.

My roof- yellow, orange or red,

On soft petals I’d lay my head..


What an atmosphere is this!

The world disappears. I am not missed.

“Hi” to the butterflies, ants and worms.

On my knees, I’ve much to learn.



Thursday, 27 May 2010

Advice to Small Investors

Wages went down in North America, while investors made big returns.

This is a crazy picture where workers had been spurned.

Money went overseas where goods were bought for nothing,

Our life styles too elaborate, world balance quickly crumbling.

Morality squeezed by consumerism, as we lost our shame.

Perspective soiled by our greed as everything’s a game.

Borrowing created rich illusion. No one complained of lack.

One thing, I know for certain. You won’t get our money back.


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Changes Happen


When the weather changes. The future comes fast.

Seasons shift and the years roll past.

Life is a cycle. What grew later died.

A seed breaks the soil when it can no longer hide.


The earth rattles.  Glaciers melt and flow,

What’s all around us will come and go.

Global warming:  natural or man-made?

Changes happen. So don’t be afraid.


Think ahead for the “come what may”.

Play your cards well every day.

Deal with what comes on your path.

Research decisions, and do your math!











Thursday, 29 April 2010


They seem so close or too far away.

Moms are part of us in many ways.

They permeate our lives with: vision,

Genes, presence, and opinion.


Other times moms seem to hover.

Where were you?  Who is your lover?

Don’t do that! Go get this done!

Doesn’t mom care if I have fun?


So it goes with: flesh and blood,

Bonded enemies, highest love,

The life of flowers, flame of time,

Mothers are of the finest wine.


The thread of ages, bread of life:

Be with me mom, thru all of my strife.

God be with me everyday.   But--

Mom, you formed me too, like clay.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Springtime and Musical Birds

It’s very dry and the Lake is low.

It seems like May and I like it so.

My kayak is getting closer to shore.

Heat warms the house through an open door.


Birds arrive daily to perform a show.

Joyously they prepare nest and bough.

Mating and floating through water and air.

Chirp, honk, twitter: a sensory fair.


There’s something musical about all this.

Birds dance in the air with form and pitch.

Cackle, banter, hoot and shriek,

They coordinate wings, feet and beak.





Monday, 22 March 2010

Spring is On Us

Snow is gone and I’m in spring clean-up mode.

Syrup is flowing. Folks go for the gold.

Seeds and soil are both in waiting.

Birds and mammals are noisily mating.

Streets are dirty, with sand and salt.

Knobby buds will leaf, by default.

Openings, trustful tender nature,

Miracles of life move towards the future.

Sprouting and birth hold infinite power.

Are YOU in a cocoon or about to flower?





Sunday, 21 February 2010

Song of Cosmic Comfort

There is a universal humm on this earthly ride.

But noise and silence, hope and fear, sometimes will collide.

We can be soothed by pulsing stars, or from solid ground.

Peacefulness can be restored by listening to the sound.


Dancing on the edge of time, past and what’s to come,

High and low, wet and cold, tragedy and fun,

Love and breath united, we hum our way through space.

All creatures are connected, in this grace filled place.







Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Facebook has revolutionized my social time.

I talk through a computer, online.

Friends from High School, 40 years past-

Tell me of their lives in 40 word blasts.

I seek out people with something to say.

I hide what is boring. It simply goes away.

Arguing opinion, I also state fact,

Whimsy, function, this and that.

The finger tip power exhilarates.

Yet, I’m alone, in an imaginative state.

Virtual social life, can it be real?

It must be--judging by how I feel.

But my intellect says to beware of the mind.

It can fool the innocent and leave the body behind.   



Sunday, 17 January 2010




Long ago, Haiti was a slave trading haven.

Then, they said “no” to white mans’ invasion.

Nations around feared their slaves would rebel.

So they isolated Haiti and said it was hell.

No education or goods could reach the land.

Western nations divorced them from all living man.

Then, they blamed Haiti for being separate and poor.

Disasters played havoc, earthquakes and more.

Haiti has now been marginalized, at best.

They are the poorest nation in the west.

Hopefully, people are becoming aware--

It’s time for compassion and medical care.