The Ontario Poetry Society
~ In Memory of Peggy Fletcher ~

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Ted Plantos Dedication






Remembering Peggy Fletcher:
Earth, Wind, Fire and Ice

June 25, 1930 to January 12, 2012

I am not afraid of dying but the prospect of wasting away is what I fear most. I want people to remember me in a happier light not what I may become at the end. - Peggy Fletcher, November 23, 2011

Award-winning poet Peggy Fletcher knew how to touch people with her words. Even when faced with adversity, she accepted her fate, thinking of others before herself. For those who knew her well, she was the pillar of strength, the foundation and earth matriarch that so many infant writers have leaned on. Like the wind, her ideas swirled through the minds of those she taught and mentored. Her poetry danced: spirited not only with rich metaphors fueled by the fire of her imagination but also with a vision and clarity as pristine as ice.

Born in St. John's, Newfoundland, Peggy settled in Sarnia, Ontario where she continued to retain her Eastern Canadian and small town charm. As TOPS Sarnia branch manager, she spent more time helping others than marketing her own work. In addition to being a mother of five grown daughters and spending time with several grandchildren, she became one of Lambton County's most prolific writers.

She taught creative writing, was an editor for The Observer and the literary magazine Mamashee, had her work aired on CBC-Radio and published nationally in Chatelaine and other literary publications including Room, Quills and Mobius. She was also the co-creator and one of the original hosts of Spoken Word, an open mic event at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts.

Peggy's portfolio includes a short story collection, a full-length play about the life of Canadian artist Emily Carr, and over 15 poetry books/chapbooks including Why We Shadow Box Our Demons and One Hundred Sonnets Home. For close to fifty years, she played a vital role in Sarnia's literary scene and was a mentor to many members of Writers in Transition (WIT), a local writers group that she helped to establish in 1979.

As Peggy mentioned in late November, "I am so proud to have been a part of this writing community, and having contributed a small body of poetry and art that hopefully reaches standards that I tried to attain."

She will not be forgotten!

On behalf of all the members of The Ontario Poetry Society, thank you for all that you have done for this organization over the years as well as being my poetry mentor and dear writing friend. I know you are listening. I can feel you lurking in the wind, the way you stir the earth with your fingers, the way your literary fire roars through my grief, that writer's block of ice that makes me shiver.

-- Debbie Okun Hill,
President, The Ontario Poetry Society
January 14, 2012

Peggy wrote beautiful poems about her friends--especially those friends who are no longer with us. I wish now I could do the same for her, but poetic words could never suffice to describe the creative, sympathetic, intelligent, thoughtful. kind and fun-loving person she embodied. I was fortunate beyond measure to have her as a close friend for almost half a century. This alone sustains me in this time of grief.

Norma West Linder

Poetry for Peggy

In Peggy's Garden

Every blueberry summer,
Peggy held poetry workshops
on wave-struck rock beds.

Life's ups and downs were patiently planted -
jaded rhythms dropped like flower seeds
with a dramatic thud.

Peggy followed the same routine
through coded paths of dot coms.
She swooned over long-stemmed ideas
while time strolled barefoot in her garden.

It was a universe of flesh,
crafted from rich soil
that penned the scent of lilacs.

Petals dropped one by one
while everyone feasted
under a canopy of green
in her small Eden.

Now, ragged grey skies
blanket Peggy's human garden
while her masterpieces blossom
under a heavy sun.

I.B. Iskov

Lines for Peggy

For that bleak moment when you passed
the sun closed her eyes and all green
turned brown;

crows were astounded by their own silence
and the poet's voice was stilled;

skies and hearts were suddenly filled
with an emptiness.

Though the world may continue
it can never be the same.

Jeff Seffinga

Poem for Peggy Fletcher

Funny how I know her name,
read her poems,
see her words--

yet deep as images imbed,
I can't recall her face.

Funny how things come to mind--
Peg-'o-my heart,
Peggy's Cove,
"pegging in" for cribbage

yet I wonder did she see that play,
walk that beach,
play that game
on a wooden board with her grandad?

Yet your connections made,
moving words said,
lines on a page--
stay fresh.

Rest in peace, dear Peggy,
much of you lives on.

Kate Marshall Flaherty

the way she read

her oratory rides
the cusp of
elusive mount's

shaking in
near certainty
of her unabated

them into
still air

where they

an ember
glowing from

Rhonda Melanson

Peggy Fletcher

P assionate and caring

E nergy flows with her spirit around us

G reat leader for creative writers

G ood at expressing her feelings

Y outhful thinker

F lowering, assuring us with her words

L ambton County’s most prolific author

E ncouraging words and applying them

T hinking of others before herself

C harming with her smile and love

H elping both young and new writers

E nthusiastic for new ideas in writing and publishing

R esting in peace in our hearts and minds

Najah Shuqair

sharp incisive mind
powerful words of wisdom
ever remembered

Sherri Hext

The Spirit of Peggy

And don’t you see…we’re part of the rhythm. Quarter notes, half notes, full notes…bleeding into a great lyric sound. Listen, can you hear it...it’s all around you…It’s in the sunset. –spoken by Klee Wyck (Emily Carr’s alter ego), a character in Peggy Fletcher’s play, THE SHINING FEW: A Dramatic Tribute To Emily Carr

She runs barefoot over river beds
holding hands now with Emily Carr
slipping her childlike fingers
through scenic waterfalls,
toting pots of iridescent paint,
an easel, and a brush or two.
Her tearless eyes relieved of pain.
Her inner strength rewarded.

And don’t you see…

She’s climbing Emily’s totem poles
seeking unmarked frog trails
exploring indigenous paths
surrounded by red cedars,
legendary poets and artists plus
the ‘laughing one’ with her spirit muse
thunder clapping the snap of sonnets.

She’s part of the rhythm.

A big raven is strumming its wings
against harp-shaped branches.
A chorus of pillow clouds
cradles her head, filling her mind with
quarter notes, half notes, full notes.

The way they shape her smile
lip syncing the drum tapping feet
of a grey wolf in motion,
the rustle of leaves and paintbrush,
her watercolor of words
bleeding into a great lyric sound.

She swirls in pine-scented winds
slips metaphors inside your ears,
a small poem or two, whispered faint
like a trickle of a haiku, spring-fed.

Listen , can you hear it...

A high pitched vibration
like a cicada inside a mouth,
cosmic meshing of cultures,
what it takes to survive
waltzing in a new frontier.

She’s all around you

Her beauty of words
Her love of nature
She’s in the sunrise.
She’s in the sunset.

Debbie Okun Hill


Bunny says, "Write a poem for Peggy".
How can I?
I don't have the words
or the talent
to describe such a presence,
such a force--

She was a beam
of shiny light:
a person of many talents
with a generous nature.

She was my friend
my mentor.
Whenever I wrote a poem
I was never at a loss.
I didn't have to worry.
Peggy was there
to align it
to make it shine.

Carmen Ziolkowski

A Special Day

Thursday was chosen
To say goodbye
So apropros Peggy
Only you could decide
Pleasant reminder
WIT weekly workshops
Your many voices
Will always be heard
Your spirit ever admired
Your uniqueness
Always remembered

Margaret Bird - WIT member for 12 years



P for your poetry
Eternally flowing
E for the encouragement
So generously served
G for genuine
Heart of gold
G for generosity
Of spirit and more
Y for you and memories
We will always store

Margaret Bird - WIT member for 12 years

For Peggy
I was blessed to know Peggy for over 30 years. She was instrumental in improving my writing and teaching me
the basics and the importance of editing. I have many fond memories of her. She smiled easily and when we
reminisced about the Halifax CAA conference in the 70’s she’d always ask if I remembered the ‘Sweet Williams’
and we’d laugh. . . I will miss her laughter. Write in Peace Peggy. Love Lynnie

Lynn Tait

Our Peggy

She was willing to go
Long before any of us
Felt willing to let her go

Peggy faced the darkness
With the same courage
She faced troublesome times

Right to the last
She found something beautiful
In every kind of nature

Right to the last
She spared her friends
Making them smile through tears

Right to the last
She fashioned poetic lines
Of fragile loveliness
--lines that will last

Norma West Linder


You invited me to your group
So generously
I was shy at first
Wondering if my poems
Were good enough
As they were written so long ago

You always made me feel so welcome
Your humour
Kindness of your words
Even when you were giving
A point to grow on
Made me want to write more

You have made an impression
On my heart
That will never go away
I will always, always think of you
When I say "I don't have time"
I will know that I will make time always to write

You are my inspiration, Peggy
As well as your books,
Your kindness and generosity
Of your time to help others achieve
What we all want to achieve
To be kind, loving and successful in everything we do.

Thank you, Peggy

Jale Fancey

Peggy’s Place,

Your words resilient -
powerful poems
written for us to dream,
each new page -
a radiant landscape
of soft-scented petals
longing to bloom in spring,
your snowbirds
love’s winter-place,
as they yearn to dance
every stage you seek,
like the river-forest
and red-rugged rocks
that paint you beautiful
beneath a poet-sky.

Karen P. Ouellette

Two Poems by John Drage ( Peggy's husband )

Odd Crew

She was a lovely nymph from the sea
And I a simple shepherd from the land
Some thought we were a most unusual crew
To sail in the ship of matrimony

We took the instruction that was needed
We swore the oaths that were required
We signed the unusual papers for the voyage
Then set out to sail upon the sea

We've sailed this sea for many many leagues
And managed to hold a steady course
The serious storms we've been able to avoid
And much smooth water we have enjoyed

Time has proven that we chose well
When we joined up to sail together

John Drage

History of Love

We met in the springtime
when the trees began to bud
we were friends in the springtime
but it didn't turn to love

We met in late summer
when the poets where in bloom
at a reading over in London
and we read in twilight gloom

We met a little later
when more poetry was read

in a park beside the Sydenham
and we ate wieners and bread

We began to meet more often
because we liked the company
the meetings were so enjoyable
we seemed to be in harmony

We met in early winter
I suggested we should married be
to my surprise and elation
she said she would marry me

We met often in the winter
many plans were then made
for our future life together
many loving words were said

We were married in the springtime
before friends and relations we were wed
we bound ourselves by the vows that we said

We've had many years together
more in joy than in pain
in the space of a heartbeat
I would do it all again

Because I love her most dearly
and I know she loves me too
in all our years of married life
to each other we have been true

Now we're old but not too feeble
many memories we share
of the years spent together
and the joy we find there

But now we have been parted
the Grim Reaper took his due
but the memory lingers onward
of the love that was so true

John Drage

Poetry by Peggy from her book
Looking Down Life - A Mortal Cocktail

The Power and Glory of Song

Along the wide planes
of individual memory
Jung's words float
beside a proclamation
by Martin Luther
that music is
the defining rod
of divine revelation

Two great minds
their own agendas
mixed in the unconscious
rhythmic ideas rotating
backwards and forwards.

A chorus
of new thought
becomes a shared diet
forms an audacious plan
for a musical happening
a mystical sonata
and to this day
the best avenue
for global peace.

In Search of Nature's Soul

Among the rocks and trees and flowers
there is no evidence of grace
yet these endure, proliferate
while I am restless as the wind.

There is no evidence of grace
yet in their far-flung presence, beauty lies
while I am restless as the wind
in all my searching for a faith to give me answers.

Yet in their far-flung presence, beauty lies
beyond my pressing need for explanation
in all my searching for a faith to give me answers
the untapped soul remains.

Beyond my pressing need for explanation
a bird takes flight, observes God's truth from greater heights
the untapped soul remains
among the trees and rocks and flowers.

Play It Again

Dance in your mind when limbs are slow to move
let music wash your inner pain away
the song of life will do its best to soothe

the aging flesh, the weakness it construes
to make you old of face, give it no play
dance in your mind when limbs are slow to move

a tune that brings a smile will always prove
that nothing in this world can really fade
the song of life will do its best to soothe

the heart that in its center still approves
of youthful acts within the bodies aged
dance in your mind when limbs are slow to move

around the room of fantasy you groove
to lyrics memorized in earlier days
the song of life will do its best to soothe

no matter what the world thinks, you must stay
within the arms of music and its joy
dance in your mind when limbs are slow to move
the song of life will do its best to soothe.


The sea is crimson red with sunset's blood
dark shadows dance on faces by bleak shore
we say our last goodbyes to wave-struck rocks
before black night comes creeping in back door.

Through harbour's mouth, a grey ship lunges north
bound for unknown ports, a world away
we contemplate our own unstable course
ripped from our moorings, caught in man-made fray.

Behind us lumbering cars climb ragged streets
Victorian structures hide in misty waves
of early evening fog, cathedral leaps
above the ancient town, commands with grace.

Our final moments blurred with awkward tears
We leave our home behind, the childhood years.