Who better than a poet to write of love?

Who better than a poet to write of love?

We present the winners of Planet Earth Poetry's love erasure poem for Valentine’s Day 2014!

First Wife:  Barbara Pelman for “What is it I've Come to Find”
Second Wife:  Carol Halligan for “Love at the Moka House”
Other Suitors are Dvora Levin for “A Cautionary Valentine” and Sheila Martindale for “Full Circle


Pen, paper, a copy of “Mocambo Nights” and a big black pen or an eraser.

Create a love poem from line fragments (3 word minimum, i.e. borrow at least three consecutive words from each line that you use for your poem) from the anthology Mocambo Nights.
Minimum 5 and maximum of 14 lines.
The line fragments must be taken in the order they appear in the book.
Give the poem a title.



Barbara Pelman is at the moment anxiously awaiting the birth of a grandson. She has already birthed two books, One Stone (Ekstasis Editions), and Borrowed Rooms (Ronsdale Press) and a number of poems in literary journals, as well as the beautiful Leaf Press chapbooks. She is a co-host of Planet Earth Poetry, a frequent reader at the open mic, and an enthusiastic participant of all things poetic and literary. She has a piano, a daughter, an ex-husband, and an empty fridge.


The light is aging standing where it is.

Things move out of themselves everywhere.

The scent of mock orange sweetens the heat,

the darkness, which is always listening

There were plums in my orchard too

the cherry trees are leaking.

children throw flowers in a river—

I expected a blessing.

Your eyes the colour of

sky reflected in snow— 

Should have run after you 

should have called out—

and slow fish 

swim through the wintry dark

Barbara Pelman



Originally a Flatlander from Winnipeg, Carol came to Victoria in 1988 to complete a Master's degree at UVic. Loving the weather and the ocean, they stayed.
Retired from teaching her greatest love, kids, Carol now travels occasionally, writes the odd poem, and does stand up comedy under the mom de plume, Aunty Gravity.
She likes the coffee at the Moka House, and the people.

talk about last night                   
stars on the edge of a cube
she dreams milk showers
hot root        
sweet root
gouged into the mountains
never forgot the astonished eyes
most absent—a wedding ring 
look away with burning         
at the edge of things
the man released into the open
on the edge of your body

I take sugar with everything.

Carol Halligan



Dvora Levin, a former project manager in BC and Israel, has now projected herself into poetry. She has published two books, Sharav and To Bite the Blue Apple (Ekstasis Editions) and edited two collections of poems from her writing groups with sex workers, parolees, the homeless and addicted: Voices From the Edge (Ekstasis Editions) and Victoria From the Banks of the Mainstream.


The women come to the ocean shaking
bones, bitter root, hot root, sweet root,
ancient candles, timeless patience,

too scared to dive into the icy water,
hold their skirts close, sway, start singing
to signify love, clearing the way.

A stress of notes, the man’s approach hard
at midnight, door opening into monk,
husband, beloved. Glimpsing a moment too late,

locked in a dug-out dirt basement, moondog,
snowman poet, cowboy, vulture, castaway.
I want to tell you, you don’t have to do this.

Immerse your bodies, wade ashore, find
the holy river bringing news you already know.

Dvora Levin



Sheila Martindale came to Canada in 1966, settling in Montreal, then moving westward to London (Ontario), Calgary and finally Victoria. She has had a long career as arts columnist, editor, poet, teacher, jurist and broadcaster. Sheila is currently the editor of Island Writer magazine, and facilitates a weekly creative writing workshop at her local seniors’ centre.

Her most recent book, Here, There and Somewhere Beyond, was published in 2011.

She is a member of The League of Canadian Poets, The Canadian Theatre Critics’ Association, The Canadian Authors’ Association and The Victoria Writers’ Society.

Full Circle
I come every day
poling up the Gorge
with burning eyes

You are a man I don’t know
and you whisper
no one writes poems
even in dreams you could not

Love fell from my tongue
it was one of those moments
my eyes became black pools

I have come full circle

Sheila Martindale