Posts Tagged ‘british columbia’

Cliffhouse and Arbutus blossoms inspire haiku by Ken Chawkin and paintings by Betsy Randel

May 15, 2017

Today, I posted this haiku and the story behind it with these images on a website page about Arbutus Tree blossoms. I kept expanding and refining the story and decided to post it here as well. It’s approved and ready to be shared: Arbutus Flower Inspires Haiku.

Arbutus Tree in The Cliffhouse Cottage deck

About 20 years ago, a friend of mine took me on a holiday weekend getaway to Galiano Island. We stayed at The Cliffhouse Cottage. It was beautiful there! I remember sitting on the deck at dusk looking out over the tranquil ocean. Everything was completely still. Quiet. I heard a small sound, like something had fallen from somewhere, and wondered what it was. I bent down and found a small white flower beside my chair. It resembled a tiny bell. I then looked up and saw a cluster of flower blossoms in the tree above me. My friend said it was an Arbutus Tree. That experience inspired this haiku.

Cliffhouse Deck at Dusk

Tiny bells call me
Arbutus blossoms falling
Sounding the Silence

© Ken Chawkin

The poem was later included in a grouping titled: 13 Ways to Write Haiku: A Poet’s Dozen, and published in The Dryland Fish, An Anthology of Contemporary Iowa Poets, December 12, 2003.

Galiano Island Art Cards by Betsy Randel composite image

My friend, Betsy Randel, made these beautiful watercolor cards of the Arbutus Tree and Cliffhouse. Visit her new website,, to see her other cards, paintings, and poetry books. Her work can also be seen on fineartamerica.

River Rock Speaks, poem from a rock

August 8, 2013

I used to go for walks with a friend in Cates Park, located in Deep Cove, a little seaside village situated on the eastern edge of the District of North Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. In that park along the Burrard Inlet there is a walk called the Malcolm Lowry Walk, named after author Malcolm Lowry, who squatted in the park from 1940-1954 in a shack with his wife Margerie. He wrote much of his classic novel Under the Volcano there, which was later made into a movie. This short trail takes you through a forest path, past a children’s play area, then along the waterfront to a nice pebble beach with a view of Indian Arm.

On one walk, I noticed a bunch of smooth rocks along the roadside. I thought it was odd for these water-worn rocks to be by the road instead of on the beach. I began thinking of that childhood tune of sticks and stones breaking bones, and was drawn to one of the rocks. It spoke to me. It cracked me up with it’s cosmic sense of humor; I had to write it down. After I wrote the poem, I picked up the rock and took it home.


Deep Cove River Rock
From the Road
Says its Thing
I’ve been Told

Make No Bones
About This
Of All Stones

© Ken Chawkin

Read Park Poems from Ken Chawkin for more stories and poems inspired from visits to other parks in the Greater Vancouver area.

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