To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

Blake, "Auguries of Innocence"

Take a second look …

The yellow eyes of the Saw-whet Owl are so startling, their gaze so steady, that we tend to ignore everything else. It’s easy to miss the trace of blood just below the owl’s bill, a smear of something that changes the way we look at the bird, that deepens our understanding of it. What discoveries might we make if we took that second look more often, if we trained ourselves to see?


Short Stories


Latest Posts

Reflections on the Dying Light

Thirteen years ago, the Canadian poet Don Coles published a remarkable essay with the title “Light Fantastic” in the Three for Thought series that used to run at the back of the Globe and Mail’s Books section. At the time, I was so impressed that I cut the essay out of the paper and filed it away. Since then, I’ve developed the habit of re-reading the piece every year at this time, after we abandon Daylight Savings Time and take the headlong plunge into winter’s cold and dark. For some reason, doing this seems to fortify and brace me for … Read more

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Toronto church photo.

The Church, II

  The first thing I learned from writing book reviews is that it’s much easier to write a negative review than a positive one. The same goes for profiles of people or institutions. Perhaps this is because we open ourselves to criticism when we praise someone in a way that we don’t when we blame them. My post last week was an attempt to explain—within the format of a non-fiction short story—my negative feelings about the Catholic Church. This week, I examine the positive feelings I have for that same institution. You can judge for yourself which story seems more … Read more

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Catholic church in Toronto

The Church, I

  One of my correspondents has asked how religious I am. This is a legitimate question—it’s one I sometimes ask myself—, but the answer is complicated. I’m no good with abstractions, or with arguments for that matter, so to illustrate my thoughts, I’ll tell a couple stories instead. Both stories are factual and they share the same setting, the interior of a Toronto church. They both took place almost thirty years ago. Thirty years is a long time, but I’ve been thinking of these stories on and off ever since. The first one follows below, and I’ll post the second, … Read more

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