The Poetry of David (Dave) Cottrell

The Poetry of Dave Cottrell - from 1970 to present

Friday, February 01, 2013

Child of Tears

Oh child of tears, why are your eyes
Dried so with trails of pain?

Where is the joy of careless play?
Or where the bright young laughter?

Child of tears, who will wipe your face
Or hug you close and take away your fears?

Where is the hand that leads you?
Or where the voice that comforts?

Child of tears, why are your playmates
Bullet holes and craters full of fire?

Why is my body full and strong and healthy
While yours is full of pain and doubt?

Child of tears, who put you here?
Who saw you fall and walked away?

They take your picture (it's a job)
Then talk about the game in some fine pub...

Oh, child of tears, how far away you are
Your land a story in the evening news

Of bullets, bombs and economic timetables
A few dead moms and dads and dying kids...

Child of tears, we saw the towers fall and cried
But by your tears we coldly sit, unmoved.

It amazes me that so many of us cried when we saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center come down on 9-11, but we can sit and watch the evening news with dry eyes while we see images of moms, dads, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends being blown up in another part of the world. Well fed western reporters send us pictures of kids with no parents, food, clothing or medical support in bombed out streets and bullet-riddled houses, but we continue to turn our backs on them, choosing, instead, to do all we can to protect our standard of living so we don't end up like that, even if we have to use bombs and bullets and take away the moms and dads of hungry little kids in another part of the world. If this is what we mean by an enlightened society, I'd rather be struggling to live in post modern stone age. At least, then, there would be some kind of equality...

© David H. (Dave) Cottrell

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Time is a flame
Brightly, it burns
Consuming life

Is time a friend?
An ally... maybe
Or greedy inferno

Time is on your
Side; whose side?
Foolish youth

How it burns
Brightly, consuming
Then, the coals

The night comes
Cold as time
The light goes out.

It's kind of funny, in a twisted sort of way, perhaps. When I was a kid, time moved ever so slowly. I found it hard to wait for anything. When I hit my twenties, I had a hard time waiting for weekends, and couldn't imagine being thirty! On my fortieth birthday, I found myself walking around my front yard in the evening, wondering in amazement how forty years had passed so quickly! Now, as I approach fifty, I clearly see that this life is very fleeting, as the days rush by in a blur, and the realization of how important it is to be ready for eternity is becoming extremely clear.

© David H. (Dave) Cottrell

Friday, April 14, 2006

What Ever Happened to Albert Mert?

Now on a happier note we see
Chimpanzees up in a tree
Parakeets eat buttered toast
While alcoholic hunters boast
Of elephants of green and gold
They shot while sleeping in the fold.

Anacondas, black and blue
Digest bananas, crates and glue
Piranhas daintily express
singular pleasure at the mess
Of crumbs and nails falling fast
of gluedrops making gay repast.

Up in the skies the lark's a lark
He chews on leaves and rubber bark
The tiger's burning ever bright
A hunter strikes an Eddy light
And drunks get drunker through the night
While natives fly a coloured kite.

While I am flying higher still
One lonely man, ten thousand pills
A cuckoo's nest I see below
Between the treetops, row on row
To you from flaming hands I throw
Large hunks of wood, pine pitch and dough.

Up, up we go on elder vines
On sour grapes and ancient wines
With apes and monkeys, hard hats on
And pigs that fly par avion
Nice tight jackets tied in back
While soldiers fight a Mack Attack.

Whirling, spinning in a haze
Faster, faster, flying daze
Tighter, tighter, sparks and flame
No one knows just who to blame
Tried to lighten living load
Laughing, crying, lights, explode!


Here beneath this mound of dirt
Lies what remains of Albert Mert
Tried too hard to find a way
To make it through another day
Seems like folly comes too close
When playing with an overdose.

During the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, I saw friends and friends of friends get into serious trouble and even die as a result of experimenting with drugs. Many of them thought using drugs was a way to be "cool" or popular, while others used them to cover up other things they were going through, rather than facing their problems and dealing with them. The result were and still are, tragic.

© David (Dave) H. Cottrell

Sunday, February 26, 2006

White Flag

Day one:

We went out
Into that boiling hell-hole
Of wind burned

Laughing -
Boasting -
Confident -
Like all young men
When they do
What they haven't
done before.
We'd win.
We knew.
For young men cannot die
(Or such young men believe)

Night one:

Snake bite
In a hellish night
Suffered Randalls.
Snake died
- big snake
- black
- small spot
on the back
of its shattered head -
Still young
Still sure
Still laughed,
But Randalls limped a little
When he talked
And we shivered
As we grinned.

Day two:

We limped
As we laughed
On our blistered feet
In the grinding
Though we killed the bite
Randalls' leg infected.

Dusty scorpions
Bathing dragons
Crunching underfoot
Soft hair on our faces
Stiffening in the
blazing wind
Strong in the challenge
We laughed.

Night two:

Slept well
In a hollow
in the crazy sand
Laughing in our dreams
As on occasion we won
Randalls slept
Though the sand
Ground deep
In the widening
festering wound
Sometimes whimpered
While the shifting
Cold sand
Covered us.

Day three:
We woke
With the sand
and the sun
in our eyes -

Red, grinding eyes
Grinned at each other
Croaked at each other
Buried Randalls
- aged quickly
For young men cannot die
(or so young men believe)

Set out again
In the granite forest
At the base
of the black plateau
Hot sun raked us
Like the cats
of the hungry plateau

We drank our water
Suddenly it was gone
Grinning slightly
Looked up
At the black heathen outline
Watching as the
pitiless sun
picked at out
glittering eyes.

Night three:

Black clouds
Choked in a
Sea of boulders
Granite needles
Pierced through the night

And how we prayed
for the light
Windstrung fingers
In the frozen darkness
Strumming us
in our sleep
Cold as the
Kiss of


Sandstone cliffs
Stand out
Against a pale
burning sky
Painful flashes
- slashes -
Of a long-dead storm

Flag barely
White flag
Nearly covered in sand
Like attempted truce
To the cruel sun
the sand
black cliffs
red wind

And pale, burning sky.

Although I wrote this poem many years ago, it is still dedicated to all the young men who have given their lives on foreign soil for freedom and who continue to do so today.

© David H. (Dave) Cottrell

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

O Bird

Raise your wings,
O bird.
Your shadowed eyes
shall hide no longer.

Your hook`ed beak-
Your grasping claws
shall race the lightning
in the mist of your
haunted isle.

Raise your wings,
O bird.
Your magnificent head
shall rise still higher.

Your tearing beak -
Your flashing claws
shall grasp the fork`ed tail
in the mist of the
haunted skies.

Raise your wings,
O bird.
Magnificent creature
with eyes of fire....

Burn on...
Burn on...
Burn on...

Scream in the heavens on your
haunted shores.

O bird,
O bird,
O bird,
O magnificent bird.....

Raise your wings.

I wrote this one and quite a number of others in 1977 when I went commercial fishing near Port Hardy, BC. It was often foggy, very wild and rugged along the shoreline, and the bald eagles were everywhere. They are an incredibly magnificent, majestic and powerful bird.

© David H. (Dave) Cottrell

Monday, February 13, 2006

Small Boy and Farm Life

When you were young on
the farm - remember that?

The world was big
time soooo slow

Dusty roads and cotton
Chickens under the steps

Great big ugly blue toads
and little cute green frogs

Cows itching on the fence
Horse flicking flies off their friends

A long and two shorts - who's that?
"Line's busy" (who's listening)

creaking lines and flapping sheets
a cloud of dust - another truck

Bare feet, hot days and cold cowpies
"Yuk!" you say - you haven't lived!

Root beer hanging in the well
Dirt, old leaves and sweat

Spooooky swamps, beaver grass
water and twisted mean willows

Big blue sky
Big mountains

Secret trails
Tied grass huts and mom

Hanging out on the stoop
fresh buttermilk - amazing

Blueberry patches, burnt pine trees
peeling birches, rattling poplar leaves

and bears...
and scary noises on dark trails

Cut June hay and great big horses
Buckrakes and dad and a steel throne

a stick, a line, a hook
a great brown river

Eating wild leeks picked like grass
and sweet clear ice cold springs

Tree frogs singing and crickets
and house creaking to sleep

Moonlight peaking around the blinds
Barking dog

Time was soooo slow
The world so big

I grew up on a farm in northern BC. These verses are from my earliest memories when everything was so big, so wonderful, and everything seemed to go on forever. Back then we had work horses. This changed soon after when we were able to buy first an old Studebacher truck and then a tractor. When I was really small I rode on old Prince, one of the two horses, and when I was a little older, I rode on the buckrake to put the rake down after Dad tripped it with a piece of galvanized telephone wire he had running to the window of the truck. Mom used to make grass huts for me to hide in by tying together the long grass in the field behind our house.

© David H. (Dave) Cottrell

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What is a friend?

what is a friend?
Someone who shares hope
knowing the truth that sometimes pains
seeing inside you feeling the aches
sharing laughter and tears
willing to wait till the storm's over

what is a friend?
Someone you would call
when no one else really cares
listens when you rant on
forgives you just the same
holding onto hidden depths
sees you like yesterday for years

what is a friend?
Someone who pulls for you
unconditionally loves you always
comfortable with you even though you're
comes back even though you yelled screamed
loves you always anyway

This poem was originally inspired by and
written for my friends at Adlandpro.

God bless you, my friends,


© David H. (Dave) Cottrell