Cobourg Poetry Workshop
feature poet

Doug Stewart


Born in first Great Depression year
Born the same month as Shakespeare
Went to school of which Sir John Colborne was founder
After WW2, in Hart House Theatre
Acted with Bill Hutt in Julius Caesar
Married scholar grand daughter
Of Albertosaurus raptor finder
Bicycled with wife from Rotterdam harbour
(By hostels) Brussels, Paris, Geneva water
Italy, Venice, Monte Carlo, Cannes sand shores
Back to Bret via Spain winter bricklayer
Became Librarian, suburb bookmobiler
Ditto Nova Scotia book mobile designer
Toronto bibliotequer 22 years
Currently vegetable farmer, tree planter
And both poetry and drama writer
Also adore railway travel & ocean liners.

STEWART, Douglas Bruce -

(April 16, 1929 - August 19, 2012)
On Sunday, August 19, 2012 at the Northumberland Hills Hospital, Cobourg.
Husband of Katherine Tyrrell. Father of Sally (Michael), Hugh (Kim ) and Tom (Sally).
Grandfather of Diana (Luis), Victoria and Ian, Shawn and Nicole and Jackson and Mallory. Great-grandfather of Madelyn and Tatum.
Doug was a gentleman, poet and avid gardener.
He will be greatly missed.

On January 20, 2011, at its 3rd Thursday Readings Series, the Cobourg Poetry Workshop celebrates the poetic life of one of its founder-members, Douglas Stewart, who will be retiring from the group due to health concerns. A true renaissance man - ballet dancer, actor, writer, world traveler, farmer, poet - Doug had a big influence on the Workshop's evolution to what is, today, a significant contributor to Northumberland County's arts' scene. He has published three books of poetry, Glenquaich, Mactalla - Echoes of our Ancestral Past, and Skywriting.

"Doug is very knowledgeable about his Scottish heritage and the role of the Scots settling in Canada." says James Pickersgill. "I think his family arrived in Canada 150 years ago by route of some of the 'clearances' by the local Laird in Scotland. There is a strong family connection to both Perth County farming around Stratford, Ontario and the area south of Peterborough. If memory serves, Doug's farm in Bailieboro, north of Rice Lake, has been in the family since that time."


What eyes, from here, looking east
Cannot recognize basswood and maple
Whose great height, position, stand pillar-couple
Framing sight vision through hayfield below;
And lakeshore's edge of tall poplars, willows
Opening eyesight to West Grape Island first;
Whose broadside view shows gun-turrets, masts
Of navy cruiser from First World War look-alike.
Then sight soars, by sunlight or moon-glow lake
From pre-dawn's auroras, to dazzling sunburst
Past many islands, skyline moraine uplands
Past marsh reed bays, native burial grounds
Sun-prism, clouds, sky, water; their defiant beauty's hour
That far line, landlift above lake, turn islands into cloud tower.


"I don't know if he still is, but Doug was a good cook and baker, a fabulous gardener and jack-of-all-trades utilitarian handyman, naturalist. He's hosted some excellent summer afternoon get-togethers for the Workshop members. Lots of sunshine, good food, and of course, poetry read aloud. He and his wife, Kit, are also great lovers of the arts, classical music, opera. One of their granddaughters is poet, so it's firmly in their DNA"
James Pickersgill

Nine Black Horses Running

See now, October sky, far and wide
With only one raft of mackerel clouds
Baked, as by a grid-iron, waffled
Drifting with a lazy, light wind

The air from night's frost, was still cold
Along these high upland moraine roads
Where they pass through maple beech woods
Amidst road's grassy, wild flower sides

At every foot level, tousled, with vetch buds
With shy, pink petals, strange in month gone cold
Softening this high landscape's mood;
And suddenly, the wind turns mild

(excerpt from Nine Black Horses Running by Doug Stewart)


"Doug writes so carefully about what he wholeheartedly cares about - whether he's angry at injustice or amused by absurdities or amazed at the beauty of the natural world, he pours himself into it. He was trained as a ballet dancer, one of the most demanding of arts, and I think that's reflected in his poetry - how he relies on the discipline of the craft to guide him through these huge subjects. He's such a gentleman ... gentle man."
Deborah Panko

As now they vanish in shadowed green woods
Eyes in sun frenzy of their world revealed
Of this golden forest where they have fled
To their own conscience creed, deeply moved

(excerpt from Nine Black Horses Running by Doug Stewart)


"When one thinks of Doug Stewart, one thinks of consistently thoughtful, measured sincerity. This is as evident in his poetry readings as it is in his conversation. In his writing it characterizes his quiet interest in nature and the world about him, and all in a manner which makes us feel that he comes closer than most of us to writing what he lives."
Wayne Schlepp

Left, is vision of mystery so profound
Resolved only by those with emptied minds
Who've woken to that world beyond all words
Who ride in peace with both living and the dead.

(excerpt from Nine Black Horses Running by Doug Stewart)


"Many of us who are acquainted with Doug's recent works think of them as reflections of the Northumberland Hills, where he lives. But that's not all. He has been writing an publishing since the sixties. I have before me, Blown Leaves, an early collection which shows the same alert response to events and situations; a child lost in a mall, Russian ships in Halifax, a little boy's shoes, and a poem on the dying of the elms. A man of many perspectives."
Eric Winter


Rice Lake Farm
"Sadly, I have listened and observed my state of health and have had to make some decisions that cut out erstwhile joys and companionship in the Cobourg Poetry Workshop. Who know what the future holds? I will continue to pursue, attend daytime, good weather events in town and will work on a theatrical play. I'm working on several now.
Best wishes,
Doug S.


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