poetry and prose about place


with 6 comments

I am working on my poetry manuscript ‘a glimpse of waterfalls.’ As always, I workshop some of the poems with my writing group Wolf Tree Writers. Wolf Tree has been together over thirty years and has assisted me greatly in improving my poetry.


This past week I read a poem to Wolf Tree called ‘from a window on the 3rd floor.’ In the third stanza, a gargoyle is mentioned. We talked about how a gargoyle is an ‘Old World’ (European) reference. It made me curious about gargoyles in Canada.



A gargoyle is a sculptural architectural feature used like a waterspout to transport rainwater away from the building. A gargoyle often depicts a grotesque other-world figure and also serves to frighten daemons away and remind people of the perils of doing harm. Sculptural features which look like gargoyles but which do not convey water are called grotesques.



Canada has many examples of gargoyles, occurring wherever architecture is gothic in design. There are many examples in Montreal, including on the campus of McGill University (Redpath Hall and Library), on churches (Christ Church Cathedral) and on private buildings (the Elspeth Angus and Duncan McIntyre House). The Peace Tower (Parliament Building) in Ottawa has numerous gargoyles and grotesques. For more information see



from a window on the 3rd floor


I nudge curtain, interpret

streetscape, sirens

stream down the glass

fractal paths where drops

meet and coalesce

meet and coalesce


the puddle on the cobbled street

a pool at the base of a waterfall

edged in rock and fern

candy wrappers, paper coffee cups

brick an escarpment, rain spills

from ledges of stone

edges of stone


above, a gargoyle gushes

glimpse of reckless sky

heartened, I consider

merits of solitude

building facade

pavement pulses

red and blue

red and blue



Are there any gargoyles in the architecture of your area?


All my best!!


Written by jane tims

January 13, 2021 at 7:00 am

6 Responses

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  1. Hi Jane, I love your reference to gargoyles – and explanation of grotesques. I did not know the difference! Uptown Saint John has numerous gargoyles and grotesques. While working uptown, I always enjoyed being able to see them everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    Maureen Boone

    July 28, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    • yes, we saw the ones on the Chubb Corner Building! There are also grotesques on the Cathedral in Fredericton. Architecture is fascinating.


      jane tims

      July 30, 2021 at 12:09 pm

  2. You may want to correct the spelling on the very last line of your post Jane 😀 Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person


    January 13, 2021 at 11:16 am

  3. Your sketches always enhance the experience of your poems. This posting also educates and enhances my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    Rose Burke

    January 13, 2021 at 8:10 am

    • hi Rose. I learned a lot from this one too. They are hard to draw since the scale is tricky. Thanks! Starting your book next week! Looking forward to it and perhaps it will get me going on my own family history again.


      jane tims

      January 13, 2021 at 9:11 am

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