Madelaine Shaw-Wong



My writing journey, stories and poems. Click on the category to the right or scroll for newest entry.

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Cradling the Past to be in the Glenbow Museum

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (2)

I recieved a request from the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for a copy of Cradling the Past, a Biography of Margaret Shaw. How exciting to be able to share her story with a whole new audience!

A Gift from my Father

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (5)

My bookshelf looms

Holding many stories

The imaginings of many writers

I reach my hand

Touch the cool covers

Smooth and familiar

My old friends and companions

My father gave me this book

A History of Alberta

I remember his face

Calm disposition

The way he spoke

The way he listened

Read this, he said

Tell me what you think

His hand warm

I put it on the bookshelf

And there it stayed

I have yet to read it

Now it’s too late

My father is dead

Photo albums

With their puffy, plastic covers

Much handled, much loved

Spines broken

I open to the pages of my childhood

The home where I grew up

My sisters and brothers

So long ago

My teenaged friendships

Giggling and whispering

A photo of my father

He is smiling

I know he forgives me

He encouraged me

When the world beat me down

He knew I needed to be stronger

I am shy, like he was

I take down the book

Sit on the floor

Flip pages of text and photos

The laying of the railroad

The First Nations people

Looking sad and confused

Calgary one hundred years ago

Dark and barren

The World Wars

Black and white misty images

Dead soldiers splayed on battle fields

Oil rigs

A hope for the future

I hear my father’s voice

Telling me stories of long ago

His voice

Deep and soothing

I turn to page one

And begin to read

                                                                                                             Dedicated to Albert Shaw 1920 - 1995

My Journey with Cancer

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The medicine that heals me

Makes me sick

My hair falls out in clumps

My brain swirls


A fog that will not lift

I despair

I see fear in my children’s eyes

They suffer also

I’m afraid

Don’t take me from them

Do you hear me?

I cry out in anger

This is wrong!

Do I deserve to suffer?

Help me understand

You know me

You know my heart

Truth will set me free

I don’t know what that means

You live in eternity

We live in time

You created the universe from nothing

 And saw that it was good

You did not create suffering

We rebelled

And fell from grace

You suffered

Showing us the horror


Suffering points to the evil of sin

To the evil one

Your innocence

You could have called on the angels

But did not resist

Your suffering



Help me

What can I do?

Can I trust You?

Put your yoke upon my shoulders

Take up my cross

So that with You

My suffering will be redemptive

You are all-knowing

I submit to Your will

I trust You

Not passive acceptance

But a struggle

I fight for my children

Against the evil

That brought this illness into my body

And into my home

I ask again

And again for strength

So like Job

I can honour You with prayer

A powerful weapon

Against hopelessness



Understanding Suffering

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (1)

At the sound of His voice

Winds subside

Be still


Have faith

We are wounded


The cross


Our joy


A thing of beauty

Hope will not disappoint

Understand suffering?

Our minds are too weak

Understand His promise?

Our hearts are too hard

Set me free

I'm foolish

Slow of heart to believe


Memories of Mexico

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sudden sunrise

Sleep drenched tourists

Push worries away

Long for a taste of heaven

Middle-aged matrons

Hanging flesh and sagging breasts

Walk the shore with pot-bellied husbands

Thin legs prop up round torsos

Constant breeze

Sand crabs roll onto shore

Pelicans drift and dive

White albatross floats on ocean breezes

Conserves her energy for long voyages

Then alights


A belly full of fish for heryoung

Web-footed birds

Sharp beaks and piercing cries

Scrounge for scraps

Desperate locals wait at locked gates

Hungry eyes

Any job openings?

He is the lucky one

His tips buy the rice

To feed his children

With supplicating manner

He sets a drink before the tourist


He takes the coin

My pleasure to serve you

This is the chant of the disenchanted






Blind Faith, part 5

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Atheists firmly believe in not believing in God. Their faith lies in having no faith.

Others take an easier path, the agnostic view, and make no commitments. Agnosticism implies that religion is not as important as, for example, “making a better world for our children” or standing up for “individual rights.” Agnostics see the belief in the supernatural, especially angels and demons, as out-dated and superstitious. This has the benefit of freeing them from the awkward and uncomfortable belief in hell.

They ask, “How can a loving God condemn his creatures to an eternity of suffering?” They find the concept too difficult, too horrible; therefore it can’t be true.

What is hell? Hell is a state in which we are separated from God. God does not separate himself from us, but vice-versa. Human beings can condemn themselves through their self-imposed separation from God.

Secularists believe that absolute truth is unattainable. They stand for “freedom” – from morality. They stand for “tolerance” – to everything but God’s teachings.

When people believe that absolute truth is unattainable, truth becomes irrelevant, and this leads to relativity – that belief in God is true for some people but not for others, that it is all a matter of opinion and every opinion is equal. In a secular society the concepts of “right and wrong” become relative, to the situation and to the individual. As a result: vices – such as lust, pride and avarice gain in public acceptance, while morality – the distinction between right and wrong, loses its force and credibility.

Blind Faith, part 4

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

        We can’t fully understand the mind of God. A cat cannot do algebra. A cat can’t be expected to understand the mind of a human being. We, however, have an obligation to try to understand God.

If people find truth impossible to attain they will either abandon all hope, embracing agnosticism or accept only what can be attained through the senses, by way of science. This leads to the deification of science, that we can only trust what we discover through our senses.

They say, “Prove to me that God exists,” but we can’t see God with a telescope, or microscope. We won’t see an old man looking down at us from the clouds, harp playing angels at his side. There exist an incorrect perception of a battle between science and religion. In reality, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Science is the study of the material world. God declared that the material world is good. Science, empiricism, is one way, but not the only way, to understand the world. The other way is through our reason and intelligence.

Blind Faith, part 3

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

      What does it mean to be rational? Rational thought, rooted in philosophical proof, is a reflection of truth in the world. Either light exists or it does not. Either my faith is right or it is wrong. If the truth of God exists I can use my rational thought to find that truth.

Our strength, as people of God, is that we have respect not only for the body, through which we gain empirical knowledge, but also for the soul, through which we gain understanding of God through rationalism and intelligence. The unity of body and soul drives our search for the truth.

Modernists have a hard time accepting the limitations of their own intelligence. Pride won’t allow them to believe that it is impossible to completely understand God’s mysteries. The root of the problem lays in a failure to give one’s self over to a higher power because to do so requires humility – an acceptance of one’s own failings and faults.

Because they can’t comprehend the mysteries of God, modernists will either ignore the teachings or substitute their own. They may attempt to rewrite the doctrines of Christianity, leaving them with nothing but watered-down faith.