Welcome to Deirdre Maultsaid’s Site!

Deirdre Maultsaid is a writer based in Vancouver, Canada. Her writing is rich, and provocative.

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Poem: Listen to man’s lament

Listen to man’s lament


Deirdre Maultsaid

I never loved you.
Your epaulettes flapped, your wig and peerage slipped;
your jealousy was black oil in your bilge.
You had (who was that figure at the prow, that noseless rosewood lady?)
See, I forgot what the medals meant,
your piracy.

You promised: you and your Viking sister in your Black Beauty Daytons
would kick the lip gloss right off my enemies.

But my spine was candy; me you ate;
the wrapper you let fall behind your heels as you ran on,
your black boots scalding the rain.
Oh, how I did not love you.

I never loved you as soon as you claimed to be Jesus Continue reading

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Poem: Washerwomen, Blessings

Washerwomen, Blessings

by Deirdre Maultsaid

From This crisis, these blessings: essays by Deirdre Maultsaid (Trafford Publishing)
First appeared in Canadian Woman Studies, Vol. 22, Summer, 2003


I am a washerwoman standing on unstable ground.
I see all in its proper place: aquifer, granite, dust,
sideyard, water pump,
a basin full, my own brawny arms,
my washboard-abraded hands still wringing.
Work is its own reward.
Be careful: contemplation could bring grief.
The world is.
The world does not know me.


Ada Williams says of her work, “The summer I was 15, I went up to Halifax and earned a few dollars. I found a job doing housework, where I had to wash a huge pile of clothes every day while the mistress sat and watched me. I stood it for one week, and left. She refused to pay me anything and was very angry. I went down to the waterfront and got on Cat Weston’s vessel and started for home…I walked down home in the thick fog, and went in the house just as Papa was having his breakfast. ‘I had to come home, Papa’, I said. ‘The work was so hard and I was homesick.’ ‘Come in child. Come in,’ he said. ‘We mine as well starve together.’ (Beth Light & Joy Parr, Editors, Canadian Women on the Move, 1867-1920, New Hogtown Press, 1983).


In pioneer communities, washing clothes involved hauling water, a two day soak with vinegar or buttermilk to take out stains, rubbing the clothes vigorously on the washboard, boiling them and hanging them out to dry in all weather. Rumour has it that Frontiersmen took baths at the laundry and bathhouses, in the East Kootenay Mountains, in the early 1900’s, but would have to wait days for their clothes to dry. Women made their own lye out of wood ash and bones, or animal fat. Catherine Parr Trail, in The Backwoods of Canada said that the process of making soap was “mysterious” and Continue reading

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Poem: Cures

Deirdre Maultsaid

Angel, darling, you have such wakefulness, pacing with your burnt tallow, passing another anniversary watching the clock hands stroke away meaning. I know: all shall perish. Look. There is the shadow of God, the disenchantment of the world, the sharp tools of those who wish to be amputated, to exalt their fake sick and sick love, to tell the stories that Continue reading

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Poem ” Shine on, you moons of Jupiter ” was published at The Puritan

“All I have is sniper thinking;
I am calling out from between the rocks…”

Read poem here
Author notes on the poem at the Town Crier blog here


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Poem: If Nostalgia Were Religion

If Nostalgia were religion


Deirdre Maultsaid

Originally published in Contemporary Verse 2: 33(3), 2011

I would return to that time,
to see my mother, a giddy señora,
holding aloft a baked globe of rare black clay,
standing among bowls all tilted to her kind of heaven,
my brother and sister duned up, wan and thirsty, under the cactus,
my mother’s own black hair, dusty,
her hands honouring a craft
as she always honoured and adorned it.

My mother pointing to a yellow bird in a cage
trilled “high up in banana tree”
so the song was a skirl in my mind.

Oh, so this is joy—
its silly lady heart,
its canary beauty,
its serendipity.

What about that steep street–
the mist and green hills beyond,
the mine, the vein, the lifting, the promise Continue reading

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Poem: Cousin to the Light

Santiago Matamoros  

Deirdre Maultsaid

As the mist rises on the stony path
we take our bearing on the golden bell tower
gathering, ensouling,
the heather our diviner.

We tell our dreamy story.
I am a pilgrim collecting souls; she is a pilgrim
you are there too, gathering light Continue reading

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Poem: Mercy

Deirdre Maultsaid

You could be a true God’s whore.
You could be a Flirty Fish, showing the love,
witnessing, and winning others into the kingdom.

You could halve a pear and paint a still life–bronze and ovoid.
You could haul the slow way down Chuckanut Drive,
the winding highway reminding you
to never eat again for the sorrow and sparks inside,
ending because of the fervorless man,
the blank pear of his face, Continue reading

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Poem “Exodus” was published at Pif

“It is not all ripe oranges delicious mangoes…” –> read poem


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E-book: Ashes of Her Shelter Available for eBook Readers

Set on the West Coast of Canada in the 70’s and 80’s, The Ashes of Her Shelter is a lyrical novel, with “home” as a strong motif, about the bond between  sisters, told from the unreliable viewpoint of an activist, Christine, who  loves with a twisted loyalty her conventional sister Leigh-Anne. Christine by  accident leads Leigh-Anne into danger and fails to protect her from bad  relationships with men.

Download from Smashwords onto a variety of  ebook readers like Kindle, Kobo and Sony. Can also buy it directly from barnesandnoble.com, and Diesel E-Books. Read it online or as a PDF from Smashwords or here.


“Although it was hard for Christine to accept, Vince changed everything between Christine and Leigh-Anne. Christine had already been half-crazed with what she felt for her beautiful and talented sister—a fanatical kind of love, with its hot misunderstandings, its burning green explosions, and its urge to both shield and wound the beloved. On the night Christine first met Vince (the avant-garde artist, the avant-garde double boyfriend), she was not imagining who she wanted to protect and who she wanted to hurt.”

See also Testimonials, or Buy/Read Now. (Free except for admin. fee).

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