My Books


Footnotes Author Thousand Islandis a collection of fifty-one poems written over six decades, the majority of which deal with loss, the passage of time and mortality.

The book begins with a foreword by Alan Bishop, Professor Emeritus in English, Rhodes University, South Africa M.A., Oxford University, UK D.Phil, an accomplished Canadian author. The book’s poems, the first of which was written in 1959, are arranged chronologically and dated. A unique feature of the book is that the author has included footnotes to provide the reader with some insight into each poem’s origin, meaning, etc. That, and the fact that the poetry is in itself a footnote to the author’s life, is the inspiration for the book’s title.

The following four-line excerpt is taken from the book’s closing poem, “Jack’s Last Day,” written as a tribute to the author’s hero.

He was a little man, but a ball of fire,
And I am surprised at the weight of his coffin.
Then I realize how many hopes and fears,
And how much courage and pain lie within."


Dafydd the book

Dafydd, a non-fiction, narrative memoir, is a farm boy’s first-person account of rural and urban life in the mid-twentieth century. The series of anecdotes, based on the author’s childhood recollections and memories of selected adult adventures, was initially written as a gift to his grandchildren.

The writer’s tales emerge “Out of the Ashes of Hell,” a reference to the horrors of the Second World War, and quickly transition into the Eden that was his early childhood.

Step by step, Dafydd escorts readers through forgotten technologies, values and language. Mature readers will be drawn into their own pasts, as tales of steam locomotives, Saturday afternoon matinées and one-room schools unfold. Young readers, on the other hand, will enter an alien world, a warm and peaceful place, where they too can taste the relaxed way of life that their parents and grandparents experienced.

Even naive farm boys must inevitably grow toward manhood. In Dafydd, the transition is marked by one traumatic moment, one indelible memory that forever erased the innocence of childhood. Nevertheless, the author retains his enthusiasm for adventure, sharing with readers a series of exciting and often humorous experiences. “Go Outside and Play,” words likely spoken at one time by every mother of the mid-twentieth century, is the title of the sixth chapter. The sixty pages that follow include stories of river exploration, bear encounters, icebergs, mutiny, an aborted glider flight, a trek to the summit of Britain’s highest peak and a forty-knot gale in the Gulf of Maine.

Dafydd closes with a brief analysis of the environmental factors that mold us into the people that we become. It also incorporates a tribute to the incredible capacity that we human beings have for recalling our past. Without that all-important element, that capability that we refer to as memory, we could not hope to find understanding.

Dafydd excerpt

Too Cold For Mermaids

My second book, Author Thousand IslandToo Cold For Mermaids, is also a non-fiction narrative, a first-person account of a dream fulfilled – and a dream shattered.

While still an aspiring artist and romantic, I imagined owning a small yacht and painting my way around the world. Struck down by the reality of earning a living, my dream smouldered amidst responsibility and daily routine for decades, while my career veered in an entirely unexpected direction. Then, inspired by a job-related seminar, I reignited my long-dormant fantasy and began pursuing my goal of owning my own sailboat and exploring the world under sail.

Too Cold For Mermaids describes my quest to find and purchase Alice Rose, and develop the skills to sail her from a dock in Penetanguishene, Ontario to a berth in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Acquiring a knowledge of seamanship and the ability to navigate, and learning to operate a multitude of on-board devices, led me to crew for other captains, both before and after I skippered Alice Rose. One adventure involved delivering a thirty-six foot Gozzard from Florida to Maine, and another found me crewing aboard a thirty-foot Nonsuch during a six-week exploration of Labrador and Newfoundland. Personal journals of those passages, along with Alice Rose’s log, provided a foundation for the book, which is now approaching completion.

Unfortunately, the next step in fulfilling my dream – that of crossing the Atlantic to the Acores – withered and died at Sydney, after my close friend and sole crewmember faced a life-changing family crisis, and withdrew from the venture. Nevertheless, Too Cold For Mermaids continues into one more season, detailing the return of Alice Rose to Hamilton, Ontario, her Port of Registry, via Boston, New York City and the Erie Canal.

Though that aspect of my life has now slipped into the past, memories of chill winds and saltwater sunrises will forever reflect some of the happiest days of my life.

Too Cold For Mermaids excerpt

© David J Forsyth 2013