Congratulations to the Winners

Congratulations to the Winners

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Margaret Phillips. A poem by Estella Howard read at Margaret's celebration of life, Saturday January 16, 2016.

Margaret by Estella Howard

margaret was a woman of valour
words to describe her cross and criss cross
she was a woman of service
providing books for women
books about women
books authored by women
a social planner
a feminist pillar.
margaret was humble and fierce
at the same time.
she held on when others let go
a gentle rock
children's stories and cunt colouring books
on different shelves of course.
music by women and a special spot for
rodney brown
she shared ideas with her customers and friends
stepping around her literature covered counter
to offer a cup of tea, a chair to sit in, a conversation.
She wore her glasses low, peering at you over the frames
her hair always long - red for so long then finally grey
the northern women's bookstore and her home
filled with "her story."
she was the northern woman
in print and in heart.
she was the tip of the iceberg and
many wondered what lay beneath
most too shy to ask respecting the gentle woman privacy
and those special few who held her through the hard times
these old and loving friends.
sisterhood is powerful.
social justice was her place setting at the table
steadfast in her beliefs and committed to holding the space
for others.
for those of us who shared her generation
memories long forgotten amid tears and laughter
the early days of the women's movement,
old friends, authors, gatherings rich in experience.
margaret took a stance and held i, at times feeling along
an independent woman - an independent bookstore
a haven for new writers, young feminists and justice advocates.
a place to feel safe and understood
free to express outrage and joy.
a place to share.
so good-bye dear margaret -
all those poets,, novelists, journalists, and playwrights who have gone before
and a few old friends
all hanging out together
reading to each other, challenging ideas and sharing laughter
thank you for your kindness, open heart and gentle spirit.
and god?
damn she is a woman!
Lovingly remembered by a sister

Margaret Phillips,  founder of the Norther Women's Bookstore in Thunder Bay with Anna MeColl, ran the business for forty years. At her death the Bookstore was the last women's bookshop in Canada. At present the shop is closed and the volunteer collective is considering the next step.

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