At Parting
Weep? Feel the glut of sentiment?
Our hearts may bleed, our eyes rain tears.
The flesh is weak. The innocent
Have naught but gain in ended years.

Brave soldier, who art now with pleasure
Roaming through Gods garden, gleaming
With endless ever-blooming, teeming
Beds of blossoms At your leisure;
Beside the others gone on before
Hand in hand on the heavenly shore.

Will'st we weep? The flesh is weak.
Eyelids, brimful with briny beads,
Betray us of emotions meek,
But faith its reasons heeds.

Sleep brave soldier, We know your slumber
Is endless rest from worldly care,
And dream of joys in greatest number
You'll gather in the garden there.

A. Isfeld, peace lover, naturalist and educator, born 20 dec 1913, died peacefully 29 jun 1994 Passed on to a better place hand in hand with grandson Mark , peacekeeper, born 14 aug 1962 killed tragically by a mine at Kakma, Croatia, while on duty clearing an area to make it safe for his fellow soldiers, 21 jun 1994. Written at the passing of Arlie's mother in 1947, long before Mark's birth, or his death. Where it now reads "Brave soldier" was originally "Dear mother"; and "Beside the others" was "Beside your mate".

The Battle O'er?

Is the battle oe'r when the warrior
Lays down his sword and gun?

Does the struggle last on down past
Where the foe break rank and run?

Does the treaty signed all strife there bind
And leave undone no task?

Not a life to live
But a life to give
To better the bread of all,

Not a love to spare
But a love to share
To turn to sweet the gall,

These are the acts wherein dwell the facts
Of prime pure peace on earth.

These are your duties of life's beauties
To give the world a great new birth.

'Till right has won
And wrong has gone
From every human heart,

'Till brotherhood
Is the heart's food
And soothes all hatred's smart,

There'll be no rest
But is a jest.
Does peace betray herself?

The battles won
when every man
Is master of himself.

A. Isfeld 7 Nov 1947


He bent o'er her flaming face,
The lustrous radiance of her hair
Lending to his countenance
Of searing passioned soul
Eager and thrilled at the joy
Of holding close his treasure
So soon to be alone.
He kissed her brow tenderly
Half knowing how a twisting hell
Was storming through her frightened brain:
A horror of half imprinted hues;
Of blood and gore and cannons roar:
Of twisted steel and broken file;
Of screaming bombs and roaring planes;
Of sirens whine and leaping flames;
And through this maddening uproar
She tried to see him face to face
Unscathed, unscarred and free

A. Isfeld Jun 28 1943


Sorrow comes from being wrong,
And starts us off a-sighing.
Joy comes with a simple song,
As wisdom comes from trying.
A. Isfeld 1943

From the Icelandic Canadian magazine 1967

One hundred years old! This is indeed extended time for an individual but for a country it is but the first stage in its desired existence. Canada has, however, lived through many exciting experiences during its first century. For the most part those events have been adventurous and pleasant milestones on the road to nationhood. Not least among those was the exciting event of its inhabitants becoming bone-fide Canadian citizens. A true Canadian citizenship was an endearing gift to the millions that call Canada home.

As this centennial year progresses, we, the citizens of Canada, have roused ourselves to a flag waving feeling of pride in our country. This outward action and spirit is in itself an excellent step forward but now as Canada "comes of age" we should in addition give serious thought to the basic citizenship principles involved in the development of a harmonious nation, respected and admired by all of humanity. If these principles are not nurtured in every succeeding year this surge of patriotic feeling during centennial year may prove to be a passing fancy or a temporary emotional situation. To prove that this is not so we should take serious stock of ourselves in order to ascertain whether we qualify, individually or plurally, as truly good citizens. If we find ourselves lacking in the desired qualities we should promptly make a serious attempt to correct the situation. It naturally follows that one must be, to some degree at least, informed in the area of what constitutes good citizenship, before any positive action can be taken. What then is, "good citizenship"?

Firstly a good citizen is a willing and interested member of his community. Here he must show consideration for the feelings and needs of others. He is at all times courteous to others, sharing in their task of making his community a better place in which to live. Here he is willing to support his religious institution and at the same time fully respects the religious institutions of those whose beliefs vary from his own and he gives all, irrespective of race or religion, the same consideration as he in turn expects from them. He does not frown on the activities of others simply because those activities are contrary to his personal beliefs or feelings, but rather judges others by their true acts and deeds, apart from his or their traditionally accepted rights or wrongs. He is at all times truthful, realizing that truth only is permanent and can never be destroyed whereas falsehoods, being of substance that never existed, cause only harm and eventually fall by the wayside. He steals not his brother's character by deliberately and unnecessarily defaming him or maliciously attacking him, but rather exemplifies his good qualities. He never takes an unfair advantage of others and realizes that taking such an advantage is a theft in disguise be it a value of time, money, reputation or character.

A good citizen does not live a life apart but rather joins in his community's activities, and cultivates a friendship with neighbours, at all times respecting their rights, and displaying courtesy, kindness and helpfulness in as far as his neighbours are willing to accept and return them.

A good citizen fulfils his obligations toward local governments. He is faithful in exercising his right to vote as he pleases; is willing to share in the work of local government and if he is a member of such a civic body he never forces his will upon other members, never allows other members to force their personal ideas upon himself, never allows sentiment nor personal prejudices to influence his decisions, never makes decisions that are not the result of carefully considered facts and fully respects the final decisions of the majority of the governing body. The good citizen attacks each problem with an open mind and is willing to change his attitude in spite of his personal opinions when actual facts reveal conditions are contrary to his original thinking. He, at all time, makes certain that information he presents during a discussion is accurate and reliable. He acquaints himself fully with his rights and duties while in office and in turn adheres to them rigidly.

A good citizen sees to it that his place of business or home is a credit to the community in which he lives. He does not tolerate uncleanliness nor truly immoral activities in any shape or form. He takes pride in the accomplishment of others and strives to be a character worthy of their respect. He provides well for his family in the area of daily necessities, culture, education and medical attention. Above all he works earnestly so that no one shall suffer because of his lack of ambition and effort. He never flaunts his riches in the faces of the less fortunate and does not measure his respect for others by their value in dollars and cents.

Secondly a good citizen is an active and willing member of his nation. He displays a sincere non- fanatic patriotism tempered with the knowledge that his own nation can at times be fallible. He cultivates in himself a deep respect for his country; a respect he can understand others might have for their country. He accepts the cultures and recognizes the skills of ethnic groups making up his nation and attempts to weave them into the patterns of nationhood, thus making its overall culture richer and more attractive.

A good citizen acquaints himself fully with the public services his national government provides; an understanding of advantages derived from them and cultivates a willingness to pay his rightful share in maintaining them.

A good citizen always adheres to the laws of his country, realizing that those laws are the bulwark that preserves the freedom of the individual and thus of his nation. He should feel that the breaking of a law, however innocent it appears to him, is an act of aggression against his nation and a lack of trust in his fellowmen.

A good citizen has so much confidence in the national institutions of his country and the members of those institutions that he will always be willing to accept changes brought about by the will of the majority and willingly will carry out their requests.

Lastly, but quickly becoming the most significant, a good citizen considers himself a member of the world community. The idea that ones duties are to his nation only has been blotted out permanently as the speed of modern transportation and communication has made next door neighbours of nations to the ends of the world. As a member of the world community a good citizen respects all races and creeds irrespective of apparent differences. He carefully keeps in mind that what other nations are striving for is the direct result of their cultures and beliefs; that they are as sincere in their adherence to their way of life as he is in his. He tries to understand their problems and thus recognize their viewpoints and accepts them without personally opinionated prejudice. This in turn means that a good citizen acquaints himself fully with world organizations and the part his own country plays in them. To the best of his ability he assists his own nation to be a member in good standing, always fostering better relations in order that peace, goodwill and due respect may be the result.

No longer is one able to give his whole loyalty to home and country; loyalty to the human race must have its share. The need of world citizenship has glaringly been thrust upon us. Let us hope that we can ably cope with it.

A. Isfeld 1967


Why do we seek to learn?
Our feeble hearts do yearn
Freedom from ponderous thought.
A greater goal is sought
Than fundamental facts;
We learn, to guide our acts.

To gain a soul of song,
To help undo the wrong,
To live in harmony
With brethren who are free,
To honour those who choose
To differ with our views,
To understand mankind
And faithfully to find
The best in those who fail.

To weather through the gale
Of life's temptations 'round,
That pierce and pry and pound
The sickened soul to feed
On envy, hate and greed.

To play life "fair and square",
And all our burdens bear.
Him to serve, who gave the mind,
To strive, to seek, to find.

A. Isfeld 10 November 1943


This is the time of the year when scholars approach a definite destination in their journey of learning. Although this implies that a new stage in wisdom has been achieved and that one has been elevated to greater capabilities and higher thought it also brings closer the realization that knowledge must never stagnate and that the future holds ever greater opportunities of accomplishment. Graduation denotes that daring and demanding effort has already been put forth but it also implies that the future search for truth and wisdom will demand even greater sacrifice to meet the many challenges looming on the horizon. It is not the end of a journey but rather it is a mere lagging along the road of life where one lingers awhile to take on fuel that will produce a white-hot fire of inspiration.

Not only should this unflinching flame be kindled in the realm of academic learning. Running parallel with it should be the gradual discovery of the essence of the "school of life". Fulfilment of goals must be felt in body and soul. The emphasis on material gain must give way to the mere inner satisfaction of accomplishment and contribution.

Let us not lose sight of the need for a concurrent development socially, emotionally and morally. Socially one must come to realize that the number and kind of social contacts are rapidly increasing. A consciousness and interest in others as a group, in mankind as a whole and a realization of ones relations and obligations to them-is a social stage that all thinking people must reach if man is to survive his own terrible material entanglement.

Emotionally one must graduate by various stages of conscious will power and self control. Gradually the individual must move from a phase of varied and unpredictable emotions that are annoying and confusing, to stable characteristics that result in acceptable behaviour.

Closely related to this need of moving toward a state of acceptable emotional behaviour is the need for a progressive moral development. Right and wrong must be carefully sorted. There must be a sincere reckoning within oneself concerning prejudice, exploitation, domination and ones personal beliefs. Above all a proper perspective of man's effort and the works of the almighty should be maintained. As the greatness of God's creations become ever more apparent man's effort should seem less significant. Belief in God must become tempered to withstand premature conclusions concerning the mysteries of the universe. How infinitesimal man's space effort has been when we consider the thirty million visible heavenly bodies that travel in orbit without ever a mishap! It is essential that, as man progresses along the path of learning, he will come to realize more and more that by far the greater portion of truth and wisdom is still to be discovered.

As it applies to academic learning so does graduation apply to life. Appropriately on the eve of his graduation one might well be inclined to pray:

Let me rise beyond my dreams,
Let me succeed in all that seems
So precious to my humble heart.
Give me courage to play my part
To shape the world where we can dwell
In peace and love, and refuse to sell
Our soul to envy, hate and greed;
The sins that are the poisoned seed
Whose growth is like a running sore
And culminates a scab of war.

O help me to right the wrongs that are,
And from my thoughts all vision bar
Of selfish hopes, unworthy plans,
Of earthly schemes that are all man's.
Help me along the road of life,
A twisted path of toil and strife,
Where roses bloom with thorns unseen.

Teach me the sacrifice that's been
Displayed by those that went before
To make my task a lesser chore.
Give me strength to fight the blast
Of temptation's squalls and gales so vast.
Help me my faults to overcome
So at the end there may be some
Deed or act or thought or letter
I leave behind, mankind to better.

A. Isfeld June 1944


I used to kill birds in my boyhood,
Bluebirds and robins and wrens;
I hunted them up in the mountains,
I hunted them down in the glens;

I never thought it was sinful,
I did it only for fun
And I had rare sport in the forest
With the poor little birds and my gun.

But one clear day in the spring-time
I spied a brown bird in a tree,
Merrily a winging and singing,
As happy as birds can be

And, raising my gun in a twinkling,
I fired - my aim was too true,
For a moment the little thing fluttered
Then off to the bushes it flew.

I followed it ,quickly and softly
And there to my sorrow I found
Right close to its nest full of young ones
The mother bird dead on the ground.

Poor birdies, for food they were calling,
But now they could never be fed,
For the kind mother bird who had loved them
Was lying there bleeding and dead.

I picked up the bird in my anguish,
I stroked the wee motherly thing
Who could never more feed its dear young ones,
Nor dart through the air on swift wing.

I made a firm vow in that moment
When my heart with such sorrow was stirred
That never again in my lifetime
Would I shoot a poor innocent bird