Joseph Robichaud: Innercity Philosopher Poet

by Rudy Pohl, November 2001

One Wednesday afternoon in October 2001, Rita-Ann O’ Rourke, the leader of the Foot Care Team at the OIM Dropin Centre was chatting with Joseph Robichaud. In the course of the conversation, Joe mentioned to her that he had written a small book of poetry and that it was posted on the internet. Rita-Ann, remembering that I own a small website development company and that I too had written a book, suggested to Joe that we should meet and chat.

Joe came to me shortly afterwards and we hit it off immediately. He gave me the address of the website where his book was posted and that evening I checked out the site and read some of his stuff. I liked his poetry, and I liked him.

The following week at the Dropin I asked Joe if he was interested in having us do a story on him and his book for our new OIM website. He was keen, and so, over the next few weeks we did an interview and a couple of photo shoots. During this time I got to know a little more about this fascinating, mild-mannered innercity philosopher poet with insight and wit.

Joe, who is 55 years old, was born in Pugwash, New Brunswick and grew up in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He is married with 6 children and his family resides in Sudbury, Ontario. Joe worked for years as a trade welder in Halifax on oil rig construction and in Saint John, New Brunswick, at the Irving Shipyards.

Here, in his own words, is “Joe the Poe” introducing his book of poetry entitled My Poetic Philosophy of Modern Day Man.

“This sequence of unpublished work originated in the Summer of “76 at Habitat, a conference of all nations in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I invested much time there touring the city, listening to lectures, reading literature, viewing films and meeting people of different cultures from all over the world.

I also spent a lot of time living on the beach. Late one night, slightly depressed with life and pondering my future, I walked out into the ocean waist deep, speaking my mind out to the ‘LORD’ and smashing the water with both my fists. Immediately upon walking back, words started coming into my head like water dripping from a basket. After reflecting on my experience and realizing I had somewhat of a poem, this amused me.

I’ve never written poetry in my life, yet this trend continued all summer. May I also point out that clarification concerning the formation of these poems could be discussed, compiled and added to my work.”

Mr. J. R.

Finally, here is a little sample of Joe’s work…

BAN NUCLEAR ARMAMENT
By Joseph Robichaud

Nation against Nation
a struggle to live free
man has seen height of greatness
when he left behind mysteries
that still stuns mankind
of modern day

Now his mind has changed to madness
with warfare of destructive technology
and if he doesn’t change his ways
he may yet live to see his children
cursing these mad minds
of modern day

FROSTY BELLS 
by Joseph Robichaud

O whats this I hear
In the evening air
On this snowy Christmas Eve
Could it be those Frosty Bells
That jingle this time of year
So with a sneak I took a peak
When magic filled the air
Yes there was Rudolph
Standing there
Just prancing in the snow
With his head held so high
My how his nose does glow
With the magic of those Frosty Bells
Still ringing in my ears
Santas sled I could see
But where was Santa Claus
When from deep within the house
Came the strangest little sounds
That filled my heart with silence
When I heard this great big sound
That seemed to come from the parlour
A little ways down the hall
Yet silence filled me deeper
As I tip toed through the hall
To catch a wink from Santa Claus
With his bag of toys
But as I turned the corner
There to my surprise
Santa Claus had come and gone
The parlour filled with toys!