Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Summer Blooms

I remember the soft scented evenings
of summer, when I was a girl:
peony and lilac, sweet pea and nasturtium,
japonica and geranium and tall hollyhocks
in my grandmother's garden.

I liked to think the garden
was a village for fairies,
who took shelter under the leaves
during afternoon thunderstorms.
I remember the smell of earth
rising up, sharp, metallic,
in the moments just before the rain,
my Grandma and I exchanging smiles
in her back porch.
How she loved a good thunderstorm!
I love them still; that smell of coming rain
always takes me back to
summertime Kelowna, in the 60's.

And I am fifteen again,
standing under white blossoms in City Park,
as a brown-eyed boy hands me a bloom,
sweetly saying: "Poor man's orchid,"
just before my first
broken heart.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Flowers

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Raging Grannies

Raging Grannies of Victoria, B.C.

We may look like
grey-haired little old ladies,
but make no mistake.
Our hearts are warriors
for Life.
The grannies are raging 
in the northern hemisphere.
We are growling and muttering
as we watch the evening news.
We are calling each other up, to say
"Can you  believe what he's done now?"

We have been subversive in 
our lives and in our language.
We have penned things on our blogs
and know we are likely on a list somewhere.
Somewhere there is a computer earmarking 
the use of words like "direct action" and "Resist,"
"Radical" and "Blockade."

And now we are getting off 
(and going off) our rockers,
and taking to the streets. 
We are riled up, gnarly, determined, snarly.
We are putting on our loud clothing 
and our strange hats,
and we are marching.
We are standing at the steps
of Legislature,
well and truly fed up,
and we are singing 
"We Will Not Be Moved."

How many times have we 
marched and sung,
in our lives,
and now we have to do it
all over again.
No rest, 
when all is wicked.

In summation:
the ruling classes could not have made 
a bigger mess of things.
Stand aside, orange creature
with bad hair;
back away slowly, 
corporate rapists of the earth.
You've had your chance, you leaders 
too weak (or too rich) to oppose them, 
who put profit before people,
profit before environment,
profit before planetary survival
every single time.

Earth to Capitalism:
There are No Jobs
On a Dead Planet.

Step aside, 
and let the women 
have a go at it.
We'd start with Earth First,
and go on from there.

for Paul Scribbles' cool prompt at dVerse: Underground

Monday, May 22, 2017

Breathing Peace

Breathe in the cacophony
of the quarrelsome talking heads;
breathe out the birdsong
of a thousand singing forests.

Breathe in the gazillion dollar contracts
for military weapons, and the talk of war;
breathe out a billion wildflowers
cascading down the side of a mountain.
Breathe out armloads of hopeful babies,
and their  mothers, wanting only 
to raise them in peace,
with enough to eat, 
and a future in which to live.

Breathe in the bombs and death camps,
the captive girls, the child soldiers,
the young men whose guarded eyes 
have seen too much,
whose dreams have become nightmares;
breathe out a prayer of peace,
that will float across the world,
entering the neocortexes of 
the maddened guerillas,
rendering them transformed,
from fighters to friends of humanity,
who cannot kill again.

Breathe in earthquakes, explosions, 
fracking, flooding,
melting glaciers at the top and bottom poles;
breathe out restored balance, reduced emissions,
cooling land and oceans,  survival
for sea life and coastal communities.
Breathe out armies of people
cleaning and restoring 
the ocean and the land, 
and planting trees, 

Breathe in the toxic nightmare of today's politics;
breathe out a flock of sandpipers, 
moving as one body at the edge of the sea,
just as we can move together,
if we but have 
the intelligence and will.
Breathe out stars, and bioluminescence,
silver paths upon the water,
and a moon, serenely smiling
upon a land of gentle dreamers.

Breathe in walls and division;
breathe out harmony and unity:
no "us" and "them" - just people of the earth,
who wish to raise their children
towards a brighter tomorrow.

Breathe in despair, hopelessness, 
displacement, famine;
breathe out prayers that last 
from morning to nightfall
for a hurting world.
Pray for humankind
to become conscious,
as a whole,
Pray for evolution,
for transformation.
then do what you can,
where you are.

It seems the news is getting me down. Keep focussing on peace, my friends, and let's take what action we can to fix what is near at hand. Plant trees. Voice objections to elected officials. There is much to resist.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Breaking News is Breaking My Tired Old Heart

In those days,
journalism was a sacred trust.
"Stop the presses!" the editor
would roar, flying out back
to the men laying upside down words
in the frames, row upon row.

When it printed,
we all sat around the news room,
reading, with inky fingers and
smiles of satisfaction:
another paper, done.
The news, then, was pretty:
a good orchard crop,
a Lady of the Lake crowned,
another summer Regatta.

Now, news is everywhere,
and is pretty much all appalling.
Journalists report what they hear said
with their own ears,
report what is being slid through Congress
by sleight of hand,
and it is all labeled fake news.
How convenient.

It's a "witch hunt",
yet the reporting is of words
from his own mouth,
abhorrent words.

"Walls work.
Just ask Israel," the big toad sneers.
Ask a Palestinian how well walls work.

I am living in a world
of nightmare news
and uncertain futures,
where all we once held dear
has been knocked on its ass.

In those days,
we believed truth was beauty
and beauty was truth.
And now our tired old hearts
grow weary,
weary at the daily news.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: the news

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Standing People, Before They Fall

I wake early. 
Mist is rising off the lake.
Rain taps lightly along my branches,
and down,
hitting mushroom and salal,
fiddlehead and fern,
as we gratefully drink
after long, dry summer's heat.

The earth is shaking.
I tremble.
The big-wheeled trucks move in.
Doors slam.
Men yell and laugh,
then head off,
each in his own direction.

There it is! The screaming roar
of the big saws,
the ominous rumbling
of the grapple-yarders,
the sudden crack! as my sisters fall,
roots pointing towards heaven,
an end to the slaughter,
sap running like blood
down into the ground.

I dig my roots deep 
into Mother Earth.

I will hold on tight
for as long as I can.
But, no! Here he comes,
a Two-Legged,
with his fearsome saw.

photo by

* First Nations often refer to the trees as Standing People, in their stories and legends.

A poem from 2012, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come on over, for some good reading to accompany your morning coffee!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Call of the Forest

Call of the Forest - Official Trailer from Treespeak Films on Vimeo.

Ancient beings,
infinitely nurturing and wise,
their presence
gives us
the very air we breathe.

In the cool depths of the forest,
we feel a sacredness,
a communion,
connection with
an age-old mystery.

If we stay silent,
we may hear them

How is it
we cut them down,
giver of the air we breathe?
we should be praying to them,
protecting them.

How is it
we are the only species
to desecrate and destroy
our own habitat?

"Plant trees,"
the wise one said.
"If everyone planted a tree,
we could reverse
global warming."

Last night I watched Call of the Forest : The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees. It was beautiful, and amazing. The "she" I refer to is Diana Beresford-Kroeger, who narrated the film. She is a lovely forest sprite.

This community I live in is very forest-aware, its people having taken a stand against the logging companies to protect and preserve its old growth. It is stunning how little original forest remains on the planet, incomprehensible how destructive we are. Ms. Beresford-Kroeger speaks of the Druids, who knew the language of the trees, understood the fates of humans, trees and water are directly linked. The film's call to plant trees, with examples of even urban centres doing so, left me feeling hopeful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sad Eyes

Is there anything
in this world
than the eyes
of a circus bear?

Does he remember
baby days when he 
roamed the forest,
scratched his back on big trees,
caught fish
in the river?

In his cage at night,
does he remember
other bears,
tall grass,
the feel of the wind
in his face?
When he dreams,
does he dream
of freedom
or captivity?

Is there anything
more unnatural
than a bear on a bicycle?
Yet when he resists,
he is beaten.
When he roars,
he is whipped.

The people in the audience
laugh as he pedals past.
But deep down,
there is shame.
For there is nothing
sadder in this world
than the eyes of a circus bear.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Bicycles, Tricycles and Unicycles