Monday, December 5, 2016


It was a grandmother who first
stood by the river and said
"Enough is enough."
The warriors at Standing Rock
held the line for months
before the world took notice,
and went to join them.
The movement grew.
Their prayerful courage touched our hearts.
When the veterans went
to put their bodies between
the protectors and the militarized police,
finally their message was heard,
and the pipeline halted.

There will be more Standing Rocks,
for the black snake tries to find its way
against all scientific facts and warnings.
"Money Rules!" they say.

But oh! good people, never forget :
"The Spirit Liberates!"

We stand together, with the indigenous people
who love and know the land,
we grandmothers and grandfathers,
joining them in solidarity,
standing for the future of our grandkids
to the seventh generation.

Money may rule.
But in the end,
for always and forever,
the Spirit liberates.

for Elizabeth Crawford's challenge at 1sojournal: Together

Sunday, December 4, 2016


[I wrote this poem in 1963, when we were asked to write a sonnet at school. It was December. It appears I have had these conflicting thoughts about Christmas - excess in a world of inequities - since I was young. I was seventeen. What I most wanted to do was go to Africa and care for orphans. I so wish that I had.]

Pure snowflakes fall upon a dust-gray street:
Love's beauty, scattered by a Baby's fingers.
The softened, hov'ring winter darkness lingers:
A gentle life, so sweet to me, so sweet!
Clear, poignant carols echo on the air,
Sung by the pale-lipped children of December.
With breathless joy, always will I remember
Their angel-sounds, so fair to hear, so fair.
The gifts pile high under the Christmas tree.
The gaiety grows greater every day.
Into my dreams, a starved child finds his way:
"A crust of bread for me, a crust for me."
The thought of him remains all season through -
So far away, so little I can do.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: to give the world a hug. Children everywhere need our hugs and our help, all year long. Our hearts feel happier, when helping those in need is part of our lives. It is great to involve our kids in this as well, so they feel the joy of giving.

I just turned on the news and received an unexpected hug. Permission has been denied for the pipeline at Standing Rock. What is that quote: never underestimate the power of a group of committed people to do great things.

Our voices, joined together, CAN and DO effect change........let us keep our voices raised against all the issues to come, especially around climate change. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I imagine a world
of social justice:
resources used sustainably,
and shared,
wildlife and water protected,
a world of clean energy
and thriving organic gardens.

The humans are all smiling
and no human or animal
is abused or beaten or shot,
a world where guns do not exist.
The children are all loved,
and the elderly are 
not lonely, but included,
for they are the storytellers.

It is a world of peace and beauty
and, the thing is,
it is available right now,
if humanity wants it.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Imagination: to envision the world the way we would like it to be. Dark and light forces are battling right now. My best hope is that light will emerge as the chosen direction, and set to work recreating the world. This is likely only when humans are forced to find a better way. The concern is, we don't have much time left to make the turning. And are about to be set back years we can't afford to lose. But we shall dream on, because we must. It takes every hopeful human heart.

Friday, December 2, 2016

An Earthly Garden

A forest is alive with diversity:
trees of every kind, draped with moss,
and fungi, salal and fiddlehead ferns
tucked in at their feet.
I walk, head tilted back,
blessing every leaf and branch,
for all are beautiful.

A garden is an array
of bounteous colour:
purple iris, pink peony,
a variety of roses,
abloom with heady scent
that I drink in with gratitude.

Dogs come in a multitude
of shapes and sizes,
each one's eyes speaking devotion.
Their big or small tongues
kiss our hands,
their tails all wag;
their wriggly doggy bodies
writhe in ecstasy every time
we walk in the door,
for every doggy heart
speaks only the language of love.

How is it that we humans
have so much trouble
appreciating our
unique and varied selves?
Each one of us with our own beauty,
each of us a blossom
in the earthly garden.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Challenge: Diversity.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hoping / Hopeless

The poet feels a mandate
to inject light and hope into her work,
the better to inspire, uplift and motivate.

But in dark days,
seeing the planet
and humankind as it is,
discouragement takes up residence.
She tries to beat the dusty curtains of her soul,
polish up the windows of her eyes,
nudge that flagging heart into action,
but her soul is weary
of the struggle.

Seventy years of bumpy road,
we humans struggled towards social justice,
and now we are about to
step back fifty years.

She believes in the transformation
of human consciousness,
the evolution of souls,
the race of rainbow warriors
now arriving.

She knows we can be better than we are,
are meant to be better than we are.
Yet here we are, a melting planet
of extinct and endangered species,
(including us),
a warming, dying sea,
too many nations a battleground;
it feels as if the human experiment
has failed.

Existential angst,
as hope settles into acceptance
of defeat.

Her best hope, on the worst days:
that somehow Mother Earth will survive us,
will grow cool and green and lush
..........and  begin again.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge:  to choose a word reflective of what one is seeing and feeling, and write about it. I am hoping my default optimism will return, but with current events so dismal, I am having a hard time, especially in the area of climate change.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Earth Grief

I will speak for Mother Earth,
whose innards are  being fracked,
explosions underground
sparking earthquakes and unease.

I will speak for the oilsands,
earth turned into death zones,
and for the rivers
along the pipelines' routes,
the black death seeping in,
killing all in its path.

I will speak for the birds
covered in oil,
who have lost their song.
I will speak for the wolves
and lions and tigers
who are dying out
as they're trying to live.
I will speak for the whales
swimming in an ocean
of plastic,
a warming Toxic Soup,
and for the coral and plankton
that is already all but dead.

I will speak for the salmon
trying to survive and procreate
in polluted waters.
I will speak for the polar bear
ever in search of ice
and food.

I will speak for the forests
that are burning up.
I will speak for the topsoil
that is blowing away on the wind,
and for the pesticide gardens
bringing disease to the people.

I will speak for the animals
caged in pens too small
for moving,
as they eat and grow,
and wait to be brutally killed
and then eaten.
I will speak for the bawling calf
ripped from its bellowing mother,
taken away so humans
can have the cream.

I will speak for dogs chained
for ten years
outdoors in the cold,
their misery plain in their eyes.
I will speak for the voiceless,
the captive, the dominated, the abused,
who cannot speak for themselves,
to express their despair,
who are at the mercy
of merciless folks
who think animals don't have feelings,
because they never dare to
look into their eyes
and see emotion shining
so plainly there.

I have no power,
but I have a pen and a voice
to write out my
heart full of pain
at what humans inflict on Mother Earth
and all of her creatures
for monetary gain.

Though it eases
not one small creature's burden,
and Mother Earth is suffering
at hands more powerful than mine,
it is all I can do,
bearing witness,
giving voice to our shared
creaturely and planetary pain,
to our Earth Grief -
our soul's understanding that,
if we continue as we are,
not much of earth
will remain.

posted for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge at 1sojournal : Voice - to speak for those who have no voice. Note: today is Remembrance Day for Extinct Species. Latest statistics:
the number of wild animals living on earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020. Source

Standing Alone

photo by Lisa Barnes

He was crying in his hospital bed.
"Can I help you?" I asked.
"I'm cold. I have AIDS,
and the nurse won't come into my room."
"I'll get you a blanket,"
I said gently.
I brought him two and tucked him in.
Later, I was pleased to see the other nurse,
sitting by his bed, holding his hand,
laughing with him,
restoring my faith in human nature.


She left her marriage
because she was being abused,
but she was not believed.
Her church community went silent,
withdrew their support.
Pale and distraught,
she walked through her days alone,
being stalked and tormented,
and shunned by her community
at the same time.


She brought sexual assault charges
to protect other women
from what she had gone through.
But it was she
who went on trial.
It was she whose past was shredded,
whose integrity was attacked.
whose testimony was questioned.
In the end, he walked free.


Well, one doesn't have to look far when it comes to incidents of social stigma. Posted for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Social Stigma.