Sunday, July 26, 2015

This Poem is a Big Red Heart

This poem is a six year old boy 
whose dad and dog both died.
This poem is a crayon.
This poem is a big red heart.

This poem is a sweet and valiant little boy,
who has known tears, but who loves to smile.
This poem gets knocked down, and
bounces back up again.
Like the boomerang, it keeps coming back,
because it has known death, so it cherishes life.
This poem is a six year old boy 
whose dad and dog both died.

This poem is a crayon held in a grubby fist
by an intent little boy 
who wants a picture of his pain.
This poem can draw a stick figure dad 
with a big smile, and open arms,
and a devoted droopy-eyed dog, 
with floppy ears and an old soul. 
This poem is a crayon.

This poem is a gigantic wobbly red heart
with a dog inside, along with  the words
"Papa and Phoenix are fishin' in hevven".
This poem squeezes the heart
of his mother, who lost her mate,
then, one year later, held the body 
of his old fishing pal as he went to sleep 
for the last time.
This poem has lost too many loves,
but keeps on smiling, loving and moving forward,
because of a small boy made almost entirely
out of hope and trust and sweetness and love.
This poem is a large red heart.

*for Real Toads' Play It Again, Toads, where I was happy to pick Hannah's wonderful Boomerang Poem form, which makes writing a poem easy, given a few key ingredients.

* also posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Free Tibet

Red Buddha image associated with the youtube video The Mountains of the Gods

The sun god rises, crimson on the mountain 
of eternal snow,
like the bloodstains of the red-robed monks 
who fell before the invaders' guns.
May there be no more bloodshed. 
May its snow stay forever on its peaks, 
so all beings may live.

The snow leopard pads, elusive, 
on its slippery slopes,
furtive as the Old Ones, 
who clasp the forbidden image 
of their beloved, the Dalai Lama,
close to their hearts, hidden away 
from the oppressors' eyes,
which are everywhere.
May the deity who lives 
inside the mountain
step as softly, when he awakens,
so the mountain does not fall.

On its summery slopes, drogpa,* 
yaks and sheep bask in grassy fields of wildflowers. 
One might, in the moment, 
forget all those who died,
fighting for a free Tibet.

One might forget the bitter winds of winter,
howling around the cement walls,
when humans, yaks and snow leopards alike
shiver in their skins,
and the wolves howl dismally 
on the icy slopes.

There will be enough stores of dri** 
to comfort all this winter.
In the soft light of the lamp, 
wrapped in our chubas,***
the Old Ones will whisper stories
of life before the invaders came,
when the young Dalai Lama 
still lived in the Potala Palace,
before so many monks were killed, 
so many temples shattered,
so many sacred relics desecrated.
Their eyes grow sad, remembering.
Their wrinkles chart a landscape 
of painful history,
a loss engraved within each line.

In other lifetimes I have made 
the essential sacred pilgrimage,
three times around the base of the holy mountain.
I have made prostrations for a hundred miles,
so my soul and my country can be free.

May the invaders see the justice of retreat.
May the land of Tibet be restored 
to its peaceful people.
May the Precious One return to his palace
so all may follow the meritorious 
path of Dharma.

*drogpa are a nomadic people who prefer to live year round in yak hair tents, away from towns and villages

**dri butter, made from yak milk,  is a valuable resource for cooking, fuel for lamps and for barter and paying taxes.

*** chubas are the traditional garment, worn by men and women, and adapted for winter wear by lining them with wool or sheepskin (normally the nomads favor the sheepskin lining, while those who live indoors use woolen lining.)

I borrowed a past life - or a dream within a dream - for this poem.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Will Walk There Again

created for me by my dear friend,

In the ancient language the First People know,
there is no separate word that means The Wild.
The closest word for wilderness is 'home'.
It has been my soul's home since I was child.

There is no separate word that means The Wild.
Interdependent, its being lives in our being.
It has been my soul's home since I was a child.
The beauty of its being lies in our seeing.

Interdependent, its being lives in our being.
My spirit at rest  upon its wildest shores,
the beauty of its being lies in my seeing.
I will walk there again, as joyous as before.

My spirit at rest upon its wildest shores,
my closest word for wilderness is 'home'.
I will walk there again, as joyous as before,
in the ancient landscape the First People roam.

The idea for this pantoum (slightly irregular) came from my deep resonance with an article in Tofino Time Magazine by Tsimka Martin, about the traditional territory (hahuulthee) of the Ahousaht people. She quoted elder Levi Martin's words about there being no translatable word for wilderness to English. The closest he could come was the word "home".  The Nuu chah nulth people have always lived as part of the land, not as beings separate from it, (as the dominant culture lives).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back from the Beach

Steps away from stepping out onto......

French beach! This beach is outside of Sooke, a small community 40 minutes outside of Victoria. I was visiting my daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Gord and their puppies, this past weekend, and were determined to hit the beach.

Wild Woman in the wind, and loving it.

Beautiful Stephanie, who is a Beachbody fitness coach.  Steph was born when I was thirty, so we hit our milestone birthdays together. Next summer she will turn 40 when I turn 70. Wow. Not that long ago she was five.....then nine....and fourteen.........then things started to get blurry. LOL. 

It is tricky, catching this exact moment.
After this, we went to China Beach, farther down the road.

 Panoramas of China Beach from above by Stephanie

This little driftwood house at China Beach 
made me think of Wickanninish Beach

So, kids, it was a great trip, and wonderful to go to two beaches, and to visit with Steph and Gord and the dogs (who went insane when I arrived, as it has been a while since Grandma visited.) 

They live in a beautiful area, in the forest outside of Victoria, and a family of deer live in their yard much of the time, because it is a safe place for them. A buck, a mama deer and two babies, plus a yearling from last year are always around. They are so calm when we stand on the deck, they just look back at us when we talk to them, knowing they are in a protected area. They sleep below the kids' bedroom at night. It was wonderful to be surrounded by trees and nature.

I am, of course, wiped out from all the fun, and am moving slowly, trying to get back on my feet. Will catch up with you all as soon as possible.

On Unity

the wise old monk ponders the perfection
of the word "unity" being part of
the word "community".

perfect unity:
the trees, the sky, the ocean waves,
and me.

you galloped along the shore,
i followed after,
in perfect unity.


The wild world waits
for humans to learn to live
with it in unity.


The animals already know
how to live in unity. They are waiting
for us to join them there.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Heading Down-Island

My friends, I am heading down-Island by bus today to spend a couple of days with my youngest, Stephanie,  her husband, Gord, and the puppies. Somehow the months have gone by so fast, it has been too long since I was last there.

I will have restricted computer access at her house - the internet but no if you dont hear from me, no worries. Will be home Tuesday night, if all goes according to plan.

See you then!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


In a home where those forgotten by the world
are cared for,
she changes diapers, bathes and feeds
half a dozen severely disabled,
mostly non-verbal adults.

"I love them," she says, sincerely.
"People think there is no one in there.
For 30 or 40 years their bodies 
have been well cared for, but efficiently.
But what about the luxury of choice?
what they might wish for?
what they might be thinking?

"I give them choices. 
The others think this takes longer, 
makes more work. 
They grumble it's a waste of time.
But choice  makes a difference to them,
even in such small things as
would you rather wear this, or that? 
Would you rather sit in your chair, or on the couch?
They are learning to say No.
Now we're working on Yes!
"They trust me. They know I see them.
I sat beside one man's bed one night, 
with no one else around.
I made him look at me, eyeball to eyeball, 
and I said to him,
"I see you. I truly see you. And you are beautiful."
And a single tear trickled down his cheek."

Grace. It is what makes us all
shiny dancers.

for my daughter, Lisa, who works in a home for severely disabled adults, who sees and advocates for the persons inside those broken bodies, who brings them laughter, and choice, and respect, and who has gained their trust and adoration.

for Karin's prompt at Real Toads: Grace. A quality I greatly admire in human beings.