Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"We Have Been Here Before"



Ohio State Senator Nina Turner



Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif is Unity. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner's stirring speech at the civil rights rally in Washington is a perfect example of a rallying cry for unity. She is an inspiring orator. I hope she moves up to higher office.

It just might be that the most divisive president-elect of all time  has galvanized the nation, and everyone is more united than ever. I hope so.  If we continue speaking truth to power, and marching together, surely we can turn this ship around.


Unity,
not a word
to be spoken lightly.
More, a hand held out,
feet marching alongside other feet,
smiles exchanged,
solidarity,
common cause,
hearts that believe
in the rightness of brotherhood
and sisterhood,
social justice and
a better life for all.

Unity.
Usually not experienced in the ivory
or gold-plated towers
of Me-and-Mine.
But very familiar to the marginalized,
the disenfranchised,
the struggling,
the stressed middle class,
the working poor,
who share the little they have
in the connection
of a similar lived experience.

When the American dream
turns into a nightmare,
let us listen to the visionaries,
who will help us
to dream
(and march toward)
a new and better dream.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Shaman



I dreamed about you.
You were walking on the beach
with a little black puppy.
Is this of significance to you?

Yes! I told her of the beach,
my wolf dog, dead for years,
my longing to return
to the home of my spirit.

Hold fast to that dream,
and I will put your intentions
out into the world
with my drumming and praying.
Your wolf dog visits me
to let you know he is near.
He will walk with you
on your beach
once again.

I held onto hope,
though it faltered with the slowness
of the years.
I watered my long-held dream
with longing and with tears.

I want to tell you
the other night when I was drumming
I put your intention out there once again.
I heard a wolf howl
and I felt energy moving
in your direction.

The call came the next day.
A space had opened up for me
in the place of my dreams.
That night I read that the planets
sometimes (rarely) align, as now,
in a certain way.
When they do, if you have a dream
that has been blocked,
and you are offered it:
Say Yes!
Do not let fear or doubt enter in.
I smiled as I read,
for I had said yes,
                  and yes,
                     and yes.


This is all true, kids. Every word. My mentor was chosen by Pup and found me through my poems. Even in old age, even if one has resigned oneself that it might never happen, I am here to tell you that dreams can come true - not just once, but many times. We are energy, and if we beam that energy in a good way out into the universe, the universe responds. It brings me comfort to know my Pup still howls for me. I howl inside my heart,  every day for him.

for Elizabeth Crawford's prompt at The Heroic Journey, Stage Four: The Mentor


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Paying the Tillerman



Pup,
six years ago today
you left this world.
Now a little sister
is heading your way,
and I am going home,
over the mountains,
to our beloved beach.

There is a price to be paid
for every journey,
tears for all the sorrow,
smiles for all the joy.
You pay the tillerman
and step aboard.
You take the journey
as it comes.

It brings wonders,
and heartbreak,
and it stretches
the walls
of our hearts.

I will carry you and Jasmine with me
on every walk on Chestermans Beach.
I will whisper a prayer of gratitude:
for you, for Jas,
for all the wagging tails
and puppy kisses
that have blessed my life,
with every setting sun
until I find you both again.


for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. 

Pup is six years gone today, and I still grieve. And now Jasmine is making her way towards the Rainbow Bridge. She is eleven and a half and her tumors are aggressive. Yesterday the vet said we are near the end, in order for her to have a peaceful passing, not in crisis. We are hoping she will make it to the end of the month so I can have as long as possible with her. But time is precious now, and going by too fast. She is still smiling, though, her trademark smile.

The hardest part of loving dogs is losing them, as every dog lover knows.


Farewell




He woke agitated, disoriented, confused. Rushing in to his mother's bedroom, he asked, "What's happening? What's happening?" She tried to calm and soothe him but, as she approached, he turned and ran upstairs.

She followed.

On the terrace, she found him straddling the lip of the concrete wall. Life stopped, suspended, in that moment between Before and After. Fourteen floors below, the sound of traffic. Nearby, the chirp of a startled bi

"Carter! Please! It's all right. Don't. Let me help you."

He looked at her, wavering. Almost, he leaned in her direction. But then, he raised his hand, whether to stop her from approaching or in farewell, she never knew, and toppled from view.


from A Mother's Story, by Gloria Vanderbilt, about the suicide of her son Carter, which she witnessed.

This is for Magaly's flash fiction prompt at Real Toads:  to write something sparked by the last book we read. Carter was under medication after a painful breakup, and his mother feels he was affected adversely by it, when he woke from his nap. The conversation is approximate, just what I remember from the book.

I discover I misread the prompt: to use a line from the book as a springboard. But I am tired, so will just leave this, as it may inspire others to read the book. Smiles.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Under A Befuddled Moon

Wolf Moon - January


I once had a tryst
with someone who was
a legend in his own mind.
He wooed me with poetic phrases,
beady eyes, and butterscotch pudding.
I ate it up, spoon by spoon.

"Je t'aime", he said,
looking up at me on the porch
under a  befuddled moon.
But he didn't, he didn't.

Some men are hollow.
Some men are not
to be followed.


Well, this weird little poem is in response to Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: to use diction and imagery to write about humans in terms of the non-human. The man in this poem was all too human. But in the closing lines, I am thinking of a most inhuman man, who is much in the news for his lack of humanity. Not sure if that counts. Smiles.




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Door


My daughter Stephanie's photo
of Chestermans Beach, where dogs are most joyous


In the middle of my life,
the door to the life of my dreams
stood ajar.
I peeked in.
All the wonders of the universe 
awaited,
if I had the courage 
to leap: the ocean,
and whales, 
old-growth trails,
nature, pristine and beautiful 
and wild -
the place where my soul belonged.

If I stayed in place,
it meant giving up my dream.
And I knew I couldn't live
without a dream.

It took trust and a far-flung prayer
to take me from where I was
tamely living
to being there,
where I became Wild Woman
and lived the ten most joyous
years of my life.

         ***

I have mourned that loss
all the years since,
longed to return,
nearly gave up hope.

And now, suddenly,
in my dwindling years,
the door to that life
has opened once more:
one more chance
to experience the beauty
of the shore.

In old age,
one more mighty leap
over the mountains,
back to the song of the sea,
and the ancient trees,
proving the universe brings gifts
to those ready and willing
to receive,
and that life can change 
in a heartbeat
from resigned but grateful living
to the realization of a
long-held dream.


My friends, I had given up hope that it would happen, and was at peace with that, when the call came: a small suite in the apartment complex in Tofino. I am sorting and packing, and still can hardly believe it is happening. I will have more beach walks and sunsets before I die. I am, of course, nervous and rattled, but also am feeling the rightness of this, that I have wanted for so long. I just keep thinking of how my windows will look out on big old trees, and, with my window open, I might even be able to hear the song of the sea. Wow, hey? I will be there for the Whale Festival, when the Baja whales arrive on their whale highway. Whu-hoo! Once again I will stand on the dunes and watch. Maybe I will sing.

I read something the night before the phone call came: that this year the planets are aligning, as they do only rarely. That during this time, if you have a dream that has been blocked and you get offered it, SAY YES! Do not let fear hold you back. So I said yes. And yes. And yes.

for Sumana's very cool prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United, which will post tomorrow : The Door. And for the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

AN IMPERFECT PILGRIMAGE

google image


Step upon step,
spinning the prayer wheels,
mumbled prayers rising,
pilgrims, we are making
our imperfect pilgrimage.

Come with me
once around the sacred mountain,
and erase the karma 

of the errors of a lifetime.
Take me to the mountain,
holy one.
Make me clean.

The prayer flags flutter
on the precipice.
The search for the snow leopard
remains elusive.
Step upon step 

up the slippery slope,
each step on the path 

to enlightenment
icy, precarious.

The winds howl down the mountain
like ravening ghosts
and shake the candlelit tent
till it almost takes flight.

I'm tethered here,
but only for want 

of a perfect rhyme.
I hear the message
in those shrieking winds.
I feel the hoarfrost
on the hand of time.

When I die, holy one,
lay me on the plateau
for a sky burial.
Let the big birds come
and pick my bones clean.
Let the leopard gather them
and carry them off,
so I become
one with the mountain,
the air, the sky,
no more pondering how
or wondering why.

Return me to the mountain
of past lifetimes,
I beg you,
and let me
begin again.




One from December, 2011, my friends, re-posted for the Poetry Pantry.