Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why We Write image

"A poet doesn't write because she has a solution.
She writes because she has hope."
Hannah Gosselin

We pick up the pen to write the words 
we cannot speak aloud.
We write to loose the feelings 
too powerful to keep inside.
We write to say we care, in hopes our words 
move other hearts.

We write to spread light and love,
hoping those who need encouragement 
will tiptoe away from our words
with renewed hope, knowing they are not alone.

We write hoping that those who read our words
will know who we are.
We write so when we are gone, 
our children may one day say
"this is who she was", in case they didn't know.

We write the way birds sing:
the notes are within, and they want to come out,
gladsong at morning,
evensong at close of day.
We write to leave a trail that says:
to find me, come this way.

for my prompt at Midweek Motif: the joy of poetry. Why do we write?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Forever Gone

The White Wolf
by Julie L. Hoddinott

The white wolf came in the night
to talk about her babies,
huddled in their den without food.
She came to ask for human help,
which, somehow, we don't know how to give.

So many species gone forever,
so many voices, stilled,
who will no longer sing the sun up in the morning,
or bed down, safe and content, stomachs full,
with their offspring at night.
So many wild creatures being hunted and slaughtered,
driven out of their diminishing habitat,
flushed by wildfires into the open,
starving and desperate, with no where to hide.

The white wolf came to talk about these things,
in the spirit of sisterhood with all living beings.

"Wolves," she told me, "are selective 
in our hunting.
We hunt only for food, 
choose the old, the lame, the sick,
in order to preserve the herd.
In ten hunts, we catch and eat only once.
For we wolves think about tomorrow,
not only today."

I gave her a bowl of milk, in sisterhood,
ashamed of my species and our greed,
who do not think of all the other beings
who will share our tomorrows.

She lapped it up calmly, gave me a grateful paw,
looked into my eyes and returned 
to the diminishing forest
she still calls home, until it, too, is gone.

How many "forever gone"'s do we need
to realize we are decimating our own habitat,
as well as hers,
that the day will come when we 
will be the ones displaced,
searching for food for our children?
For no gardens can grow 
on a dead and burning planet.

How is it we can't see
their fate and ours is forever bound?

I watch her slip away into the forest,
wondering how many of her pups
will survive till they are grown.

Experts estimate the current rate of loss of species to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the normal rate of extinction (which would occur if humans were not around). Unlike extinction events in history,the scientists tell us, the current rate of extinction is one for which humans are completely responsible. Source: World Wildlife Federation

Friday, August 21, 2015


Traveler walks like a moving tree,
like a wind-whisper, singing,
like the breath of dawn.

Traveler is a part 
of the landscape;
she carries with her
a corner of the sky.

Traveler rises with the morning sun.
She is always walking towards
the next sunset.

There is the last star of morning
on her shoulder.
She wears the first star
of evening in her hair.

The moon is her mistress,
a songbird flies from branch
to branch beside her,
and a wolf-shadow
her every step.

One from 2011, re-posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find many beautiful offerings every Sunday morning!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Whalesong and the Language of Elephants

google image

In the depths of the ocean, an otherworldly, 
mystical, lonely sound is heard,
a song older than time, echoing 
mournfully through miles of water
in distinctive patterns, that repeat, 
improvise, and evolve.

Each whale in the sea, it has been learned,
composes her own song,
which is constantly growing and changing,
an example of cultural evolution 
that far exceeds our own.
If only they could find a way to speak.
If only we could find a way to hear.

In the African savanna, or at your neighborhood zoo, 
if you sit in silence, and listen, 
you might feel a throbbing in the air:
the vibration of elephant communication,
a sound below the pitch of the human ear,
their infra sonic calls.

Like humans, these gentle beasts feel community, 
attachment, love, sorrow, grief, passion and play. 
If parted for mere hours, on return
there is a joyous cacophony of welcome:
elephant cries of joy, ear flapping, trunks twining, 
as if the benevolent being has returned 
from years away, though he may have last been seen 
earlier that morning.

Sometimes the entire herd becomes completely still. 
They are listening, 
a trait we humans would do well to emulate.
Being Silent, we open our whole being
to what is here, before and all around us.
Becoming completely present to the moment, 
we can hear trees sighing,
clouds moving, a single stone 
plunking into moving water.
If we listen hard enough, we might hear
the planet humming to us from its inner depths.
Mother Earth is continually speaking to us,
singing to us - singing us her song of love.
Waiting for us to love her back.

source: In the Presence of Elephants and Whales, with Katy Payne, at On Being with Krista Tippett. Katy Payne has spent her life decoding the language of whales and elephants in efforts to better understand the species, and assist in conservation.  Katy speaks of cultural evolution, demonstrated by the evolving songs of whales, and many other fascinating things. This is a wonderful interview, which set me dreaming about two species I love very much. I also am remembering here a news report many years ago, where scientists had heard a hum emanating from the depths of the earth.

First Day of School

First day of school, 1979:
Jon in his first leisure suit, 
looking manly and important in khaki,
Jeff in brown, 
and Lisa in a navy top and pants 
with bright bumblebee stripes.
I group them by the door for a photo:
First Day of School,
all innocent and smiling,
sent off unknowingly
to a jury of their peers.
Stephanie is sad she isn't big enough to go.
She looks sadly out the window 
as they troop down the sidewalk.

First day of school after school:
They slam in the back door,
fling down their packs, 
shed their shoes in a heap.
How was it? I ask brightly.
Jon flings off his suit jacket.
"I'm never doing that again! 
We looked like idiots, the only ones in suits."
Lisa : "The kids called me Bumblebee all day!"
(In fact, they called her Bumblebee all year!)

I never heard the end of it.
I'd been so proud, as a single mom of four, 
to manage new outfits, 
school supplies and backpacks.
I meant well. 
But that Bumblebee suit still comes up in conversation,
every now and then, 35 years later.

LOL. for Gabriella's prompt at dVerse: Back to School.  

A Zhuihitsu

google image

Dust off this tattered old soul, and let it swoop one more time around the ceiling, reaching for those elusive words that catch in the dim corners. What can I do with the lives around me, all falling into crisis, but ride the inner tide of peace, dig my roots down deep along the river's edge, the better to remain steady for them when they reach out from the rushing current, in passing, nearly drowned, to grab my branches. The setting sun forms refracted rays through the forest, and paints the river silver, as day's end turns golden everything not in shadow. Let me bring you soft white cotton to dry your tear-streaked cheeks. Let me assure you that this calamity, too, will pass, and you will, one day, laugh in the sunshine again.


 A Zhuihitsu (gesundheit!) is a type of prose poem from Japan. A zhuihitsu is rooted in Buddhist thought, containing the author's musings on the impermanence of the material world, and contains the feeling of randomness without being random. Am feeling a bit random myself these days, which is why I chose it to re-post  for The Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, where Marian's message today is "Maybe everything isnt hopeless bullshit." We live in hope, LOL.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Beauty Bound

Clayoquot Sound photo by David Hogan
Frank's Island in the foreground

I am bound by the beauty of this place,
indentured under changing ocean skies,
kindred to the trees lining the shore,
like maiden supplicants, worshiping before
the wild waves and the dancing whitecap froth,
and to the sandy shore I plight my troth.

I live apprenticed to the eagle's cry,
his swoops and circles rising ever high.
Majestic ruler of the sea and sky,
his soaring splendor captivates my eye,
held fast by beauty, struck with wonder, I.

Driftwood for my bed, the wild wind cries
among the lashing trees, the ocean tides,
calling me home to the shore that knows my name.
So many years, in joy, I walked inside
this beauty. Since, I've never been the same.

Drunk with the beauty, captive to the sea,
my heart is bound ~ only one place home to me.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Beauty. The song "Bound By the Beauty" by Jane Siberry sprang to mind. It was popular the summer I first moved to Tofino and is inextricably woven into my memories of living there.