Saturday, May 28, 2016

OWL WOMAN



Owl Woman has soft gray chicks
nestled at her breast.
In her brain lives the spacious sky,
dappled silver, shining.

Through her feathers, 
Sister Wind woos her towards flight,
beckoning from
the Four Directions,
for when she soars, she is free, joyous,
safe from harm.

She will teach these chicks
to fly.

Down her throat runs clear river water,
life-giving, replenishing.
The forest lives in her eyes,
green and golden,
and full of talking trees.

Her journeys 
are the flight-paths of the ancestors,
imprinted within her being.
The spirits fly with her
and whisper to her
the way that she must go.

Owl Woman is earth-bound,
for a time,
but ever dreaming of
the sky.


A poem from 2014, my friends, for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will  always find great reading on a Sunday morning.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Canuck the Crow



Canuck the Crow lives on Vancouver's Lower East Side. He was helped by one of its citizens when, as a baby bird, he fell out of his nest. Now he is well-known in the community, alighting on peoples' shoulders, and even riding the Skytrain.

On this morning's news, it was reported he got involved in a tense police standoff, where a young man wielding a knife was being taken down by police. Canuck rushed to the young man's assistance and made off with the knife. Police gave chase and eventually did recover the knife. They say the crow is "known to police."

Cracked me right up.




source: cbc.ca and Canuck the Crow, who has his own facebook page. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Picnic



"Life's no picnic," is the lesson
I was given as a child.
And yet, all these years,
that is exactly what it has been.

I find a grassy mound,
spread out the red checkered cloth,
lie back, look up, and take it all in:
blue bowl of sky, perfect puffy
storybook clouds,
birds on the wing.

The basket of goodies
changes every day:
the wonders of Choice,
and Delight.
I peek under the cloth;
every time: Perfect.
Just what I wanted.

The guest list keeps changing,
depending on who feels like a picnic
on that particular day.

The chore list changes too,
"from each, according to his ability,
to each according to his need".*
Some of us get to do more chores,
while others eat cake off a golden saucer,
because that is just the way of it.

The afternoon grows dreamy,
we replete with the perfection of the day.
Butterflies flutter by, bees buzz,
and no one is frightened of being stung.
We thank them for the honey.
They dip a wing,
and circle the hive.

Animals cavort and frolic 
all over the meadow,
unafraid and safe.
On my picnics, no animal
is ever harmed.
The homeless, the refugees, 
the outcasts, the disenfranchised, 
the suffering, the lonely,
are invited guests,
welcomed with love.
We open the basket,
distribute the choicest treats.

There is room for all of us here.


*Karl Marx said this, according to Wiki, though I did not know that when I remembered the quote.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Picnic. A metaphor for our world, the way it could be, the way we would so love it to be.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Begone, Swan of All-That-Is-Not

A lagoon in Port Albion I once 
was privileged to live beside


When ripples disturb
the surface
of the sleepy lagoon
that is my life,

when skunk cabbage and stinkweed
elbow their way in
and wave their smelly fronds
in my face,

when the waters grow turgid 
and the channels clogged,
as if the pond floor has become
an uneasy agitated beast,

May I focus on
the lotus blossom
in the center,
let the ripples flow
off and away,
breathe in the peace and beauty
of the flower's waxy bloom.

May the swan of All-That-Is-Not
carry itself to the farthest bank,
making way for 
the small fuzzy ducklings 
of gratitude and serenity,
thankfulness
for All-That-Is.


A poem from December 2012, posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday.


Hearts Stay the Same



Lili:
 The soft silk slides along my skin,
A door opens. I enter in,
Everything in me comes alive,
no more the strangle of suits and ties,
committed to (anything else a sham)
becoming who I am.

Gerda:
While Einar may be gone from me,
I see Lili has set you free.
I love your heart, which stays the same,
regardless of your change of name.
The hardest path is mine to know,
to love and, lovingly, let you go.


For my prompt at Real Toads: Play It Again, Toads.  I chose Fireblossom's prompt:  The Art of Gerda Wegener. Gerda Wegener's art, popular in the early 1900's, has recently enjoyed a resurgence. She was married to fellow artist, Einar Wegener, who, during their marriage, became Lili Elbe, one of the first recipients of sex reassignment surgery, from which, sadly, she did not survive

Lili became Gerda's favourite model, and the subject of many of her paintings. Gerda's and Lili's story is fascinating,  and has been made the subject of a recent film, The Danish Girl.  In my poem, I imagine what they may have said to each other as Einar transitioned to becoming Lili, and Gerda continued to love her.

source: Wikipedia


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Remembering Marcel IV



Marcel, the Good Ole Boys 
made your life hell, in high school, 
taunting you to make themselves feel big.
You could not come out as gay
in 1964 Immaculata High,
but they sensed your difference from the herd 
and avoided their own insecurities by tormenting you.
"Begone, thou milk-faced fools!" you'd rage,
face red, tears of frustration in your eyes.
They fell about laughing like the fools they were.
I did not know how to stop their taunting cries.

I fell in beside you, as you walked away,
in solidarity, and wordlessly we trudged
away from those laughing fools, 
just one more day we'd spent  
surviving school.

You waited for me every morning after that,
at the corner of Richter and Elliott in the snow.
We'd trudge back towards the unfriendly, lighted school,
part at the lockers with a silent nod.
"Courage!" was the word we did not say,
but needed, to withstand each painful day.

In university, you lived your happiest years,
and found your one brief love,
 finally were accepted as the brilliant, funny, 
endearing intellectual you were.
Ten times more interesting than the fools 
who'd jeered,
you went on to a brilliant career.

I found you again years later,  
ill, struggling, impoverished, alone.
You had been gay-bashed, identified your attacker,
but the police were indifferent to your plight.
You grew tired of the struggle
of surviving. I heard you faltering, 
but did not recognize the clues,
one afternoon received a phone call.
You had left this world.
I'd lost the friend I thought I'd never lose.

I wish I could write a happier end
to the story that was your life, my friend.
I would write of kindness and inclusion
and your life continuing on.
The world is much diminished
by your being gone.




for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Bullying. 

I have written earlier poems, and a story, about Marcel's life, which impacted me profoundly. He left a letter for me when he left this world, saying he had just gotten tired of the struggle. In the photo he is holding his beloved Paprikas, two weeks before his death, when he already knew he would be leaving. I found out when it was too late that his dying wish had been that Paprikas be spared the trauma of going to the SPCA, that he be put to sleep. But the family had just 24 hours to clear out his apartment, and in haste they took poor Paprikas to the SPCA after all. This photo haunts me. A sad life, that should have been much happier.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Watch For Me, a Sandpiper at the Edge of the Sea



Dear Earth,
I will return to the shores of Wickanninish,
roiling in winter storm.
I shall come back to watch the morning break
against blue sky and rose-tinged puffy cloud,
to see all the creatures stir and waken,
and the day unfold.
I shall return to gaze in wonder,
at the end of day,
as the sun sinks, purple, azure, gold,
below the horizon,
and the skies become a masterpiece
painted by God.

I may return as a seabird,
as Jonathan, 
still outside of the pack, observing, 
still hobbling on the ground
and dreaming of the sky.
I'll pick a shell in my beak 
and carry it off to my perch,
then drop it,
deep in the forest,
for a wanderer to find, 
and marvel at, years hence.
Or I might be a sandpiper, 
one of the flock,
lifting and turning together
as one body, at the edge of the sea.

How could my spirit not return
to the forests and rivers and ocean I love,
to catch my breath once more as the morning mist
drapes itself companionably across Lone Cone,
to behold once more her slopes turning deepest rose
in late afternoon?
The call of the murmurous, forever waves,
the smell of salt, kelp and seaweed,
ocean essence will draw me, as before,
to the beautiful shore.

I will return, once again young, 
for the smell of peony
on soft-scented summer evenings,
for a shy, youthful kiss under weeping willow,
lake ripples lapping gently,
and all of life's hopes and dreams lying ahead,
all golden and shining.
I will return for apple blossoms, 
and the smell of sage on hot, dusty hills
covered with yellow flowers.

The blue sky will draw me back
as it drew my gaze for all my many years,
as will the ancient trees, where restless spirits live,
their mournful song whispering secrets and wisdom -
urgent truth for us to hear and heed,
if we but listen.

I will return to see the ocean
come back to life again, abundant,
recovered from its slow dying,
after the plastic waste and dumping, 
the polluting and the killing stops,
and all of its plants and creatures
stir back to life.
I will return to see 
the clearcut mountains greening up,
bees and butterflies and wolves
abundant once again, and thriving,
as that earth we are dreaming about now
heals and comes back into being.
I will return, with joy,
at that awakening.


If I don't return in body,
I will return as raindrops on salal,
as moss on an old stump,
or old man's beard on cedar.
I will return
in wagging puppy-tails 
and wise old elephant eyes,
or a grey whale, diving, 
its fluted tail arching over and up,
then slipping down, down, 
into the mysterious depths.

Watch the world with wonder,
as I have these many years,
and you'll find me,
never farther away than
the nearest beautiful thing.


This poem was inspired by some translated lines of a famous Bengali poet, Jibanananda Das, sent to me by Sumana, and included below. I love this poem so much, and it stirred a response. Thank you for the inspiration, Sumana. I needed some!

Shall return again to the Dhansiri banks 
of Bengal
Maybe as a brahmini kite or a myna 

if not as a human
Or a crow of dawn in this land 

of autumn harvest festival
Will come one day sailing on mists 

to sit in the orchard shade
I could be a duck, tying a lass's tinker-bells 

on my ruby feet
I'd glide the day on pond exuding
water spinach scent
Will return once more for the love of 

this Bengal's rivers, fields and meadows
On this mournful green banks 

moist with Jalangi's waves 



Posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, good reading every Sunday morning.