Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wild Woman On Love

[Love Cats from]

for Poets United's Thursday Think Tank prompt: Love

When I was young,
I dreamed Love
was out there
just waiting for me,
and one day
it would find me.

When I was young,
I was tame.
I had been
to stay within
safe confines,
trained to dream
Technicolor dreams,
of boundaries
surrounded by
white picket fences.
Trained not to think
for one moment
that life could be
an adventure,
could be More,
could be
wild and free.

single motherhood,
all hard work,
too exhausted
to do much more
than survive,
and yet,
I did.

Love had been
a disappointment.
I did not find The One.

But I began to realize
you can't find
the love you need
Out There,
only within.
Instead of
looking for
The One,
I had to learn
the harder task,
of learning to value
and have compassion
for The Self.
Instead of looking
for the person
who would complete
my life,
I needed
to be that person,
and complete it
for myself.

It was a hard lesson,
accompanied by
but it was the lesson
I was meant to learn
this lifetime:
how to go it alone.

In time,
I began
to dream
a very wild
It involved
the universe,
and trust,
and one gigantic leap
out of my comfort zone
and into the
life of my dreams.

Wild Woman came alive
with an excited howl,
finally freed from
her fetters,
and we plunged into
West Coast
life without limits,
where Different
was welcomed
and normal,
where life was
as big or as small
as you wanted
to make it.

In time,
I had to leave
that place.
But I brought
Wild Woman
with me
when I left.
She was rather quiet,
and tired,
from the long fatigue
of living.
Every now and then
she rattles my bones and
gives a long howl
to let me know
she is still in there,
still up for
another adventure,
for newness,
for dreams
with no limits.

We are still in love
with the land,
with the wind,
with the tall and  
toppling trees,
with night skies
and morning dew
and the smell of earth
in springtime.

Love? It never was
what I had been taught.
It never did come in
as a gift
from someone else
in the way
I had expected.
Instead, it goes out,
from within
to all that
surrounds me:
babies, old people,
dogs, horses,
the sky,
forest trails,
the sea,
eagles and herons,
humanity itself,
transcendental heroes.
Love is in the living.
Love has never been
in the receiving,
nearly as much as
it is in 
the giving.

Dogs R Us

It's a gong show around here on any given day, kids. Here are some of the dogs in our lives, just because I know you need a smile. This little guy is my sister's pup, Blakey. He is a little bad-ass, the one most likely to take up the torch where Pup left it, in unruly behavior:) But with a mug on him cute enough to break your heart, so he makes us laugh and gets away with it, just like the Big Guy did.

My sister's golden, Lukey, who is Jasmine's litter-mate. This guy is a Buddha-dog, with the sweetest nature in the world. Lukey is all about the love. He has hip dysplasia, sadly, and his muzzle is starting to look rather grizzled, though the goldens are only five and a half. (How did those years go by so fast?)

Here's my girl, Jasmine. She is still leading a very boring and restricted life, since her surgery in November. She is still unable to play with the other dogs, confined to short walks on-leash, and on a killer diet where the best part of her day is eating a carrot. My mom always said "you have to suffer to be beautiful." If that is true, both Jas and I should be raving beauties but, alas, we are not :)  Badly in need of a trim,and overweight, she looks like a wooly mammoth, and I.........well, someone used the "E" word - elderly - about me the other day, which dented an already fragile psyche. Hee hee. (Inside, I doubt I will ever feel elderly!)

This is my sister's spooky, nervous Australian breed, Noey or, as we often call her, in exasperated tones exACTly like those used to Cinderella by the ugly stepsisters: "No-ELL-a!!!!!!!"  My sister likes her dogs shaved. Noey has a luxuriant and beautiful coat, when her hair is long.

This dogjam is what happens when they are all well and able to play together. Blakey, a neutered male, apparently wasnt given that information. Jas and Luke are obsessed with the Kong,  galloping after it like maniacs, neither willing to let it go. Sigh. Fun days. I can't wait till Jas can play again. With the slow progress she is making, though, I'm afraid she may stay rather lame.

This is Little Man Chase, my daughter Stephanie's boy, and my granddog. He is a sweetheart, such a good little man, who is slowing down due to his arthritis. Steph is starting to feel the anticipatory warning I felt in the years before Pup died, knowing an inevitable heartbreak is heading her way. But I am hoping Chase lives as long as Pup did, and that we have years more ahead with him.

This is my other granddog, Sanchez, a wild little Tasmanian devil, who keeps things interesting, in case all the other dogs weren't handful enough :) But we love him!

You can imagine when we all get together - it is Dogs R Us for certain, on Plested Road!
We are lucky to have these loving, joyous  creatures in our lives. Daily laughs, daily happiness.
Free love!  (Well, except for the vet bills, which are through the roof!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Little Princes

I have a cool story for you this morning , kids. I am reading a book about a remarkable young man who, at twenty-nine, set off to travel around the world. He began his year-long trip by volunteering for three months at the Little Princes Children's Home, an orphanage in Nepal.

The book is Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan. He fell in love with the rambunctious, resilient children in his care, and was appalled to learn their stories.

These children had been trafficked by an unsavory character, who took them, (and countless others who will never be found), from their remote mountain villages, worked and half-starved them, and then abandoned them on the streets of Kathmandu.

The children he writes about were rescued and cared for by volunteers trained and sent in by a nongovernmental agency, CERV Nepal.  The Little Princes home was founded by a young French woman.

As Conor falls in love with the children and learns the plight of thousands of children in Nepal (and many other countries), he vows to do three things: first, to return to the Little Princes in one year, second, to found another home in Kathmandu, and third to find as many parents as possible and hopefully reunite them with their lost children.

The beauty of all this is, he accomplished it all, kept his promise to the children, (and to himself) and found he had had an undiscovered hero living inside him, all unknown. He eventually built another orphanage near the children's home village, near their parents. Joy all around, kids, in this weary old often heart-breaking world.

I so love stories like these. They give me hope. And they show what one person, who cares and tries to do something, can accomplish, when he has no choice but to be the person he knows he is capable of being, though it would be far easier to take the less arduous path.

Men of darkness
traffick children
from remote villages
in the mountains
of Nepal.
They work them
and half-starve them,
then abandon them
on the streets
of Kathmandu.

Good people rescue
as many as they can,
bring them to safe houses
where they are fed and loved
and sent to school.
They watch their sad eyes
slowly learn
to smile again.
They watch their hearts
turn once again
towards hope,
their rich and joyous
love of life
They hear their laughter
rise again
above the rooftops,
these little princes
of Nepal,
these children
of the inner light.

You can find out more about Conor's organization at
Proceeds from his book go to maintaining the children's home his organization, Next Generation Nepal, built in Humla, the children's home village, where they now live, near their families. Good work, Conor!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


the anchorman
on the evening news
said that
are now official
words in the

I think
some future student
of the English language
will one day be
as bemused
by that
as we are,
trying to

The Morning News

[nuclear reactors worldwide - image from]

The morning news says
Radioactivity has reached
ten million times normal
at Reactor 2.
The anchorman
the area is
being deemed

Well, duh.
I never believed
the reassuring talk
about the effects
of radiation
being "negligible".

I remember

This is the most
deadly substance
humans have invented,
with a force beyond
man's power
to control
or to contain.

It's as if
a colony of ants
decided to heat
their anthill
with a blowtorch,
and then were
when they all 
got fried.

Heroic workers
labor in the toxins,
sacrificing their lives
to prevent
far worse disaster.
This is the
noblest quality
humans possess:
the giving of self
in order to
save others.

has reached
our western shores,
as could have
been expected.

There are 442 nuclear
power plants
in 30 countries,
with more
being constructed.

One more reason
that there
should be no
"us" and "them"
on Planet Earth.
We are all in
the same
planetary boat,
just trying to keep
our interconnected
and life-loving 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Mr. MaGoo Kinda Heart

[images from google images]

Upon reflection,
my heart has been
too much like
Mr. MaGoo,
bumbling about,
and muttering
to itself,
as it crashed into walls
and stepped,
off precipices,
crashing spectacularly
to earth,
dusting itself off,
still muttering
and slapping itself
upside the head,
and then,
rising once again,
till finally
coming to rest,
in spite of itself,
miraculously achieved
some age and wisdom,
content now
not to stray too far
from its porch swing,
where it calmly surveys
what life there is left
from within
much safer

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Hi kids, I have been saving these carrots (which I got from google images) for a while, waiting for spring to officially be here. I want to get my pesky fairy off the blogroll, so will post this poem I wrote  way long ago, in the days when only vegetation ruled the earth - a time when I still dreamed girlish dreams and waited for Romance, who had been incredibly nearsighted till then, a sort of Mr. McGoo of the Heart, to stumble upon me. Now I simply hope to live long enough for life to get a bit easier, and to be able to keep writing for some years more.

But when I wrote this poem, it was 1981. I tended a gigantic garden then, to feed my hungry kids, and the nature spirits worked with me to produce a lush bounty of fruits and veggies.

I read this poem at the coffeehouse, dressed in a long full-length purple dress and black leggings, and everyone chuckled kindly about the carrots. From then till now - a hundred years, a mere heartbeat, a snap of the fingers. Cool thing, aging and reflection : illuminated moments that still live, in memory.

March 3, 1981

Tiny stirrings,
Buds curled, waiting,
Limp, brown grasses
trying to turn green,
A busy twittering of birds
too long silent
in the bare brown branches
of winter........

Soon I'll be planting seeds
in warm, dark earth,
watching greenness growing
where once a wasteland lay,
Letting the seeds go
to grow
whichever way
they want to grow,
having finally learned
to just let living flow.

Perhaps a wondering lurks
within my eyes this year
as I start my slow walk back
from Siberian retreat.
The last frozen wastes
are melting near my heart
and tentatively
-oh, more carefully
this time-
I ponder what new thing
might emerge
from this springtime
of possibilities
I see.

I think
it might be nice
to plant something
besides carrots here
this year.

The Problem Fairy

[image from google:]

Argh. In the night, the Problem  Fairy, thinking I don't have enough to do balancing my checkbook, came in and changed my entire computer: desktop, font, everything is spread out too big and too wide. I now have to go into Non-Techy Hell and investigate the bowels of my computer to try to get it back the way it was.

If I don't reappear, send help!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pup's Urn

Here is my boy's urn. I am pleased with it, and was so happy to get him out of the horrible little cardboard box from the vet's. And his very favorite stuffed talking boar. He'd grab it and skulk furtively down the hall,  trying to get out the door with it before I caught him. I didn't want it to get waterlogged and ruined, outside in bad weather. He didn't appreciate the caution, he just wanted it with him. We were always tussling over it at the door.

Here is the urn in his special corner, in a small alcove in my purple bedroom, with all his favorite toys around him, his leash, his collar, candles, the special treats with which I encouraged him to do my bidding when he needed extra motivation, (which was all the time :))

The only thing wrong with dogs is  they don't live as long as we do, and usually leave before us.  But oh, what they bring to our lives while they are here. I loved my boy so much. Still do. Always will.

Same Old, Same Old

[image by]

The government has fallen.
There is
(Was there ever

The mudslingers
are busily loading
their volleys.

The Talking Heads
are licking their chops,
and consuming all
the airwaves.

Same old
same old
in Canada, eh?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Black Dog of Joy

Kerry said she hoped that soon the black dog of joy would be with me.
That as he was in life, so he is in death. This is very true.
It made me remember......

his joy every night when I got home from work, when he was little

his joy when we went, morning and night, to the beach

his joy in the waves, leaping in and out with a loopy grin

his joy, every time he sat beside me in the car and we headed somewhere

his joy when I picked him up at the kennel, and he knew he had not been abandoned

his joy, when I'd throw his ball down the hall

his joy, when I'd toss him a treat (photo above)

his noisy joy, whenever I pulled into the driveway

him "pacing" excitedly from front seat to back seat and back again,
tail whapping my face every time, when I'd point the nose of the car
towards the beach

his joy when I'd call him to come for a walk

his joy when we went to Stamp Falls

his joy when we went for a swim at the lake

his goofy sense of humor

and the light in his eyes, just for me

The black dog of joy was very alive until the moment he was not.

He had such a big spirit, such a wild and wolfish heart and yes, he was a dog of joy.

He is so missed.


[image from google]

for Poets United Thursday Think Tank prompt: Uniforms

Their black and white robes
inspired fear, and awe.
Stern faces
peered out
from wimpled headdresses,
fierce, scolding.
Our consciences
boiled hotly
with our millions
of real or perceived
Even thoughts were
"occasions of sin".
Even dreams.
Especially our dreams.

"Your bodies are good,"
one lectured us,
which made us feel
hotly ashamed
that we even had bodies,
too uncomfortable
to think about
in a room full
of adolescent
boys and girls.

We wore uniforms too.
Hated pleated ones
with no style.
When we knelt on the ground,
our skirts must cover our knees
or we were suspected
of being "fast".
When I grew taller,
I couldnt say

I had no money
to buy a new skirt
and could not ask
my mother.
We were poor,
a shameful secret,
to be kept from my friends,
though the four
small cold rooms
we lived in
likely was a clue.

Once the fierce
angry little nun
who taught us music
fell off her stool,
so vigorously
was she conducting
the choir.
There was one
indrawn gasp
of horror.
It was as if
Jesus had fallen
off His cross.
We were so obedient,
so in awe,
we did not move,
did not break ranks.
Her eyes flashed fire
and moral outrage.

No one would
have dreamed
of tittering.
She got up,
her tilting wimple,
climbed back up
onto her stool and,
we continued
with our song.

Once at midnight Mass,
one of the Knights of Columbus,
a short rotund bald little man
with a shiny face,
in his Knights outfit,
dashingly and theatrically,
with a flourish,
aimed his sword at its sheath, 
and missed;
he had to try again,
somewhat chastened,
while the shoulders
of  the other Knights
shook gently and
some hands went up
to cover their mouths.

We saw
what nuns wore
at night
when their habits
came off:
on the clothesline
hung white
voluminous nightgowns,
and caps for their
shorn fuzzy heads.
Just seeing them
made us
They seemed
not to have bodies.
And, if they did,
we couldnt bear
to think about it.

At Mass, they sat
in contemplative rows,
reverent, but distracted,
their eyes piercing us,
wriggling in the pews.
We were
utterly mortified
if one of them
had to click
her clicker
to admonish
one of us.
Hot lava pouring
over our heads
with shame.

The rulers they carried
in the classroom
were to be feared.
They hurt,
across our knuckles.
There was never
a sound in the classroom.
There was total discipline,
that never, ever

The young priest
who said early Mass
one winter, caught
a terrible cold
that turned to pneumonia.
He kept on saying
early Mass,
us waiting in the pews
while his thin body was
wracked with
spasms of
exhausted coughing,
me watching
his upturned
radiant face,
so prayerful,
so dedicated,
above his  robe
of green and gold.

A uniformed world
designed to remove
squash it,
raise us up
as a faithful
homogeneous flock.

The minute we reached
the exit,
at graduation,
we fled that world
with Godspeed,
and not one clue
about life
in the real world.
Lambs to the slaughter,
but frisky and
feeling our
newfound freedom,
we kicked up our heels
and cavorted,
those few moments
when it was
still and truly

Porch Swing Therapy


To rekindle hope,
to regain optimism,
come sit
on my porch swing
and listen
for five minutes
to the joyous
small songbirds
of the

They are
their hearts out,
the earth
has warmed
and turned,
and spring
has come again.

They live
in the now.
They are busily
their nests
as if there
will always
be a
safe branch
beneath them.

They are
their eggs
as if
there will
always be
a tomorrow.

They remind us
that we
must save
this imploding planet
so they
- and we -
may continue to live,
continue to hear
the beautiful
of spring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Port Albion in 1999-a pond in my front yard Pup so loved this place!

Kids! This evening as I was walking back home from my sister's, across the street, I heard the first frogs of the season, croaking happily in her small pond.

Hearing them reminded me of a short ode I wrote to frogs, in the months when I lived in a small outpost on a rather large pond at the base of some mountains in Clayoquot Sound. Every evening, at sunset, the mountains turned a deep blushing rose, the frogs serenaded, and herons swooped overhead. I wrote about the herons too. Here they are: a nostalgic trip back to a time of pure beauty.

Song of the frogs
in the fading light
soft fade the hills
in the falling night
God touching earth
with a gentle might
and all is beauty
within my sight

soft falls the light
on garden walls
a rose-hued mountain
as day's curtain falls
a froggy symphony
serenades the night sky
and grateful, grateful, grateful
***   ***   ***

Ode to a Heron

Graceful heron
swooping across
the evening sky
like a pteradactyl,
Prehistoric bird
on a treetop,
my heart swoops
with you,
then stills,
standing by
the silent pond,
waiting for the night
to settle
around us both
as feathers.

Here To Love

[Double Rainbow from]

for Real Toads prompt: "Even love unreturned has its rainbow" by J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)

She was in a deep, end-stage coma,
lying motionless
in her extended care bed.
On the wall were photos
of her life
her wedding picture,
hopeful eyes,
self-conscious smiles,
children, grand-children,
little girls with happy eyes
looking out of the frames
from that long-gone life.

Now she was here,
in this bed, alone,
and I was sitting with her,
a hospice worker
her dying.

I wanted to give her
not just be there,
so I opened
the pages of my book
and read her
some excerpts
from a poem about life,
and love,
and the world,
and death,
a poem about

I felt the energy
in the room change,
and knew somehow
that my words
had traveled
into her heart.
My gift had been

When I walked out,
that early summer evening,
there was a rich golden
light on everything,
at that gilded time
the minutes before sunset,
when all is radiance
and, in the sky,
not one,
but TWO rainbows,
arching across
the illumined sky
like prayers,
like an answer
to the question:
why am I here?
And the answer was:
to Love.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Fog blanketing
the trees,
this sleepy
will lift later
to reveal
to warm
the waking

I could smell
to life

Last night
the golden hue
of sunset
came late, after eight o'clock,
gilding the trees
which blazed
outside my window,
lifting my heart
at the
spectacular beauty,
mine to enjoy
by Looking Up,
Looking Out.

The crocuses
are smiling
all this week,
Daffodils are butting
their heads
against last fall's

The earth turns
and turns,
the cycles
of sleep and waking,
life and death,
come and go,
in spite of us,
reminding us
that there is

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Totally Empty Glass


Oh my goodness, kids. On the news this morning, they featured a First Nations reserve in northern Manitoba where the people do not have even the basic amount of water the UN says is necessary for human health. No running water, but some places have holding tanks for trucked-in water, that have tested positive for bacteria. Some people are hauling buckets of water up from the frozen lake. The end result is not enough water for drinking, personal hygiene or laundry and cleaning.

Third World conditions in northern Canada, folks, an embarrassing  fact which comes to light every now and then, when things reach the crisis point.

Apparently a kazillion dollars have been funded to "address this problem". The chiefs in these communities are wishing to know where that money has gone, since there is still nothing coming out of the tap. At least not the water taps!


The news clip showed an international organization going in to look at this problem on the ground. They promise to help. But I wonder: why are these Canadian citizens living in such conditions? Where is our government?