Friday, November 30, 2012

Real Life



This is what a real life looks like:
it's heroic.

Within the space 
of four years,
her brother-in-law died
in a logging accident.
Her step-daughter
had a teenage baby
she could not
care for,
that she - his grandma -
is now raising.
Her parents died,
horribly,
together,
in a car accident.
Then her brother died.

Her husband
went back
to drinking.
Then, he left.

Recently, her grandson, 
now age four,
has been diagnosed 
with autism.

And, bottom line,
what this woman
takes away from all of this
is what a gift 
that unexpected baby was,
who traveled with her through
the worst years of her life
and colored her heart
with love.

True story, kids. Just one more pilgrim, on the path. 
Not thinking she's doing anything out of the ordinary.
Saving lives.

* puzzle piece symbol  created by the National Autistic Society

We Are Stardust

*


Some speak of beings
from other planets
from which we began.
And we know
we are connected to
sun and moon,
earth and sky,
which give us life.

The Old Ones tell
of the time when
lions and humans
sheltered in 
the same caves
in winter.
They say, when man was close to
extinction from starvation,
the lion offered itself
to the human to eat,
so the human race
would survive.

What cosmic event
or supernatural design
ordered the far-flung galaxies
across the heavens,
and tended to the intricacies
of the smallest molecule's
existence
on the earth?

What we must understand
is this:
we - all of us - 
are connected
to all other life.
We reap
what we sow:
today the feast,
tomorrow the whirlwind.

What I know is,
at the cellular level,
there is 
not much difference
between us
and a star.


* The Eye of God - Helix Nebula image
is from en.wikipedia.org

Posted for Mary's prompt at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads  : Connections

Educate the Heart



Today, in my inbox, the Dalai Lama Centre in Vancouver 
sent me this timely message:

Prepare our children
for this world.
Educate the heart.

Having cared for children since I was twelve years old, I see how loving children's hearts are when they are young, and am saddened by how the experience of public school and peer pressure so often changes that, causes kids to feel Less Than, to doubt themselves, to lose the wholeness of heart with which they are born. (Of course, the home conditions of many contribute greatly to this, too.)

But this short clip makes a valid point. Children can be taught kindness and compassion. There are examples of schools - and one entire town, in  Fairfield, Iowa - where these concepts are part of the curriculum and of everyday life, for children and adults with radiant success.

The fastest way to a peaceful world is through our children. We must love them well.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bridge Over Troubled Water


                                   

Give Peas a Chance illustration borrowed from


The Princess was totally P.O.'ed. 
The septic had backed up and
offal was floating in the Royal Moat.

The Prince was a layabout
and it totally
frosted her nanny
that she had to do the bailing
while he lay around
ordering the minions about.

Her tilting tiara was in imminent danger
of falling into the turgid waters,
and tiaras are not easily replaced.

"I only have two hands,"
she fumed.
"How can I be 
expected to bail AND
keep my tiara on straight?
Really, it is just
Too Much!"

After a few vengeful glares
at the Prince,
and a mental cataloguing
of the general inequitableness
of having been born a woman,
she decided she was 
just Done.
So she drew up the drawbridge,
abandoning the moat
to its smelly fate.

But she brought
one last bucketful 
into the Palace,
depositing it
where she felt it might do 
the most good,
in terms of Future Motivation
and Team-Building.

The Prince's ki-yi-ing
could be heard 
throughout the kingdom,
after which
he sat sulkily in the corner,
eating his turds and whey.

The Princess just smiled
her ubiquitous smile,
buffing her fingernails 
against her royal robes,
and made sure her tiara
was on Just Right.

Ella's prompt at Poets United's Wonder Wednesday is: Bridges.
And Poetry Jam asks for a fairy tale.
So I decided we needed a Grim one. 



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Awakening

*google image

We fear death 
the way we fear darkness,
as if, when we close our eyes,
there will never be morning.

But those who are dying
are encouraged to
Go Towards the Light.

Those who come back 
from the brink
tell us they saw
the most beautiful loving light.

Perhaps, when we fall asleep
that final time, on earth,
where we open our eyes next
will be our
full Awakening.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Heart of Many Colors

from cbc.ca

She is a rainbow warrior
for peace,
a member of the tribe
of humankind.

She has a heart 
of many colors,
and her home
is Planet Earth.

Her spirit connects most
with the indigenous folk
of the world.


She takes the 
best medicine
of every culture.


On her altar are 
eagle feathers,
an abalone shell and sage,
amethyst crystals, wolves 
and an Inuukshuk.

On the wall hangs
a medicine shield
put together
at the powwow
by women
on their moon.
Strong medicine.
The braves steered clear,
so as not to 
weaken themselves 
before the sundance
by coming too close
to the womens' power.

On her bed, a blanket
with elephants and lions 
and zebras.
On her walls, wild wolves
and elephants.

On top of the bookshelves
an Asian gong, a Tibetan 
singing bowl and a prayer wheel.

Every morning, incense and sage.
Every evening,
soft lights and candles.

Her heart finds peace
walking through the forest,
near the river's song.
The wild waves
of a West Coast winter
blow away all clouds
from her spirit
until only joy
remains.

Her heart belongs
with those 
people who love 
the earth.

She walks in beauty
and gratitude
in the steps 
of the ancestors,
along the well-trodden
pathways
of the Earth Mother.

And in her heart
blooms
a rainbow flower
of peace.

* To the Navajo and the Hopi, the Prophecy of the Whirling Rainbow speaks of Ancestors who will return in white bodies, but who are Red on the inside.  They will learn to walk the Earth Mother in balance again. The generation following the Flower Children are prophesied to be the ones who will see the dawning of the Fifth World of Peace.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An Evolutionary Journey


Life has a way of
preparing you
for everything.

Everything is readying us
for what lies ahead.

The soul's journey
is one long evolution
forward.

She was unsurprised 
at being told
they suspected cancer.

It was as if 
she had
already known.

She was not afraid.
Not yet.

She had sat with
a loved one
during chemo,
as the burning liquid
drip,
   drip,
      dripped
into his arm,
and found out the oncology ward
is not a depressing place.
It is full of
positive people,
doing what they need
to do.
It is full
of heroes.



Her life had brought her
to the brink
so many times,
by now,
that she donned
the robes of
readiness
with her medical gown,
and prepared herself
for yet another
round.

If cancer was
what comes next,
then let it begin.

This may (or may not)
be just
one more bridge
to cross,
one more passage
through uncertainty,
through which 
she must trust
a Greater Certainty,
on which she bases
her faith and her hope.

With every fibre
of her being, she knows,
no matter what happens, that:

All will be well.
   All will be well.
       All will be exceedingly well. 

God is in his Heaven
in the clear, bright air
and all will be
exceedingly well.



[images from google]

I'm linking this to dVerse, where Mary's prompt is: Preparation

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Story That Will Make You Weep



Kids, I clicked on this when I was looking for something else. The humble young singer in this clip has lived an unimaginably painful life, on his own since he was five years old. But when he sings, he transports himself and his listeners to a better world. Please hear his story, and his song. You will not be able to listen without weeping. I wish for joy for him from this moment on - and that he will continue to sing.

McLaughlin Ridge




Monday night concerned citizens of this area, including representatives from the Ancient Forest Alliance,  gathered with Scott Fraser, the MLA for our district, to discuss the clearcutting of McLaughlin Ridge, one of our last old growth forests, now being aggressively logged. 




The liberal government removed this forest from Tree Farm licensing status, and sold it to Island Timberlands, a few years back. As it is now privately owned, it can be logged without any regulations or guidelines.

The Ancient Forest Alliance works towards the goal of inventorying and protecting the few old growth forests left, critical habitat for wildlife, which should be preserved for future generations. 



As it stands, 80% of logging done on the Island is second growth. Very little old growth is left. It seems crazy to me that these beautiful old trees, the last of their kind, are being clearcut and trucked away, devastation left behind that the logging companies are not even required to clean up.




It is crazy that in 2012, we still are not logging sustainably, and not keeping the lumber at home to provide employment for locals. When the last of these giants are gone from the earth, then what? How will we breathe, when all the trees are gone?

A logger spoke, at the meeting, about how rapacious and unsustainable  logging practices are eliminating logging jobs, along with the precious old growth. 




Scott Fraser will petition the legislature to buy back and protect this land, but legislature has been canceled, so it will be spring before he can even bring his constituents' concerns to the table.





Coming away from the meeting Monday night, the general feeling was that by then, the Ridge will be completely logged.

We are a horribly - and dangerously - unenlightened species.

You can find out more from the Ancient Forest Alliance and the Friends of Clayoquot Sound

You can send an email to Scott Fraser, to let him know your thoughts about preserving what little old growth is left at Scott.Fraser.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

You can click here to sign the online petition to protect BC's old growth, the little that is left.

Or email Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, c/o  brennan.clarke@gov.bc.ca  Let your voice be heard.



Here To Love


from looktothesky.com

"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
Before:
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,
accompanying
her dying.

I wanted to give her
something,
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
Everything.

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

When I walked out,
that early summer evening,
there was a rich golden
light on everything,
at that gilded time,
the moments before sunset,
when all is radiance
and, looking up,
I saw, 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.

posted for Ella's prompt at Poets United's Wonder Wednesday
tell about a gift you gave that made you feel good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November Rain

North Chestermans - photo by Christine Lowther

When the rainclouds
lower themselves
and disappear the mountains,
when it starts to get dark at three o'clock,
the sky is so laden with moisture,
when the river is rising up 
over its banks,
so pregnant is it
with November rain,
when  mother bear and her cub
stir in the bushes at the end of the road
looking for their winter den,
and the old horse shivers
under her blanket
in the leanto,
waiting to go into the barn
and call it a day,
I smile all the way home,
knowing my cosy room awaits,
fireplace and candles,
pretty lights flickering,
warmth and comfort.

Gratitude.

Gratitude.
Gratitude for it all. 




Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bigger Than the Sky


There are panthers
in the forests of Mumbai.
This sets me dreaming
of a land where temples
lean towards the sky.
A poet walks in footsteps
of Siddhartha
as another day
on Planet Earth goes by.

There's a doctor
in the refugee camps of Gaza
who lost three daughters
to Israeli bombs.
He works for peace
and daily crosses borders.
"I shall not hate," he says.
I shall not cease."

There's a Sky-show going on
this very second!
We live in miracles,
Traveler,
you and I.
Look up.
Look up!
Let's never cease
our striving
to keep our vision
bigger than the Sky.

Given the recent news, which I admit I am not up to date on, as my old heart cant take it, with the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine, I was reminded of this book, and the poem I wrote in 2011, after I read it.


"I Shall Not Hate - A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity" was written by Izzeldin Abuelaish. He was born and raised in the refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, educated in medicine in the US, and daily goes between his home in the Israeli-controlled Gaza Strip to work in the hospital in Israel. 

He has devoted his life to medicine, and to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Three of his daughters were killed by Israeli bombs, and this man's response has won him humanitarian awards. "I Shall Not Hate" he insists. His deepest hope is that his daughters "will be the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Israeli and Palestine."


Sadly, given glimpses of the news in recent days, this has not been the case. 


Wild Woman is doing a lot of staring at the sky these days. Down below, it's too perplexing.


I will post this at Poets United's Poetry Pantry. 

Toad, Not Turtle-Dove

[image from animal.discovery.com]

Disclaimer: The wonderful Kerry at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads has set us a mini-challenge this weekend, to use an eight-line poem by Yeats as a guide, with  alternating 8, 9 and 10-syllable counts and some repeated words within the lines. I started off seriously enough, but found I could only manage an eight syllable count all the way down. And then I got silly. I will offer it here, as an attempt gone awry, with apologies. But on a rainy Saturday, a smile is always welcome! 

If I were but a turtle-dove,
the whole night through I'd sing to you
my repertoire, all songs of love,
all songs of love, the whole night through.

But I'm a croaky-Toad, I fear.
My songs of love you will not hear.
I'll send you to your bower-bed
with earplugs for your downy head.

Sorry, Kerry. Sometimes I just cant help myself! Click over to Toads, kids. There are sure to be some wonderful responses to this prompt by my fellow Toads.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Soon Enough

[image from istockphoto.com]

Soon enough
you will notice 
the sharpened fangs
in that conman's smile.
You try not to feel their bite,
until the traces of blood 
form puddles on the floor
that become impossible
to ignore.

Your spirit shrivels
at the cage
in which it finds itself
entrapped-
that same cage
you so willingly 
- or willlessly? -
entered.

Its door is standing open,
but in your panic
you cannot think of
how to flee.
You think he is
the one at fault,
until someone 
points out
that you are the one 
allowing it 
to happen.

Younger Sister,
listen to Wild Woman,
and listen well:

If "Love"
is hurting you,
disrespecting you,
manipulating you,
abusing you -
it isn't Love. 

Retreat,
as swiftly as you can.
Wait for a love
that is kind.

It will come your way,
soon enough.

Kids, today, at Real Toads,  Marian has given us the prompt: Soon Enough, inspired the song of that name by the talented Aimee Mann. There is a cool clip on the Toads site of Aimee singing that song. The video reminded me of someone I once knew who had deadly fangs, hidden in his con-man smile. Do click over to Toads and check out the other links. There will be some great reading material from this prompt, I can tell.

Wild Woman is a bit under the weather these days. I am trying to keep up with as much commenting as I can. Please forgive me at being considerably behind. The spirit is willing - but what I need is a RECLINING computer chair, hee hee. (I know, a laptop - but I am used to banging hard on a keyboard, so laptops do not cooperate with me.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sad Eyes



Is there anything
sadder
in the world,
than the eyes
of a
circus bear?


At Poetry Jam this week, the prompt is: Under the Big Top. 

Shades of Grey

My beautiful mother

Ella has set us the prompt Shades of Grey today at Poets United's Wonder Wednesday. She takes the title from the book of that name which is apparently all the buzz, and which I hadn't heard about until today. My first thoughts of grey were about hair. I don't - and won't ever - dye mine. I wear my strange mix of reddish grayish white proudly, it actually is a neat color, evolving from the red hair of my younger years. I earned every silver streak. 

My aversion to dyed hair and makeup  is the polar opposite of my mom. She dyed her hair all her life, until it became a pouffy white straw cloud. She always used  pancake makeup and bright lipstick. The granddaughters thought her way cool and glamorous, and she was. She turned heads still in her seventies. I go au naturel and it works for me. If any heads turn, it is in disbelief, hee hee!

In her old age, my mother remembered,
with relish,
walking into a dance hall, age sixteen, 
her long blonde hair hanging down her back,
and how my dad jumped over the piano
and off the stage to beetle across the floor 
to meet her.

That was it.
"The only man I ever loved,"
she'd say,
for the rest of her life.

When my step-father's hair 
turned a lovely silver,
she decided to dye it black,
so he'd look younger.
Towel around his shoulders,
he'd sit, black rivulets 
running down his face,
patiently enduring the indignity.
The dye didn't "take" very well,
so there were always black stains
on the pillows.
And when it rained, the dye
would start seeping down his face
and onto his overcoat,
drawing puzzled glances 
from the other bus passengers.

"You've got to suffer to be beautiful,"
my mother always said.
She was beautiful,
all her life,
and, yes, she suffered.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Earth Grief

image from natures-blessings.org

"Mother Earth feels your pain.
Let her feel your joy, too."
quote by my friend, Valerie Langer,
environmental activist

When you watch, 
on your tv screen,
Long Island and New Jersey
being swept away,
when earthquakes 
rumble off the west coast,
hurricanes sweep 
the eastern seaboard,
and tsunami warning alarms
echo throughout your town
at midnight,

when you pass logging trucks
hour upon hour
carrying away all the trees
we need to breathe,
and they tell us  
the ice and the tundra 
at the North Pole
is melting,

when you put together 
all the information
and come up with a reality
too frightening for words,

go ahead.
Feel the fear,
feel the terrible grief
that is guilt-based 
at our human assault
on the planet,
our greed,
our ignoring of the needs 
of future generations,
(our children and 
our children's children).

Feel your frustration 
at the multinationals'
Bottom Line,
which dictates 
all the rest,
and of world leaders 
who talk and talk
about the need 
to address global warming,
yet who never legislate 
the tough changes,
because re-election 
matters most.

As you watch the icebergs 
crash into the sea,
the polar bears drowning 
and starving,
the displaced bears 
and hungry wolves
being shot because 
they came too near 
to look for food
for their babies,

as you watch the sea 
climb up over the banks 
and drown the towns,
as you feel Mother Nature's 
terrible dis-ease,
and hear the gray whale's
mournful song,

remember that Mother Earth 
is thanking you
for having the strength
to carry your grief.
Know that you are doing 
a service to mankind,
by helping to inform 
the global consciousness,
by being aware and able to
see clearly what most 
cannot bear 
to understand.

Remember, too, that 
no matter our fears,
we are, at this moment,
living on a planet 
full of beauty, 
mystery, creativity,
and wonder.
Be grateful for this gift.

Feel the joy of Now,
with all of its potential 
for transformation,
for grassroots Change.
Enjoy the daily panorama 
of visual beauty:
geese flying overhead
across a  cerulean canvas,
sun glinting off a metal-hued sea,
babies' Buddha-smiles,
and our beautiful old round 
Grandmother Moon.

Let the beat of your pulse
join the rhythm of the earth's
own heartbeat,
knowing we are part of, 
and intricately connected to,
all of creation. 

Our pain joins the pain of
all of the sea of humanity.
Just so, our joy
carries us forth into tomorrow
on a tide of hope we can never
afford to relinquish.

Be grateful for being alive 
at this time of transition.
We were sent here because
we are strong enough 
to bear it,
strong enough to ride
the tidal wave
that will one day wash 
this planet clean
and allow it to, 
perhaps,
begin again.

Rather bleak, kids, and we must hold onto hope, recognize the grief but also embody the joy of being alive, right now, on Planet Earth. I told my friend Chris about my grief over the recent events along the eastern seaboard, and she asked her friend Susan for some guidance in what to say to me. This poem was born out of both of those conversations, and embodies the positive message Susan sent to me through Chris. It definitely helped me to feel a little less helpless. To know that by loving the earth, we are doing something to help her.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Standing People, Before They Fall



I wake early. 
Mist is rising off the lake.
Rain taps lightly along my branches,
and down,
hitting  mushroom and salal,
fiddlehead and fern,
as we gratefully drink
after long, dry summer's heat.

The earth is shaking.
I tremble.
The big-wheeled trucks move in.
Doors slam.
Men yell and laugh,
then head off,
each in his own direction.

There it is! The screaming roar
of the big saws,
the ominous rumbling
of the grapple-yarders,
the sudden crack! as my sisters fall,
roots pointing towards heaven,
beseeching
an end to the slaughter,
sap running like blood
down into the ground.

I dig my roots deep 
into Mother Earth.

I will hold on tight
for as long as I can.
But, no! Here he comes,
a Two-Legged,
with his fearsome saw.

* First Nations often refer to the trees as Standing People, in their stories and legends.

Hannah has given us one of her wonderful challenges, for Transforming Fridays at Real Toads: 
to write from a nonhuman point of view, as a denizen of the temperate forest. I chose the temperate rainforest, since it surrounds me:) 

I love these geographic challenges, as we get to explore other realities.
So enlightening. 

Do pop over and explore some of the links. Hannah's challenges always produce some interesting writing.

Wild Woman's Heart



google image


The morning sun lights up the world 
with burnished gold.
It sparkles off the fresh snow
along the mountaintops.

The warm sunlight meets 
the cold night-frozen fields
and a mist floats across the pastures.
Low-lying clouds swirl across 
the middle of the hills,
almost close enough to touch.
Trees  poke their heads 
above the haze,
and a translucent shine 
layers the world
in brilliance.

Over the fence, a deer raises her head 
and assesses me.

"Hello, little deer. Are you enjoying 
the grass this morning?"

She considers this question, 
bends her head to nibble.

"Would you like an apple for a little snack?"

I carefully open the barn door, 
reach in for an apple,
slowly approach the fence.
She stands, waiting, unafraid.

I slowly toss the apple a little to her left, 
where it bobbles along the ground.
She takes a few steps forward, sniffing.

She has not darted away! 
She is accepting the gift!
It is today's miracle.

Wild Woman's heart does a little
hop, skip and jump,
then flies right out of her chest.
It is catching a ride
on a low-lying
puffy, perfect cloud.

Joy!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Joy in the Morning





Kids, here's a little joy for you this morning! 
This will lift your heart and 
make you glad to be a human!
Promise!