Sunday, March 31, 2013


If Jesus met the Buddha on the road,
they might sit down under a tree
and share a flask of water.

They'd talk about how they 
loved the people,
how they wanted all beings 
to be free of suffering,
how they wanted everyone 
to "Love One Another."

They'd say, "Hey, man,
I'm your bruthah
from another mutha."

They'd part friends.

They say if you go all the way back,
through all of your ancestors,
to the very beginning,
some would be Jesus' kin,
some the Buddha's.

Under that tree, 
that Bodhi tree,
the Tree of Life,
where they sat
sharing their love of humanity,
Jesus and the Buddha 
became brothers.

That makes us all kin.

Here's a prayer,
this sunny Easter Sunday,
whatever your beliefs,
if there is a little corner inside you
with some room,
that Jesus will set up housekeeping
in your heart,
the Buddha take up residence
in your soul.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Granny Gets Regurgitated

by Illustrator Chris Petty,

or......Red Riding Hood, Re-Visited

Grandma isn't exactly looking in the pink today.
Sitting up in bed under her frilly cap
her eyes look.......voracious.
Her long furry nose
--wait! fur?--
did she cancel her electrolysis appointment? --
whiffs the air.
Grandma licks her lips enticingly,
and grins a wolfish grin.
Her teeth! Ohmmmmmmmm my God!

Little Red stutters, "Er.........Grandma?"

Grandma's jaws open, 
a little too wide and welcoming.
Then she gets a funny look on her face.
(Could Grandma be incontinent?)
A furry paw lifts up to cover her lips
and she emits a tidy little "urp."

Oh no!
Granny's turning blue!

Little Red stands on the doorstep.
"Help? I think?"

"Stand back!" yells the manly woodcutter,
all swarth and brawn,
climbing into bed with Grandma.

What the frick?

Embracing Grandma from behind
(L.R. feels she shouldnt be looking),
he administers the Heimlich
and - Gott in Himmel! -
out pops.....

"Grandma!" shouts Little Red, vastly relieved
that nothing age-inappropriate had been going on.

The wolf-in-Grandma's-clothing sheepishly mutters,
"Thanks, man," to the burly woodcutter.
"What was I thinking?
My eyes were bigger than my stomach."

"Look, Grandma," pipes Little Red,
I brought you a basket of goodies."

"Yay!" says Grandma.
"Yum!" says the woodcutter.
"Let's chow down," says the wolf.

And so they do.

Mary has set us a fun prompt over at dVerse, where she is tending bar this weekend : to write about a well-known character, and to re-invent that character, putting them in an unusual situation, and tweaking the persona. As she offered the Big Bad Wolf as a possibility, my mind had fun with the idea. Hope it makes you smile. The prompt will post at 3 p.m. eastern, over at dVerse - be sure to check out the other offerings!!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Baby Wolf's First Howl

This baby and his two siblings were somehow 
separated from their mother and, fortunately, rescued.
This little guy is getting his first lesson in Howling. 
He is so heartbreakingly precious. 

Dreaming in Green

What are these walls and floors
where nothing grows?
What are these fences wrapped around us
keeping us from each other,
one on one,
when my Mama wants 
to teach me how to run?

My Mama tells me stories of the savannah:
grasslands, where all my cousins run and play,
tall trees to nibble on,
an open sky...
Why are we not there, too?
I wonder why.

I love my Mama,and I love the sky,
but I need trees and grasses,
freedom I have never seen,
no fences, lots of grass,
and when I dream,
in my wooden stall
at night,
my dreams are green.

Hannah, over at Real Toads, has set us a challenge for her Transforming Friday: to write from the viewpoint of a creature of the savannah. As the news has recently told us about a newborn giraffe in one of the zoos, I decided to be that baby's voice.

The bottom photo of a shy giraffe was sent to me on facebook, so I dont know who to credit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More From My Hero, Betty Krawczyk

Kids, right now I am reading a book written by one of my friends from Tofino days, Betty Krawczyk, a well-known personage throughout B.C., having been before the courts several times for passionately trying to protect the last of the old growth on Vancouver Island, as well as ecologically sensitive areas on the mainland. 

The book is called This Dangerous Place: My Journey Between the Passions of the Living and the Dead.  It alternates locales between Betty's incarceration in jail, for participating in blockades to protect the old growth (and her courageous refusal to sign an undertaking agreeing to desist), and memories of her childhood in Mississippi. Betty seems to produce a book every time she is in jail, and jokingly has referred to it as a governmental writing grant.

Some of you may recall I wrote about her earlier, during one of her court battles, in a post entitled Are You Freaking KIDDING Me?  You can check there for more info about Betty, who is the activists' secret weapon, our very favourite thorn in the side of BC logging companies, among other rapers and pillagers of the planet. Betty and I (and our poet friend Christine Lowther) were among the original Writers of Clayoquot - a writing group likely to be unparalleled in my lifetime. 

Betty has several other books out, each one wonderful, including Clayoquot: The Sound Of My  Heart, Lock Me Up Or Let Me Go, and Open Living Confidential (from inside the joint).

Last night, while reading, I came upon this wonderful poem by Betty, and emailed her to ask if I might share it with you.  Betty wrote it in prison, while she was trying to compose her statement to the judge, during that particular year's court battle, having been before six other Justices already.  (Why are they called Justices, when logging companies can rape and pillage and even get government subsidies to do so, and citizens concerned about the future of the planet get sent to jail for voicing their protests?) Here is Betty (who can STILL do the best tap-dance boogy-shuffle I have ever seen!) 


Bestow upon us, upon the forests and streams,
the lowly mosses and ferns,
The little scurrying furry animals that make their way through the
dense undergrowth, the mice, chipmunks, martens, raccoons, and
the large ones who take up more room on the forest paths,
The bears, richly brown, with a rolling gait, yes,
come bears, bring your cubs forth,
And the wolves, who send their yowling cries out upon
the night air while they hide themselves in the bush,
And the most unseen of all, the secretive cougar,
who watches from the treetops, waiting,
And all, all, that are seen from the sky by the seagulls, blue herons,
ducks, eagles, and even the smaller birds who head for the sky, the
crows, Stellar jays, robins, starlings, yes, even the tiny flashy
hummingbirds that can hang in the air above the mountain streams,
The waters gurgling down to meet the mother,
the mother of all things, the sea,
The sea, who gave up many of her creatures to the land,
but still holds tightly to the most treasured, refusing to
give up the whales and dolphins and sharks
Along with all of the little crusty creatures that line the shores,
flashing brilliant colours under the sun or digging down into the
wet sand and who feed from the sea water and are fed upon by other
little water beings that in turn nourish the luscious fish that live
in the top waters of the mother sea and the others who are
irredescent and show their wonderful light only to each other down,
down, down in the bottom of the sea.....Oh, yes, Judge of the 
Moment, bestow upon us all your blessings and your mercy.......

I love this poem full of creatures.............Thank you, Betty, for speaking for the trees and all creatures.  And thanks for allowing me to share your wonderful poem. Sigh. I have the most amazing friends in this world!

Check out Betty's website, Betty's Early Edition, for her frequent writings on current topics. Betty has followed a regimen of writing four hours a day for most of her life, and has supported herself and her family with her writing. Not many writers can say that! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The World Outside My Window

The bulldozer scoops up
great chunks of earth
digging deep into the soil.

Beside the hole, lies a six foot long
narrow  form, wrapped in a tarp.

Between house and hole,
the drag marks are darkened
with blood.

The inimitable  has set us a task, At Real Toads, for Words Count With Mama Zen , the inimitable Mama Zen has set us the task,  in 50 words or less, of looking out our window and telling what we see - but make it scary.  There has been a bulldozer at work at my neighbor's across the fence. So I did some imagining. As far as I know, the body count is still three at his house. Here's another take:


Out the window, silver skies,
birdsong, all earth's creatures
celebrate early spring,

Same window, same scene.
Add acid rain, global warming,
corporate greed, political collusion,
extinction of species.

Try not to despair!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Journey of Nishiyuu

What a story! What a story I have for you today, kids!!!!!!!!

At Poets United, for Verse First, Kim has set us the prompt: Passion. Monday's leading news story here in Canada fills the bill. It stirs my heart with passion, pride, inspiration, humility and sadness, at the lengths to which our beautiful and HEROIC First Nations people have to go, to try to get an apparently uncaring government to recognize their plight. My poem will follow, but I will try to nutshell it here - the newsbyte above gives the broader story. It will warm the cockles of your heart. Warning: it may also make you weep!

Chief Theresa Spence - Globe and Mail photo

You may remember Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's wintertime hunger strike in front of Parliament, requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She wished to plead for assistance for her impoverished people, many of whom are living in Third World conditions in  the frozen north, in  one of the most affluent countries in the world. The P.M. refused to meet with her, one on one, but did find the time to welcome Justin Bieber to Ottawa. (Yes, my teeth are gnashing.) Her heroism inflamed the Idle No More movement that spread like wildfire all across Canada. She finally appealed to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. No results yet on that appeal.

David Kawapit - CBC photo

Up north in the  James Bay Cree community of Whapmagoostui, a seventeen year old youth, David Kawapit, decided to walk through January's blizzards, on snowshoes, to the doors of Parliament, to raise awareness of the issues facing aboriginal youth. Six people and a guide, named the Cree Walkers, began their journey, the Journey of Nishiyuu (Journey of the People), and, as they walked, others joined  till they were 400 strong. By the time they reached Capital Hill Monday, thousands more arrived. 

Sean Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, addressed the crowd. "We talk about youth as the leaders of tomorrow. I'm here to tell you, these are the leaders of Right Now!" The crowd roared in agreement.

P.M. Harper was - unsurprisingly - in Toronto, rather than on-site to meet with the youth.

The news item immediately following this, said the government is accepting a "gift" of two pandas, to "celebrate the friendly relations between Canada and China". It will cost EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS to bring the pandas here and care for them, since they require bamboo to eat, to survive. (Who knew bamboo was so expensive?)

I love pandas, but cant help thinking that eight billion dollars would improve the living conditions of the First Peoples of our land.  Possibly THEY could eat better, then, too. What does this say about this government's totally screwed up priorities?

The question remains: will this government EVER bring this strong, ancient and beautiful people into their share of the Canadian dream? Stay tuned. 

Journey of the People reaches Parliament Hill
photo by Andrew Foote/CBC

My haibun:

The Cree walkers began their lonely trek in the bitter January cold of a northern winter. On snowshoes, one step after another, they walked 1600 kilometres. They walked and, as they walked, the small flickering ember in their hearts took hold, growing greater than the cold.

My heart walks with
their every footstep.

Across the snowy miles they marched, to shine a light on the plight of their people,  the many who live in unheated shacks, without electricity or water, the many others  in poverty and lack of hope in the future ~ Third World conditions in the midst of an affluent society. And as they walked, others joined them.

My heart walks with
their every footstep.

They walked through blizzards, the Siberian wind at their backs, and as they walked, their numbers slowly grew. They were marching to Parliament Hill, to ask the dominant society for a share of the Canadian dream.

My heart walks with
their every footstep.

They walked, more coming from far and wide, and as they walked, their hearts took fire. They marched, now, to the beat of the drum. They walked, chiefs in full headdress, young braves who needed a future to keep them from despair, young ones with sudden hope in their hearts, world-weary Old Ones, who had  endured a century of pain and poverty, broken treaties, unfulfilled promises, placations and deferments. They walked, newly invigorated by the passion in the young peoples' hearts, at the scope of their dreams.

And my heart walks with
their every footstep.

They walked, four hundred strong, to the very doors of Parliament, joined by thousands more, who cheered and wept with them. Thousands of flaming hearts, on behalf of all of their people, who had waited so long in poverty, pain and despair, for their rightful, proud and honored place on the Canadian landscape.

Their walk now ended,
may their future be much brighter
than their past.

All My Relations

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Oogy: From Bait Dog to Beloved/inspiring but could be upsetting to animal lovers

Kids, I just finished reading this book. This beautiful gentle loving dog had an unbelievably harsh beginning, being tossed into a cage at a couple of months of age with a vicious fighting dog (as motivation to increase the fighting dog's brutality). He had one ear and half his jaw bitten off, among other things. It was incredible that he survived.

The family who fell in love with him happened to be at the vet's when they were trying to decide what to do with him, and it was instant love. The author, Larry Levin, says that even after all this dog had suffered, he exudes nothing but love and trust.  The video reveals a compassionate family and a sweet dog who started off with no chance, and then was mercifully given another chance at life.

Oogy has endured several operations and has had some reconstructive surgery done on his face. The vet who has cared for him since the beginning has done so without charge, so grateful was he that Oogy found a family who loved him as this sweet gentle creature so deserves.

I cant wrap my head around the kind of human it takes to toss a small puppy into a pen with a vicious attack dog. My heart breaks for the attack dog too, who has known only viciousness and cruelty all his life. Why - WHY? - and HOW can this still be going on???????

Crooked River - Jeff's Song

Jeff Siddhartha Crazy Horse Marr

My wonderful son, Jeff, has written another beautiful song and dedicated it to me. A talented lad. (He also composes classical music that is OMG fantastic, sounds like Bach or Mozart!!!!!!) I love this song, which takes me back to our little house on Ethel Street in Kelowna, where I grew a huge backyard garden, we had a big fat rabbit nibbling his way up and down the rows, and we had fruit trees, grape vines and whole rows of watermelons and canteloupes. Sigh. It was Home for those years of childhood before the teen years threw us all into upheaval. No one came out unchanged, least of all me :-) 

Thanks, Jeff - for this song, for your unfailing sunny nature, for the sunshine you have brought to my life, and for the privilege of being your mom. I hope to have you around for a good many years yet!!!!! I will never say goodbye! Even when I pass on one day, I'll see you in your dreams!

Crooked River (dedicated to Mom)

I was a child but I have grown
Your quiet house is all I’ve known
The shadowed peach-tree in the yard
The killing rain we took too hard

  And now I must cry
  And embrace you
  And wave good-bye

I float down Crooked River
All alone on Crooked River
Carry me home on Crooked River
Yes, carry me home

I see you smiling standing there
I see a rainbow in your hair
But I must turn my back and go
The swans are calling deep and low

  And now I must cry
  And embrace you
  And wave good-bye

I float down Crooked River
All alone on Crooked River
Carry me home on Crooked River
Yes, carry me home


We’ll meet again just you and I
Immortal love can never die
The shadowed peach-tree in the yard
And rain will never fall so hard

  And now I must cry
  And embrace you
  And wave good-bye

I float down Crooked River
All alone on Crooked River
Carry me home on Crooked River
Yes, carry me home

Lyrics by Jeffrey Merk

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Song of the Sisterhood

Our Lady of the Not So Barren Tree
artist Elizabeth Kay

Wild Woman I.

Looking back at the journey of becoming who I am,
through transformations wonderful and strange,
I grew bewitched by the beauty of the world.
Nature became my lover, and I was forever changed.

Looking in the smokey mirror I see
a strange lady  looking back at me.
A wildish woman is growing older there.
Normal is not an option.
Check out her wild and frizzy hair!

She has lived her life determined to be free.
Control and oppression Wild Woman can't abide.
Every time they tried to tame her, she would flee.
Now when she speaks, she speaks a truth I cannot hide.

She doesnt act like anyone I ever knew.
Wild horses gallop often through her heart.
She is the one I have run from and run home to.
From now on we will never be apart.

She is free now - she can never again be tamed.
She will not grow old gracefully, and refuses to be blamed.
She plans to laugh and sing,
to hope and dream until the end.
This wild woman is becoming
my best friend.

She has brought me through the fire and the rain
and to the Circle of Sisterhood we turn.
We find the gain has been well worth the pain,
and turn to help our younger sisters learn.

Standing on the brink of an ancient way of knowing,
I can feel wild woman singing through my bones
and I know that I am standing in the doorway
of a special passage to the Age of Crones.

Wild Woman II.

Truth: A Wild Woman knows
what she knows.

It is time, Wild Woman, to bring forth all your gifts,
for the seasons now are quickening and swift.
Sing out your songs; sing loud and strong and clear.
Write all your poems, to say that you were here.

A Wild Woman creates her own way.
She runs with her inner wolves, and she has a lot to say.
She speaks with an authentic voice, avoiding angst or wrath.
She follows her intuition, along the unmarked path.

A Wild Woman knows
what she knows,and she'll share 
her wisdom well
before she goes.

She steps into new territory - no fear.
She follows her heart - in trust,
honest and sweet and clear.
Her spirit has been forever
on the rise,
the long journey  making her
compassionate and wise.

She no longer harbors life,
brings  new visions forth instead
that she sees with eyes located  
somewhere else besides her head. 
She feverishly transcribes
dictated words.
Her songs she then gives freely to
all the singing birds.

Follow these pawprints into the forest,
Sister mine.
They will lead you to a home
Grandfather Cedar makes so fine.
An owl with piercing yellow eyes,
a cat with Cheshire grin,
will be on the doorstep watching,
waiting to let you in.                

There is a conjuring old woman
living there,
her spirit fixed between the sky and earth.
She has lived apart from others
since her birth,
doesn't care at all
what other people think.
Listen well to every incantation,
for all of them are linked.

Wild Woman has fallen bewitched
by the beauty of the earth.
Before the fire,
she is singing over the bones
and, when she finishes her song,
she will arise 
and welcome you 
into the very Sisterhood of Crones.

(Ha ha. I typed  Sisterhood of Crones into google, and it asked me: did you mean sisterhood of Crohn's? Maybe that, too. Cackle.)

At Real Toads, where we are always trying to Think Outside the Box, I have set the topic for this week's Sunday mini-challenge as: Release Your Inner Wild Woman. I never quite know what will come, when I begin a poem. But this is what came this time, in two batches, and I couldn't choose between them........Do join me in checking out the other responses to the challenge, as I expect there will be some interesting poems! 

Cracked Up

Kids, I have to inform you,
blow by blow,
that the earth is
completely cracked,
in case you didn't already know.

This is short but is about all I can come up with, having come across a humorous article on by freelance writer Danny Gallagher entitled 5 Delicious Animals You Can Eat During Lent.

He writes humorously about the Catholic Church's ruling, in earlier years, that parishioners were not to eat meat on Fridays (this changed some years back). Also that in order to not overload church members with undue hardship of too much  "personal sacrifice" during Lent, (the prupose of Lent, one would think), Bishops in various locales made the following exceptions:

In the late 1600's, a monastery in France allowed the eating of puffins, as "their habitat was as much acquatic as terrestrial".

A New Orleans archbishop in this age of emails has declared the alligator an allowed exemption, considering it in this context to be a fish. Good grief.

Michigan Catholics have apparently been eating muskrats on Friday for years, since 
 a missionary in the 1800's allowed parishioners to devour them "because they didn't have much else to eat". Sounds like a good reason to me.

OMG, in the Great Canadian North, apparently our totem animal - the beaver - is allowed to be eaten during Lent, even though salmon and trout are plentiful.

This one takes the cake: In Ireland, parishioners are allowed to eat CORNED BEEF, their traditional St Patrick's Day meal, because the saint's day is in the middle of Lent.

I rest my case. It isn't the earth that is cracked. it's the people who live on it. 

posted for Fireblossom Friday's challenge over at Real Toads: the crack in everything. I didn't have to go far to find an example :) Thanks, Shay. Cracked is definitely familiar territory for me!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vandana Shiva~ Whole Earth Activist

Kids, I admit this is a long watch - sixteen minutes. But this woman speaks the truth so clearly, knowledgeably and inspirationally, it is worth it. Her farm produces whole foods and preserves seeds. Her information about genetically modified "food" and the merging of government and corporate interests is spot-on. Enjoy, and be inspired, as I am, by her wonderful energy, and her hope and belief, in people and in nature.

Chain Reaction


*see note below

The chain saws shriek
on the mountain slopes,
leaving them bare.


With nothing to hold the earth,
the hillside gives way,


contaminating the water below
for humans and wildlife
to drink.

Mother Bear sleeps
in a clearcut
with her hungry cub.

Mother Fox cannot find
enough food
to provide
for her babies.


They are taking the wilderness 
in the back of a truck.

Hungry Wolf pads
alongside the highway,
no safe place to rest.


The multinationals finger 
their fat rolls of bills,
with great

Mother Earth weeps
in pain,
and then 
the cycle
all begins

*This clearcut is apparently around Sooke, a beautiful area on the outskirts of Victoria, B.C. Logging is STILL allowed to go on like this, unsustainably, exporting all the logs, which should be providing work for people at home, and without creating value-added industry, for more local employment. Just wholesale carnage at a great cost to the planet and the future. Notice all the waste they leave behind. This is criminal behavior, in my opinion. And the government allows it. In fact they give SUBSIDIES and huge corporate tax write-offs to the companies that do this. "Beautiful B.C." - that used to be.

Today, Kim's prompt at Verse First is : Reaction, and she gives us many possibilities, at the link at Poets United. This obvious one sprang to mind. Images that break my heart. Do check other links at Verse First, there are some wonderful offerings in there!

An Imperfect Pilgrimage

image from

The Buddha calls it
"the work to be done",
the living of this life,
the honing down, 
the stripping away,
the letting go,
the being of service -
(especially, the being of service).

Slowly, over the years,
our wisdom eye
begins to open.

Open......the eye of beauty.

Open......the eye of joy.

We begin to listen to
an underlying frequency,
tune in to the
collective consciousness,
know that we Know,
that somewhere within,
there is an Observer
who is doing the watching.

As we open
and open and open
deeper into the mystery,
we open the eye of Love,
with which to better make
our imperfect pilgrimage.

Monday, March 18, 2013



Wild Woman pondered.
"If I were a bird,
what kind of bird
would I be?"

She decided:
maybe one of those plastic
bobble-head birds.
But instead of bobbing her head
into water,
she would be the one
banging her head
on a brick wall.
Like the young 
neighborhood woodpecker
who spent his first two years rat-tat-tatting
on the metal roof,
before discovering
the Wonder of

Baby Seal Biafra

So sad, kids. Roughly 500 starving baby seal pups have been rescued up and down the California coast in the past two months. A normal number is 200 pups a year. Apparently there is no food for the babies in the water.

Yesterday I heard on the news that 21,000 children die somewhere in the world every day: one child every four seconds, 14 every minute.

The animals are starving, children are dying, the planet is heating up, and the multinationals are free to continue the devastation.

These babies, at least, are being rescued, rehabilitated, then returned to the ocean. Their rescuers are heroic. But the situation signals an even more severe underlying problem. Hope the Humans In Charge figure things out pretty soon. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sad Clown


Little girl,
laughing so loud
with tears in your eyes,
playing the clown
hides the pain for a time,
till you are alone
with yourself
and can barely survive
the look in your eyes,
above that pasted-on smile.

At Real Toads, Kay's Sunday Mini-Challenge is : Bring in the Clowns, an Emotional Challenge. Took me back to my teen years when I was a mass of secret pain, but played the clown to keep everyone laughing. Do check out the other offerings at Real Toads. There are always wonderful responses to these prompts at Toads.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Choice

google image

In my kit bag of memories
swirl moments of darkness and pain,
and moments brilliant with sunshine, laughter,
and the growing of a whole heart.

I could dip my hand in and pull out
the musty dark ones,
but those I banish to the farthest reaches
of my mind, to the Past,
to my youthful incompleteness.

Instead, my mind watches a constant smiling rotation
of beloved friends, beloved children, 
beloved grandchildren and other small wayfarers 
I have cared for,
beloved pets, 
all dancing on the green earth, in joy,
under the bluest of skies. 

My choice.

At Real Toad's last Mary's Mixed Bag, Kerry has set us the challenge to imagine holding a bag, carrying two items, one that heals and one that harms. Do check out the other links, for some very imaginative responses to this prompt.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Born A Woman

Kids, our wonderful Kim Nelson at Verse First has set us a prompt of writing in honor of women for International Women's Day. A few of you may have read this poem, which I wrote for International Women's Day last year. I didn't think I could say it any better, and am still recuperating from surgery, so I hope you will forgive me for posting a repeat. Be sure to check out the links at Verse First - you'll find some other wonderful poems written in honor of women.

The photo is of my wonderful and inspiring grandma, Florence Fitzsimmons Marr, and her horse Monte. She was the first girl in her farming area to ride horseback for pleasure. You can spot a wagon wheel in the background - no cars back then! Her father worked building the first national railroad in upper Montana, and my grandma remembered seeing ruts in the land, as a girl, where covered wagons had passed through. 

My grandma is one reason I am glad to have been born a woman.

When you think you have 
already faltered
under the load
you have carried
for so long,
and life brings you another 
to add to
your heavy burden:
dig deep.
You are stronger
than you know.

You have done
one of the hardest things:
had your body split in two
to bring forth your children
and, after that, you would
walk into the fire
or lay your life down
to protect them.

When you are trying to herd your chicks
safely past the hungry wolves
slavering in the forest
and they start running and flapping
straight into danger,
stay calm!
Race after them, and 
snatch them back;
set them on the path
yet again.
Repeat this
until they arrive at
the age of reason.
Then comes the hard part:
you have to let them go
and watch them flounder 
      and flop
          and fall
as they attempt to fly.

When you refrain from crying
because there are not enough tears
in the world
to shed for all that has befallen you,
go walk beside the river.
Hug a moss-covered tree
and let the river's song
wash the pain away.
Let the tree 
speak to you
about Endurance
and Simply Being.
There are times
when it is all right
Just to Breathe.

When you marvel
at the heart's capacity
to break
and then to heal,
to open itself once again
to trust,
reflect upon
how a broken heart still beats
and how all blind things
turn towards the sun,
seeking the light
even through their sightless eyes.

When you look back 
at the journey
of broken dreams, lost love
and pain,
marvel at the way
one can take the batter 
of this lumpy and mixed-up life,
all the wrong ingredients,
too much beating,
rancid flour
and still wind up with
a pretty good cake.

It's because you're a Woman,
and women may kvetch and complain
but, while they're doing it,
they're rolling up their sleeves
and starting to do the work,
because it's there to do,
and someone has to get up
every morning
and feed the children.

I see you, grandmothers of Africa,
looking after fourteen orphaned grandchildren.
I see you, mothers of Mumbai,
pressing red spots on your daughters' foreheads.
I see you, First Nations mothers,
living in imposed poverty,
trying to teach your daughters
the Old Ways
so they wont be lost.

I see you, Mother Wolf,
trying to get your babies grown
in the wild and dangerous woods.

I see you, Girl Child,
assaulted in the dark of night
and wearing the shame,
instead of the perpetrator.
(It is Not Your Fault!)

I see you, girl and woman,
told your whole life
that you are Not Worthy,
and I want to tell you:
Not only are you  Worthy,
you are a miracle of fortitude 
and Keeping On.
You are a song of survival 
and transformation,
and your shine lights up the path
of those who come behind you.

Sing out, you grandmothers
and mothers and daughters
and sisters and wives and lovers
and single aunts.
Sing out and say,
though the way 
may often be hard:
I'm glad that I was
born a woman.