Friday, June 28, 2013

No Easy Answers


Blackbird Fly Away
by Shane Owen at deviantart

I heard an owl this morning
just before dawn,
and I thought of you,
all these decades gone:
waking to the doves'
gentle coo,
me amazed 
at waking
next to you,
with your
dark blackbird heart,
so lovely
in my eyes,
soaring/captive Brother eagle,
both longing for
and fearful of
the skies.

Your beauty and your pain
held my heart fast,
fire and rain,
I thought would 
for forever last,
a fire of passion
felt for no one other,
a rain of tears
when you could not
tell me:
"Stay,"
and so I 
slowly turned
and walked away.

"No easy answers,"
was what you always told me ,
with your so-easy smile,
and those compelling eyes.
There was an easy answer,
but you could not say the words.
You could not choose just one sparrow,
with the sky so full of birds.

We set the doves free
when I left.
Blackbird was playing
on the stereo.
I loved you then,
and love you still,
though you may 
never know.

I have remained,
this lifetime,
a solitary dove.
The answer was, 
Brother Dreamer,
then and always,
only ever Love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wild Woman, Omniscient

image found on google-Coca Cola design

Wild Woman has been granted permission
to be omniscient for the next five minutes.
Go!

What does she see?

A planet in peril,
global warming,
"natural" disasters
resulting from man's 
unnatural co-habitation,
fracking, nuclear threat,
wars on far too many land masses,
corporate rule,
displaced and disenfranchised 
populations,
extinction of species........

Oh, thank Goddess!
Time is up.
Omniscience is frightening, 
discouraging 
and exhausting.
Back to the rosy glow 
of dimmed eyesight
and fractured synapses,
which cast a pleasant shine over
the little she can still see,
and comprehend.
This keeps everything De-Lovely
on Planet Wild Woman.

Wild Woman feels sorry for God,
for He knows the future.

Hee hee. Sorry, kids. Kim's prompt at Verse First, to  write from the point of view of omniscience, had me coughing up this fur-ball, given the fractured synapses and all. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

All My Relations

facerockproductions.com

This afternoon I am watching the documentary Broken Rainbow, the story of the government-imposed forcible relocation, in the '70's, of half of the Navajo tribe, from Hopi lands where they had lived since antiquity. 



 "There is no word for relocation in the Navajo language," the narrator says. "To relocate is to disappear and never be seen again."

The ties to the land, of the Navajo and the Hopi tribes, are an intricate part of their culture. The land is sacred to them. Unlike the white man, accustomed to seeing land as an apparently limitless resource. 

Why the forced relocation? The usual reasons: white man's greed for the minerals and oil under the land. The radioactive waste left behind will remain on the reservation for 80,000 years. Meanwhile many of the people who worked in the mines are now dying of radiation poisoning. People who built their dwellings from the irradiated rocks are dying of cancer. Children are born with deformities at twice the national average. 

Between 1 and 3% in royalties were "awarded" for rights to extract from the land, but whoever receives them, the majority of the people on reserve live lives of abject poverty. Those relocated off the reservation fare even worse.

Beautiful people of the rainbow,
you hold sacred
the red lands
under your feet.
Your prayers rise up
in sacred fire
to the god of the mountains,
high, where the white bird flies.

Land of star-gazers,
you have attuned your heartbeat
to the rhythm of Mother Earth,
who sings to you.
To see through your eyes,
a people of peace,
is to see a world
in balance.

Your early chiefs drew
a blueprint of life
based on ancient ways.
You lived as caretakers 
of Mother Earth
for a thousand years. 
How you must weep
at the corporate blueprint,
which lays waste your homeland,
and then moves on,
unsated.

Your hogan, you tell us,
itself confers a blessing.
"It wraps its arms around us
and says "you are home'."

"Washington says 'Move' "
the old woman weeps,
"and we must move,
away from our sheep,
who are better than money,
to a land of bills and costs,
when we have no way 
to make a living.
I cry for my sheep.
I ache for my homeland."

As a child of the '50's, 
I watched the Hollywood movies,
bugles blowing, flags waving, 
clapped as "the good guys" 
arrived on horseback.
For that, though I knew no better,
I am now
so ashamed.

Once I sat through a western
in an old theatre packed with
First Nations,
and listened to them guffawing
at Hollywood's version of history.

I was still young, then,
but recognized enough 
skewed storyline
to be embarrassed
inside my white skin.

Today we saved 
a baby starling,
fallen from its nest,
cheeping shrilly
with terror,
not yet able to fly.
We climbed up and
returned him to his nest.
Just one small
next-right-thing,
against all the injustice,
all the suffering and tears,
all the wrongdoing,
all the people displaced 
from their homelands
by those in power,
and by war,
and by corporate greed.

Today,
aside from caring,
it is all I can do,
and it is so far
from being
anywhere
near enough.

For you are all
      -all-
red rocks, white bird,
followers of the Red Road,
the dispossessed of Syria,
refugee camp dwellers of Palestine,
winter-hungry wolves and bears
and cougar
flushed from your vanishing habitat 
into our neighborhoods
and our waiting 
bylaw enforcement guns,
    you are all
         -all-
All My Relations.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Crystal Ships Are Leaving

Jim Morrison~tumblr.com

The crystal ships are leaving.
Across a pale green dawn they glide,
disappearing beyond the horizon
without a trace.

Did your soul float away,
un-tethered,
from its warm
then too-cool vessel,
soar through the ceiling
in search of that freedom
you spent your life seeking?

Your songs were
your very soul, speaking.

Life was pain,
then it was golden,
then it was
gone.

Susie has given us the challenge at Toads this weekend to use one of the titles of Jim Morrison's songs in a new poem. I chose The Crystal Ship, as the image is so beautiful. I also used "without a trace", the final line in his poem of that title. "I'll disappear without a trace, I promise."

I once owned three small crystal ships, glass art created in Gastown in the 70's, intricately beautiful. They disappeared, as did that time in my life.

 I watched a clip about Jim dying in the bathtub - the  vessel I refer to. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

In Pursuit of a Really Profound Thought

google image for Deep Thought

Wild Woman searches the cupboards
for a Really Deep Thought.
She looks under the bed,
muttering,
finding only dust bunnies there.
They require a vacuum,
so no further thoughts 
need apply.

She knocks on her head.
This hurts.
Bad idea.

Wild Woman, these days,
is in pursuit of a
Good Night's Sleep,
exhaustion and profound thinking
being counter-intuitive.

They have invaded her nighttime repose
with Machines and face-masks.
Her profoundest thought,
as she rises headachey, 
exhausted and grim
in the morning is:
this is clearly
a case of
the cure being
worse
than the disease.

Thankfully, a mite of humor
is, just barely,
sustaining her. 

Corey, known to us as Herotomost, has set us the challenge, over at Real Toads,  to write a bit of personal philosophy, the Pursuit of a Really Profound Thought. I tried, and I failed.  But one Posts On, regardless. Eventually, everything always Gets Better. (Perhaps THAT is my nugget of personal philosophy:))

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Land Remembers

google image - thebackpacker.com


Across these waving grassy fields,
once soldiers fought and died.
The land is steeped
in the blood of young men and horses,
and the land remembers.


In the sea cave,
there lurks a feeling dark and dank.
Once a bloody battle 
was fought along this shore,
and warriors crawled 
into the cave to die.
The land remembers.


Across this round blue planet,
is there an inch of earth
unstained by human blood,
untouched by the clamor
and clash of human war?
It is entirely possible
that Mother Earth herself
has post traumatic stress.
Her lightning storms and hurricanes,
her tidal waves and tornadoes,
may be her way of telling us
she needs to be appeased.


Sit on a rock and hum to her.
Sprinkle a little love potion her way.
Send her your love and gratitude -
and she will remember.

Kids, I wrote this before Global PTSD, written on the same theme, and am posting it here as an offering, given I am struggling with exhaustion these days and barely keeping up. Long day today, but I have tomorrow off, and am looking forward to it with tenacity!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Truth, Unmasked




The long and short of it is,
in her Life-Saving Medical Equipment
full-frontal oxygen mask
and her wild hair,
Wild Women is
definitely doomed
to remain single.

Does she really want
to be saved
that badly?

Hee hee. Just kidding. I contemplated taking an illustrative photo but, when I looked in the mirror, it turns out , even for a laugh, I am too vain!

Kim's prompt at Verse First this week is The Long and the Short of It - timely, given the struggle to stuff my big unwieldy free spirit under a confining mask at night has ruined going to bed for me these days! 

Global PTSD

as shared by Wolfgang at 

Mother Earth is suffering 
from post-traumatic stress:
legacy of all the trauma
she has endured -
wars, bombings,
nuclear "tests", fracking,
HAARP,
holes in the ozone,
her human children's addiction to oil, 
the corporate world's greed, devastated forests,
habitat and entire ecosystems.

Her warnings ~
fires, flooding, 
tornadoes, hurricanes,
ecological unrest ~
have not been heeded.

She weeps.

The whales, the birds,
the hungry bears and wolves,
all creatures dispossessed
by the raping and pillaging
of natural resources,
weep with her.

Wherever you are today,
take a few moments
to look around,
perhaps sprinkle 
some healing water,
whisper a little blessing
for her healing.

Wipe her tears.

Then write your congressman,
and speak
for the earth
and its creatures,
who have no voice.

Monday, June 17, 2013

No Pasaran




Kids, this summer is the 20th anniversary of the blockades of '93, at which first a handful, then hundreds, then thousands of passionate earth protectors gathered to block the logging trucks on the Kennedy River bridge early every morning, protesting the clearcutting of Clayoquot Sound. I was there, and as I watch  Bob Bossin's stirring video Sulphur Passage, produced by Nettie Wild, and see the faces of my friends, I get chills and the tears rise, just as they did those early mornings on the road.

932 were arrested, in the greatest act of civil disobedience in BC history. It had an effect - the Sound was declared a biosphere reserve and many trees were saved. Though, as everywhere on this planet, it is a constant struggle trying to preserve and protect against big money interests.

Many many people now come to visit this beautiful place, which gained international interest - and some high profile spokespeople -  during the passionate summer of 1993.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day, Mom!



Today is a tribute to fathers, in the Poets United Poetry Pantry, and I was a bit stumped about what I would write. I withdrew from my dad in childhood, because I couldnt stand the drinking and the violence. He died when I was thirteen. Decades later, I understand addiction better, and also recognize he was much more than his addiction. But any father's day poem I could honestly write would be a downer. 

Then I read Nene's poem at Life Whispers, wishing his mother a happy Father's Day, and I went aha! My mom raised us after my dad died. She worked hard and struggled greatly, but she never gave up. More than that, when I was a single mom of four small kids, she pitched in and helped me raise them. I cant tell you how many times I'd open a letter and find a hundred dollars inside that totally saved our lives. So yes, I am able to write a father's day poem after all - for my mom!

You were Rosie the Riveter during the war.
Then a hairdresser.
Then a wife and a mom,
a secretary, then a realtor.

Weekends, you got tossed around the living room.
Mondays you would try to hide the bruises.
At breakfast the shrieks and crashes
of the night before 
were never - ever - mentioned.

You grieved when he died,
but you kept on going.
Got a better job,
walked on your painful legs full of varicose veins
to work every day, kept on walking
to bigger and better jobs, 
all the way to the Attorney General's department.

You achieved a semblance 
of security in your life,
but never deep happiness.
You married twice,
but loved only once.

I had my memories of terror,
my shrinking from  loud voices and anger.
It took me too long to recognize the heroic effort
you made to just keep moving forward
through those same years.
When I made that same trek, later,
I understood.

You were so tired, always, 
your groan of relief and pleasure 
could be heard throughout the house when, 
right after supper, you'd go to bed 
with your crime magazines: 
"The moment I've waited for all day!"

Sometimes I'd pass you in the hall, 
grinning guiltily 
with a stack of buttered soda crackers
in one hand.
I think of you every time I butter
my own stack of crackers 
and retire with my book.
I sometimes give that same loud groan.
I think of you then.

How tired you must have been,
for I know how tired I am now.
So tired, yet kids and grandkids 
still need help
though the physical and financial resources 
are so depleted.
Somehow, me and you,
we still manage to come through.

I dont think I ever really 
thanked you properly,
or sufficiently,
for all that help. 
I'm thanking you now, Mom,
for being there when 
the kids' fathers
were not.

And for showing me that Can Do attitude
that got me through my own rough patches,
and that my daughters have inherited,
along with the family cackle
and the huge, depthful true-blue eyes.

Mother's and Father's Days -
they both belong to you.

The Road Map to Heaven


"My dad's dead,"
comes a little voice
from the back seat.

"I know.
We all miss Papa, don't we?"

"I don't miss him."

"You don't?"

"No, because I see him
in my dream.
There is a door,
and I go through,
because he wants me with him,
and I say to him,
'I love you, Papa,'
and then we're happy."

Silence and reflection,
while I remember:
"Unless ye become
as little children,
ye cannot enter
the kingdom of Heaven."

I had written something else for the Pantry at Poets United, which this week is honoring fathers. But last night this conversation happened, and I doubt there could be a sweeter expression of love for a father than this little guy's.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Broody Hens and Beaches



Wild Woman has lived in, approximately,
38 homes, give or take.

Nomad, gypsy, ever in search of home,
home never stayed put for long.

Each time she moves, she thinks:
this is home, the last move, the last place.

But life has a way of never standing still.
The only thing certain is Change,
she is fond of saying.
Things change.  People change. We change.

In the place of her dreams, after ten years,
to her surprise she found herself thinking:
maybe I have completed a cycle here.
And before she knew it, she was gone.

It is four moves later, now.
Wild Woman is feeling that inner gathering
that tells her to align herself with the universe.
The cycle of Helping is coming to an end.
Time to live some Wild Woman years again.

This big old hen  has stopped being broody.
She has perched herself on the edge of the nest
and is scanning the horizon.
Off in the distance, behind the mountains,
the silver sea is shining.
She feels her every feather lift in response.
She gives a few  speculative squawks; her beady eyes gleam.

Stay tuned.

At Poets United's Verse First, Kim has set us the topic: Moving. On. Forward. Away.To another house. To another state of being. Not staying stuck. Lifting those knobby inadequate stubby wings and trusting the air to hold one up. I exceeded the 20 line limit. I could eliminate one stanza, but will leave it as is for now....racing off to work. Will be back to read the other links. Am sure there will be some great stuff!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tilling the Hearts of All Men

Brock Tully
founder of the KindActs Movement

"Inch by inch
and row by row,
we will make our garden grow...."

[We sang this song often at the coffeehouse, smiling at each other, loving the growth and sharing we found there, in this warm safe fellowship of gentle souls. Three young B'hai men sang a song about turning guns to ploughs that would "till the hearts of all men". 

I tended a real garden, then, that took up my whole backyard, in order to feed my four hungry kids. But the real growth and healing took place in my heart, at the coffeehouse, where my life turned from pain and trauma onto a kinder, gentler path.]

I had walked across the frozen wastelands 
of Siberia,
emotions icebound 
against the possibility of pain,
but, from the moment I opened the door
and walked into the sunshine
of the coffeehouse,
my petals began to unfurl
and love, music, laughter and safety
tilled the soil 
of my thirsting heart.

Those gentle, peaceful beings
nurtured my spirit
with love,
loved me until I could begin
to love myself,
healed me from the past
and unfurled a future
more limitless 
than I had ever dared 
to dream.

"You must know you're a healer,"
Brock told me,
towards the end.
He had stayed an extra year
until I was strong enough
for him to go.
He had a world to inspire,
a thousand miles to travel,
a million dreams to inflame.

I ran the coffeehouse 
for a little while more,
but then it was time to let it go,
to move on, myself,  to other fields,
and other gardens.

This time, I was the one, 
singing the song
that encouraged others 
to heal,
to grow
and to dream.

posted for Poetry Jam's prompt: Flowers 
My poem is more about gardening than flowers. But I remember my petals slowly unfurling in the warmth of that wonderful place, and so, in a way, it is about flowers too.

Flawless Magician

This beautiful photo was taken by my son, Jon Merk, 
somewhere in the middle of the Rocky Mountains


July 14, 2002

twenty thousand
four hundred and fifty days
upon this earth
have I
gazed up in unceasing wonder
at the
fascinating
Sky,
each morning opening
my eyes upon
a brand new canvas
lit up by the dawn,
ready for
brush strokes
by a Master Artist's hand,
in hourly transformations
bright and clear
across the land.

I look away, look back,
and all has changed.
Unseen, the canvas
has been
re-arranged,
like a flawless magician
whose magic is
too pure to understand,
our eyes drink in
the beauty
and applaud
the sleight of hand.

No two canvasses alike,
each one supremely
without flaw,
an ever-changing masterpiece
created there
by God.

One from the archives, kids, as I am so tired this morning, not a single Thought emerges from the porridge-y cauldron of my brain.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Waking the Sleeper




At four in the morning,
I woke from dreams of you
to your knock at my window.

I opened the door.
You came into my arms.
"And like a fool you let me in,"
you murmured, smiling.

At four in the morning,
your knock at my window
woke me,
woke me
from my long sleep.

*image from google

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mongolian Sunset




Mongolian sunset
stocky ponies run
The shaman beats his drum
falcon wings lift and soar
Painful spirits
sail away
 on its wings


Kids, last night I watched a wonderful documentary called The Horse Boy, about a young couple who took their autistic son on a trek on horseback to Mongolia, to find shamans for their son's healing. It was wonderful in every way - the parents' deep devotion to their child, the child's transformation from suffering to a happier state, his deep connection with animals, the ancient faith of the shamans. Improvement was significant, in all ways. But what struck me most in the film, were the interspersed comments from professionals, including Temple Grandin, stressing that while North Americans consider autism a tragedy, other cultures absorb these children as differently abled beings who bring gifts. 

The shamans believed the boy will be a shaman himself when he grows up. The parents learned the most important thing was to listen to their child, and the world began to open up for all three of them. Heartwarming, loving, intriguing and uplifting. I loved it.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nocturne


Night Birds Indigo by Sea Moon



And now the little nightbirds all are sleeping.
A froggy chorus rides the evening air.
High in the cedar, mourning doves are calling;
in the topmost branch, they've found
some  purchase there.


The dusky light creeps softly down the mountain.
The heron on one leg folds up her wing.
Owl swoops the tall grass searching for her dinner.
 Around the pond the  noisy crickets sing.

Onto the darkening pasture
creeps the nightfall,
atop the barn, a silver slice of moon.
The stars wink on. The twilight turns
to darkness. It's time to sleep.  
Morning will come too soon.


At Real Toads, Kerry has requested a nocturne, which she explains is a night song, which should be lyrical rather than narrative,  create mood and atmosphere, and focus on what is felt rather than understood.

I Remember






I remember turning onto Elliott Avenue
and Grandpa's car pulling up beside me.
"Get in," he said, and I got in,
beside my mother and little sister.
From the front seat, my Grandma
turned and told me
"Your father has died."

"Dad's dead?" I asked, my voice rising.
"Think of your mother! Think of your mother!"
she admonished, and I fell silent.

Just that quickly
had life 
completely 
changed.

I remember Grandma 
having a dizzy spell
that afternoon, from stress,
and my mom worrying
she was going to lose
her mother, too.

I remember that night,
at the supper table,
my mom looking at 
her two young daughters,
beginning, helplessly, to cry,
and having to leave the table.

She went back home, alone,
that night. Later, she told me,
she felt Dad's presence there,
took his old, battered hat,
held it to her chest,
and walked up and 
down the creek, crying,
all the evening.

He had been her love
since she was just sixteen.
To the end of her life
she repeated, like a mantra,
"He was the only man I ever loved."

I remember, after the funeral,
standing beside her
in the church doorway,
at the top of the stairs,
looking out at a normal, sunny 
summer afternoon,
and her looking at me and saying,
"We have a long row to hoe, now."
And we did.

At Poets United's Verse First today, Kim set us the prompt: I Remember. We were to start writing and put down whatever came and then revise it. Mine came exactly as it happened, and I couldn't think of any way to revise it.........I love Kim's prompts.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Black Dogs and Buddhas

The Black Dog of Joy

"We're in this together, the wild, the domestic, the wormy, the laughing ones and the weepers, black dogs and Buddhas....all of us dancing in the stream of everything."
from Trauma Farm by Brian Brett

I am a small inconsequential speck in the vastness of the universe. I am united with every single other organism on the planet. I am insignificant, and a part of Everything, in the selfsame moment, which keeps me humble, and feeling connected to the All That Is, at one and the same time. I gaze at the mystery of the night sky and I know, somewhere up there, is my path Home, through the clouds into another world, where I will journey one day. The mourning dove sings to me in the evening, and the hummingbirds dive-bomb the feeder as twilight falls. In the morning, the  horse's whicker in the fields and the blue jay's call at the seed stump serenade my waking, and I step out to breathe in lake-scent and willow, which brings me full circle, from my earliest rememberings to Now, and I am, in fast-forward, that round-eyed child and this faded-eyed crone, and every age in between. Tell me that Heaven will be as beautiful as this planet and I will set aside all fear. Tell me there will be an ocean, and ancient cedar, and dogs. Yes, let there be dogs and I will not fight those final breaths. A neurosurgeon, a scientist who had no faith in anything unproven, died to the world for seven days, and when he finally woke, he said he had visited heaven. What made my heart leap is that he saw dogs there, leaping and running joyously with the people. I always believed dogs would be there, but now I know it. I will see my boy again. That big black wolf will run joyously to meet me and we will tumble together with the force of our reunion, as he used to throw himself upon me after every absence.  And  then we will  point our noses towards the nearest sea, and walk again, as we did for so long....as I have not been able to do since he's been gone. "Black dogs and Buddhas"........yes, that will be my heaven and, meanwhile, the thought of it comforts my sojourn here, the thought of all that joy, just waiting for me up ahead, in a country I have not yet walked through, yet feel  I know so well, so often have I read stories brought back by those who have briefly left this world, and then returned. For me, Heaven is a big black laughing dog.

Kids,I just finished reading Trauma Farm, whose wonderful quote inspired my prose poem.  And then began Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander, M.D., whose tale of seeing dogs joyously leaping in the heavenly realms made my heart go pitter-pat. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Stuck on a Reef in the Tunnel of Love




cartoonstock.com

I got stuck on a reef in the tunnel of love,
and this is why love didn't last.          
             So busy bailing, love blew right past,               .
stuck on a reef in the tunnel of love.
Charted my way in by the North Star's glow,
but lost my way when the light dimmed low.
Got stuck on a reef in the tunnel of love,
                         and this is why love didnt last.                                                      
                                                          
[I tried my hand at a triolet, 
I dont think I've quite caught on yet.]

The fair Hannah at Real Toads has issued us a challenge: to write about the tunnel of love. The photo she provided is of train tracks going into a tunnel but to me the tunnel of love is always in water, the lovers in a small boat. I vaguely remember some amusement ride, one time, like that, when I was much much younger. Or perhaps it was a dream.