Wednesday, September 28, 2016

HAWK



Captive, he stands,
chained to his perch,
facing west,
the setting sun warm on his face.
Slowly, his great wings rise,
lift up,
the wind familiar
under his feathery pinions.
Blissful, staring into the sun,
a zephyr ruffling his feathers,
this creature of the air
forgets his tethers
for the moments
that he is remembering
Flight.


for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Souls Caged and Free. This prompt reminded me of something I read some time ago, about wild birds caged in a recovery centre, who would gather as the sun set and face into the wind, stretching out their wings. I am certain they were remembering the joy of flight and freedom.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A DISSERTATION ON RIVERS


Elaho River
Jon Merk photo
                                         


The river of love can 
knock you to your knees,
when that tall dark stranger's heart
develops teeth that would
consume your essence, 
if you allowed it-
a napalm strike that levels 
the landscape of the heart,
scorched earth devastation
in its wake,
from which all of your foliage
must begin to grow anew.


This is when you will discover that love
- real love, not napalm-love -
is the river, the ocean, and the droplet, 
one drop an ecstasy on the tongue
after times of great thirst.


After passing that class,
you enter Being 101,
discovering your true identity: 
minute, one solitary drop in the turbulent sea,
and vast, part of the ebbing and flowing,
of the largeness
of the ocean itself.


Fall in love with the way
the moon splashes stardust
on the surface of the river,
irradiates the pond with an 
unearthly radiance,
lights a silver pathway across the lake.
Beyond, the dark and lumpy 
mountaintops huddle
like the hunched shoulders 
of an indolent giant,
the moon a bauble for him to bat 
from side to side.


Let the evening breeze whisper 
endearments in your ear,
translated by the silvery timpani 
of the leaves, falling 
from their accustomed branches
without attachment, without regret, 
free of fear.


Learn to fall like that,
in love with the whole world,
and you will never
be alone again.
Allow your heart
this most glorious
pilgrimage.

One from 2013, my friends. Shared with the Poetry Pantry. See you There! 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On Gentle Paws

The new dark is creeping in
On  gentle paws,
nibbling at the late afternoon light.

Soon lamps and crackling fires
will replace those  soft summer evenings,
full of children's voices.

I pile the pillows high,
set out the fleecy blankets,
stack up the books,
like nuts for a winter squirrel..

We are at the turning of the seasons
once again,
the new dark creeping in
on gentle paws.

For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif ...Equinox.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Windigo Wind



A Windigo wind blows across the land,
warning us that we have been taking
more than we need,
and putting nothing back.
It is trying to tell us
we need to go back
to the Old Times,
when man and nature
lived in harmony,
and no action was taken
without consideration for 
the seventh generation.

A big black wolf is wandering
through my dreams and through my heart,
wolf spirit,
Windigo of the wolf clan,
howling a lament
at the destruction
of his habitat,
the starvation of his young,
the extinction
of his tribe.

I am swimming a wide river,
farther than I have
the strength to go,
when, under me,
lifts the body of a great turtle,
who supports me to
the farther shore.

I am lost at sea in a thick fog
and cannot find home
when a pod of killer whales,
sensing my distress telepathically,
encircles my boat
and guides me to shore,
to my own dock,
then glides silently
into the night
and away.

Nature tries to help us.
Creatures show us the way.
But in our noise and clamor,
in the tumult of our souls,
we cannot hear them.

The forest is deep and dark,
and there are spirits here.
I look, and look again,
and all the trees are rearranged.
Shapeshifters, shadows,
flit from tree to tree, 
and a mournful Windigo wind
sings through the branches.

Owl, Oracle, Guardian,
protect me as I go.


A poem from 2013, shared with the Poetry Pantry at  Poets United.

* In the film, The Great Wind, Windigo, punishes a young man for his greed, for wanting more than he needs. Wikipedia describes a Windigo as a legend of the Algonquin people, a cannabalistic spirit that can possess humans in times of famine and who is to be guarded against.

The event with the killer whales really happened to an inspiring woman I met once,  who lives among the whales in Simoon Sound. Alexandra Morton has dedicated her life to the well being of the whales and to raising the alarm about how fish farms endanger wild salmon habitat.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Waking From the Dream



In the 60's and 70's
we were wide-eyed, long-haired 
barefoot children,
full of love and peace,
placing flowers in gun barrels,
saying Hell no, we won't go
to the war machine.
Walls were crumbling.
Consciousness was expanding.
Almost, we changed the world.

The status quo, challenged, 
was alarmed and fearful.
One by one, we watched
our golden heroes fall
to assassins' bullets.
Our dreams went fast asleep;
the status quo regained its footing,
and it wore heavy boots.

Now, we awaken to the nightmare.

Yet, I ponder:
if the global consciousness has created
what we're living now,
so could it create
a world of social justice.

I feel consciousness accelerating 
on the planet,
see the Rainbow Children  
arriving in response.
We might yet stand together
as 7.4 billion souls longing for
a peaceful, balanced world.

But the clock is ticking.
Can dreams happen
overnight?


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wild Geese



The wild geese flew over my head this morning, their honking stirring that need in me that longs for the wild places. I stood in the yellow field and watched them go, my heart lifting with the beating of their wings.

I can feel fall closing in. The breeze off the canal last night had that fresh scent with a tinge of wildness, that tells of rain and snow-kissed winter air on the way.

I am ready for the season to change. I love them all, each having its own pleasures. But perhaps I love fall best, with its oranges and yellows, its jack-o-lanterns grinning along the side of the road, the hint of wood-smoke in the air as people try to warm their chilly houses.

I pile the books up high - the ones I'll read all winter while the wind howls through the trees, and rain batters the windows. I'll look up, bemused, watch the weather cavorting through the treetops out my window, then plunge back deep into the page. I journey far, without ever leaving my comfy purple bed.

The days are shortening, easing us towards winter darkness, taking back the daylight that I miss so much through the long gray Alberni winters.

Yet I'm ready for it, too, with its cozy indoor rhythms, and the serene passage of slow and quiet days. Safe and warm in my little house, I'll watch another winter pass, moving ever towards the promise and possibilities of next spring.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We Appreciate You!


Mary Kling


She keeps a low profile, 
declines being featured,
doesn't want a lot of fuss,
just steadily steers our little boat
through the blogosphere,
as sure as clockwork,
reliable as sunshine
after rain.

She is quick to thank everyone else
"for all you do",
but I am sure she doesn't think a lot
about all she does, week after week, 
month after month , year after year,
keeping this site open
to encourage and support poets -
all for the love of poetry,
for her work is given freely,
with no thought of return.

I contemplated the prompt "Appreciation",
as there are so many things to appreciate,
in nature, in the animal world, in humanity.
But when I think about how much Poets United 
has meant in my life 
and the lives of so many others,
I had to take this chance to say:
"Mary, we appreciate 
YOU!"


I can feel her blushing from here. But really, Mary, you deserve a ton of thanks for keeping Poets United going all these years. I also tip my hat in acknowledgment of Robb Lloyd, the founder of Poets United in 2010, who responded to my question at the Blogger forum as to where I could find other poets, by saying: "Why don't you try Poets United?" I did, and it changed my life.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Appreciation. Of course, my appreciation extends to the staff and all of our members as well. But Mary does the steering, quietly, without fanfare. So this one is especially for her. Smiles.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Children of Aleppo



If the white witch waves her magic wand,
will the children of Aleppo dry their tears?
The rubble, stones and crumbled bricks re-form
from the detritus of war these many years?
If  her bag of charms holds an antidote for war
that she has been loathe to put to use thus far,
waiting for humans to be better than we are,
may she use it now, pour balm on every scar.

She casts her spell, knowing her illness will be swift,
but she's obliged to use her powers well, or lose the gift.


for Brendan's intriguing prompt at Real Toads: to write about a bag of charms. This led me to look up white witches, who use their powers for good, and often fall ill or weak after doing so. But they are "obliged to use the power or lose the gift." I could have written more, but the prompt is ten lines or less, an extra challenge.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Poem is the Breath of Dawn

Morning Beach


This poem is the breath of dawn on a windswept 
morning at the edge of the sea.
This poem is a murrelet on the wing.
This poem is a gray whale, spy-hopping.


This poem is misty with early morning fog.
It drapes shawls over the shoulders of 
Grandmother Cedar so she won't be chilled.
This poem loves the morning.
It looks to the sky to see all the colours of the day.
This poem is the breath of dawn on a windswept 
morning at the edge of the sea.


This poem is a tiny bird who makes her nest
deep in the forest.
This poem must fly great distances,
out to sea and back again,
in order to find sustenance.
This poem sometimes grows tired,
and in need of rest.
Its perch is precarious,
its nesting sites vanishing
along with the old growth.
This poem is sometimes in need of rescue
and protection.
This poem is a murrelet on the wing.


This poem swooshes up in placid waters,
takes a look around and finds that life is good.
Then this poem does a series of dives and breaches,
just for the sheer joy of it.
This poem is an ancient voice
which sometimes speaks
with an old soul.
This poem is a gray whale, spy-hopping.


This poem is the breath of dawn, on a windswept 
morning at the edge of the sea.
This poem is a murrelet on the wing, heading for home.
This poem is a gray whale, spy-hopping
for the sheer love of living.



A Boomerang Metaphor Poem, a form created by Hannah Gosselin (you can read about it here), from 2014, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find good reading on a Sunday morning.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Standing Rock

A sage tie, with spiritual significance,
hangs at the camp
Andrew Cullen/Reuters photo


I stand
with the brave warriors of Standing Rock,
who are defending the land
and the waters.

It is time
to take a stand,
draw a line in the sand:
too much destruction,
as the wounds of Mother Earth
sorrow across the land.

The oil gods are ruthless.
They rip through sacred burial grounds
without a care,
imperil the clean, living waters 
that sustain  the people of the earth,
in endless quest for More and More
of the Money God that rules
the earth.

Soon water will cost more than oil,
for its scarcity.
The once-abundant freshwater 
lakes and rivers are dying,
one by one.

Yes, "Money Rules,"
but "The Spirit Liberates",
and so the warrior spirit rises,
in defense of Mother Earth
on the Sioux Reservation,
where last stands 
have been made before.

Ah ho, warrior brothers and sisters.
I stand with you
in protection of your ancestors' graves,
and the living waters,
more priceless
than oil.
I hear you as you
make your stand.

"Send your dogs and thugs and pepper spray.
To help the waters live,
we will stand fast.
In the footsteps of our ancestors,
in the tribal territory of a thousand generations,
it is always  a good day to die."



photo by Jean Roach, Lakota


offered for Isadora's prompt at Real Toads:   Fire From a Different Sun: to write about another kind of fire. In this case, the spirit within, the rising of a people, in response to the ruthless ways of the money-mongers on sacred land.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Marigolds



There were marigolds lining the garden path
when my kids and I were young,
their bright yellow and orange faces
nodding over the fence,
all through summer and fall,
as we harvested all
the seeds we had sown,
now grown.



Just so the smiling faces
of my leggy children
have transformed
into middle-aged children,
the harvest of all
we have experienced together,
the sum of all
we have known.



for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Blooms. Thotpurge's poem reminded me of my summer garden Back in the Day.

From Bud to Bloom





As a time-lapsed flower
slowly transforms
from tight-curled bud
to full-blown, vibrant bloom,
so do our human hearts
retract, experiencing pain,
and then, beneath the warmth 
of love and care,
gradually unfurl and learn
to love again.


Monday, September 5, 2016

The White Lions of Timbavati



The white lions of Timbavati are wandering through my dreams, with their white manes and blue, blue eyes. Star travelers, they came here from the sky, living in a spot where the stars aligned, a power place, where our forefathers are said to have traveled, also from the stars. In those ancient days, the lions shared their caves with man, and our fates became entwined. When starvation threatened man's extinction, the lion offered himself to man to eat, to save his life. The shaman says the fate of man and the fate of the white lions is interwoven: whatever befalls the white lions will befall man. Today they have been hunted to near extinction, like everything beautiful that humans try to conquer. Those few who are left visit my dreams, their blue eyes asking, "why do you not see, what you do to us, you are doing to yourselves? Your souls' measure is taken by how you use your guns." Their small white cubs cry piteously, as their parents are lost to canned "hunting", to our everlasting shame. The shaman says killing a lion sun god is a sacrilege, for they are sent as enlightenment bearers, with a message for humanity at this time.

If we do not hear the message
the white lions of Timbavati will disappear
along with our hopes for the future of the earth.

Note: There are fewer than thirteen white lions still living in the wild, less than 300 existing world-wide, most in canned "hunting" enclosures. A few are kept in a refuge by people dedicated to saving them from extinction. I learned about them in one of the most riveting books I have ever read, "The Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sun God" by Linda Tucker, who has made it her mission to save the white lions who are left.

Posted for Toni Spencer's   prompt at dVerse: a haibun about the stars.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

We Belong


We belong to the earth and sky, 
a part of the wonder of it all:
rock cliffs and small, unfolding ferns, 
and quacking, paddling ducks. We are 
one with it all,
if we open our heart and our eye.
We belong. Not as the arrogant lord 
of the beasts and the fields,
but molecule for molecule, with the same right to be
as the birds in the air, the fish in the sea,
are we.
We belong, as the elephant, 
ambling across the savanna,
the same will to live in the marrow of our bones:
we are creatures of this earth,  each living out our lives
of joy, pain and struggle, 
no less the tiger mother licking her child’s downy head, 
protecting its life,
than we, praying over our child’s bed
for her long life and safety. We belong
to the earth and the sky, and all in between:
the radiant beauty, the storm and the struggle,
the glory and grit of it all,
the splendor, the song.
To it all, we belong.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Just Before Dawn



The dawn is peeping a red and ribald eye
over the mountain.
No one is awake.
The morning birds will not yet sing.
The sleepy valley is still nestled
in the arms of night.

But out in the meadow,
in the mist rising up from the icy fields,
a young doe is dancing lightly
on her tiny hooves.
An elven chorus, murmurous,
is chanting in the veld,
and the skybirds awaken, 
all a-flutter.
In a feathered heap,
they tumble out of the trees.

To witness this magic,
you must arise
just before dawn,
and disguise yourself
as a shrub.


one from 2014, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Balalaika



I take my balalaika down from the wall.
Its notes tell the story of my broken heart.
The chorus repeats:
you are gone, you are gone.
How still is my heart,
now you are gone.

The balalaika sings of 
all I have lost.
Its notes weep the tears
that I keep in my heart, hidden,

until I take my balalaika
down from the wall.


for Interpretations By Margaret at Real Toads: Musical Instruments