Monday, May 22, 2017

Breathing Peace

Breathe in the cacophony
of the quarrelsome talking heads;
breathe out the birdsong
of a thousand singing forests.

Breathe in the gazillion dollar contracts
for military weapons, and the talk of war;
breathe out a billion wildflowers
cascading down the side of a mountain.
Breathe out armloads of hopeful babies,
and their  mothers, wanting only 
to raise them in peace,
with enough to eat, 
and a future in which to live.

Breathe in the bombs and death camps,
the captive girls, the child soldiers,
the young men whose guarded eyes 
have seen too much,
whose dreams have become nightmares;
breathe out a prayer of peace,
that will float across the world,
entering the neocortexes of 
the maddened guerillas,
rendering them transformed,
from fighters to friends of humanity,
who cannot kill again.

Breathe in earthquakes, explosions, 
fracking, flooding,
melting glaciers at the top and bottom poles;
breathe out restored balance, reduced emissions,
cooling land and oceans,  survival
for sea life and coastal communities.
Breathe out armies of people
cleaning and restoring 
the ocean and the land, 
and planting trees, 

Breathe in the toxic nightmare of today's politics;
breathe out a flock of sandpipers, 
moving as one body at the edge of the sea,
just as we can move together,
if we but have 
the intelligence and will.
Breathe out stars, and bioluminescence,
silver paths upon the water,
and a moon, serenely smiling
upon a land of gentle dreamers.

Breathe in walls and division;
breathe out harmony and unity:
no "us" and "them" - just people of the earth,
who wish to raise their children
towards a brighter tomorrow.

Breathe in despair, hopelessness, 
displacement, famine;
breathe out prayers that last 
from morning to nightfall
for a hurting world.
Pray for humankind
to become conscious,
as a whole,
Pray for evolution,
for transformation.
then do what you can,
where you are.

It seems the news is getting me down. Keep focussing on peace, my friends, and let's take what action we can to fix what is near at hand. Plant trees. Voice objections to elected officials. There is much to resist.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Breaking News is Breaking My Tired Old Heart

In those days,
journalism was a sacred trust.
"Stop the presses!" the editor
would roar, flying out back
to the men laying upside down words
in the frames, row upon row.

When it printed,
we all sat around the news room,
reading, with inky fingers and
smiles of satisfaction:
another paper, done.
The news, then, was pretty:
a good orchard crop,
a Lady of the Lake crowned,
another summer Regatta.

Now, news is everywhere,
and is pretty much all appalling.
Journalists report what they hear said
with their own ears,
report what is being slid through Congress
by sleight of hand,
and it is all labeled fake news.
How convenient.

It's a "witch hunt",
yet the reporting is of words
from his own mouth,
abhorrent words.

"Walls work.
Just ask Israel," the big toad sneers.
Ask a Palestinian how well walls work.

I am living in a world
of nightmare news
and uncertain futures,
where all we once held dear
has been knocked on its ass.

In those days,
we believed truth was beauty
and beauty was truth.
And now our tired old hearts
grow weary,
weary at the daily news.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: the news

Saturday, May 20, 2017

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,
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.

photo by

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

A poem from 2012, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come on over, for some good reading to accompany your morning coffee!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Call of the Forest

Call of the Forest - Official Trailer from Treespeak Films on Vimeo.

Ancient beings,
infinitely nurturing and wise,
their presence
gives us
the very air we breathe.

In the cool depths of the forest,
we feel a sacredness,
a communion,
connection with
an age-old mystery.

If we stay silent,
we may hear them

How is it
we cut them down,
giver of the air we breathe?
we should be praying to them,
protecting them.

How is it
we are the only species
to desecrate and destroy
our own habitat?

"Plant trees,"
the wise one said.
"If everyone planted a tree,
we could reverse
global warming."

Last night I watched Call of the Forest : The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees. It was beautiful, and amazing. The "she" I refer to is Diana Beresford-Kroeger, who narrated the film. She is a lovely forest sprite.

This community I live in is very forest-aware, its people having taken a stand against the logging companies to protect and preserve its old growth. It is stunning how little original forest remains on the planet, incomprehensible how destructive we are. Ms. Beresford-Kroeger speaks of the Druids, who knew the language of the trees, understood the fates of humans, trees and water are directly linked. The film's call to plant trees, with examples of even urban centres doing so, left me feeling hopeful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sad Eyes

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

Does he remember
baby days when he 
roamed the forest,
scratched his back on big trees,
caught fish
in the river?

In his cage at night,
does he remember
other bears,
tall grass,
the feel of the wind
in his face?
When he dreams,
does he dream
of freedom
or captivity?

Is there anything
more unnatural
than a bear on a bicycle?
Yet when he resists,
he is beaten.
When he roars,
he is whipped.

The people in the audience
laugh as he pedals past.
But deep down,
there is shame.
For there is nothing
sadder in this world
than the eyes of a circus bear.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Bicycles, Tricycles and Unicycles

Monday, May 15, 2017

In the Meantime

As I cannot restore the land
that has been fracked,
or the fields whose topsoil has blown away,
been poisoned and depleted,
may I plant a few small blooming things
on my  tiny porch,
to offer the Earth Mother
blessings and thanks.

As it is beyond my ability,
to cleanse the earth and the ocean
of its garbage, its plastic pollution,
its chemicals and debris,
may I carry with me a bag
in which to pick up litter
on my walks,
to tidy what, at least,
my two hands can carry.

Since I cannot provide a home
to rescue the millions of abused,
homeless, hungry and abandoned dogs,
let me borrow a dog and take her for walks,
so at least I can add that small bit of happiness
to a fur creature's day.

Since I cannot single-handedly
stop the slaughter and the extinction
of the world's beautiful wild creatures,
let my voice be heard
on every petition, at every opportunity,
in support of their protection.

As it is out of my ken
to fathom the unspeakable disaster
of the way this world is being run
by those in power,
may I join with others and
Resist, Resist, Resist,
until the tide is turned back
from darkness and unkindness
to the light of love and justice.

"As Mother Earth feels our pain,
let her feel our joy too."
May our brightness shine
upon the darkness that surrounds,
accelerating the transformation
of human consciousness,
add what caring, what kindness,
what positives we can.
May we stand strong in our belief
that there are more good people
than dark-hearted ones
in this old world.

Yes, We Can!

The quote is from friend and activist Valerie Langer, who has devoted her life to working for and defending Mother Earth.

For Love of Books and Beaches

I spent this past weekend house and dog-sitting, so you can well imagine my pleasure at designing my days around a dog once again.

We went to the beach first thing....later, we walked to the library, where I came away with treasure. Librarians, wherever I live, know me by name very quickly, so many of the books and movies that come in having been requested by me. In Port Alberni, they joked I kept their  user stats up all by myself. "You secure our funding," they would laugh.

So today I brought away two treasures, the movie Collateral Beauty that I have long wanted to see, and a slim volume titled "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair- My Year of Magical Reading".

 I am thick into it. The author, Nina Sankovitch, lost her sister to cancer at 46. In deciding to read a book a day for a year, she sought both escape and a way back into life, its moments of beauty that offset the sorrow. For which we would make this journey again and again.  Nina remarks that  looking backwards makes us wiser. She weaves wisdom from her reading through family history, memory and philosophy - my favourite kind of read.

So a lovely afternoon read, with Menina the Dog snoozing close by, then a suppertime walk on the beach, along the tombolo. That is a long stretch of sand linking the beach to Frank's Island. Most times, one can walk to the island, but sometimes the tides cover it, the waves meeting across it to wonderful effect.

Suddenly I remembered  standing in the same spot eighteen years ago, turning in a circle, seeing beauty for 360 degrees. On that spot I first intuited that I would soon be leaving this place so dear. It was unthinkable, but necessary. I had fallen ill, income had stopped, and there was no way to hang onto my toehold, precarious at best. I mourned it the seventeen years I spent away.

And now I was back, in that very spot. Slowly, smiling, I turned in a circle. Again, beauty for 360 degrees. I was home.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Why I Love This-Place-So-Dear

Kids, if you watch this, a video about one of the kids my youngest, Stephanie, went to school with, Raph Bruhwiler, who is now a surfing super-star, you will begin to understand my passion for this place - its wildness, its beauty, its energy, its people. There is nowhere like it.

Catherine, Raph's sister, who speaks in the video, is the one who bought my trailer, when illness struck, income stopped, and I was forced to leave - by ambulance - this place I loved so dearly. I grieved its loss for the seventeen years I was away. It is not easy to return. There is no housing. Finding a year round rental is akin to winning the lottery. And somehow, I won! (I know I deserve it!)

When it began to become clear to me I was going to have to leave this place I loved so much, I remember standing on the tombolo at Chestermans Beach - the strip of land connecting beach to Frank's Island, sometimes covered by waves, sometimes with sand you can walk across . I turned in a circle, beauty for 360 degrees.......and then the thought came to me, that I might soon have to leave. Unthinkable.

Two nights ago, I went to that same tombolo. As I stood in the same spot, I remembered that turning, that thought. Again, I turned in a circle - beauty for 360 degrees. And I was back! Sometimes we are blessed. But to be twice blessed - now THAT is amazing!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Watch For Me, a Sandpiper at the Edge of the Sea

Dear beloved ones,
I will return to the shores of Wickaninnish,
roiling in winter storm.
I shall come back to watch the morning break
against blue sky and rose-tinged puffy cloud,
to see all the creatures stir and waken,
and the day unfold.
I shall return to gaze in wonder,
at the end of day,
as the sun sinks, purple, azure, gold,
below the horizon,
and the skies become a masterpiece
painted by God.

I may return as a seabird,
as Jonathan, 
still outside of the pack, observing, 
still hobbling on the ground
and dreaming of the sky.
I'll pick a shell in my beak 
and carry it off to my perch,
then drop it,
deep in the forest,
for a wanderer to find, 
and marvel at, years hence.
Or I might be a sandpiper, 
one of the flock,
lifting and turning together
as one body, at the edge of the sea.

How could my spirit not return
to the forests and rivers and ocean I love,
to catch my breath once more as the morning mist
drapes itself companionably across Lone Cone,
to behold once more her slopes turning deepest rose
in late afternoon?
The call of the murmurous, forever waves,
the smell of salt, kelp and seaweed,
ocean essence will draw me, as before,
to the beautiful shore.

I will return, once again young, 
for the smell of peony
on soft-scented summer evenings,
for a shy, youthful kiss under weeping willow,
lake ripples lapping gently,
and all of life's hopes and dreams lying ahead,
all golden and shining.
I will return for apple blossoms, 
and the smell of sage on hot, dusty hills
covered with yellow flowers.

The blue sky will draw me back
as it drew my gaze for all my many years,
as will the ancient trees, where restless spirits live,
their mournful song whispering secrets and wisdom -
urgent truth for us to hear and heed,
if we but listen.

I will return to see the ocean
come back to life again, abundant,
recovered from its slow dying,
after the plastic waste and dumping, 
the polluting and the killing stops,
and all of its plants and creatures
stir back to life.
I will return to see 
the clearcut mountains greening up,
bees and butterflies and wolves
abundant once again, and thriving,
as that earth we are dreaming about now
heals and comes back into being.
I will return, with joy,
at that awakening.

If I don't return in body,
I will return as raindrops on salal,
as moss on an old stump,
or old man's beard on cedar.
I will return
in wagging puppy-tails 
and wise old elephant eyes,
or a grey whale, diving, 
its fluted tail arching over and up,
then slipping down, down, 
into the mysterious depths.

Watch the world with wonder,
dear ones.
Open your eyes to it all,
as I have these many years,
and you'll find me, never farther away 
than the nearest beautiful thing.

This poem was inspired by some translated lines of a famous Bengali poet, Jibanananda Das, sent to me by Sumana. The poem was about returning home after death. I wrote this in May of 2016 and thought to revisit it today, with apologies for its length. In my poem, I meant this as a returning in another life, or as Soul, to the beauty of this earth I love so much. But I have been twice blessed, to have been granted a return in this lifetime to a beloved landscape. I walked the beach this morning, heart swelling with gratitude for this great blessing.

Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find fine folk and good reading of a Sunday morning.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Infants of Spring

Lunabella at the Beach

It is spring.
The world is blooming with babies:
goats, puppies, kittens, birds,
and with baby humans,
pushed proudly in prams
by their smiling moms.

And my granddaughter cries,
her heart cleaving in two
at the sight,
as three babies slip
from her womb,
one after the other,
in their earliest weeks,
along with all of the
dreams and promises
that accompanied their

She does not know how
the story will end.
I do not know how
the story will end.
But I breathe her my hope.
I shower her with dreams,
with faith, with belief
in happy outcomes.

The world is blooming with babies,
jut not yet for her.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Childbirth, from a new perspective.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Of Wolves and Rivers

The lovely coastal wolves of Vargas Island
are in danger due to human-induced conflict.
Paul Nicklen photos, National Geographic

When the wolves come back
to the mountains,
trees grow,
rivers change their course,
vegetation blooms
and all the animals prosper.

When the wolves come back
to the mountains,
birds sing,
and bears grow fat.

Let we humans stay away
from the mountains and national parks.
Let's send in the wolves,
to heal and bless the land.

If we withdrew our excessive demands and encroachment, and gave nature some time, she would heal. 

Just a few weeks ago here, a pack of wolves was active along the wild beaches. I worried as, in other places I have lived, such activity usually resulted in death of the animals. Here, however, they closed the beaches for a week and encouraged the wolves to move along. An intelligent and respectful response.

On facebook, there is a brief and visually lovely video about the trophic effect that the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone has had on the landscape and wildlife. Frustratingly, I cant figure out how to insert the video here, but this is the link. It is really beautiful, short and edifying. We need more wolves, less human meddling with nature.

for Real Toads at Play It Again, Toads, where I am responding to a prompt by Hannah Gosselin about Transforming Nature's Wonders.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Love Into Art

source Andrew Ty

As fish long to walk on the shore,
and men yearn to take to the sky,
so has your radiant glow
always captured
my eye.

So far out of reach as you are,
I have long hid my love from afar,
as the day turns away from the moon,
and the sun from
a star.

All these years I have loved your bright heart,
though we've lived worlds and lifetimes apart.
Though you might never know
love that I'll never show,
I have turned loving you
into art.

One from 2016, friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry, where there is always good reading on a Sunday morning. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When Hope Feels a Lot Like Denial

We won't be working on
reducing fossil fuel emissions by 2020,
funding is cut for science,
scientific information is being "disappeared",
global warming has been expunged
from public discussion,
even while we are standing 
in water up to our knees
on the main street of town,
and polar bears are swimming 
ten miles in search of ice.

But NASA has the trumpster's okay
to plan a mission to Mars,
for eleventy kazillion dollars,
because it would make him famous.
They can use all the money they cut 
from assistance programs needed
by humans and other creatures
here on earth.

The news is bad.
It is so bad
hope begins to feel 
a lot like denial.

The only upside of this latest folly 
is maybe trump can be the first man sent
on the mission to Mars.
Then, it might be worth the money.

Sigh. For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: the news.


Saturday, April 29, 2017


There is going to be a wedding in the garden
this morning,
Mother Earth, the patient bride,
awaiting fickle Sky-groom,
fair-weather friend.
He is dawdling,
arranging his clouds just so,
to look his best.
He can be seen casting glances
at neighboring planets.
The groomsmen look at each other
and shake their heads.

The bride is resplendent 
in her grass-green gown,
dotted with magenta rhododendrons.
Her cascading waterfall tresses
roll bountifully down,
and an exaltation of skylarks
cavort about her head and shoulders,
joyously singing.

Birds just love a good wedding.

Wild bunnies peep, big-eyed, 
from under the floral garlands.
A mama deer and her fawn attend
but at a distance, out in the pasture.
The bride's attendants are covered
with pink and purple blossoms.
The trees stand tall in their tuxedos,
sporting a carnation in every lapel.
From every bough,
a collective of assorted yard birds 
warble a clarion call
to the assembled guests~
joy on a summer morning.

Sunflowers and weeping willow
line the aisle with splendor.
Mother Earth approaches,
carrying pink luscious peonies,
smiling a tremulous smile,
faintly tinged with tears.
She is softened and sweet,
with an attitude 
of wistful hopefulness
against the inner fear
she does not wish to see:
her groom is changeable,
can burn or freeze her at will.
she is dressed in her best,
lets her heart do the rest.
She steps forth with head held high,
into the moment.
The only time for love,
my friends,
is Now. 

One from the spring of 2015, my friends, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday morning. Wishing you all a wonderful sunny weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beach Day

Note the carved words:
We Are All One

On the left of the cloud, in the outlined area,
it looks, to me, like a Pup angel....see the wings? 
and he is laughing: happy I am at the beach. 
It is hard to see until the photo is enlarged.
I didn't see it when I took the picture, 
it only popped up when I 
downloaded the photos.
But, to me, there was a Pup angel 
at the beach today.

Now he looks like Puff the Magic Dragon.
It was a beautiful day for waves and clouds today.

Frank's Island

I ran away from my desk today and 
enjoyed the beach in the sun. 
I wanted to share some 
highlights with you.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


I spun my house from sea sand
and early morning mist,
filled it with daybreak and evensong,
used beach glass
for all the windows.

I left my roof
open to the sky,
a ceiling of stars and windsong,
seabirds on the wing,
sea fog and ever-changing clouds.

At the shore,
I replenish my stores of peace,
let the sursurration of the waves
wash through my ears, my heart, my being,
till I grow as calm
as the lull between waves,
as strong and silent as the smooth stones
scattered along the shore,
as patient as the sand dollar,
that spins its house
from the sand and grit around it
and carries it

Full of whalesong
and sand and sea,
my heart is its own
little sand dollar home.
I carry it along
with me.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: A Grain of Sand. A topic I know a fair bit about. Smiles. I borrowed a few lines from  older writings to make a new poem, since I am not writing much at the moment.

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Favourite Activist

This is Ta'Kaiya Blaney's latest video. Ta'Kaiya is now fifteen. She devotes her life to speaking on behalf of Mother Earth and its children and creatures. She sings straight to my heart, and has done since I first happened upon her. Ta'Kaiya is a member of the Sliammon Band in Powell River, B.C. She has addressed the United Nations, speaking for the children of the world, and their right to a future. Five years ago, I posted her first video, Shallow Waters, made when she was ten years old.

I so admire her original songs, her video, her vision, her clear eyes and voice, her message, her life. When she sings, my heart melts, and I have hope.

Shine on, Ta'Kaiya!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Running Free In the Forests of Heaven

Running free
in the forests of Heaven
is how I see you,
tail and ears up
and that old wild gleam
in your eye.
I never tamed you.
I never wanted to.
We both loved the wild,
and I honored it in you.

Those big puppy paws,
I hope they're lolloping along
miles of sandy beaches,
dipping in and out
of the waves,
the way you always did,
impervious to my calls
as you always were,
until you were done,
and then along you'd come,
galloping back
to me.
You'd pick up a piece 
of driftwood
as we left,
and carry it to the car,
for remembering.

Now I am the one
who is remembering.
And one day,
when it's time,
old wilderness pal of mine,
may you come lolloping
back to me
to guide me safely home.

There are only three things
I need to see in Heaven -
the first is you,
and old growth forests,
and the sea,
so we can walk those trails,
hike endless sandy beaches,
and watch the sunset, 
once more,
you and me.

One from 2015, my friends. I cant believe how much I still miss him, six years later.  Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, wonderful reading every Sunday morning.

Friday, April 21, 2017

No Mouth To Scream

For five decades he has lived,
a disabled non-verbal adult,
at the ministering hands of staff,
in their varying moods of brusqueness,
efficiency, false cheerfulness,
stress, fatigue, or distraction.

They dress him,
shoving brittle arms into sleeves,
feed him, pureed glop,
spoon impatient for his difficult swallow,
bathe him, quickly, as the clock is ticking,
sit him in a wheelchair, park him in a corner.

Day after day, he lives
inside his mind,
unable to express a wish,
hoping the day person will be
gentle, unhurried, patient.
Some days are golden,
when the shiny one comes,
who asks him:
which shirt? this one? or this?
the one who laughs and sometimes dances,
acting silly, like a long-legged stork,
just to make him smile.
Her hands are gentle.
She tells him, one late night shift,
"I see you and you are beautiful",
and watches a single tear
roll down his cheek.

He has no words, but his eyes tell her
he is grateful.
He has no mouth
to release the scream that has
been building for fifty years
at his forced confinement,
the sameness of his days,
living in a world
of few choices,
trapped in a body that doesn't work.

But sometimes the golden girl comes,
and those days shine.

Grace. It is what makes us all
shiny dancers.

True story.  for  Magaly's  prompt at Real Toads: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Crow At Large

Canuck the Crow was helped to live
by the humans of the Lower East Side
when he fell out of his nest
as a baby.

Midst the disenfranchised
and the struggling,
he lives with camaraderie
for his fellow beings,
who share what little they have
with Canuck the Crow.

He  alights on peoples' shoulders,
begs for treats, tilting his head winsomely
and shining his beady eye.
He even rides the Skytrain,
zoom zoom.

One morning, as police were arresting
a young man brandishing a knife,
the knife fell to the sidewalk, with a clatter.
Canuck swooped in,
picked it up with his swift beak
and flew off, partner in crime.
The police gave chase.

Eventually, the news anchor
informed us that evening,
the knife was recovered
and entered into evidence.
The crow was still at large.
Canuck, the newsman added,
with droll face and lopsided grin,
was "known to police."

Canuck and his dad Shawn Bergman.
Shawn is relieved here after Canuck's recovery 
from being knocked out  by a flag at a soccer game,
apparently on purpose.

True story. For Shay's prompt at Real Toads: Crows. Very clever birds. I must say the photographer was as quick as Canuck, to capture this on film. Canuck is a famous denizen of the Lower East Side. As a baby crow, he was helped to live by Shawn's landlord's son. When he was deemed big enough to be released, they set him free, but he returned straight to Shawn's shoulder, and has stuck close by ever since.

His fame spread after the above incident. He has his own facebook page, has been featured in paintings at a Vancouver art show, and has had his own meet and greet in the downtown core.  As of last word, he is still very busy finding objects and schmoozing with folks in the Lower East Side.

Shawn Bergman photo

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Red Tulips On the Altar of the Morning

The gong sounds.
Monks bow their heads
in meditation.
Burgundy-robed nuns
kneel and flatten
in prostrations,
a thousand repetitions
for the good of all beings.
A sherpa places
one slow foot after another,
circling the sacred mountain.

On the other side of the world,
I walk the beach,
breathing in the constant
prayer of the sea,
the promise of the arching sky.
One breath, another breath,
at one with sand and sea,
inhaling the westerly.

I pat and praise
a white wolf dog
with blue eyes.
It is a prayer of love
for his safe passage.
He leans his head on me
in trust.
A message from my boy.

I choose red potted tulips
at the nursery
and carry them home,
whispering thanks
for their beauty.
I place them in
a sheltered corner of my porch,
a prayer of promise
for spring,
for sunny days,
a prayer of gratitude
for being and for beauty.

I watch small hummers
at the feeder,
my heart expanding
with tenderness
for birds and blossoms.

This whole morning
has felt holy,
each new joy unfolding
its own prayer.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Holiness / Holy Day

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

May the Patient Live

The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

our planet is very ill.
It may be terminal
and, sadly, the cancer is us.
Bad cells are trying
to conquer the good cells.
The good cells resist,
but the situation is toxic.

In the end, the cure
for planet and humans
is the same:
good medicine to defeat
the bad cells,
a hopeful heart
and positive mindset,
pure vibrations
to heal the trauma,
and transformation
to a peaceful paradigm.

May peaceful pilgrims prevail.
May we not lose heart.
May the patient live.

I was driving this morning when these thoughts came to me, how alike Mother Earth is to a cancer patient, in the struggle going on right now between dark forces and light. May she - and we - survive towards better years than this.

The voice on this beautiful video is that of Thich Nhat Hanh, and the chant is sung by his brother, Phap Niem.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


I open my window to the music of the spheres:
call of mourning dove, hoot of owl,
fresh new leaves rustling on green willow,
creek trickling over rocks, singing a morning song.

I open my door to the beauty near at hand.
The mountains teach patience.
The river teaches joy.
Trees are the wisdom-keepers.
The ocean sings a song of life
that echoes in our hearts.

I open my soul to the expansiveness of Sky,
the deep mystery of the heavens,
moon and stars and clouds and swirling planets,
each in its perfect place.
As we are, no matter what we face.

It is all here ~
everything we need, for wonder ~
our souls rise up in response,
like candles, catching the flame and flaring,
like hearts, catching the light and sharing,
warm, like the sun coming out,
after a long winter.

Sharing this poem from 2015 with the good folk of Poets United, where you'll find good reading in the Pantry every Sunday morning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Kathleen Norris Ruined My Life

My Grandma plied me
with Kathleen Norris novels
when I was a girl,
and full of romantic dreams.
Little Ships, Saturday's Child,
The Heart of Rachael,
I gobbled them all.
In these books,
the heroine was good and true,
and by the end of the tale
had made the right moral choices.
All worked out in the end.

Oh, I believed!

As my Grandma
watched with sorrowful eyes
my bumpy journey of discovery
- and of recovery from
all the disillusionment thereof -
she was known to remark sadly
that she should never have given me
Kathleen Norris books,
because they didn't prepare me well
for real life.

She was right.
But how I loved
the gentle world of Kathleen Norris,
where character always won out in the end,
and the world was clean and kind.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Books


From the age of five, I have come home from the library each week with an armful of books. As a child, I read to escape, to enter a world better than the one I lived in, a world of unicorns and magic, princes and princesses, cottages with white picket fences, Heathcliff and Catherine and their undying love. I read to feed my dreams. Through young adult years, I read seeking a blueprint on how to live, how to escape the pain and arrive at the elusive life I longed for, which can only be reached by living. In my aging years, I moved from fiction to stories from real life, for our lives are more fascinating and unbelievable than anything a writer can make up. I read stories that inspire, tales of not just survival, but transcendence of difficult or impossible circumstances with a modicum of grace.  I read to visit all the places, make all the journeys I never will make in real life. Down all the years, week after week, how I love coming home with an armload of books.

Small child, young woman,
crone reading fast as light dims ~
books her constant friend

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Books

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Postcard From the Edge of Hope

I'm standing on the rim of the world,
at the far edge of far, 
next stop Japan.

I am thinking of you.

The news is bad.
It is very bad.

But the view is beautiful
from here.

I send you
a small postcard
of hope.

Believe in the essential goodness
of humankind.

Believe in Mother Earth
who, like us,
wants to live.

I stand on the edge
of the edge of the world.
I send you this
small postcard
of hope.

Warren Rudd photo
This little guy lives just off my small porch.
A small note of hope.

Yesterday, responding to one of my poems, Brendan thanked me for the postcard of hope, and that became this poem. Thank you, Brendan. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Alive, on Planet Earth

When the Westerly blows,
clouds scudding across the sky,
and the waves crash thunderously
upon the shore,
when the morning fog
blankets the sides of Meares,
jaggedy treetops poking through
making me catch my breath in wonder,
while the morning fishboats
putt-putt-putt across the harbor,

and the bell tinkles
over the door of the Common Loaf,
all the faces turning to see who just came in,
wet rain-gear sloughed off and steaming
in the warm, bread-scented air,

when the eagle cries atop
his favorite scrag,
and ravens pace the beach
hoping for dropped scraps,
dogs lolloping in and out of the waves
with loopy grins,
and surfers stand to ride, and fall,
and rise again,

when the morning sun breaks
over Lemmens Inlet,
and the jellyfish wake in God's Pocket,
when the seabirds' cries are muted
by the roar of the surf,
and they sit facing seaward in a huddle,
predicting storm,

when sunset paints the entire sky
with colors too fantastic to describe,
after the big fiery old orb has vanished
behind the far horizon,
 little sanderlings weaving and darting
along the shore as one body,
and the sonorous back and forth,
ebbing and flowing,
of the waves' ceaseless 
advancing and retreating
sings us home,

when the wind howls up a tempest
that batters every living thing,
and we hide indoors,
awed by her strength and fury,
wood-stove crackling,
and snug and well-content,

when just being alive and breathing
in this blessed, sacred, forever place
seems more bountiful
than a wagon-load of gold bullion
and I more richly blessed,
there is no Thank You big enough
or sufficient words to tell
how dearly I cherish the beauty,
the sheer awesome
interconnected wonder 
of Clayoquot Sound,
or how grateful I am
to have walked this earth walk
with the song of its waves in my heart,

how, each evening, 
climbing into my purple bed,
each morning, climbing out,
I feel the blessing,
rich with all life's worth,
just to have another day, like this,
alive on Planet Earth.

I re-worked an old poem for my prompt at the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads: to write a love song to the place that says Home to us. I have been granted the extraordinary gift of living in this magical place, not once, but twice in my life, and I could not be more grateful. This is a very alive place in which to spend my sunset years! Do stop by Toads, where you will find some very fine reading, any day of the week.

Friday, April 7, 2017


Wickaninnish Beach Sun Dog
(the driftwood looks like a wolf to me)

When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the sacred prophecy is at hand,
as the Children of the Rainbow
begin to walk across the land.

Hush, now, and listen,
for the Grandmothers are speaking:

"Like a new-born, wobbly foal,
you're trying to find your skittery legs,
in a time of great change
as land and waters re-arrange.
You'll feel the wobble in the earth
turmoil in the land and sea.
As our Mother Earth gives birth,
we'll learn a balanced way to be."

The people of the Rainbow
were born seeing with new eyes.
May those ready to awaken
hear our Mother's painful cries.

"Getting More must now give way
to the sharing of All with All.
We must return to the Old Ways,
let polluted systems fall.
There will be turmoil in the turning.
Trust those with twinkles in their eyes.
They are cool water to ease the burning.
They are the Messengers, so wise."

Mother Earth, I feel you quickening
as the new world is a-borning,
like a shape-shifter, transforming,
response to evolution's dawning.

"In the time of whirling rainbows,
dance your prayers under the sky.
Listen to the song of the wolves,
fate of the wild world in their cry.

"Sing songs of love and peace.
Watch for a rainbow 'round the sun.
When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the Fifth World of Peace will have begun.

Ah, ho. Now we have spoken."

Thank you, Grandmothers,
for this hope and trust.
We will help the people change,
because change we must.
We will sing with the wolves
our song of tomorrow,
work to mend and heal the planet's people
and the earth its sorrow.

*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.

from April, 2016, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you can find good poetry every Sunday morning.

source: Whirling Rainbow Prophecy