Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Song of the Wild Waves



This morning the beach was calling.
I could not resist.




This is my beloved Wickaninnish Beach.




One keeps trying for  the Perfect Wave Shot.
It is always going to be the Next One.


In early evening, as the sun goes down, 
I can walk one short block
from my apartment
to see the water and the changing sky.




This is the tail end of sunset,
as I got there a little late
the other evening.
As the light starts lasting longer
in the evening,
I will go to the beach
and watch my first full-fledged
I-am-home beach sunset!

I will share the beauty with you.
Many joys ahead!
I am very grateful.



The Memories We Carry

created for me by The Unknown Gnome


There is plenty of room for nostalgia
when one has lived for seventy years
on the planet:
our heart is weighted with memories -
of the Old Days, in 1950's Kelowna,
when life seemed sunny
and simple and secure,
viewed from Grandma's kitchen
where no bad things could enter in.......

of days as a young mother
of four growing kids:
hikes up Knox Mountain,
afternoons at the lake,
Christmases full of magic
and children's laughter
forever gone.......

Years I spent longing for
my place of heart........
and now I am here,
happy as I wander through the village,
grateful as I walk along the beach.
Why were there tears this morning?
Because every beach,
and every trail I follow,
are ones I walked with you,
big, noisy, laughing
black wolf of my heart,
and I miss you,
and Jasmine,
and Luke and Blakey -
all my furry loves.
But I carry you with me.
I carry you in my heart,
along the sandy shore,
where once, without a care,
we walked before.


for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Nostalgia

Nostalgia is the landscape of the old....a longing for a place as well as a time.....it's where we elders are when you see a distant look in our eyes. We are remembering, visiting the richness of our inner landscapes. These days, I'm nostalgic for everything before this past election!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

WILD WOLF WOMAN

Wings for Wild Woman


Wild Woman carries the heart of a wolf
in her chest.
Its rhythm pulses in time with her wild sister,
who runs, wraith-like, through the forest, 
stopping under a midnight moon
only long enough to tip back her head 
and howl.

Her true being only comes alive
within sight and smell of the sea:
the hackles rise along her spine,
as she raises her nose to scent the wind,
determining her direction by the keening call
of the wild.

Wild Woman belongs to each of us, 
and to us all.
She lives in the space between heartbeats,
and in the thoughts between words.
Listen for her knowing voice
at your right ear, whispering:
"Come, this is the way."
Then follow, with perfect trust,
for no one knows better or truer
than the Wild Woman Watcher within.

Wild Woman moves through worlds 
seen and unseen,
emerging at daybreak to slake her thirst
at the River of Solitude.
At close of day, the forest rolls out
a soft mossy carpet for her bed.

In between, you may follow her
when she is Wilding, but not too close.
Be respectful of her space and of her growl.
And when she shape-shifts out of sight,
look down quickly.
You may just see the pawprints
she has left behind.

Wild Woman is the one we run from 
when we are young,
and run home to when we are old.
She is an ancient singing through our bones, 
a wise smile,
the knowing eyes of 
a Watcher in the Woods.

If you are quick enough, you might just spy 
the furry tip of her tail peeking out 
from under her billowing robe,
and trailing behind like moondust.
Follow her, embrace her, for without Wild Woman,
our spirits shrivel up and begin to die.
With her, our vision expands, and we learn,
finally and unfathomably,
to fly.


From 2012, my friends. It felt right to share this with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United this weekend, since Wild Woman has come alive again, on the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound. Returning to my heart's home is like getting back together with the lover you never stopped loving, and it is even better for the time apart.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Great-Grandma Julie

Great-Grandma Julie and my mother


Grandma Julie crossed the seas
to escape the potato famine in County Cork.
Her husband worked laying track
for the first railroad to cross the country.
My Grandma, Flo, told me he loved the drink,
and recalled the night he hugged
the jug of moonshine to his chest
and danced around the kitchen.
And the night he chased her and her mother
out of the house with a gun
and they hid in the barn till the shots stopped firing
and he fell asleep, so they could creep back in.

Life was hard, back then,
water hauled by hand,
clothes washed by hand,
bread kneaded by hand,
vegetables canned by hand,
children raised with a sometimes harsh hand.
Back then this was an unforgiving land.

My mom called she and her grandmother
"the two Julies",
since her middle name was Julia, in her honour.
Grandma Julie lived with them during the Depression,
sharing a room with the three leggy girls.
When her pension came in,
she shared treats and smokes,
four butts lined up on the freezing window sill
so Flo wouldn't discover their guilty pleasures.

One night Flo sent Pa upstairs
with a rolled up Saturday Evening Post
to "quiet those wild girls down.
They're disturbing Ma."
He came back down grinning.
"They're having a pillow fight,
and Ma is right in the thick of it,"
grizzled crone, standing up on the bed
with a pillow, grinning from ear to ear.

Life was still hard.
Wash done by hand in the bathtub,
living hand to mouth,
Pa exchanging bookeeping for coal,
for a chicken, for whatever anyone could pay,
three adults and five hungry kids to feed.

Flo remembered, with regret, in her final years,
"I'd be running around like a scalded chicken,
and Ma would call out, 'Come and do my hair.
Oh, I know: no time, no time, no time.'
And now it is my kids who have no time."




My sister has, in one of her boxes,
Grandma Julie's dress.
A small woman,
silent, fierce and indomitable,
she had lived through much:
hard physical labour,
a drunkard husband,
the drowning death of a two year old son,
a daughter on horseback struck
by a train in a blizzard,
her catching the next train
to find out the horse had died
but the daughter lived.

Resigned that life was hard,
she moved among her children
in her final years, with her
battered small black suitcase,
shoulders bent under the weight
of all she had survived,
harking back to Home in County Cork,
a woman fond of ghosts and fairies,
whose Irish blood, and indomitable spirit,
courses through  our veins.


for  Artistic Interpretations with Margaret at Real Toads: Immigrant Portraits. We are all descended from immigrants. I think that makes us a hardy lot.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Love Blows In on a Westerly Wind



Trees dancing wildly
in the Westerly.
Love.

Waves rearing back,
white foam curling, arching,
then breaking,
the song of the sea
an unending symphony,
I, joyous audience,
heart applauding.
Love.

Pup's urn and Jasmine's photo
enshrined on my dresser.
Forever my Love.

Cute new little nest
in the treetops
of the west.
Love.

At peace, and joyous,
in the home of my spirit.
Love,
love and gratitude,
singing in my heart.


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Love

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SURF'S UP!











So, my friends, this was yesterday, and the surfers and beach dogs were pretty happy. So was I , walking around with a big smile on my face, still pinching myself that I'm here.

I have almost finished unpacking and will post photos once I get the pictures hung - all my wolves!

Today it is windy and rainy. Since all I can see out my window are old growth trees - literally a few feet beyond my balcony, I have been enjoying watching the branches dance. When I open the sliding glass door, I am not sure if what I am hearing is wind or waves, but I like to think it is both.

Sigh.

Isn't life just remarkable, in its ability to completely change in no time at all?

My new email is wildwomantwo@gmail.com. I sure would like to meet wildwoman 1 who keeps beating me to email names......I suspect she is me, in earlier years. Now, in my later years, cyberspace insists I am decidedly  in Act Two. In act 3 , I suspect wildwoman wont know or care what number she is, so the question will be moot.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Heading Home



Hello, my friends! On Saturday I am off over the mountain pass to the home of my spirit, Tofino! You know how long I have waited for this dream to come true a second time, and though I can hardly believe it has, today we are loading all my wolf pictures and fleecy blankets onto the trailer and heading out.

I will be offline for a short period until I get hooked up, connected and organized enough to function some time on Monday. This means a new email address, which I will send you as soon as I can.

We have been having day after day of snow, and then rain, but it stopped raining just as we began to load and now the sun is shining its blessing on my move. How very cool.

It will likely not sink in until I am left there in my new apartment, to realize I have actually arrived. Stay tuned. There will be some very happy poems being written in the months ahead! I will share photos as I stalk the wild beaches once again. Waves! Old growth! Salt air! Village life! Wonderful energy! Yippee! Wild Woman is coming back alive, after a long hibernation! Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Green-Leafed Love Note




Once I was a green-leafed love-note,
rising on a fecund breath.
I was a promise
winging up and over the mountains
towards a shining silver sea.

Once my spirit flew unfettered
through the cosmos,
in my dreaming seeking answers
in distant galaxies.

Some paths led straight and true;
some paths traveled in circles,
bringing me back home.

Mid-flight, 
I finally found the place
all journeying leads to:
the space connecting
our heads
and our hearts.


I woke up this morning with the first line of this poem in my head. Expanded on it for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Space.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Grandmothers With Wolf Howls in Our Hearts


photo by Kat Eng


Listen to the song of the ancients,
Grandmothers and Grandfathers
from the Old Ways.
For we are the seventh generation,
the white buffalo calf has been born,
and the time of prophecy is at hand.
On the wind, I can hear 
Grandmother weeping.
She is calling to us
to stand for the water, the air,
the forest, the earth
and all its creatures.

What world will we leave
to the children seven generations
from now?
The Black Snake slithers across the land.
Oil spills into rivers.
Mother Earth's womb is torn asunder
by fracking.
Whales choke on plastic
in a dying ocean
and the two poles are melting,
week by week.

A madman sits in the throne of power
with money as his only god.
All protection is being stripped away
and men with dead eyes stalk the halls 
of government,
claiming truth is false news
and outrageous lies are truth.

In our hearts, Wild Woman stirs in protest.
This is our earth, the home that we love.
You cannot threaten our children's future
without incurring our wrath.
The Grandmothers' blood runs through our veins.
Our backbones grew strong in birthing.
Our hearts know truth. 
We will never believe your lies.
When it comes to our children,
we have no choice but to fight.

We are gathering in front of the White House walls
in peace, but with hearts like banshees.
We are standing by the sides of rivers 
and sacred burial grounds.
We cannot turn away, 
for our beloveds are buried here
and our children  - and yours! - 
need this water to drink.
You have dotted the landscape of our nightmares
with strip mines and oil derricks.
Everywhere are nuclear power plants
that threaten our combined existence.
And now you rattle the sabers of war
and cast eyes on our fresh-cheeked children?

No! It is Enough.
We have lived mens' ways for millennia
and look what a mess we're in.
The Grandmothers and the Mothers
and the dancing Maidens
and the strong little rainbow children 
are rising
with fire in our eyes
and transformation in our hearts -
with compassion even for you men 
in the halls of power, 
wounded and empty,
whose dead eyes proclaim
you have never felt truly loved.
Here is a secret:
even a billion trillion dollars
will not ease that wound.
Instead, hug your sad-eyed sons
and smile - not like  crocodiles - 
at your unhappy wives.
Trade in your gold walls
for a chance to be real,
and let the rest of us live
in peace.

This war is a holy war
of light over darkness
and truth over lies.
You have might,
but we have Right 
on our side,
and wolf howls in our hearts
who will never be silent
until social justice is
the rule of the land.


Well. One can dream. This one wrote itself out of the angst of these past weeks, every day another more impossibly outrageous happening than the last. It is the Time of the Grandmothers. Time for women to stand up and move into positions where we can effect change - not just any change, but change that makes sense for the earth and its people - and for its wild places and their creatures. Time for women's wisdom to gentle the old warring way of governing the world, which clearly only begets more war and devastation.

I think of La Donna Allard who made a statement recently about being the first to stand by the river at Standing Rock and vow to oppose the creeping pipeline, "because I had no choice. My son is buried there. And millions need the water to drink." It is her land where the protectors made their stand. She had no idea how big Standing Rock would become, how the brave people who stood praying by that river through the bitter winter would move the world. And now the military forces are moving in to disband the camp. The pipeline is to go ahead, even with recent oil spills not a hundred miles away.

And now they will be imprisoned as "economic terrorists" because only money matters in this screwed up world, and the real terrorists, who are laying waste the land and waters of Mother Earth to fill their own pockets, are supported by government to do their plundering. If the planet survives, history will look back at us, aghast. We have all the information. But the system cannot wrest itself from outdated dependence on fossil fuels, though there is money to be made and jobs to be had switching to clean energy - enough to solve economic, employment and environmental problems. Sigh. We may as well be speaking to the wind right now, since the magician went poof! and made climate change disappear.

With the ugly rhetoric assaulting our ears these past weeks, I am heartened by how many are rising in response all over the world to say "this is not the world we want to live in." Showing that there are many more good hearts than warped ones on this planet. And maybe things had to get this bad to show us all that is crying out to be fixed. Women are good at mending. Let us pick up our darning needles and begin.




Saturday, February 4, 2017

SOLITARY STAR




Solitary star
is it cold up 
where you are?
Through bare and brittle 
winter branches
I can see you
sparkling clear,
shining your brightest
just before
you disappear.

The rooster is 
softly crowing
in the barnyard,
a sleepy sound, 
reluctant in the chill.
My wolf-dog pads,
silent and old,
beside me.
The day is coming
when he no more will.

Nine white swans
in formation
now come gliding 
almost noiselessly
winging overhead.
Noses pointed west,
they're heading towards
the water.
Nine swans,
and yet they
mate for life
it's said.

Now daybreak crests
the silver-peaked mountains,
lighting the frozen rooftops
etched in ice.
Tall cedars turn
from black and 
towering giants
to green again,
their beauty
beyond price.

I breathe the essence 
of this winter morning,
wood-smoke on the air
as starshine fades.
My windows are lit up
and, warm and waiting,
is the cozyness
of this little home
I've made.
I feel the blessing
rich with
all life's worth,
just to have
another day
like this
alive 
on Planet Earth.







I wrote this in 2010, when I was still living in my little trailer, during Pup's last winter. Yesterday I walked under the same trees and remembered this walk, hearing his feet padding slowly, knowing soon he would be gone. And now Jasmine and Lukey are gone too. and I am about to make a great leap over the mountains, leaving one more cozy nest behind me and beginning a new chapter within sound of the sea. Life brings amazing changes.

Sharing this snowy weekend with the good folk in the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.


Friday, February 3, 2017

The Corpse of Democracy



The orange man blusters
and rages,
creating a ruckus
that keeps all eyes on him.

But hush! behind all the racket
and distraction,
we begin to discern
an inscrutable agenda.
In the background, his henchmen
are quietly dismembering
the corpse of democracy.


For Shay's prompt at Fireblossom Friday: to write a poem with the most important detail in the background. I did this rather literally, as the political situation consumes too many of my thoughts these days. I seriously can't believe what I am hearing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

If We Are the Light.........



When every living thing
is feeling pain,
when the loud hate-filled voices
of dead-eyed men who have
forgotten they have souls
whip the populace into fear and division,
when the sabres of war are rattling,
and the world as we knew it
has been turned inside out,
revealing a cosmic flaw
that must be healed,

When we stand on the brink,
at the crossroads of a world order
that can go either way,
and it looks like the dark ones
are winning,

When the forces of light and darkness
are battling, as has been prophesied,
for control of Mother Earth
and all her people,

We, the people of good heart and conscience,
stand strong against the spreading peril,
saying "We want a world of love and inclusion,
not a world of fear and hate".

Gentle people, now is the time to strengthen our faith,
make stalwart our vision,
trusting there are more good hearts
than hollow ones on this earth.
Now is when we must  believe most strongly
that over darkness,
Light will always triumph.


My friends, it may feel like the sun is going down on us right now, but I have to believe it will rise again, on a new world of our making, dark or light. (However long it takes humanity to figure this out, and at whatever the cost to all living creatures.) I have to believe in the goodness of humanity, and that, somehow, it will prevail. I have  strong faith in a Divine Intelligence that is ordering the universe. But God did not create the mayhem on earth. Humans did, with our free will, and it is up to us to set things right. I have faith the human experiment will not fail. But it might take considerable suffering before we find our way.

for Susan's timely prompt at Midweek Motif: Faith: what do you have faith in these days?