Friday, March 31, 2017

I Meet You There



When I see you,
I see you
not as Other
but as Same:
a human being
with your challenges and struggles,
your joys and tears,
your light striving to outshine
the darkness
that surrounds you.

The journey for each of us
is the journey of becoming
who we were meant to be,
climbing the mountain
of self-worth,
coming home
to ourselves.

I see your passage
through the fire,
the imperfect pilgrimage
which was much the same
as mine.
I applaud your spirit's rise,
our souls like bright suns
emerging from
the night-time of solitude.

I see in you
our shared humanity,
and, man or woman,
insofar as it is possible,
I meet you there.


written for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Gender


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Tribe's Magic Person


In the Old Ways,
those who embodied
the spirit of a man
and the spirit of a woman
in one person
were considered doubly blessed.

They were the gifted ones,
the tribe's magic person.
They were the visionaries, 
the prophets, the healers.
They were the medicine people,
the keepers of creation stories.

The elders say, aho,
now the seventh generation has come,
when two-spirited people
are restored to their 
traditional and respected roles,
all of Turtle Island
will begin to heal.

May it be so.


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Gender. The Two-Spirited people have always fascinated me. I love the idea of them being the tribe's magic person.

Sources:
Rainbow Resource Centre
Canadian Encyclopedia: Two-Spirits
First People
Two-Spirit


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Distraught Sister Moon



Distraught Sister Moon,
I see you up there, pacing around,
wringing your hands,
"what to do, what to do, what to do?"

Down below, all hell is breaking loose:
bombings, shootings, drought,
famines, floods, melting icebergs,
forest fires,
wildlife fleeing in terror,
with no where to hide,
dangerous people with bad hair
behaving badly.

I see you trying to efface your fullness
quickly, perhaps thinking
if you lessen your roundness
the populace can return to calm
under a slice of moon.
But when were we last calm?
Between the dinosaur era 
and Cro-Magnon,
was there once an age 
of hunting and gathering,
feasting and rejoicing,
before My Cave and Your Cave 
became issues and clubs started swinging?

By your light, madmen and prophets collide.
By your light, poets seek truth and beauty.
By your light, we dream of a better world.

You have stopped pacing.
You like where this is going.
Okay, hear this:
By the Light of Your Silvery Moon,
on earth we dream, we dream,
we dream of peace.


from July 2016, shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads. Reference is made to the old old song of my childhood in the closing lines.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday by the Sea


This morning, the sun was shining, so the beach was calling. When I got there, the road was lined with cars from one end to the other. Every surfer on the West Coast must have been there. 



The waves were spectacular. A cacophony of hoots, laughter, joyous shrieks and happy dog barks
filled the air, counterpoint to the roar of the waves.


When a photo opp like this walks by, one must be swift with her camera to capture it. The surfers watching them pass seemed to appreciate the beauty as well. 







I like to play with my camera at the edge of the water, trying to capture the changing patterns on the sand as the waves withdraw. So I was standing there, back to the ocean, when suddenly a big wave rushed in, filling my boots, soaking my jeans to the knee, and almost knocking me down. I emerged nonchalantly, cane tap tap tapping, pretending the immersion was intended. LOL.



I came home with my heart singing (and with a jelly doughnut for dessert tonight.) I tell you, life doesn't get much better.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Dancing the Paradigm

conservationalliance.com


As the planets shift their orbits
in the heavens,

a time of change on earth arrives.

Thought:
what would happen if we
expanded our perspective
wide enough to change,
not just a relationship,
a circumstance, a limitation,
but the entire paradigm -
if we breathed an evolution, a revolution,
an expansive flowering
of every good intention,
transforming them to action,
a New Way a-borning?

What would happen if we:
bought no plastic,
watched and participated in no violence,
ate no trauma from factory farms,
nurtured our children well,
believed - truly believed - in Joy?
recycled, reused, reduced,
rejected excess, embraced simplicity,
and loved ourselves and our neighbour?

Solstice wish:
May we trip the light fantastic,
prancing and cavorting
like giddy reindeer
under a waning polar moon,
conga into April sunshine with hopeful feathers
all aloft and glistening,
caper into the dawn, vibrant and smiling
and never so alive!

Come spring, I shall pull on the moss
like socks,
and tiptoe through the forest
like a sprite.
I will dip a tip-toe
into the Pond of Peace,
and set my dreams alight
with the shine of sunset
beside the western sea.

Never before,
has there been
such a springtime of Possibility
as now I see.


from spring, 2014, which I will share with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where it is Possible to find some very fine reading with your coffee on a Sunday morning. Smiles.


Of Wolves and Rivers




We are all connected.
As wolves change rivers,
may we all be changed,
recognizing that
what happens to one,
happens to us all.

May we transform 
our human consciousness,
embrace our global interconnectedness.
The way the wolves
alter the course of rivers,
may we change the trajectory
we are on,
away from global destruction
back onto the path
of transformation, replenishment,
sustainability and the healing
of Mother Earth's deep wounds.
May we support and emulate
the flourishing
of earth, sea
and rivers,
of all creatures,
human and wild,
the way wolves
change rivers.


"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
John Muir




Thursday, March 23, 2017

WTF?



He speaks
the way electricity
short-circuits:
a scrambled stop-and-start
of incomplete phrases,
plucked at random.

Yet his henchmen 
eat up
every
incomprehensible
word.


for Mama Zen's WTF? prompt at Real Toads : write something strange you saw this week in 60 words or less. I had just read the Time interview with an incoherent trump. Sort of like you'd expect on a closed ward somewhere.  Only took me 26 words. The sign really says it all.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mirror, Mirror



I looked into the wicker-framed mirror
and a shift occurred with my eyes:
my grandma's face super-imposed
on my own,
her expression grave and wise.

She looked at me
with eyes that knew me,
with eyes that could always
see right through me.
She had a message
she wished to impart
that I had to decipher
with my heart.

I took up the cane
that she left me,
her mantle of matriarch
becoming my own,
stepped forward into my sixties,
welcomed into
the Age of Crones.


for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Mirror

I remember the day I looked into the mirror, in my little trailer in Port Alberni,  and suddenly saw my grandma's face transposed on top of my own.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The River Wild



In the piney-woods,
the path is scattered with pine cones
and fallen branches,
ground soft and springy underfoot,
smell of canopy and trees,
song of the river
wild in winter flood.

The rough bark of Grandfather Cedar
tells the story of a thousand years
of standing in one place.
When you look up,
when you lay your hand
against his trunk,
when you listen,
you can feel and hear his message:
Endurance.




Look into this little pocket of forest,
draped in moss and old man's beard,
salal springing up everywhere,
ferns and fiddleheads,
small white winter berries,
rosehips,
toadstools and wild morel,
every inch alive with myriad life forms,
an entire ecosystem existing here,
in a patch
no bigger than
your hand.

Listen to the silence,
alive with the forest's breathing,
and the secrets
only the forest knows.
If you take the time,
this old tree
will share with you
his wisdom.




The river is wild in winter.
It expends its force
tumbling and crashing over rocks,
rushing the banks
and frothing white and foamy
through the canyon.




Sit a spell.
Just Be.
Breathe the river in,
breathe your worries out.

The word I'm looking for, here,
is reverence.


for Grace's prompt at dVerse Poets Pub: The River. In my time in Port Alberni, it was the river that sustained me. I took Pup often, as it was the wildest place available to us, and it eased, for the time we were there, our mourning over the wilderness we had lost. I was unable to go back there, after he died. 

All photos other than the one credited are mine.



The Children of Syria




This is one of the most moving and beautiful videos ever......I don't know how the adults of the world can watch this and not rise up and put an end to war. The children sing of hope amongst devastation. May the leaders of the world hear their cries.


Sing, children of Syria,
your dreams of a world
where bombs do not fall
and buildings do not crumble,
a world where your laughter
replaces wails of grief
when family and friends
lay dying.

Sing your belief
in a life
where peace is possible.
Sing to those leaders
of a world
where hatred and division rule,
and soften their hearts
with your innocence and beauty.

May the words you sing
bring about
the world
of your bright dreams.



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gaia




Beautiful Gaia,
you gift us daily with your
moons and tides,
your dawns and evensong,
your blue hills and forests green.
Your wild creatures
and your beauty
bring us joy.
May you
our heartfelt services
employ.

May we repay you
with love, kindness and care.
May we grow ever 
more connected, more aware
of how to help you live,
in gratitude
for all the gifts
you give.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Finding Home



Walking to school in the morning,
passing by little cottages with picket fences
and milk bottles on the porch,
tears ran down her face,
she so longed for a home of her own,
a place of refuge,
peaceful and safe.

She grew up and created those homes,
many of them,
lost some and started over from scratch,
with nothing, as single moms do,
sleeves rolled up,
eyes bright and determined
and a heart high with the challenge
of rebuilding a nest for her four chicks,
one made with laughter and hope
and dreams of new beginnings.

Observing this sequence of events
backwards, hindsight being 20/20,
she recognized at some point
Home had become a place inside herself,
that she carried with her,
the way a turtle inhabits its shell,
or a sand dollar creates its home
from the sand and grit around it,
and carries it along.

Home was within,
and it also was as large as
the forest and the sea,
under the bright blue sky,
shared for a time
with a big, black laughing wolf,
whose heart contained
all the wild.


for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: to write a poem about home. This was the quest of my life, since childhood. I spent years walking miles,  looking at houses I passed, imagining the lives lived within. This feeling of homelessness finally stopped when, in my early 30's, I had my first  real home, thanks to my mother's help, where I raised my children for a time. But there would be many more moves, and homes, after that. For one who only wanted to settle down, I did a lot of moving! Perhaps 40 times all told in my lifetime.........


WALKING ON THE WINDS OF MORNING

Beautiful photo made for me by


Traveler walks
on the winds of morning,
gentled by the soft mist,
attuned to the music
of the spheres.

Tiny birds alight
on her shoulders,
then lift off, twittering,
to follow her passage,
branch to branch,
through the sleepy forest.

She is Sky-Woman.
Though her feet are planted
on the earth,
her eyes never leave
the sky.

There are footsteps
softly padding along
behind her.
She does not turn
to see who comes.
She knows.

He is invisible,
but she knows those perked ears,
that arching tail,
that long black snout.

Walking on the winds of the morning,
their two spirits touch
through the veil of mist.
Their two hearts
are never
apart.


One from 2011, my friends, which I will share with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United this Sunday.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Kindness Heals



I carried in my chest
a heart frozen
like the wasteland of Siberia,
from the harm done to it
by one who had
abused my trust.

When I walked in that door,
I knew I was home.
Those kind people smiled
their sunshine on me
and melted my inner gulag
into puddles.

Kindness heals,
once we begin
to feel.

Brock and Friends Coffeehouse in 1980 Kelowna was an agent of change for me. I had known kind, gentle people must live somewhere on this earth, and there they were, giving me space just to be until, bit by bit, my guard went down and I began to bloom. I owe them a debt I can repay only by passing on that gift of kindness to others.


Friday, March 10, 2017

SUNFLOWER


Her round baby face was my sunshine
when she was two.
She shone golden as the sun
as up she grew.

But then came years of tears
and betrayed heart and betrayed trust,
as she sought love
the way true seekers
always must.

We both love sunflowers
for their brightness
and their shine,
and how they dare 
to dream the heavens
as they climb.

There is no happy ending,
just our lives,
flowing through
the ups and downs
that oh so slowly
make us wise.

But her voice has laughter in it,
these days, when I call,
for she found the love
she had been seeking,
learned to trust it, after all,
slowly opening her heart
the way a sunflower
gently lets
each
golden petal
fall.




An oldie from 2011, my friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you are sure to find good reading on a Sunday morning.

Wild Woman Busts a Move



I picked my mate
just short of the pearly gates.
In the nursing home so grim,
who'd have thought
I'd find HIM!
Our walkers clashed
with a crash
as we sprinted through the gloom.
We arched speculative eyebrows:
did we want to Get a Room?

It was tricky;
life can be - in a word - rather sticky.
Temporarily off our rockers,
hastily we parked our walkers.
Hobbling our eager asses,
we put our teeth in glasses.
(Is this endearing or revolting?)
Easy, fellow! (he was bolting).
All the buttons, oh, the zipper!
We began to hasten quicker
before the thought diminished.
Oh, are we already finished?
Luckily the lights were dim
and our intentions focused, grim.
We emerged smiling from the fray
and he skittered fast away.

As he looked like all the others
out from underneath the covers,
when it came from push to shove,
(I never had a velvet glove),
sadly, I misplaced My Perfect Love
- oh wretch! oh pounding Gloom! -
somewhere in the common dining room.


LOL. Magaly made me do it. Her hilarious prompt at Real Toads is to take one of the outlandish titles offered and write a poem or story about it in 313 words or less. So my mind Went There prompted by the title "Dating for Under a Dollar: 301 Ideas" by Blair Tolman.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

We Will Be the Change

Silpa Suarak, an Inuktitut language expert,
one of the Indigenous women profiled by CBC 
for International Women's Day
Jennie Williams photo/ CBC


"A nation is not defeated until the hearts
of its women are on the ground."
A Cheyenne saying


Aho, Wise Grandmother says,
it is time for the women
to raise their voices:
in song, in council, in power, in truth,
to speak for social and 
environmental justice
for all the living.

Huff, puff, says the big bad prez,
we are going back 50 years
to the Good Old Days
and women may not speak. 
We are not, in fact,
entirely convinced you are people.

Aho, you are foolish.
We have dealt with men like you before,
and better.
We have grandchildren, 
and we need to leave them
a world that is alive.
You will find us a formidable force,
for we are half the earth,
we hold up half the sky.
In strength, we bear
your sons and daughters.
Our life's purpose is
to keep them safe.
Our hearts are strong,
and no where near to 
being on the ground.

You can drive us 
away from the river.
You can lock us up.
More of us will follow,
for water is life
and we do not respect 
the ways of death.

Your addiction to oil
is polluting sacred waters.
Your addiction to money
is melting the polar icecaps.
Your willful ignorance
is imperiling the planet.
We refuse. We resist.
Our wolfish hearts rise up.
We march for 
our grandchildren's grandchildren,
and for yours.

We are of Life, of Breath, 
of Memory, of Tomorrow.
In sisterhood, in motherhood,
we sing the Earth Mother's song.
Our hearts are weary
but our minds are wise.
We speak for the voiceless, 
for the refugees,
for the wild, for the animals,
for the air, the soil,
the ocean, the rivers, the lakes
and for all creatures.
This gives us strength.
We will not be moved,
      or silenced
         or overcome,
and our hearts are 
no where near to
being on the ground.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Forest Bathing



Tip-toe-ing, I enter nature's house of prayer: leaf rustle, leaf crunch, soft sighing breezes, bird-chirp, chipmunk chatter, thick friendly trunks covered with moss and old man's beard. Staunch, enduring, arms pointing to heaven, the forest is teaching us how to pray. My footsteps slow. My ears attune to Deep Listening. My heartbeat slows to join that of the Earth Mother. I breathe in Peace. I breathe out thankness. My prayer: that a world this beautiful will continue to exist.

Forest green and gold, 
I take your deep peace with me
out into the world.


for Kanzen Sakura's prompt at dVerse: to write a haibun about Forest Bathing, the Japanese art of immersing oneself in the forest to increase inner peacefulness. Something I do often.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Against Racism



Valarie Kaur, Sikh-American activist, speaks eloquently about what this present darkness might be bringing forth - "Perhaps not the dark of the tomb, but of the womb. Perhaps this darkness will bring about America's transformation."

May it be so.

Please watch. She brings me to tears. She brings me hope.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

THE LAND OF BONES

A trail near my apartment


Through gates of wisdom we,
most hopefully, step.
It is time for the dream of our life
to be coming true,
for the being of all that we truly are
to flower.
Why wait?
Time is fleeting, faster
by the hour.

I passed through the valley of elm and ash,
their branches entwined to form a protected path.
At the end of this path is the portal
to the land of bones.
I have the feeling
I am not alone.

Internally, I am shown,
where my journey lies.
I must cross this littered landscape,
with a seer's eyes,
find and pick up 
a backbone, a wishbone, 
a funny bone and
a hollow little bone*--
only the ones that are my very own.

Perched on a quaking limb,
a single prodigious egg sits in a nest.
I hear it crack, and then my quest
is blessed.
A thousand cranes lift up, into the sky.
I am granted the gift of Wonder,
and put it in my pack.
There be spirits here,
and there is no turning back.

Raven sits before me, huddled on the path.
She speaks a single gobble-cry,
turns into Flight
without a sound.
Her flight path has teachings in it
for who we are:
citizens of earth,
grounded, yet sky-bound.

When she lands on a topmost scrag,
she points her wing into the forest dark.
I quake, but have no choice,
my inner guide informs.
When I pass through Night so dark,
I emerge into the morning light
transformed.

It is frightening:
Nothing will ever be the same again.
It is liberating:
Nothing will ever be the same again.

When Raven calls to you, 
and points her feathery wing,
listen closely for the
message she will bring.


*Indigenous people believe these are the foundations of our being: backbone for strength, wishbone for dreams, funny bone for essential humour and a hollow little bone, for trust and faith in the Great Mystery.

It is also believed that all women came from the elm, all men from the ash.

I wrote this in March 2015, and am sharing it for the good folk at Poets United, in the Poetry Pantry.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Softly, Roses



The bier, formal, pristine,
worn hands folded primly 
on the crisply folded sheet,
her face serene, untroubled,
all pain eased, no more grasping at life
or plucking at blankets:
her spirit had flown free of its fetters.

Though it was mid-winter,
windows closed,
the soft fragrance of roses 
suffused the room,
perfuming her passage
into the land of souls.


for Susie's prompt at Real Toads: Perfume

I have heard family stories about the scent of roses accompanying some souls as they passed over, though there was no earthly explanation for it.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wolf Mother



Wolf mother
hears the whirring blades
of the helicopter
coming over the rise.

She moves quickly
to herd her small cubs
into their den,
then makes a desperate dash
for survival
across the field.

There is fear, for the smell is Man,
and Man brings danger and death.
There is desperation;
her cubs need her alive
in order to survive.

The shots ring out.
We will not know
whether she fell or not.
It is pain enough to bear
that men are shooting wolves
from helicopters.

Wild Woman's fear
is the death of Mother Wolf,
her cubs,
the ecosystem,
and the planet itself,
a hastening strangulation
by corporate greed,
Mother Earth trying so hard to live
as the Black Snake coils itself
around her neck.

May humankind awaken
in the midst of this bad dream,
and march to demand a safer world
for our wolf and human babies.


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Fear

I had a plethora of choices: apocalyptic futures, Armageddon, climate disaster, global war, mass starvation.........my heart is never very far from the wolves, so I chose Mother Wolf's plight, which is also ours,  this time.