Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A SONG FOR SOLSTICE



With all of the things you have learned
from your long journeying,
with all of your heartache
that taught you to love and to cry,
and with all of your dreaming
that helped you to live,
with that same loving heart and merry laugh
that has brought you to the ocean's edge,

come out at dusk and celebrate 
the full cold moon
at the place where the tide 
kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.

Yesterday morning's dawn
approached as pink and fresh 
as a young maiden
singing the new day in.
Tonight shows itself 
as a wise old woman
with knowing smile,
tapping her cane and hobbling.
But she still remembers 
her dancing feet,
she remembers,
and, in her heart,
she is still dancing
across the beloved landscape
with joy.

You grew your soul
all green with wilderness
and wild with wolf-breath,
in a forest of great and ancient
tree beings
breathing peace.
You owe them
your every breath,
each one their gift
to us.
The journey has been astonishing,
magical; 
it has brought you far.

And now you are looking at
those far, snow-capped mountains.
The echo of the heron's call
and wild wolfsong at midnight
will keep you here a while.
The tree trunks you hug
breathe their smiles at you;
they whisper,
"we waited for you, friend,
for all these many years."

The sea sings your soul-song,
the only song you ever knew.
It sang you out of the desert
and over the mountain pass
to the wild shores
of Clayoquot Sound.
It has carried you so far,
and it is still singing.

Come out at dusk
to meet me
on the shortest day,
in the place where
 the tide 
kisses the tombolo,
then runs away laughing.

Let earth and sky
inform your grateful heart
that, finally and forever,
you are Home.


A poem that came to me in a rush, as I contemplated this year's winter Solstice on December 21st, the actual moment being 2:23 p.m. Pacific time. There will be a Full Cold Moon that night, and the next, as we enter winter's dark, restful time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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,
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?

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
(perhaps in vain) 
we dream, 
we dream,
we dream 
of peace.



I reworked a poem from 2017 for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: Peace on Earth. Which feels far away in these troubled times. We need to elect a world of grandmothers and pacifists, who will use intelligence, earth wisdom and diplomacy to govern, rather than greed, and "might" and "right". Sigh. I referenced the old tune in my closing lines. We dream indeed.

Also sharing with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Memories Elusive


there came a time
when memories flew
like leaves upon the wind
falling upon her quiet hours

~she plucked them, one by one ~

as over time they slowed, fading, almost gone,
she reaching for the last few
(ephemeral, drifting, elusive)
until they fell no more.


I tried my first puente for Marian's prompt at Real Toads - the middle line being a bridging thought for the two stanzas. Marian's example puente at Toads is spectacular! Ouch. I hope this poem is not prophetic. But my Grandma lived to be almost a hundred, with memories intact. We live in hope (not to live to a hundred, but to keep the memories.)




Thursday, December 6, 2018

HOMECOMING



The film is grainy. It is Christmas, 1950, and, one by one, the beloved faces come out the door at 364 Christleton, my Grandma’s house. Smiling into the camera, our grandparents, beaming with their children around them, come from afar, my favourite uncle, his wife and daughter; my mom and dad; my mom’s younger sister, with her piquant smile, tip-toeing down the stairs. My younger uncle with his shock of wheat-coloured hair, and his wife, only she left alive, now as curled and frail as an autumn leaf. They were so beautiful, impossibly sophisticated, I thought then, with their then-considered-cool cigarettes, and their laughing chatter. My aunt would take out a cigarette and tap it on the package, my courtly uncle swooping across the room to gallantly light it. “Time to go, Mother Bear?” he’d ask, as the evening lengthened, and she would smile, theirs the love story that fed my dreams, until it all fell apart and his eyes took on the hurt look of one betrayed. 

On our last Christmas with our mother, (though we didn’t know that then), we played this film of her glory years, and she cried and cried, for all those missing faces, all that was gone. And now I am almost the age that she was then, and more faces are missing. But I remember, I remember, the small cottage on Christleton Avenue, when I was young, and all those shining, smiling, beautiful faces, coming out the door, one by one. All but my last frail aunt now gathered Home.

Aunts and uncles smile
Christmases of bygone years
Tears for dear ones gone


for my prompt at Real Toads: Homecoming. What are the places that gather you in, that say "Home" to you? Is there someone of whom you can say "I loved you more"? Also shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Where (Hu)Man is Not



I found a place on the planet
where wildlife is safe and flourishing,
where trees and vegetation have taken over,
where there is peace
for forests and wild animals.
There, happiness and harmony abide.

Its name is
Chernobyl.



for Susan's  prompt at Midweek Motif: to write a poem with a surprise in it. The animals of Chernobyl are benefitting from the nuclear accident. Their lives have improved. This says a lot about the heavy footprint humans have on the planet. When you remove us from an area, it flourishes. 



Friday, November 30, 2018

In Remembrance of Lost Species


Joanna, Chris, me and Elisabeth
                                                  walking for the wild things


photos by Joanna's talented daughter, Toby


We walked,
people of all ages
and a dozen big goofy, happy dogs,
from the fire, 

across the tombolo
to Ts'ix-wat-sats,
just before sunset.
“Despair is an indulgence,” 
Joanna quoted.
“Let’s set our minds towards hope.”
We walked, mindfully,
single file,
and I pondered.
I have been discouraged.
What could I bring back 
to the communal fire
that was about hope?
It came to me,
like the silver gleam
on the shining sea.
The shamans say
we are at a critical moment
in the evolution of the soul
of this planet.
As awareness of climate change
increases, we begin,
of necessity, to evolve,
(those of us who are aware 
and awake.)

This is, if we will it,
a transformative moment.
The people – we, ourselves -
can make the evolutionary leap
beyond those who are fixated on money.
It is within our power – our possibility –
to move with the winds of change
and create other ways of being
with the earth
than the old, tired ways of fossil fuels,
rich billionaires, despairing others.
The soul of our planet is on the cusp
of a Great Awakening.

The bad news:
Nothing will ever be the same again.

The good news:
Nothing will ever be the same again.


Our wonderful Poet Laureate, Joanna Streetly, organized a gathering at Chestermans Beach late this afternoon, to pay homage to the many species we have lost, and are still losing. We all carry grief over this, but Joanna urged us to hold onto hope. I do think Mother Earth needs our hope - and our action - as never before. I will post photos of our gathering as they become available. Meanwhile, here is what I wrote down when I got home.

P.S. I wrote "Pup" in the sand and drew a heart around it. In Memoriam.

Sharing this with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United - fine reading every Sunday morning. With thanks to Joanna, who inspires me.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

In Memoriam



Development is slowly eating the village. Every project begins with razing a small forest to the ground, leaving a scraped moonscape. Big machines rumble across the land, chewing the earth. "Progress" is even making its way into Tonquin park, with its forested trails. We untie surveyor tags on the branches to slow it down. Our lovely maple was murdered last week because the building manager hates trees. "They've all got to go!" he roars. My friend lays flowers on the bleeding stump, with tears, In Memoriam.

In fall,  they hasten
to fell trees. The rain will weep
for them all winter.


For Toni's prompt at Real Toads: Mono no Aware : the sadness of things passing.