Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Solstice

He came walking across the sand
carrying a paper torch
in the early dawn,
sleepy little boy
with his smiling mom,
who is no longer
in this world.
We walked a labyrinth
drawn in sand,
between opposing tides.
As the waves met,
covering our feet,
we outraced
the sea.

It was Solstice,
and the world and I
were young.
Life was unfolding
on a golden beach,
and every beautiful,
longed-for thing
was there,
within my reach.

And now 
I am back at the shore,
no longer young.
And at last my longings
and my home
are one.

Happy Solstice!

*for Gael and Clay

An Unhappy Refrain

The news is an unhappy refrain,
the background of my days.
Babies scream in terror,
in the corners of my mind,
and there is no rescue,
no comfort being given.
Bad men with dead eyes
explain and blame,
the biggest con
we have ever witnessed.

Horrified, we watch
a country unraveling.
Humpty Dumpty is shattering
over a Wall.
How long will it take
to undo the damage done?

But, Dear Anne, stay hopeful,
and dream your dreams.
Before you are grown,
we will put this world
back together again,
having learned
just how much illness
and injustice
we need to heal.

We will resist, we will demand,
we will march and WE WILL VOTE!!!!!!
and we will undo the damage done.
We will reclaim
the country we know
still resides
under the abomination
of this present moment.

Marian's talented daughter, Anne, has given us the prompt: An Unhappy Refrain, which could not be more apt, in this particular week. Hatsune Miku invites us to tell her how we feel.  As we listen with horror to the uncomforted cries of terrified children, we wonder who is able to carry out these heartless, soul-less orders. I cant think of anything else. But Anne, rest easy. This will end and the world will return to the one we knew before a year ago. It wasnt always the greatest, but it sure was better than this.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Disconnected Heart

Only a disconnected heart
that has forgotten its purpose,
that same heart that must have,
once, fallen in love,
 experienced the wonder
of its child being born,
could go to work
in a place where it is forbidden
to hold or comfort 
traumatized children
who are crying for their parents.

Ripping a baby
out of her mother's arms
as she screams in terror,
"I'm just following orders,"
flies in the face
of all humanity,
convincing me that wolves
live more ethically
than some humans,
and we have lost our way.

I have had trouble putting words to the situation at the southern border. I never thought I would see such things in North America. Clearly, he thought this situation would force Democrats to let him build the wall he is so obsessed with. I think he miscalculated. There are a lot of CONNECTED and outraged hearts on this continent right now.

I really am at a loss for words, but am attempting to respond to Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Humans.

I read recently that wild animals come out at night now in order to avoid humans. They are wise.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

This Poem is a Broken Heart

This poem is a father, sitting in the sun and laughing.
This poem is a sunny summer's day,
the day before his world collapses.
This poem is a boat sinking,
along with  his brightest hopes.

This poem is a father, sitting in the sun,
laughing, on a day when all is well,
when life is as it should be.

This poem is a sunny summer's day,
just one day later,
the sound of helicopter blades whirring,
and many boats searching the shorelines
from dawn till dark.

This poem is cries for help in the night,
a boat sinking, one man plucked from the water,
one swimming to shore, three young men missing.
This poem is the village
collectively holding its breath,
waiting for word,
keeping hope alive.

This poem is the family,
grouped on the dock,
waiting for their young men
to come home.

This poem is 24 hours later,
still searching, still waiting,
the helicopters making fewer passes.
This poem is a father's aching heart,
praying for his sons' safe return.

At two in the morning on Friday, a small boat went down off Tofino with five young men on board. People on land heard cries for help and the Coast Guard was sent out. They plucked one man from the water. Another swam to shore. Three men are still missing. They searched with helicopters and many boats all day yesterday along all the shores, and a scaled back search is going on today. This father's two sons are among the missing. I dont yet know who the third man is, but in this close-knit community, this is heartbreak all around. It is beyond imagining, what this family is going through. In just an instant, everything can change. Appreciate the ordinary days, my friends. Life can change in an instant.

I adapted Hannah Gosselin's Boomerang Metaphor Form for this poem.

shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come join us on Sunday. And for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads - fathers and sons.

My Heart, a Tiger's Nest

My heart yearns toward a monk's cell
perched on the edge of a mountain cliff,
halfway between here and heaven.

Yet here I am, in a grey little town
in the valley,
trying to fashion my unwieldy life
into something
that does not give offence.

My challenge, the cliff-walk
of understanding the distance
between where you are
and where I long to be.

My practice, the lighting of incense
and, sometimes, hearts,
with the weaving of words.

My sorrow, the mantra of my soul:
how to tame
the tiger's nest of
keening for all that was,
all that may never be again,
so it may bed down
in peace.

A poem from 2015, thatI will share with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


The Saffron Road - A Journey with Buddha's Daughters by Christine Toomey from Christine Toomey on Vimeo.

What is the magic
that picks me up by the scruff of the neck
when I open the pages of a book?

Meet me in Kathmandu.
I will arrive leading an elephant
I have liberated from her chains.
Twenty-six years, she lay on the pavement,
without hope.
Her eyes now gleam:
with relief, with awakening trust, with
-amazingly – kindness.
Although I am human,
like the beings who chained her,
she is willing to believe that
I mean her no harm.
Elephants forgive.

On a rooftop, above a monastery,
at three a.m.,
nuns are practicing kung fu.
Even the birds are not awake.
It is four hours until morning tea.
Below, monks’ rumbling mantras
grumble sonorously.
All is peaceful, conscious, awakened.

I have arrived along the Saffron Road
in the pages of a book,
where I live with delight

as the slow hours pass.

At the monastery,
the youngest nun is six years old.
Her parents brought her to the nuns
to gain good karma,
and also because
there is no money to feed
so many children.

She is nervous, watching the other nuns
to see what she is supposed to be doing.
In her bed at night,
I wonder if she remembers home,
cries silent tears,
feels unmoored,

I turn the page,
and now, so soon, it will be eventide
in the purple mountains,
smoke rising from the chimneys
and the cooking fires,
as amber light falls on stone walls,
and pilgrims make their weary way

I must make my own way home.

Meet me in Kathmandu.
We will speak of the magic
of books that lift us up and away,
taking us on magic carpets
to the land of our dreams.

Today the power was out from the minute I got out of bed until almost suppertime. I recognized my dependence on technology. I began reading The Saffron Road, A Journey With Buddha’s Daughters, by Christine Toomey, who travelled the globe  to tell the stories of Buddhist nuns. The book took me right into its pages.

For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads: to use the phrase “What is the –" as a starting point for our poem. I dont know how to make the film go on top of the doggy faces. But it is a beautiful glimpse of a mysterious way of life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Contemplating the Prompt of the Day

Wild Woman contemplates
the prompt of the day: lust

defined as
a passionate desire for ________

She cogitates.
Kindness to animals?
More years on the planet?
A dog?
All of the above.

Carnality has never been
her strong suit.

She shrugs,
remembers a blackbird heart
she truly loved and swiftly lost,
proclaims her kinship with the wild,
her unwavering companionship
of wave and shore.
Too late for lust,
she does not wish for

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Lust