Monday, April 23, 2018

No Easy Path

I climb the chipped steps,
past the drab grey walls,
smell the institutional smell,
turn left at the psych ward.

The nurses size me up;
I am found wanting,
a mother whose child has
broken down.

I wait in the social lounge
where people with agonized eyes
walk through their
tortured inner landscapes,
fragile and haunted as trembling ghosts,
the floor turned unsteady under their feet.
It feels like the abandoned ones live here,
that the rain never stops
sliding down the windows
above the busy city streets,
where the rest of the world
lives on.

Where will my son's bright spirit
ever find a place to land,
in halls so bleak and bare,
the hours measured out by naps
and pills in little paper cups?

He approaches, tousle-headed,
the same blue eyes.
We hug,
the same big smile.
I am relieved.
This is still my son.

I am about to make a long journey
with this blue-eyed lad.
We begin a conversation
that will last the years.

By the time I descend
the grey chipped steps, emerging into
the parallel reality called Normal Life,
I have learned that,
in a nanosecond, any one of us
can topple over into that land of
rain-speckled windows
and no more hope.

My son, brilliant, gifted,
a mystic, a dreamer,
a composer, a lover of life,
had walked the fine line
between daybreak and hellfire
and had fallen.

Schizophrenia had claimed
my bright-hearted boy
for its own at seventeen.

He had moved into another life,
as lonely as a coyote
howling at the moon.
I hold on tight, for all the years to come,
tethering him to earth
with the force of my will.
I will never let go.

We find the gifts
that accompany the pain.
We learn things we would
never have learned any other way.
But the price is high.
Slowly, as the decades turn,
the boy grows to a man
in institutional walls.
Hope fades to resignation.
The golden spark grows dim.
My boy became a man;
no easy path for him.

for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: The Mind. I am adding one of Jeff's songs. He has composed many beautiful ones, and written some amazing poems, but this one speaks to me in response to the above poem.

I Fly Through a River of Dreams
by Jeffrey Siddhartha Crazy Horse Marr

I was a child but I have grown
Your quiet house is all I've known
The crooked peach-tree in the yard
The killing rain we took too hard

And now I must cry
And embrace you
And wave good-bye...

I Fly Through a River of Dreams
Where love is like a summer breeze
I Fly Through a River of Dreams
That carries me toward the Sea

I see you on the bright-green bank
You are the one that I must thank
I see your face and sky-blue dress
Come, let us touch our last caress

And now I must cry
And embrace you
And wave good-bye...

We'll meet again just you and I
Beneath a peach-tree in the yard
The two of us will never die
And rain becomes a little sigh

And now I must cry
And embrace you
And say good-bye...

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ghost Dog

Walking across the street
to my neighbour's house
to visit a white wolf
with whom I share a bond,
I saw a brindle brown dog
running across her yard,
looking at me and laughing.

I broke the cookie
I was bringing to the wolf
in half, to share.
When I got inside the yard
I asked
where is the brown dog?

She looked at me confused.
There is no brown dog.

But I just saw one run across your yard.

On reflection, it didn't emerge from the yard
on the other side. It was just gone.

I saw a ghost dog
from the spirit world.
I think perhaps
I heard the dog howl my name.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: to write of a totem animal or mythical creature. I am just back from a week away and am exhausted. But these are the words that came. I am still thinking of that brown dog, wondering what he came to say. The closing line echoes the book title, I Heard the Owl Call My Name. First Nations legend has it that if you hear the owl call your name, you will soon die. I am hoping I will be around for a while, but at my age, anything will be "soon". Lol.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Saying the Names With Love

Say the names say the names
and listen .........
these names that forever
sing through my soul,
that came alive for me
in the forests
and along the wild shores
of Clayoquot Sound.

Bedwell Sound and Lemmens Inlet
Fortune Channel and Sulphur Passage
those names ring through my heart
in kinship with those who put
their bodies on the line
- and still do -
         -No Pasaran!-
to protect this endangered ecosystem.

Drumbeats in the early morning
along the Kennedy River bridge
still tap tap tap in my heart,
along with my passion
for the trees, for the wild shores,
for the curving slopes
of my wild spirit's home.

Hesquiaht, Ahousat,
Kakawis, Bay of Berries,
sound and resound
in my heart,
like the marine radio
my heart was once attuned to,
fishermen repeating the beloved names
above the static,
laughter and messages
and "Choo!"
the Tla-o-qui-aht goodbye.

Wickaninnish and Rosie Bay
and Combers, Ahous Bay
where the grey whales
stop to feed....
riding out in a zodiac,
the seaspray in my face,
the eagle's cry in my heart,
blue herons on the rocks,
little puffins bobbing on the waves -
every inch of land and sea and sky

Rain slickers and rubber boots,
the endless winter rain, and gusts of wind
that bent us over as we struggled
across the streets in winter gales
and the wild wild roar of the waves
crashing on the shore,
while the foghorn mooed
at Lennards Light
and all the seabirds hid themselves
to ride out the storm.

Lone Cone standing tall,
and Catface Mountain,
peeping across at the
womanly slopes of Meares,
the sentinels and guardians
of our village,
orcas breeching in the channel
to our joyous shouted "thank you!"
and, across the bay,
the twinkling lights of Opitsaht,
little boats chugging back and forth
across the harbor,
heading for home at twilight.

Say the names of the wild Megin River,
carving itself through root-packed shores
of cedar and salal,
and watch the wild wolves
pacing down to drink,
a black bear ambling along the shore
looking for wild salmon.

Hear the eagle's call,
hear the waterfall singing
at Tofino Creek,
or point the bow of your canoe
up the Cypre River.
Paddle hard for Browning Passage,
beat the tide,
or turn off along Tofino inlet,
when the tide returns
to cover the mudflats.
Pull into the cove at Windy Bay.

Say the names say the names
and my heart weeps with love
for the otherworldly beauty
and the kinship with the wild
that lived inside my soul
when I lived there

My heart will say
these names
for as long as I live
and, when I die,
say these names over me
and bury me on a windswept dune
beside the sea,
so it can forever sing
me to sleep
in my heart's home.

Say the names say the names
cherish these wild and pristine places
Stand against the mining companies,
and those who would clearcut and strip
these beloved and necessary slopes.

Say the names, my friends,
before they all
are gone.

For my prompt at Real Toads: Saying the Names With Love, to write a poem after the style of Al Purdy, naming the places in one's heart. Which, for me, needless to say, is Clayoquot Sound. I wrote the original of this poem in years when I lived away from my heart's home, with all the pain of remembering the glory of my life here in those years. I was pretty sure i wouldn't be able to write another to equal it, so i refurbished it.

Also sharing with the good folks at Poets United, in the Poetry Pantry. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Till We Are Gone

 You may wander
under the canopy
in springtime
in   tulip-decked galoshes.
But step lightly.
Don't crush
the tiny fairy mosses.

One step,
then another.
The forest breathes
its leafy sigh.

It waits
till we are gone
to sing songs
not  meant for
you and I.

For Sanaa's prompt at Real Toads : Get Listed in under 100 words. I used 46.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Faint scent of flowering plum
and fresh-cut grass;
the puppy savours a small daisy
with aplomb.
I hear a raven's gobble-cry.
Puppy cocks her head,
looks up,
watches the bird in flight
in amazement.

A moment of wonder,
seen through a baby's eyes:
the world, brand-new.

This is for Paul's prompt at Real Toads: write here, right now. Right now, it is all Puppy. Lol. Her name is Zoey and she is as smart as she is beautiful. I get to be nanny all week. Yay!

The Mother of Invention

The Mother of Invention
is wringing her hands.
"What to do? What to do?"

Man has the knowledge.
He knows all the facts.
He has invented a kazillion
ways to harness clean energy
and save the earth.

But the blind greed of corporations
And the rulers corporations
have bought and paid for
know only the   Myth  of More.
So capitalism keeps lumbering on
to the brink of extinction,
to the day when
there is
No more.

No jobs on a dead planet.
We can't eat money.

Sigh. This subject makes me weary. Yet we soldier on. Voices crying in the wilderness, lol. I am at the farm this week being nanny to my sister's new puppy. I am hampered by having only my tablet with me. Posting this in response to Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif : Invention.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

You Are........

You are
the blackbird of my heart,
I carried with me
when i walked away,
because you could not
say the words
to make me stay.

You perch within,
as always caught
between the earth
and sky.

You thought I sought
to hold you.
I sigh. I sigh.
Brother Dreamer,
I always wanted you
to fly.

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads: Eres tu (you are), and sharing it with the fine folk at Poets United, where there is good reading every Sunday morning.

I am working on my tablet, not good at linking.