Thursday, June 4, 2020

Hungry Bear

There's a hungry bear in the forest;
tummy rumbling, she gives a low growl.
Her cub follows behind her,
hungry too.

Up the tree she goes;
her cub climbing too.
She is eating something,
possibly eggs from the eagles' nest.
The eagles are distraught.

She has to be a very hungry bear
to climb to the top of a tree
for a snack.

Two-leggeds have devoured so much,
the wild things are starving.

This is amazing footage taken here on Vancouver Island. The woman who took it said no eggs were eaten. But I don't know what else the bear could have been eating up there except eggs. Sad for the bear, the cub, and the eagles, all struggling to survive in our too-crowded world, food sources drying up for the creatures and, one day, likely, for Two-leggeds too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Way Forward

"This moment is an opportunity for transformation 
and change in our society." Barak Obama

After the days of pain,
the balm of a positive presence
on my screen,
offers, as he always did,
a way forward.

The difference this time
is that more people
from all races across the spectrum
are marching, are saying
"Enough is enough".
They are marching for justice,
and demanding change.

Perhaps this is the moment
of transformation
we have been awaiting,
the time when our consciousness
expands, in unison,
to demand a more just path.

"No peace without justice,"
the placards say.
A young man looks into the camera:
"You've gotta have a dream,
but you have to put that dream to work."

A note of hope, of action,
of what is possible - a voice of reason
rising, like the sweet song of a meadowlark
wafting across the nation
upon the winds of change.

for Earthweal: What Comes Next. The country is hungry for hope, for the voice of reason, for leadership, for justice. Mr. Obama spoke of how change happens at the local level; that we can approach our civic governments to press for justice. Our votes count too. More now than ever before,
as hopefully has been made clear to the majority of people these last few weeks and months.

Monday, June 1, 2020

What Comes Next?

Getty Image

What comes next?
One would hope societal change,
a rising of heart and hope
in humankind,
unless she watches the news,
and loses what little promise
she can find.

What comes next?
A knee lifted off the necks
of the people,
a corporate stranglehold
loosened from the throat
of Mother Earth,
an election that deposes
a mad tyrant and brings us
some ability to build a world
where each being has worth?

What comes next is the long hot summer,
when wildfires roar through forests
and wild animals flee.
What comes next depends most
on the choices and actions
of you and me.

for Brendan at earthweal: What Comes Next?

My heart is having a hard time with all that is happening. Standing in solidarity with all folks striving for a world of social justice, unity and peace. I have never felt more disheartened.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Reflections on the Morning News

May the path transform
under our feet as we walk
stepping mindfully

As someone who was alive during the civil rights movement, whose heart broke when Martin Luther King was assassinated, who began writing for peace and justice at age fourteen,  my heart has been heavy - since 2016, because of the unfitness of the person in office in the USA to lead, to the overt racism, to his speech which incites racism and division - to the silence of those around him that is complicit in enabling the behaviour - and especially the last few days, when the festering wound has spilled open, after the murder of George Floyd by a policeman who knelt full force on the man's neck as he pleaded "I can't breathe." 

Last night I watched two police vehicles DRIVE INTO a group of protesters.

Systemic change is needed. For that we need leaders of integrity, someone people can believe in and trust.

The weight on me, of witnessing our being rolled back into 1950, of things I never thought I would hear and see from a sitting president in North America, is considerable.

But this morning, one note of hope in the nightmare - the Sherriff in Flint who took off his riot gear and marched with the protesters. The beauty of that moment brought me to tears, this time hopeful tears. The beauty of the human spirit when it rises outshines its darker side. Peace lies in the opening of hearts.

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Birds of Waaxp̓inč̓a

Late spring evening, 
a thousand turnstones sing
across the harbour
on what we mamalthni**
call Neilsen Island.

The First Peoples of this land
have always known it 
as Waaxp̓inč̓a*,
island of the river otters.

The birds converse
in their ancient tongue.
The Nuu chah nulth say
there was a time
when human and animal
plant and tree
spoke to each other
in the same language.
It is we mamalthni
who have forgotten.
But the living land and water
cedar and osprey
orca, wolf and bear
must carry this wisdom
of interconnection
in cellular memory.

In counterpoint
upon the moment’s rapture,
a boat motor roars;
a seaplane flies in, low:
we humans, being –
our cacophony and clamour,
our relentless encroachment
on the wild -
the thousand singing voices
falling suddenly silent.

**Mamalthni is the Nuu chah nulth word for white people

* Waaxp̓inč̓a  means island of the river otters

This poem is part of the Sound Range Project: Poetry of a Soundscape, envisioned and brought to life by Tofino Poet Laureate Joanna Streetly. The project pairs poems, recorded sounds, and the language of the Nuu chah nulth people into an interactive map of Clayoquot Sound.

"I Can't Breathe"

It doesn’t take too many words
to describe this pit of hopelessness
I feel; Minneapolis is burning;
trump tweets about shooting the “thugs”;
calls the men with assault rifles
on Michigan state capital steps
“fine people”.

This is an intolerable world
in which to live, for those who
believe in justice, in diversity,
in equality.

In memory of George Floyd, killed when a police officer knelt on his neck, as he pleaded “I can’t breathe.” I can’t breathe either. Too many African American deaths by police, with no consequences. This four should be in jail right now. If the situation was reversed, for certain someone would be in jail - if they lived through the encounter. 

Time to unseat the ghouls in the white house who have unleashed so much division, empowering the darkest among us. It is hard to bear. 

For Hedgewitch’s Flash 55

Monday, May 25, 2020


"This is not a political protest.
This is an uprising of the soul."
David Brower

Wild Woman hears the voices
of the Old Ones,
rising on the winds of change,
telling us the white buffalo calf
has been born,
and the time of the prophecy
is at hand.
On the soft breezes of dawn, I hear
Grandmothers weeping all across the land,
where so much of what we have loved
is gone.

The Black Snake slithers
across Mother Earth.
Oil spills into the rivers of life,
the water of the People.
Mother Earth’s womb is torn apart
by fracking; the ocean fills with
plastic detritus and toxins. It vomits
a graveyard of man-made garbage.
Wildfires burn; mountain slopes
are laid waste;
rivers overflow their barren banks.
Whales and polar bears are starving,
the earth heats, the poles melt,
and a pandemic stalks the living.

Meanwhile the Mad King sits
on his throne of power
with money as his only god.
His grinning cohorts with dead eyes
stuff their pockets without a word;
no one has the strength of character
to oppose, and we see now
how Nazi Germany occurred.

Our Grandmothers’ blood
stirs in our veins.
This is the earth we love;
we can’t stay silent
as it is destroyed.
This world and its future
belongs to our grandchildren,
not to these mad fools.
We are muttering,
across the land and oceans;
we are rising in our numbers.
We are gathering,
in peaceful protest, but
with hearts like banshees.
Feel the chill on the hairs
on the back of your neck;
we are coming.

We are standing
by the sides of rivers
and sacred burial grounds.
We cannot turn away,
for the bones of our beloveds are here,
near your bulldozers and dynamite,
your pipeline of destruction.
We cannot turn away
because our children (and yours!)
need fresh water to drink.

You have dotted the landscape
of our nightmares
with strip mines and oil derricks.
In every corner, you threaten
our combined existence.
No! It is Enough.
We have lived men’s ways
for millennia;
see the result, as the earth gasps
under the yoke of your oppression
and misuse of power.

The Grandmothers and the Mothers,
the dancing Maidens, 
and the strong little rainbow children
are rising, with fire in our bellies
and the hope of transformation in our hearts -
with understanding even of the men
in the halls of power, wounded
and empty, whose dead eyes proclaim
they have never really loved or been loved.
Here is what wise women know:
even a trillion dollars
will never ease that wound.
Instead, hug your sad-eyed sons
and smile – not like crocodiles -
at your unhappy wives.

We will unseat you – sooner or later -
replacing you with those
who can lead with compassion:

the grandmothers and mothers,
and strong, dancing maidens.
This war is a holy war
of light over darkness
and truth over lies.
The Grandmothers and Mothers
are stirring;
the force of the Ancient Ones
is standing with us in our sorrowing.

Stand aside; we can show you
the way of life, of justice,
of harmony and healing.

We are grandmothers with wolf howls
in our hearts.
We will never be silenced.

I re-worked an earlier poem of protest for my prompt at earthweal: Protest in a Time of Pandemic