Monday, July 26, 2021

On Gardens

My garden taught me
how to nurture things
and watch them grow,
how roots need soft, loose soil
as, inch by inch, I carefully tend
all the seeds I sow.

With Mother Earth's garden,
we have been less than kind.
Now from our disconnected dream,
(and all our barren spirits lack),
we're waking up to find
a nightmare of floods and fire,
too late, too late
to repair the harm
and get our garden back.

for Sarah at earthweal, where we are contemplating LAMMAS, the harvesting of grain and making it into bread. We have not tended Mother Earth's garden well, and are harvesting some painful consequences. Out of this, I do still hope humanity will rise to what is required of us. 

Summer Days

In summer, my whole back yard
was a garden. Early morning, the swish-swish-swish
of the sprinkler, turning round and round,
was a sweet song of nurture,
love in every seed I sowed.
Neighbours hung over the fence and said
"The nature spirits love her.
Look how lush her garden grows!"

The garden fed my hungry children
and healed my broken heart.

   Back then, wise folk warned us
     there were poisons in our food,
pollutants in the land and sea, 
  but we were too bemused
 to comprehend,
   lulled by materialism
      into disconnection
from the earth
 in days we thought
would never end.

      (If you want to feel connected,
       sow a garden. Watch it grow,
       inch by inch and row on row.)

            The garden we planted then,
            when we were full of hope,
     and young,
           we are harvesting now,
         in floods and flames,
            our dreams a nightmare
       just begun.

for Sarah at earthweal, where we are contemplating Lammas, the harvesting of grains and turning them into bread.                                                                            

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lessons the Deer Can Teach Us


"The opposite of extraction capitalism
is deep reciprocity."
- Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, 
from As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom
Through Radical Resistance

Once, in the long ago,
the deer disappeared from the north
where the people had been
taking them wastefully, without respect.
The deer refused to participate
in this inequity any longer.
They went elsewhere
and the people grew hungry,
and then awakened.

Today I can see in indigenous eyes
that they too are intentionally withdrawing
and resisting the settler/colonial system
that has been trying to disappear them
for three hundred years.

They oberve us with blank eyes
that turn us into white ghosts.
Their opaque expression says,
"I have removed myself
from your system
of oppression, which extracts
without giving back."

I watch with respect and admiration
their strength and power rising,
hear their true words. 

Like the deer,
they are removing themselves
from the greed-crazed mamalthni,
to follow their own path
on the earth they have tended
for ten thousand years -
the earth it took we settlers
only three hundred
to destroy.

In fact, it feels like Mother Earth herself is removing herself from us in the only way she can, with storms and wildfires and floods. Rampant  capitalism set in place the destructive path that got us here, yet it will not ease its grasp upon the coffers of the world. They will cut down what trees are left after the wildfires until there will not be a bit of cooling or oxygen left on what will then be an uninhabitable planet. It is unfathomable  to me, how crazy this greed is. It is a voracious, all-consuming madness. But now the bill is coming due and who will suffer most are  the marginalized and our non-human relatives. Whales are already swimming farther out to sea in search of food, in waves that are too warm. The screams of animals in the wildfires haunt my dreams. We created of a bountiful garden a hell on earth, yet believe we are the only thinking creatures. I withdraw further into silence, watching the madness unfold.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

I Hear Their Screams In My Dreams


They say
near the wildfires
they can hear the screams
of the animals
dying most horrible deaths.

How many times
can my heart break
in one lifetime?

Too many times
to count.

It is too terrible to think about, the hell we have created on earth for the beyond-human realm. And yet, as a poet friend said to me today, if we turn away, who will be left to fight for them? 

Monday, July 19, 2021



Wild Buffalo at Standing Rock

When I come back, I'll be like
the herd of buffalo arriving
at Standing Rock, the natural world
rising up to stand with the water protecters
who are trying to save the river.

Water is life! the warriors said, praying
under a hail of rubber bullets.
They stood in the water in winter
and were not cold, because the river
was with them, against the militarized police
and the black snake that would bring death
to their people.

When I come back, I will be like
the white Spirit Bear, swimming from 
island to island in search of food.
Already, I am growing too weak to swim.
What will still be here, when I come back?

I will come back like the unsettled spirits
at Ninstints in Haida Gwaii. When you step
on shore even now,  you can hear
the keening and wailing of those
in the Spirit World, the First People
who died in distress from smallpox
brought by the colonial invaders,
only the first of their burnt offerings.

When I come back, I will rise
from a small unmarked grave,
where, long ago,  another child
was made to bury me,
under the heartless gaze
of the black robes.
When I come back, may no child
ever have to live under a gaze that cold.

Now I watch the skinny black bear
wandering, hungry, across the village green;
the thin grey wolf, loping along the shore
in search of the salmon that are no more.
I see dead whales on the beach,
stomachs full of plastic and styrofoam.
Raven and Heron and Eagle -
all of their eyes are looking at me
from the tops of trees: asking
what have you done to the world
once so abundant? 

When I come back, if I am human,
I will wear a cloak of shame and guilt.
If I am of the beyond-human realm,
I will be wary, hoping the Two-Leggeds
have either learned how to live with the earth
or have disappeared in the floods and fires,
the pandemics and calamities of our times.

When I come back, will the world
have stopped burning? Or will it
be ash and stagnant water, from which,
eons from now, a small green sprout
may one day hopefully appear?

for earthweal where we are telling it like it is without compromise, in celebration of Ingrid Wilson's new book: The Anthropocene Hymnal featuring poems by some of earthweal's poets. Yay, Ingrid!

Friday, July 16, 2021



The crone, wrinkled and gnarled,
with her long stringy hair,
is stirring in the forest
in her nest of leaves.

Rabbits and wolf cubs perk their ears
and the bear is arrested mid-swoop,
while fishing in the river.

She is sounding the drum,
its reverberating thrum
calling the Council of All Beings
to the river's edge.

Her drumbeat is calling me
out of the grey town.
It beckons me deep
into the forest's heart,
where all is green, and silent
and sacred.

I enter the primeval sepulchre
as the world goes still
and falls away.

The way forward is written
within that stillness.

I need but listen closely,
to find my way.

from 2013 for earthweal's open link . I am always at home in the forest.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Harvesting Hope


I planted green bulbs
that turned purple,
week by week.
They taught me
we often find
much more
than we seek.

I planted children
who turned into wizards
and shapeshifters,
flying free.
They were changelings,
but who changed the most,
back then,
was me.

I planted my footsteps
on a path leading Away,
my heart on a quest
for the place that would
make me

I planted a broken heart
by the seaside,
in the dune's soft slope.
All my life,
I have planted sorrow
and harvested hope.

for Claudia's garden prompt at dVerse. So lovely to have Brian and Claudia in the house.