Thursday, October 21, 2021

I Never Cried for My Father


My father, with my little sister

I never cried for my father.
When he died, the summer
I was fourteen, I felt sad
for my mother, whose heart
was broken. But I felt relief
that the drinking to blackout
and the violence had stopped.

I had closed him out,
that last year; we had
unfinished business, so
I was not much surprised
when I saw his ghost
smiling at me from behind
the lunch counter at Capri,
perhaps a smile to say
he had loved me
and wished me well.

He was a brilliant musician
who raged that those
with less talent passed him by.
He hated  rock and roll.

I never cried for my father
at his funeral. But I cry
for him now. He gifted me
music and humour and song
that has lasted my whole life long.
And I never said thank you
when he came to tell me

Monday, October 18, 2021

Salmon Are Forest Animals


Ha-Shilth-Sa News photo

"Salmon are forest animals,"
the Tla-o-qui-aht woman said.
"Wolves and bears eat them,
and their scat, dropped in the forest,
feeds nitrogen to the ancient trees."


She told us that there was a time,
long ago, when the humans
of her tribe were starving.
"The lowly skunk cabbage,
bitter-tasting, offered itself to be eaten,
so the People could live."

Everything is One,
the medicine man said,
as the children swirled in wolfskin,
wearing masks of eagle and bear,
weaving and circling
to the sound of the drum.

My heart rose up in response,
with love for all beings,
each living creature,
grateful for the miracle
of how we all
help each other live,
how Everything is One.

for Brendan at earthweal where we are contemplating Biodiversity. Tofino is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so I  live in an area where we are very aware of how everything in the environment impacts every other. Also, the Nuu chah nulth people of this land share stories of their teachings, how everything is connected, so what happens to one, happens to us all. The elders are telling us big (and severe) changes are coming which will impact us greatly. They don't say much, but their eyes are worried.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

White Bird in the Time of Cholera


I was a white bird
in the time of cholera,
under my disguise
a woman perched
between past and future,
no telling which way
the pendulum would fall.

A long beak, hooded, hidden eyes,
they cowered when I walked the aisles,
not knowing that, within,
I was weaker by far than they,
just waiting for my costume
to be stripped away.

I was a white bird, a hooded eye,
a long beak with a question in my heart,
and they cowered when I walked the aisles,
until I picked the one with whom
I'd practice my ghoulish art.

for Shay at The Sunday Muse



A 12 year voyage to the stars,
no expense spared for space flights,
but the cost of lowering emissions
and transitioning to clean energy
on earth is deemed too dear.

This is a very strange world,
gasping in accelerating heat,
flooded by accelerating storms,
burning up in wildfires,

yet they build a spaceship to the stars
while, on earth, climate refugees
find no food,
no shelter,
no safe place.

I saw Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds launch and couldnt help but wonder at the expense when, here on earth, governments deem addressing the climate crisis to be "too expensive." Sigh. It's a mad, mad world. Makes no sense.

Poems Hide


Poems hide
in the corners of clouds,
in the wisp of a dream,
under the bed in tubs
of old photographs.
Poems hide

in birdsong at daybreak,
in thick moss on old trees,
in a basket of fruit and the smile
of the one who receives it.
Poems hide

in laughing doggy eyes,
in a baby's smile,
in the stories of an old man
sitting on a bench,
as the world rushes by.
Poems hide

in the rush of a river in autumn,
in the red and orange leaves,
in the moment when the sky clears
after rain, and the world turns
green and blue again.

Poems hide.

Inspired by Wild Writing and the two words "Poems Hide". 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Small Sufi Dancers in Our Hearts

It is nearly one year since we were
forced to enter empty time .
The clock slowed; our days
drifted into each other
like floating logs at the edge of the sea,
but more gently, the hours sifting past
like large frigates, turning into days,
into weeks, the rhythm of our days
reduced to cups of tea and the occasional
making of meals, or To Do lists,
easily abandoned when a book
or a movie beckoned, because suddenly,
there was time, even for those of us
who are approaching its end.

We think back to all the small miracles
we rushed through
, not realizing
they were miracles, so soon over:
poetry readings, gathering together, 
taking trips, going to the theatre.
These days, we become more aware
of all the miracles that remain:
sunrise, sunset, cloud formations,
blue sky, the eternal waves breaking
upon the shore, its eternal roar,
and seabirds wheeling free
over shining waters.

Our hearts are so heavy with unshed tears,
yet with gratitude, too, for the joy and pain
of the journey made, the price we paid,
the times that will never come again.

We have slowed our pace, empty time
filling with memory, with the long,
glorious remembering, as we sit
by the window watching the sky change.
Just breathe, and listen.
Listen, and breathe.
The clock tick-tocks; the light
lifts and sifts and turns to dusk.
With quiet hearts, we drift,
we dream, we dream
a cosmic dancer, endlessly twirling,
a small Sufi, swirling,
in the inner chambers
of our hearts.

Inspired by The Cosmic Dancer by John O'Donahue. The italicized lines are his.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Alive in the Pandemic


Tonquin Sunset
by Christine Lowther

In the first year of covid,
our village was safe:
we were careful, compliant,
followed all the rules.
Not one case of covid.

Then they eased the restrictions.
The hordes came, from everywhere,
unmasked, bringing the world's germs.

Now our tiny village hospital
is stretched to the breaking point.
Our friends are getting sick,
some being flown out in planes
to larger centres.

We are more at risk now than
during the first year, when we
were so scared. But now, 
we are tired. We mask,
we wash our hands,
we hope we won't get sick.
But now we know:
at any given moment,
everything in life can change.

I take nothing for granted 
any more.