Wednesday, July 17, 2024

If the World is Ending

 


If the world is ending,
come walk with me into the forest.
It has been this verdant, this silent,
this peaceful, for millennia.

The angry voices do not enter here,
where humans are respectful guests.
This is home for deer, raccoons, owls,
eagles, small scurrying creatures.
Stealthy cougar, big black bear
and shy, elusive wolf move invisibly
through the trees,
curl up in the vacant bowls of ancient cedar,
evading us, as we have taught them
we are to be feared.


See the tiny mushrooms, banquet
for fairy folk. Breathe in
the color green: fern, salal,
old man's beard, lichen,
moss soft and plush
as a princess's pillow.

If the world is ending,
walk with me along the shore.
Hear the waves singing
their forever song.
This much beauty feels like prayer,
even if the prayer is only
an expanded heart and "Thank You."

If the world is ending,
sit on a log with me.
Gaze into forever and watch
as the huge, golden-red fiery sun
goes down.


This poem was inspired by the title of Patrick Ramsay's poem "If the World is Ending."

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Eaglet Elegy

 


Small eaglet,
when you fell from the nest,
kind people came
and loved you as you grew.

You were happy in the summer sun
till, unexpectedly,
(and oh, we could never, ever
 be ready for this),
you spread your wings
and flew

into the Otherworld,
where loving spirits sing.

We hope you knew
how much we loved you

and how the memory of you
is now one more of the many
golden gifts
you bring.

I wrote this for my prompt at What's  Going On : Elegy. But posted another choice as my link.

Strangely, as happens in life, I had this prompt ready two weeks ago when, just last week, a young boy I looked after for years when he was small died suddenly in a boating accident. He was the sweetest boy, now in his early teens, and everyone who loved him is just devastated. 

Grief Can Be a Sunflower

 


Grief  can be the sunflower delivered
by a smiling friend,
that inexplicably begins to die that very minute,
leaves drooping, head tucking under its chin,
giving up, leaf by wilting leaf,
because the world is broken, and too hot,
its roots too tightly packed
for water to reach its faltering heart.
Grief can also be the bouquet of cut sunflowers
I bring home from the CoOp
and put in the tall green vase,
to cheer me as I add one more loss
to all the others, and remember
that the world, though suffering,
is also beautiful.

Grief becomes everything with age,
laced through the heartbreaking beauty
that is this world, this life, and death, all passing,
the shine, the wonder, sunrises, sunsets,
laughter and tears and love come and gone ~
earth grief for a planet in distress,
and our culpability/inability
to restore what has been lost

loss upon loss, the heaviness,
us learning how to plant our feet
and strengthen our shoulders to bear it.
Not giving up like the sunflower,
setting our roots down deep,
strengthening our stance,
accepting pain is the price of being fully alive:
gratitude for all of this life and love -
the richness of it! The gifts.
Joy woven through the sadness.
Sadness woven through with joy-
gilt-edged, and fraught,
and yet still remembering
how to dream.

Then I went to the beach and let the waves sing their song of forever to me. An elderly and rather chubby bassett hound turned himself upside down on the sand, paws in the air, snout lying flat on the sand, totally blissed out. It made my day!

Elegy for the Wildlands



Mother Earth,
your clearcut slopes in winter
bleed mud and tears.
In summer,
wildfires roar across the land.
My cousin walks out at night
to embers falling
from an apocalyptic sky.
Grass crackles underfoot.
Water sources dry up.
Leaves on trees and bushes curl,
thirsty, as are all the wild ones
in this burning world.
Down into the valley wander
displaced bear, cougar and wolf,
who are shot for intruding
into "our" territory,
though their perplexing plight is
how far we have encroached
into theirs.

And yet, life struggles on:
two baby orcas swim through warming seas,
where not enough salmon remain
to feed them. Like many
on this earth, their tummies
are never full,
yet they swim on,
in hope and trust,
for swim they must.

My heart is heavy
with how badly we have
ravaged you,
razed the beauty of your wild lands,
hunted to extinction
your beautiful wild creatures.
We have even endangered
the inoffensive butterfly.
What manner of species are we?

Yet the loons still sing softly at Loon Lake,
though algae, pollution and plastic
line its banks.
The trees still hopefully
bring forth their buds
and miraculous bounties,
the animals still try so hard to live,
no matter how badly
we have husbanded
the bountiful earth
that was given to us
with more than enough
to share,
if only we care.

Our souls know
we should be much better than we are.
The planet spins,
strangling in our emissions.
Our hearts grow as polluted
as the coral reefs, the fish in the sea,
the hunted whales,
the sky above the billowing
industrial smokestacks.

My heartsong is an elegy
all day long.
Even as I watch the peaceful loons,
hear their beautiful and hopeful song,
in my heart, with pain,
I fear, already,
so many innocent lives
are going
           going
                 gone.

for my prompt at What's Going On - Elegy.

I just watched a beautiful film by Jennifer Abbott titled The Magnitude of All Things, which records the grief of many, including her, across the world who see the impact of climate change on the natural world. Her sister's death from cancer opened her eyes to the grief of so many of us for the losses we bear witness to on a global scale. Nature and humanity are not in balance and the only ones who can change this are us. The more-than-human beings on earth are waiting for us to understand what they (and indigenous people of the earth) have always known - we are all connected. We share the grief and are not alone.

The message is actually hopeful because what we love, we try to save. And what we save, saves us.


Monday, July 15, 2024

A Candle for the Dead

 


In ceremony, I light a candle for the dead.
So hasty was his leaving, I was not ready -
his face ashen, now, his spirit having fled -
so hard to find my footing, make it steady.

So hasty was his leaving, I was not ready.
I sing a lullaby to him, ring little bells.
So hard to find my footing, make it steady,
I build an homage, an altar of sand and shells.

I sing a lullaby to him, ring little bells.
We had adventures when the lad was young.
I build an homage, an altar of sand and shells,
remembering when our journey had just begun.

We had adventures when the lad was young -
his face ashen, now, his spirit having fled -
his song unfinished when it had just begun.
In ceremony, I light a candle for the dead.


A rhyming pantoum for Shay's Word List. This past week, a young teen I cared for when he was small died suddenly. For six years, when he was little, we walked forest trails, bought treats and then went home to colour together. He told me "You're like a grandma to me." He was only fourteen and so suddenly gone, it is hard to assimilate. And extremely sad.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

SOLITARY STAR


Solitary star
is it cold up
where you are?
Through bare and brittle
winter branches
I can see you
sparkling clear,
shining your brightest
just before
you disappear.

The rooster is
softly crowing
in the barnyard,
a sleepy sound,
reluctant in the chill.
My wolf-dog pads,
silent and old,
beside me.
The day is coming
when he no more will.

Nine white swans
in formation
now come gliding
almost noiselessly
winging overhead.
Noses pointed west,
they're heading towards
the water.
Nine swans,
and yet they
mate for life
it's said.

Now daybreak crests
the silver-peaked mountains,
lighting the frozen rooftops
etched in ice.
Tall cedars turn
from black and
towering giants
to green again,
their beauty
beyond price.

I breathe the essence
of this winter morning,
wood-smoke on the air
as starshine fades.
My windows are lit up
and, warm and waiting,
is the cozyness
of this little home
I've made.
I feel the blessing
rich with
all life's worth,
just to have
another day
like this
alive
on Planet Earth.






I wrote this poem in 2010, in winter, when I was still living in my little trailer - Pup's kingdom. I loved that little place and this poem came to me while I was walking Pup along the road, looking in at the glowing windows, happy with our little home, but very aware that soon he would no longer be walking beside me. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

A Web of Friends



Much the way Grandmother Spider
sits in her corner,
diligently spinning her web,
to see what morsels
she might catch,

one day I tossed a line
out into a wider web.
Tapping on the keys,
I began to weave
my life
with words

that slowly
brought you to my door:
connections that I never would
have dreamed,
a window into the online community
of poetry and friendship,
that opened
a whole new wonderful world
to me,
and, at the same time,
brought me home.


 The web, and all of you, dear friends, has enriched my writing life beyond belief, bringing me friends from all over the world. I gratefully take this opportunity to thank you. It means more than you can ever know that people are reading my words. Especially now, when my pen has lost much of its former fluency. (I am grateful to still be writing anything, though, and will continue.) My friendship with each one of you - these most amazing connections - means all the world to me. And you know me best of all, because you read the words from my heart.