Wednesday, October 28, 2020



collage by The Unknown Gnome
who, sadly, is no longer with us

When voices whisper among the trees,
and shapeshifters flit in the misty forest,
capes swirling and twirling
their transformation,
when a soft-eyed doe looks up
from tall yellow grasses,
and quick brown rabbits dart
from their burrows,

when the veil between
this life and the next
grows thin,

my heart listens for the howl
of a lonely wolf,
who has wandered the hills
these many years
looking for home.

In those moments,
my heart howls, too,
in recognition of our wild spirits,
never fully at ease
in the world of men.

I light a candle before his image.
His brown eyes look at me;
concerned, watchful,
they peer into my soul.
How he made me laugh!
How we dreamed together
under the moon.

"Visit me," I ask,
but he cannot find his way.

His howl
a mournful echo
in my soul.

for earthweal, where we are contemplating Samhain,  the time when the veil between the earth and the spirit world grows thin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020



After an oil spill, the mist above the inlet
is filled with the spirits of all of the animals
who have died in the spill.

Orca-, eagle-, heron-spirits,
hover over the ocean. They rest in trees
along the shore.

They carry a message for the people
of the earth: Wake up. Wake up to
Mother Earth's cries.
Heal her wounds.

After the wildfires,
the smoldering, parched earth
releases the spirits of all the animals
immolated in the flames.

They remain near the black, dead land,
near the horses' bones, the smoldering hooves,
near the deer, and rabbits, and wolves,
near the lives they loved and lost.

They carry a message for the people
of the earth: Wake up. Wake up to
Mother Earth's cries.
Heal her wounds.

After flood waters recede,
and all of the bodies of drowned creatures
are bagged and carried away,
the spirits of that place
sit vigil near the watery graves,
praying we humans will awaken
to our mandate: to restore
Mother Earth to wholeness.

They carry a message for the people
of the earth: Wake up. Wake up to
Mother Earth's  cries, her distress.
Awaken to all you can be,
all you can do,
to heal the Earth Mother,
the only home
of All Our Relations.

The idea for this poem came from reading Into Great Silence : A Memoir of Discovery and Loss among Vanishing Orcas by Eva Saulitis. Eva spent twenty years among the orcas of Prince William Sound, both before and after the oil spill. The animals she grew to know like her family are now vanishing due to the after-effects of the oil spill, the intrusion of human development into their wild habitat, and the warming seas of climate change.

shared with earthweal where this week we are contemplating spirits. I think the spirits of the wild must hover around the scenes of devastation, in mourning. I hate to contemplate their terror, fleeing flames and floods, and enduring famine.


At midnight, under a full silver moon,
you can hear hoofbeats galloping
along the colonnade -
the wild ride of horses
who never arrive.

Their riders are now denizens
of the underworld,
seething with frustration,
brooding at how their lives were
so foolishly cut short
by a night of revelry,
that saw their wagon tipped
returning home
along that row of black poplars.

If you are faint of heart,
best not to venture
along that ghostly lane
when the moon is full.
Those who brave the dark
to hear the hoofbeats,
never do so again.

Ha, in Kelowna, there is a long driveway off Guisachan Road lined with tall poplars, leading to a small house. Near midnight, one night long ago, the daughter of the house heard hoofbeats galloping along the drive, but the expected horse and buggy did not arrive. The father and son, returning home after a night of drinking, had tipped their wagon and been killed. The local lore was if you went there at midnight of the full moon, you could hear the hoofbeats. Two local teens, when I lived there, decided this was hogwash, and parked there. Sure enough, they heard the hoofbeats and couldn't get out of there fast enough. They were so scared. I took poetic license with the closing, to make it even more ominous. Smiles.

As I am Irish, there are many ghost stories in our family history. I lived in a haunted building with a ghost who made her presence known for the year that we co-habited. We would hear footsteps overhead, go upstairs and no one was there. But once I felt her right behind me and a cold chill went up my spine.

for earthweal, where we are celebrating a week of the spirits and Samhain:  A Hallowed Moondance

Saturday, October 24, 2020



Bird Woman sits
in the mouth of the cave.
It is all jagged stumps
before her.
Vultures are perched
on the tops of the scrags
fixing her
with their beady eyes.

There are no nightingales
in her world.
It is all stark and bare,
and no soft notes sing.
But when Sister Wolf howls
in the deep dark
of a lonely midnight,
her heart rises in response
to her music.

Her head falls back.
From her throat comes a raw
and piercing cry.
She is keening;
for what is she keening?

What to do
with this feeling
of wanting beyond
brute survival?

She feels the prescience
of Something More
winging on the air,
but does not yet
have a name
for this longing.

One from 2010 to share with earthweal's open link. Bird Woman is getting faintly hopeful that maybe the US election will deliver us to more peaceful airwaves come 2021. We live in hope. I get teary listening to Obama speak - such an elegant man. I miss his intelligent leadership. Glad to hear him in Miami this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020



photo by Christine Lowther

Spirit in the stone,
you sing to me
of bygone centuries
and ancient mystery.
Once you sat with other Grandfathers in the fire
in times that were so close to life and death.
Water splashed on stone and in the vapors
Spirit-prayers rose upon the Old Ones' breath.
The sacred smoke carried the prayers higher -
words of trust in sustenance and seasons -
up to the Spirit-world on wings of fire,
full of a gratitude that did not ask for reasons.
You once ringed communal fires upon the common,
where families came to take hot coals away,
carried them home to light their own hearth-fires
for needed warmth to keep the dark at bay.
You have known the ocean's roar, ice floe, volcano.
You have been a temple in another land.
Water and fire and earth and ice have honed you
til now you come and fit into my hand.
You connect my heart with all that has a spirit:
all that lies upon the ground and all that flies,
the Standing People and the winged ones,
those breathing peace and those soaring the skies.
Your ancient presence speaks an untold story,
has witnessed centuries of joy and pain.
I place you back on earth in testimony
to all that passes, all that will remain.

I have loved rocks all my life, feeling their connection to thousands of years ago. In my poem, I refer to the big rocks used in First Nations sweat lodges, heated in the fire, then water poured on them to make steam. In history, too, there once was a communal fire, that villagers would carry hot coals from to light their own hearth fires. Sharing light and warmth. I love that. For a time, I found heart-shaped rocks everywhere. I think that was a time when I was most heart-centered. 

Here in Tofino, and all along the coastline, there are a lot of black rock cliffs and mounds. The amazing thing is how wildflowers, small bushes and even trees grow out of the rock. Tenacity. Hope.

Monday, October 19, 2020



Walking the beloved landscape with joy,
eyes caressing the familiar rounded hilltops,
the wind-sculpted krummholz,
my roots stretch down, below the sand,
across to the network of connection
beneath the forest floor.
Tapping into the secret underworld,
my soul listens for the whisper
of the Standing Peoples’ song.

It's a paradox - such pristine beauty,
one would never know the many horrors
going on around the world; the nightmare
of destruction humans have made
of this abundant garden.

I do not need to know what comes next
for, for me, what comes next is,
if the fates are kind,
another day like this:
blue-sky and wave-song,
grinning happy dogs running
into the waves, nosing my pocket
for treats. Everything all around me
is changing, but Mother Earth is
still growing, and I am still alive.

Time to trust that we will begin to heal
the planet’s many wounds,
that we will learn to live
as part of the wild, rather than
as the dominant species.
Time to listen within
to the ancient voice that Knows.
On a day like this, walking the beach,
the wisest part of my body
is dancing. *


Closing line inspired by Rosemerry Wahtolla Trommer’s last line in her poem “Above the Paradox Valley”: “the wisest part of your body is dancing.” The REAL paradox is that after writing this, and finally feeling some hope and trust in good days coming again,  a tsunami alert was issued after a big earthquake in Alaska. We don't know yet whether a tsunami will be triggered. I have packed a small go bag just in case. With luck, no tsunami. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 18, 2020



                            Little cat feet go


                            Here, kitty, kitty

For The Sunday Muse, because i am too tired to write a whole poem. Lol.