Tuesday, February 7, 2023

GIFTS

 


This is what the living do:
we wake up each morning to the day,
grateful for the waking,
our beds a time capsule,
carrying us through years
of dreams and memories.

I closed my eyes, in bliss, at forty,
on the shoes of Clayoquot Sound.
When I opened them this morning,
incomprehensibly, I am seventy-six,
- here, once again,
and still -
in my heart's home.
The greatest gift of all.

I put out seed for the morning sparrows,
watch them hopping, while I make
my cup of tea, because
this is what the living do; we have
our rituals, our small comforts,
our ways of coping, our day after day
of sameness, moving us inexorably
to an unknown day up ahead.
Meanwhile, we remember
to cherish these small blessings,
this glorious ordinary, more special
than we know.

I remember
to be grateful for the gifts.

Yesterday I carried my brown bag
of groceries home from the CoOp.
The sun was so warm; two smiling friends
walked towards me. We stopped,
a careful ten feet apart, and chatted,
because the virus is still here,
wary and mutated.
We talked about our hair, which is long
and needed cutting even before
the virus. We stood there,
laughing in the sun, hands poking at our heads,
glad to have seen and spoken with other humans
on this sunny warm morning
in Clayoquot Sound.

The waves were big yesterday; the surfers
were happy. I walked to the big log and sat,
watched the breakers come rolling in,
felt my heart expand with the prayer I recite
every time I am there: thank you, thank you,
thank you, for this: for the gift of living here,
twice given, for the beauty,
for the many gifts I have been given.

This is what the living do: we remember.
On this beach, I once walked for miles and years
with an exuberant, big black wolf.
And now I live alone.
I visit the sea. I am still living,
less exuberantly, but no less gratefully.
I remember him.
I remember it all.

for  Ingrid at dVerse where the topic is gifts. I have been given so many, all my life. I am aging ever so gratefully. I adapted this poem from one written earlier during covid. But some of us seniors are still having to be careful, as the mutations are still about, and we are vulnerable.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Light

 


A small white plant burst forth 
this January, in the yard.
How did it sprout, the ground
so cold and hard?

My heart lifts at
the coming of the light,
lasting a little longer
night by night. 

Six small round candles
line our footsteps at the beach.
We walk between,
           all beauty within reach.          

Earth's promise is renewed
year after year,
Mother Earth, shining her
gift of
hope and beauty
crystal clear.

***

Each evening, now, there are
a few extra minutes before
the darkness dims our sight,
as the planet turns itself,
once more
towards the light.

My heart lifts to meet it,
caught in gratitude
and pain,
as the age-old miracle
unfolds itself again:

Mother Earth's winter tears,
watered the earth where
we will bring
the seeds to grow
another garden
during one more
beautiful spring.


A small offering for earthweal : Fertile and Pure: a Candlemas Harrow. The coming of the light lifts my heart every year. Each year I am blown away by the miracle of the earth coming to life again.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Armadillo Dreams

 


I don't know. It's absurd. I just don't know
what to think anymore. Am as confused
as an armadillo in a tobacco store, dubious,
but willing to wait and see if the situation
might actually be genius.

There's a sweet, sad song on the jukebox,
that I used to sing when I thought
one day I'd be a superstar. But heavy boots
trampled all over my dreams, so now I
listen for the nightbird's call, for that
lonely train whistle at two a.m.
I don't really dream at all any more.


for Shay's Word List. I used ten of the words, and this just wrote itself. Cool list, Shay.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Tree People



Forests are peopled with trees.
From babies to wise old Grandfather Cedar,
all are in a state of
Becoming, Growing, Enduring.
Much like us.

Listen to the song of this old tree,
and he will teach you
how to live.

He will whisper to you
of roots and tree-tops, earth and sky,
and of your inter-connection
to All That Is.
He will tell you the secret
of how to live in harmony
with the natural world,
with respect, nurturing life,
doing no harm.
Breathing out, breathing in.
Being Peace.
Like a tree.

When the west wind croons
through his branches
and the riversong joins in,
listen to their song
and remember:

We are air.
We are water.
We are trees.

for earthweal's open link. A poem from 2016.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Grandma, Passing Through

Floss and Wilf Marr

She was larger than life,
when I was four:
twinkling eyes, a sense of humor,
lots of cackles.
She and Big Boy, the cat,
had a running game over
whether or not he'd make it
out the screen door
before she let it fly.
He would calculate the distance warily:
the lovely scent of the outdoors,
the pressure on his bladder,
but Her, standing holding the door
open invitingly.
Would he make it through this time?
Was it worth it?
How badly did he really
need to pee?
She enjoyed this game
much more than the cat did.

In the morning I'd wake to the slap
of water hitting the vines
on the side of the house,
as Grandma cooled things down
against the heat of the day.
Her yard was always abloom:
sweet pea and mint,
forsythia and mimosa,
and roses, twining the arched trellis
over the front gate,
where I'd hang, late afternoons,
swinging back and forth,
waiting for my parents
to pick me up
after work.

Late morning, as it was getting hot,
she'd lower the awnings
like sleepy eyelids
over the two front windows.

At naptime, she'd lie down beside me,
her warm, comforting, womanly body
lulling me off to sleep in safety.
No screams or crashes ever woke me
from sleep at grandma's house.

Her kitchen clock ticked
loudly and peacefully
on the kitchen shelf.
I could hear it in the back room,
where we'd sit, listening to
the crack and rumble
of the thunderstorms
Grandma loved in summer,
waiting for the metallic scent
just before the rains
hit the parched earth.

We "watched the fairies"
dancing in the fireplace
on quiet winter afternoons.

She was all I knew of stability.
She showed me, by living it,
that life could be normal, routine,
safe, peaceful.
I searched for a life like hers
through my growing years,
until I claimed solitude,
and found it.

She could be stern
I was more afraid of her displeasure
than I was of God's.
She said she had "magic glasses,"
that she could see me when I was at home,
and I believed.

She told me of a perfect little girl called Vivian,
who had wonderful manners
and never did one thing wrong.
"Vivian would never do that!"
All us grandkids hated Vivian.

She chortled with delight,
walking home from afternoon tea,
at how I'd said "Haaaaaah, Miss Hicks?"
when I didnt understand her question.

"Haaaaaaaah, Miss Hicks???"
my grandma teased,
fairly chomping with pleasure,
while I blushed and bridled.

When my Grandma was old,
in extended care,
I repaid her for all the hours
she gave to me as a child.
"I'm still here,"
she'd say disgustedly,
as I popped my head
around the door.
"I'm just
too damned healthy!"

We'd sit under the trees,
or at the window
watching the sunset.

I sat with her as she lay dying,
that long week.
Bending over, I whispered into her ear,
"Thanks for all the love, Grandma"
and watched a single tear
run silently down her cheek.

At the funeral, we played her favorite
"Galway Bay" at the end,
and my mom broke down.
On the bus going home,
I was thinking of Grandma
and all the years,
when the notes of Galway Bay
tinkled through my brain,
from left to right, and away.
I wasn't thinking of the tune;
it just arrived, in one side
and out the other.
Instantly, I said, "Hi Grandma,
I love you,"
as the notes exited my brain,
for I knew that it was Grandma
passing through.

for Sarah at dVerse, where the topic is grandmothers. Mine meant the world to me. She actually saved my life when I was a child, by showing me there was another life than the one I was living.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Never Give Up


I am so sad and everything is beautiful.
- from "Adrift" by Mark Nepo 


At the shore, the sun shines silver on
the scudding clouds, the island, the tombolo,
the shining water. My heart lifts
at the beauty of this world I walk through,
breathing wonder.
In the same moment, thinking of the suffering going on
across the world, I ache with grief at how we are
destroying our beautiful garden; at how cruelly
we are treating the non-human beings who share
this planet; at the hatred and division we are showing
our fellow earthlings.

This is how joy and grief co-exist in the lives
of humans who have lived this long. We know, now,
how we are meant to be living. We understand
how far we are falling short.

Yesterday I smiled at a heron perched on top
of the Coast Guard tower, her wings huddled
around her ears, as she surveyed the busy harbour,
the gentle rounded slopes of Meares.
She could see far. When I look out,
across the country, across the ocean and the planet,
I see a mix of peaceful valleys, flooding lowlands,
starving wild ones, breathtaking mountains,
devastated oil fields. Farther away, bombs are
pounding villages into rubble, and fascism is rising
across the globe. 

Yet this morning dawned
as beautiful as ever, the stars winking out,
the steady sun rising behind the hills
at Rosie Bay. Walking out onto
the sandy beach, one can imagine a world
whose heart beats in harmony, where gardens
flourish and everyone is fed. 

The pain exists between the vision
and the heartbreaking reality.
Yet, because of the beauty, 
the incredible courage, of Mother Earth
and every living thing
that only wants to live,
we can never give up,
never give up. We can
never give up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Not Alone

 


Yesterday morning there was a flock of crows
on the lawn, looking like a priest convention.
What did they find to eat, at the tail end of winter?
I wondered.

It is still dark at 8 a.m., and not one light is on
in the condo across the street.
We take our wakings slow
this time of year.

The white blooming plant in the garden 
has opened all of its buds. "Pretty, pretty!"
I whisper, as I pass. It preens, and 
stands up taller.

The local dogs know I carry treats.
My day is made when I can offer one,
and pat a humble furry head, whose eyes
will shine in greeting next time
we meet.

One midnight, outside my trailer,
I found myself not two feet from 
half a dozen deer. Their soft eyes looked
at me. They didn't startle, or move off.
I gazed back, in wonder.

That same winter, again in the middle
of the night, I saw a fat black bear 
sitting on my sister's porch across the street,
eating apples from a wooden box.
He looked at me as I shone my flashlight
at him, reached down, plucked another apple.

During a terrible sleeting winter storm,
I heard him howling his cold and his distress
and wished I could take him a blanket,
find him shelter.

My heart rests among the beasts.
I am companioned by the critters 
- and the forest, the wild shore,
and the ever-changing sky.
Because of them
I know I'm not alone.


From Wild Writing - Day One. Inspired by the poem "How We Are Not Alone" by Maya Stein.