Tuesday, May 24, 2022

It Was Like This


In the middle of my life, I soared

out of the desert, over the mountains,

to the sea. It is a theme i keep

returning to, that triumphant homecoming,

where every misty cloud on Meares

made me catch my breath in silly joy, where

my utterances were all preceded by 

long, drawn-out "wow"'s: at surf-topped waves,

at sunsets beautiful enough to break your heart,

at bioluminescence, at the fight to save the old-growth,

me exactly where i needed to be, heart soaring with

the seabirds wheeling free over shining waters. 

Fulfilment was a full heart, amazed at

having made my dream come true. 

I didnt say it was easy - working two and three 

jobs at a time, trying to find the next place to live. 

But the payoff was the beauty, walking through 

some of the most spectacular landscape on the planet.

Leaving such golden joy broke my heart.

I mourned for years until i knew: i needed

to return, close that circle, have more years

in this forever place, satisfy the longing of my soul

to be back home. It was like this: i was happy there.

Inspired by the title "It was like this: I was happy" by Jane Hirshfield.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Tao of How


To and fro goes The Way, the Buddhists say,

and we are meant to find balance

in the in-between. Yet how

(that "how" again) do we keep our balance

in a hurricane? Or when the skies

open and dump a lake where our houses

are, now appearing like apparitions

in the flooded land? Breathe in peace,

breathe out love, a smiling monk advises.

I'm looking for how to meet this moment,

of flux, of distress, of injustice, of seeing

"Other" where we are meant to see "Us". 

Of seeing disappearing rights where

we once had dreams. Everything - other than

human reason - so extreme, we do 

the best we can.  I suspect the How

of Tao is simply muddling through,

with such grace as we can muster. 

The wise ones say, when we are speaking

of hatred, division, war on climate and

war on each other, the only possible antidote

is love. How to make that leap?

It would feel like the frog escaping

the boiling pot into a pond

of cool, clear river water - ourselves

and Mother Earth thrice and truly

Blessed. But, Observer of the Tao,

Please tell us how?

For earthweal: the Everyday Extreme

Saturday, May 21, 2022



She is a sky dancer,
caught halfway between earth
and heaven.
Swirl me some stars,
pour me a half-glass of hope.
Remind me that, while the view
on the ground is gloomy,
in the celestial realm,
spirits rain down
blessings on we benighted folk,
in the vain aspiration
we might catch some 
of their heavenly fire
and dream a brighter dream.
Sky dancer,
pour me some truth,
and I will believe.

Friday, May 20, 2022



Owl Woman has soft gray chicks
nestled at her breast.
In her mind lives the spacious sky,
dappled silver, shining.

Through her feathers,
Sister Wind woos her towards flight,
beckoning from the Four Directions,
for when she soars, she is free, joyous,
safe from harm.

She will teach these chicks
to fly.

Down her throat runs clear river water,
life-giving, replenishing.
The forest lives in her eyes,
green and golden,
and full of talking trees.

Her journeys
follow the flight-paths of the ancestors,
imprinted within her being.
The spirits fly with her
and whisper to her
the way that she must go.

Owl Woman may be earth-bound,
for a time,
but she never stops
dreaming of the sky.

An old one for earthweal's open link.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

An Inventory


One humanity, longing for peace but
at war with itself and each other.
One world, Mother Earth bursting
into spring: blossoms, baby animals -
and Hope.

The blue sky above after days of rain,
a few clouds scattered like sheep's wool
after a day of shearing.

The beach with its long strip of sand,
its joyful dogs, its waves, subdued
after the storm's passing.

One heart, as tired as it has ever been,
but still and always Looking Up.

The neighbour dog I rarely get to see;
we long for each other, but his owner
is not kind.

Downton Abbey, which I turn to
for escape from the daily news.

The eyes of Ukraine prisoners of war,
knowing they are being held
by a brutal regime to whom their lives
mean nothing.

Grief: we are not being
all we are meant to be.
Earth grief: heart breaking
at all the ways we have failed.

But let me count the joys: a sweet village
full of friendly folk; my heart, still
beating, keeping me this side of earth;
friends, with whom to share the perils
of our human birth; poems,
to mark the days, the months, the years.
They chart the journey made
and the price I paid.

This poem has come to say
thank you for the
blessing of having a grateful heart,
that recognizes all the gifts
I have been given
along the way.

Inspired by Wild Writing's Jen Lee and her poem Inventory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022



"We're in this together, the wild, the domestic, the wormy, the laughing ones and the weepers, black dogs and Buddhas....all of us dancing in the stream of everything."
from Trauma Farm by Brian Brett

I am a small inconsequential speck in the vastness of the universe. I am united with every single other organism on the planet. I am insignificant, and a part of Everything, in the self-same moment, which keeps me humble, and feeling connected to the All That Is, at one and the same time. I gaze at the mystery of the night sky and I know, somewhere up there, is my path Home, through the clouds into another world, where I will journey one day. The mourning dove sings to me in the evening, and the hummingbirds dive-bomb the feeder as twilight falls. In the morning, the horse's whicker in the fields and the blue jay's call at the seed stump serenade my waking, and I step out to breathe in lake-scent and willow, which brings me full circle, from my earliest rememberings to Now, and I am, in fast-forward, that round-eyed child and this faded-eyed crone, and every age in between. Tell me that Heaven will be as beautiful as this planet and I will set aside all fear. Tell me there will be an ocean, and ancient cedar, and dogs. Yes, let there be dogs and I will not fight those final breaths. A neurosurgeon, a scientist who had no faith in anything unproven, died to the world for seven days, and when he finally woke, he said he had visited heaven. What made my heart leap is that he saw dogs there, leaping and running joyously with the people. I always believed dogs would be there, but now I know it. I will see my boy again. That big black wolf will run joyously to meet me and we will tumble together with the force of our reunion, as he used to throw himself upon me after every absence. And then we will point our noses towards the nearest sea, and walk again, as we did for so long....joyously, as I have not been able to do since he's been gone. "Black dogs and Buddhas"........yes, that will be my heaven and, meanwhile, the thought of it comforts my sojourn here, the thought of all that joy, just waiting for me up ahead, in a country I have not yet walked through, yet feel I know so well, so often have I read stories brought back by those who have briefly left this world, and then returned. For me, Heaven will be a big black laughing dog.

Monday, May 16, 2022



First, I had to become invisible,
so she could learn to accept me.
We sat the difficult, patient,
excruciating hours together,
her hooded, at times, for calmness,
my eyes averted,
until she could be with me unmasked,
without fear.

Next, I had to make her hunger,
so when I offered food
on my extended fist
she would come to me.
This was a dance that took some time
to choreograph.

I did not know,
until she laughed,
that goshawks were capable
of play.

We walked the hill to the field in dread,
her on my arm,
she because she was terrified,
I because I feared
she'd fly away.

The hardest thing to learn
was trusting
she'd return.

It took many fails a day
for a week,
her falling, hobbled,
to the ground,
angry and glaring,
and then we got it right -
she flew right to me.

In the brambles,
her first time loose,
caught by the bracken,
her yellow eyes
looked to me
for rescue. Trust.

I thought I was training her
to be a goshawk,
but she was teaching me
to unite my wild and human parts,
until my spirit rose
from its bed of grief
and flew.

for my prompt at earthweal: Lessons From the Wild. This was the story Helen Macdonald told in H is For Hawk, a most fascinating tale of an inter-species relationship.