Saturday, April 10, 2021



She wants edgy
but I'm all soft surfaces,
for life has honed me smooth
and knocked off all
my bumps and corners.

She wants specifics
but my brain is soup.
I  pluck out familiar things
I can identify, a branch, a leaf,
but when it comes to the names 
of moss, moss is just moss to me,
and beautiful enough that way.

She wants poems  about
the being-ness of trees,
when I am still trying to master
being a human loving trees.

I need to go into the woods
and stare at a tree, allow it
to reveal its specific self to me.
Then maybe I can write
about what it is to be a tree
in this world that is so dangerous
to trees, and you, and me.

Day 10.  An editor here in Tofino is doing a tree poem anthology that is going to be amazing. I am struggling with submission guidelines, non-specific as I am, and prone to generalities.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Paper Boats


In a moment, the middle of an ordinary day,
the neighbour comes home
with his whole world crumbled.

Cancer, round three, has accelerated.
His rescue dog, who has survived so much,
his feral now-tamed cat, face more
inevitable change. He faces much more:
a battle he has fought two times before.

The poet says "let it all in,"
yet our human minds grapple
with the details. We resist.
We "But..." We "What if...."
We grasp. We want a different
story, a kinder one.

The ending is the same.
What is, is here before us.

"Practice becomes simply bearing the truth,"
she says. Down here in the rubble,
in our sadness and our human
helplessness, we are urged
to see with new eyes, rise up,
as an eagle seeks higher ground.

Sometimes this is possible.
More often, it takes some time
to get there, to where we "allow"
what is already here to unfold
as it unfolds. Surrendering, riding
the current, small paper boats circling 
the swirling depths.

Day 9

Inspired by "Allow" by Danna Faulds. The italicized lines are hers.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Blood Money

facebook image
no copyright infringement intended
- just admiration

They say there are no perfect conditions,
just carry on anyway, don't wait
for a more auspicious time.
Perhaps this imperfection, and 
our rising to meet it
is the perfect time:
this moment, right now 
is what we have.

Show up in this noisy, half-crazed
world, gently, the way 
the morning light
rises up over the mountains.
Show up for whatever comes
your way. It may be bad news.
It may be a walk along the shore.
It may be the spooky light-blue eyes
of a goofy laughing dog
who loves you, who cavorts with
silly pleasure when he spies you
through your window.

It is possible that this poem
is a practice. How surrendered,
how accepting, can I be?
How well can I carry
this earth grief / this earth  joy
in the same moment?

The poet said "show me
the wild animal that you hide,"
and here he is, Wolf, howling
in the forest, which is falling
all around him. Here he is,
trying to save his pack
from human predators.

Here he is, howling my grief 
and my outrage that his home
- and our home - so beautiful,
so breathtaking - is being
carved into bleeding
ravaged pieces so corporations
can grow rich.

Day 8

Inspired by Holy Humanness by Olivia Cooper. The italicized line is hers.

I just sent letters to the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, and all appropriate BC government ministers, about the need to stop the logging of old growth. The crazy thing is that the BC government in 2020 issued a report calling for a halt to logging of old growth - and yet Fairy Creek is to be logged - thousand year old trees, so rare and endangered on the planet.

It feels like a losing battle. But also feels good to do something. Some of us are asking the UN person to let BC know it is being seen internationally and is operating against the UN's values and goals. Worth a try.

Will share this with earthweal's open link.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Can You Hear the Sound of a Heart Quietly Breaking?


Fairy Creek
Will O'Connell photo

It is raining and the recycling
is sitting in the blue box on the curb.
The cherry buds look saturated;
I wonder if they will bloom.
Maybe after the next hot sunny day.

In the blue box the recycling
is sitting on the curb.
Another day begins in Clayoquot Sound.
At Fairy Creek, the arrests
will soon begin. Protectors
of Mother Earth will get hauled away;
the corporate criminals will laugh
all the way to the bank.

The kettle sings; another day begins.
As the trees fall in the forest,
so many of us care.
My aching heart is with those
at the blockades,
singing Water my blood,
Fire my spirit,
while my old
wrinkled sedentary self
sits here helpless in my chair,
as blue as the recycling box
on the curb.

"Worth More Standing" the young ones
say. It's true. What price tag
can be placed on the Old Ones
who keep us cool
and give us air to breathe?

It is raining and even the recycling
is blue and sitting on the curb,
like any other ordinary Wednesday.
The days go by; the last
of the Standing People fall,
breaking my heart and
terrifying every displaced
wolf and bear and bird.

Day 7

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

To Sing a New Song


"You can learn to whisper,
to turn up the volume,
to sing within the family
of animals."

       - Richard Louv, in Our Wild Calling

I have looked into the huge, ancient eye
of a grey whale, who whooshed up
alongside my boat, thrilling me
to my toes. Her breath smelled 
as old as time, a mix of ocean floor
and fetid air; us, sharing that breath,
that gasp of oxygen, that moment in time
unlike any other, before her head lowered,
her back arching, fluke rising,
then vanishing under the sea.

That day, we passed a small island of rocks,
inhabited by sea lions. When we cut the motor,
and drifted, we heard their growls and barks,
they turning their eyes on us, strange creatures,
gently rocking in the sea in our red survival suits
and rubber boat.

In the trough between waves, small puffins
were bobbing importantly atop the waves,
looking like small officious hoteliers,
suave in their tuxedos and smiling beaks.

They say each whale has her own song, 
communing over vast distances:
certain sequences indicate location,
gathering, or alarm.
Once, on the other side of the Island,
a man with a flute lowered himself 
into the sea, with a microphone.
When he played a series of notes,
dolphins echoed them. After a time,
they began to improvise their own riffs
on the notes he had played
 - an inter-species jam session.
This thrills me.

Perhaps what we, as a species,
need to learn most is to
quiet ourselves, to watch,
to listen, to what the singing earth
is trying to tell us. Within the
family of animals, together
we can begin to sing
a new song, one of joy
and communion, concern,
compassion, hearts open
to every other
living thing.

Day 6

Monday, April 5, 2021

And Yet, Here We Are


Had 2016 to 2021 been written
years ago as science fiction,
no publisher would have published it
because it would have been deemed
"too unbelievable."

And yet, here we are.

What we are left with is irony, 
satire, boggled minds.
And grief.
Laced with some stubborn hope,
because we are human creatures
who cannot live
without it.

Day 5

When the World Begins to Sing


photo by Elisabeth Smith of Tofino

Come walk by the shore with me,
so teeming with life.
Hear the mussels clicking
and crackling on the rocks.
See the anemones waving their stubby
little arms in tidal pools;
when I gently touch, they curl
them in protectively,
just like us when we are poked.
Starfish cling to the rocks
in glorious shades of green,
eggplant, orange.

One year, our starfish had
the wasting disease;
we are happy to see them
flourishing again.
Sometimes they get stranded
on the sand; we put them back
in the water quickly
so they don't die. They breathe
through their legs in sea water.
In 2017, on the Welsh coast, octopi
were crawling out of the sea and
beaching themselves on land.
We don't know why.

The message of nature is abundance.
I walk in wonder at how much
life and beauty there is,
despite all that is wrong
in the human realm.
The non-human realm has
one focus: to live.
Buds unfurl; species reproduce;
flocks of sandpipers circle and swoop
at the edge of the sea.
Eagles ride the thermals,
circling lazily on the currents.
Sometimes they swoop down 
thrillingly, grasp a fish
in curved talons,
swoop away.

vilella vilella

Small purple  "by-the-wind-sailors",
like little sailboats,
are scattered by the thousands
across the sand. I catch my breath.

Life teems, as munificent
as our best human dreams.
Everywhere is growth, is birth,
is spring.  Listen as, everywhere,
the whole birthing, burgeoning world
begins to sing.

Day 5. And shared at earthweal where Brendan set us to viewing the teeming world in the corner of the planet where we are. Every walk along the shore, or along the forest trail, I marvel at how much life there is here.