Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wild Woman Herstory

Living in the desert,
I opened a little door 
in my mind
behind which lived the sea.

Living without love,
I knocked on that little door.
It opened and, inside,
Wild Woman taught me 
how to love
the whole world.

Living without joy,
a Big Door came along.
Wild Woman told me:
Walk through, or learn 
to live without a dream.

I couldn't live without a dream,
so I made a mighty leap
and the rest is 
Wild Woman herstory.

for Carrie at The Sunday Muse

To Restore the Soul of the Earth to Wholeness

The wild is the soul of the earth.
Mother Earth speaks to us
through whale and wolf and tree.
She sings to us in rainfall
on parched earth,
in windsong through the branches
of tall cedar,
in birdsong on 
a golden autumn morning.

She speaks to those of us
who are listening.
We weep together
over those who are not.

Visit an old tree.
Place your hands on her trunk
and listen.
She will tell you her story.
Under the ground,
her roots reach out to
all the others.
They hold hands,
quaking in fear
as the grappleyarders come.

We are a voracious species.
We devour our own home.

If you listen to the song of the river,
it will tell you
that the earth is struggling.
In drought, it dries up,
fish flapping limply in stagnant pools,
unable to make their way.
When the voice of the river falls silent,
when the wildfires burn,
when Mother Earth heaves and tosses in storm,
when bears swim for miles
in a warming, polluted sea,
it is long past time
to awaken:
to plant trees,
to clear the streams and clean the ocean,
to legislate reduced emissions and carbon tax,
to turn off fossil fuel and turn on clean energy.

Time to cool the earth
with loving hands.
Time to restore the soul of the earth
to wholeness.

A poem from 2017, when I had more hope than I have today. Yet we must hold onto hope. Let's plant what trees we can.

Monday, January 20, 2020


We stand in support
of the Wet'suwet'en people,
land defenders, protecting
the living waters
running through their
unceded traditional territory.

Water is life!

The peaceful protectors
will be taken away to jail;
the armed defenders
of corporate criminals
wield all the power
with the complicit government.

Water is life!
falls on their deaf ears.
Dollar signs shine
in their eyes.

The water, wild and pristine,
makes its winter passage,
caught between its protectors
and those whose god is money.

Water is life!
we cry.
A feather is held up:
we come in peace.

A peaceful warrior waits
for the moment
the barricade is breached
and armed men swarm
the people of the living waters.

Water is life!
Our duty - since time immemorial -

has been to protect it.

The world is upside down,
when the oil and gas of death
is more important than
the water we need for life,
when the money gods rule
and the only water around
is the land and its people
weeping in protest.

In Načiks  (Tofino) we are standing by for a solidarity response in support of the Wet'suwet'en people, should they be forcibly removed from their unceded traditional territories some time this week. Militarized police are being mobilized. Hereditary chiefs have been given notice to clear the road into their territory. The RCMP have set up an exclusion zone, an occupied blockade preventing media from access, also stopping supplies, food and medication from reaching the people.

In this strange age we live in, the protectors of the land are viewed as criminals, while the criminal corporations and complicit governments who are destroying our future hold the power. History - if we survive long enough to  have a history - will tell a different story.

Standing Rock has come to B.C. as Coastal GasLink is determined to push  a 670 km natural gas pipeline through the territory and across the fresh water sources of the Wet'suwet'en people. The proposed project will run across the province to the B.C. Coast, and then be tankered down the coastline. The hereditary chiefs are in opposition; they served the company with an eviction notice from their unceded traditional territories. Many B.C. residents oppose the pipeline, standing with the Wet'suwet'en people, in a time of climate crisis, when fossil fuels should be left in the ground, and clean energy systems developed. The threat of leaks and spills is not "if" but "when".

Premier John Horgan says "The project will go through." RCMP are authorized to use lethal force if necessary. The Chiefs are seeking help from the UN, which earlier in 2019 declared the rights of aboriginal people to their lands and territories.

Supportive Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith people, commented, "We have to change, to ensure that our young people have a future. That's what the land defenders mean when they say we need to protect the land and the water. Globally, there has to be an awakening now."

B.C. Green Party leader Adam Olsen visited the hereditary chiefs this past weekend. He said change can't happen until federal and provincial decision-makers sit down with the hereditary chiefs. B.C. Premier John Horgan has declined to meet with them. "The rule of law will prevail," he said.

Prime Minister Trudeau (nicknamed Crudeau by the environmentally aware), by not recognizing UN-recognized rights of Aboriginal people to their lands and territories, is in violation of conventions he signed at the United Nations.

As always, when it comes to corporate money, all other rights and concerns are set aside. Yet government leaders continue to talk about Canada's important relationship with First Nations. The forked tongues of the LongKnives have not changed much; colonialism remains alive and strong in Canada.

Stay tuned.

for Brendan at Earthweal: Water

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Flying Free

can you hear
that tinkling on the wind......?
        like the furtive below-deck rattle of chains
        on slave ships of the past

I planted a spirit tree
near the bayou,
where ghost-wails and lamentations
moan every full moon:

         mothers crying for their babies
         children sold for dollar bills
         grandmothers, weeping for them all

In the clink-clink-clink
of late summer afternoons,
hear determined spoons digging tunnels
out of captivity,

        the echoing lament of souls
        longing for freedom

In the fiery blaze of four p.m.
when the light turns the colour of fried butter
look closely; see souls emerging
from all the shining bottles

       to the muted clink-clink-clink
       watch the rise of age-old spirits
       finally flying free

for Shay at The Sunday Muse

Old southern legend tells of bottle trees, where evil spirits were said to get trapped in the bottles, keeping them away from the houses; they were destroyed by the morning sun.  When the wind blows, and a sound emerges from the botles, it was said to be the moans of the evil spirits.

African slaves began hanging bottles in trees in the American south in the 17th century. They usually chose crepe-myrtle trees, significant to them through Bible references, representing escape from slavery and freedom.

As I protest captivity,  I took poetic license and had good spirits freeing themselves from the bottles, rather than being trapped.

Friday, January 17, 2020


A windigo wind
blows across the land,
warning us that we have been taking
more than we need,
and putting nothing back.
It is telling us we need to go back
to the Old Times,
when man and nature lived in harmony,
and no action was taken
without consideration for 
the seventh generation.

A big black wolf is wandering
through my dreams and through my heart,
wolf spirit,
Windigo of the wolf clan,
howling a lament at the destruction
of his habitat,
the starvation of his young,
the extinction
of his tribe.

I am swimming a wide river,
farther than I have the strength to go,
when, under me,
lifts the body of a great turtle,
who supports me to
the farther shore.

I am lost at sea in a thick fog
and cannot find home
when a pod of killer whales,
sensing my distress telepathically,
encircles my boat and guides me to shore,
to my own dock,
then glides silently into the night
and away.

Nature tries to help us.
Creatures show us the way.
But in our noise and clamor,
in the tumult of our souls,
we cannot hear them.

The forest is deep and dark,
and there are spirits here.
I look, and look again,
and all the trees are rearranged.
Shapeshifters, shadows,
flit from tree to tree, 
and a mournful Windigo wind
sings through the branches.

Owl, Oracle, Guardian,
protect me as I go.

One from 2013, for Brendan at Earthweal

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


On the anniversary of his death - January 15, 2011

I feel it coming, this poem
I will birth
on the nine year anniversary
of your passing from this earth.
So close to tears, I realize, of course, it is you.
Just how much, how long, I'd miss you,
back then I never knew.
Like a burrowing owl,
you have lodged in my heart,
a prickle-burr that hurts,
from which I do not want to part.
You live there, night and day,
in a corner labeled Grief.
From the missing and the being-gone
there is no relief.

Ghost voices whispering on the wind,
and wolf howls in my dreams,
you look right into my sad heart;
your wolf-eyes gleam.

The barn owl says to light the lamp
on the windowsill for you.
But how will you find me in this place
that was never home to you?

I'm homeless in the universe, alone, without you
and I fear you're out there somewhere,
feeling homeless too.
Lead me back, wolf-spirit,
to the land we loved together.
I will walk there again
as we did in any weather.

When I can hear the rhythm of
the turning of the tides,
my spirit may still find a home
once more, where peace abides.
Maybe your ghost shadow
will accompany the hours
as I walk forever beaches that,
for a time, were hours.

*** *** ***

I went to bed and slept, and then they came:
four beautiful, white, snowy wolves
who already knew my name.
The first came close -
oh, the beauty of her face!
pushed a friendly nose towards me,
as I stood still, accepting,
but respectful of her space.
We were at the beach, the wolves and I.
A visitation from the spirit-world
of the not-alive,
and from deep within my spirit,
which needs both wolves and ocean waves
to thrive,
because it has never been enough
simply to survive.

The barn owl called sleepily
in the early light to wake me.
Four white wolves live within me now,
never to forsake me.

And you?
big, black, laughing, hilarious
creature of the dawn?
You're in my heart
forever now.
You are never
fully gone.

Hard to believe it has been nine years and I still miss him so much. I accept this is a permanent condition. We were soulmates. When I wrote this the first time, I was living at my sister's where Pup never visited. I wondered how he would find me. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Blue-Sky Eyes

I looked at life
with blue-sky eyes
for most of my many years,
with hope and trust
and dreamy sighs,
watered well with tears.

But now my gaze
is singed with brown,
like the forests that I love.
Burning creatures, burning towns,
sky fiery red above.

Like kangaroo and koala,
I don't know which way to turn.
My heart can't take the pain
of watching
as the wild world burns.

for the Sunday Muse : I am heartened that people are heroically helping the animals, and dropping carrots and sweet potatoes down to them. I just don't know what to do with this much grief at what is happening, to the animals, the people, and the land.