Friday, March 27, 2020

EARTH AND SKY



We are born in a whoosh of water,
gasp in our first breath, then we cry:
water, essential, from our very first day.

Through the medicine wheel, I journeyed,
dipped my toes in a magical sea,
soul thrumming with the song of the waves,
my sign, my element, my spirit's home:
Mother Ocean.

Above, the sky, the vast expanse,
curving over all -
the great blue bowl of ether.
Underfoot, the earth,
brown and humble and mothering.

I bow to you, Sky. I sing with you, Wind.
I dance in the rain, laughing,
the rush of raindrops on my face
cleansing my spirit,
washing all negative energy away.

When I am clean,
when the Great Bowl above grows dark,
I creep homeward, settle beside the fire,
remember the winking stars,
the wheeling seabirds,
the many rivers and beaches
I have loved,
all the beauty gracing
this span of time
that is still mine.

In memory,
my grandmother's long, white finger
points at the glass of water
on her bedside table
as she lies dying.
"The dying always ask for water,"
she had told me, and it is true.
Water: a single tear
rolling down her cheek
as we said goodbye.

To the earth, I bow
in gratitude, in homecoming.
It waits to receive me, in turn,
when that final moment comes,
when I will become one with
All That Is.

First, there is water.
At the end,
only earth and sky.


A poem from 2015, when I had a few more brain cells available,  for the open link at earthweal.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

TAKAYA



Takaya,
they bring news of your death;
shot by a trophy hunter,
mourned by us all.

For seven years
you lived on your island.
This past winter we heard your lonely howls.
When you swam across 
and trotted down a city sidewalk,
I feared for your life,
knew your days were numbered,
hoped for the best.

You were likely looking
for a mate.
Instead, you met your end,
a bullet sent by
a hunter's gun.

My heart breaks,
and I'm not
the only one.


Photos by TJ Watts, taken two days before Takaya
was killed - the last photos of him alive.
He looks apprehensive - this is a new territory for him,
not his island home.



Takaya's last smile


For seven years Takaya lived on Discovery Island, across from Victoria. This winter, people heard him howling. He sounded lonely. In late January, he swam across, trotting down a street in James Bay. He was tranquilized and moved to a wilderness area (which was also a hunting area.) He was killed 50 miles from where they released him.

So many people loved this wolf and mourn his loss. It's the same old story: pushed out of shrinking habitat, when a wild creature comes into contact with humans, it is always the wild creature who loses.

When will we stop killing these beautiful creatures?





Monday, March 23, 2020

THE BODHISATTVA OF THE MORNING



So tranquil, the slopes of Wah'nah'juss,
bodhisattva of my morning,
reigning peacefully over the harbour,
mist draped cozily along her shoulders.
Small boats chug back and forth
across the water.
All is peacefulness.
Villagers walk with purpose, distancing,
warily eyeing surfaces
where the virus might be lurking,
ready to fasten mortal coils
onto its next unwilling host.

There is peril. Mortality has come into focus.
At the same time, Mother Earth goes about
her business of heralding spring.
Small birds sing joyously from the hedgerows,
innocent of human cares. Owning
only feathers, they are
more fortunate, and happier,
than we.

The beach rolls its eternal waves
in to shore, and out again,
a silvery beauty, tides following the moon,
our footsteps following the shore
in cadence with its murmuring forever song.

I stood on Chestermans yesterday,
prayers of gratitude on my lips,
a thank you for the gift of these years
of living here, a second time blessed.
I imprinted the beach on my memory
before isolating myself;
it may be a while before I stand there again.

As humans retreat indoors,
spring unfurls its wonders,
perhaps never more keenly appreciated
than now.
Skies clear, waters run clean.
We lift our heavy foot from nature's neck
and she breathes more freely.
They say wild creatures are venturing out
at night. With fewer of us to fear,
they explore the newly empty places,
footsteps tentative, eyes alert,
expanding into the freedom
of more places in which to be.

All is beauty. The things we were
distraught about last year, when we had
health and freedom of movement,
seem foolish to us now.

We didn't know how lucky we were;
how quickly all could change.
The things we took for granted:
walks, gathering together,
the normalcy of day following days
that were much the same,
- not breathing in the possibility of death
when we touch our face -
all that blessed unawareness gone, for now.
I doubt we will ever revert to it again,
now we are woke. Normal life will return
with wonder and appreciation
on the other side of this:
another gift, another teaching
from the All-That-Is.

What we have now is the gift of life itself,
and gratitude for it all: the safety
of our peaceful rooms,
the community of friends, both near and far,
the ease of breathing in and out
with healthy lungs -
perhaps never more keenly felt
than in these days when our mortality
has never felt more frail.

Gratitude
     Gratitude
          Gratitude
and wonder for it all.


for Brendan at earthweal: Silver Linings.

It is ALL silver linings now, as we count the blessings we took for granted a month ago. If we have a roof over our head and food, we are better off facing this virus than billions of people the world over. We humans learn our lessons the hard way every time.

Bye Bye Miss American Pie




A long time ago,
when the world was young,
our dreams were as sweet
as all the songs ever sung.
By a virus’s petard
we’re now hung,
and everything
has come unstrung.
We’re all hiding, scared, inside,
and it feels like
somewhere,
 the music died.

“Bye Bye Miss American Pie”.
Our dreams are all busted.
They were high as the sky.
Now we’re kaput;
we are left high and dry.
Will this “be the day that I die?”
Will this “be the day that I die.”

The orange king sat like a horny toad.
“The best virus ever! I’ll be great!” he crowed.
His minions hooded their eyes
at the smirk he bestowed.
We're screwed, my friends.
They're all talking in code.
Stay safe. Let's all try not to die.

Now I don’t know where this song will go,
but I fear it is places we do not yet know.
“Bye, Bye Miss American Pie."
Our dreams are all busted.
They were high as the sky
till “the day the music died.”



When I looked at the image, this song popped into my head. This isn't the poem I would like to have written about it. But it's a beginning.

For Carrie at The Sunday Muse's 100th post! Yay!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

WOMYN OF THE MOON



We womyn of the moontime,
following in the footsteps of
the shamanic dreamers of the past,
hearts attuned to the sound of the drum,
and the voice of the Watcher within,
know that, in every sister's herstory,
is an old wise woman with wrinkled cheeks,
a cackling laugh, and earth-based knowledge
of how to Be, of how to be
She.

In this grey-cloaked winter of the dream-time,
we must remember to water
our parched womanly roots,
hold fast to the place in the earth that is ours,
as the winds whip our branches,
and the cold seeps at the edges of our being.
There be danger in this domain,
if we try to stay.

As the days slowly lengthen,
we reverberate with the rhythm of the tides,
those wild winter waves that knock our hearts
off the shelf of safekeeping,
into the depths, where we rediscover
what we forgot
that we already know.

There will come a time, just before spring,
when a woman has to step from 
the shore of the familiar
into the ocean of womynkind,
open our eyes in the space
between the old world and the new,
the darkness and the light.
There be no old maps to guide you.
You must follow in trust,
with a wild, wolfish, instinctual knowing,
from which you will emerge,
keen of eye, imbued with wisdom,
to mother the whole world.


One from 2014, when Wild Woman was afoot, and not so tired, for the open link at Earthweal.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Connected



We live in a time of not-knowing,
slowly waking to Mother Earth's lesson:
what happens to one,
happens to us all.

We are connected by the
sudden understanding
that we are each one being,
among a planet of other beings.
trying to survive.

We are not invincible,
not above all other species;
we are as prey to death and calamity
as any other.

Mother Earth shakes her head
in maternal sorrow.
Her children are slow to awaken.
We learn the hard way.
We can be arrogant and wayward.

But we are also wonderful:
Italians stand on their balconies,
come evening, and sing.
In the morning, trucks carry away
their bodies in a long line
of sorrow.

The sun comes up;
morning songbirds still sing.
Spring flowers bloom.

We so slowly wake to the lesson:
we are all connected.
What happens to one,
happens to us all.


for earthweal, where we are contemplating the pandemic

Monday, March 16, 2020

Stay

The Pupster




I don't know why I was surprised every time love started or ended. Men bumbled into me. They chose me; I didn't realize that, by not choosing, I was still making a choice. Once, only, I chose. It was true love. Our five teenagers fought us every step of the way. We didn't have enough hope or trust to weather the storm. Looking back, the truest love of all came from a big, black, noisy, hilarious wolf. He led me a merry chase, made me laugh every day, awakened the wild in me, shared my grief when we had to leave. In fourteen years, his eyes never left me. He entered the vet's office with resistance; he fought that final needle with everything he had. He didn't want to leave me. I have missed him every day of the nine years since.


144 words for Prosery at dVerse:  flash fiction of no more than 144 words including the line "I don't know why I was surprised every time love started or ended", from Jane Hirschfield's poem 
"I Wanted To Be Surprised." I didn't. I just wanted someone to be committed enough to stay!