Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dance

Bad news comes at us
like a falling sky.
We begin anew each morn;
each day we try.
Hope lifts our feathers,
for our spirits
were born to fly,
and, one by one,
these strangest of days
go by.

Today the sun came out;
the fog had lifted,
trees poking through the mist:
beauty golden, beauty gifted.
John Lennon and i were singing:
Let's Give Peace a Chance,
for music is joy and my feet
still can dance.

I watch the news with horror
and with tears.
The world is full
of pain and hate and fear.
Still,  when music from those
long-gone happy years
wafts through the gloom,
I kick off my shoes
and dance a lick or two
across my empty room.


For Susie's prompt at Real Toads, to express dance through a poem.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Floods

A flood of rhetoric:
Alt-left, alt-right,
Endless discussion
About the morally indefensible;
How long until
We return to the land
Of Normal?
How long till we remember
Civil rational discourse,
Justice, integrity,
Peace?

         ***

Floods and forest fires,
Displaced populations;
They say the cost of dealing
With climactic events
After they occur
Will topple the world economy.
When will they figure out
Resisting action on climate chage
On economic grounds
Will cost them more?

     ***

They say switching to clean energy would create millions of jobs. Fighting fires and mopping up floods costs billions. And we havent yet lost a coastline, whole cities, but that is coming. We are a species slow to learn, as we are seeing this week, with civil war and WWII issues resurfacing . The flood of words and argument makes my soul weary, watching history repeat itself on one hand, while failing to see the obvious on the other.

I have to believe this momentum will galvanise civilisation sufficiently to move us through to intelligent action. We live in hope.

For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: floods


Ripples at High Tide

"Amidst the chaos, find your peace."
Turn off the talking heads, the horror,
the injustice, the insanity.

Find a green trail and follow it
down to the riverbank.
There are fish there,
swimming peacefully in verdant pools.
There is a heron,
contemplating his dinner,
intent and focused.
There are ripples spreading
outward from the centre,
the way hatred - or love -
spreads outward from its source
and gathers speed as it merges
with the tide.

There is an eclipse coming.
When the darkness lifts off,
may it take with it 300 years
- or three thousand? -
of social injustice.
May some light shine
into  the heart of darkness.
May the sickness burn off,
exposed
under the clarity
of a new sun.

In the sunrise of that
awakening,
may we forge
a more lasting peace.



For the prompt at dverse: to take words from a song and write a poem. I chose the words in quotes, from a song by Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Singing Kites of Wat Opot

Photo from the book


Khleng ek - the singing kite -
flies the heavens
in gratitude for harvest.
It sings its prayers to the God of the Wind,
for dispersing the clouds and bringing the sun,
so the rice grew well.

Below, the orphans of Wat Opot
know joy,
watching Brother Kite carry
their dreams and prayers
to the heavens, 
where all their parents live.

In long gone days, the old kite masters
could fashion kites that sang in seven tones,
a glorious symphony
heard below, especially in darkness,
when the heat and clamor of the day was done.
The orphans' kites sing in three tones,
sometimes five,
a miracle of small hearts
that try to hold big dreams,
against the certain knowledge
of all that took their families
away.


In 2014 I wrote this poem after reading In a Rocket Made of Ice, by Gail Gutradt, about the AIDS-impacted (and many HIV-positive) orphans of Wat Opot, in Cambodia. The orphanage, which now houses many orphans, and offers medical and supportive care to nearby villagers, as well as programs for the children, was begun by Wayne Matthysse, a former Marine corp medic in Vietnam. When he saw the need and responded, he had only fifty dollars in his pocket.

Now, he says he still has only fifty dollars in his pocket, but the work they are doing there, the lives they are helping, sustaining and, often times, honoring at their closing, is phenomenal.Gail has spent much time there among the children, and relays the children's stories so beautifully, that at each's chapter's closing, my heart felt a regretful ping. I grieved at the end of this journey among the children, upon closing the last page.

It is not the sadness of their plight, but the joy with which they live, that holds great lessons for the rest of us.

shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wild Woman Knows What She Knows II



Wild Woman knows what she knows,
and her wisdom is hard-won,
but no one young will listen.
They'd rather live the web they've spun.

**

Wild Woman is finally free.
She can never again be tamed.
She is growing old disgracefully,
and refuses to be blamed.

**

Wild Woman is beguiled
by the beauty of the earth,
knows the things that feed the spirit
are the only things of worth.

**

Wild Woman knows what she knows.
With the universe, she flows,
and she'll share her wisdom well
before she goes.

**


The source of this poem was one I wrote in 2013, which can be found here.

Magaly at Real Toads has asked us to compose a poem from a line of one of our own poems, so I picked one that popped up today as a facebook memory. The line quoted is from the title: Wild Woman Knows What She Knows.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Voyager Heart

Baby Leo and Graham
R.I.P.


Small puff-clouds
scoot across
the autumn sky
on the wings
of the morning.
I cross the road
to the rooster's
early cry.
From the sleepy forest
birds croak and caw,
the branches
stir and sigh.
The yard dogs bark
the new day in.
Horses whicker softly
over their apples and grain,
and the imperious marmalade cat
deigns a haughty nod
from his domain.

And I
am old enough
to be grateful for
such grace:
eyesight with which
to take this splendor in
the whole day long,
ears finely tuned
to hear
the planet's song,
legs that still carry me
though at a slower pace,
and that calm
voyager heart
that has
taken me
so far
while staying
in one place.


This poem is from 2010, when I was still living in my small trailer out Beaver Creek. I am sharing it in the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is always fine reading on a Sunday morning.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Ancestors Are Smiling

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his children
attended the opening ceremonies of
Tla o qui aht Days in Tofino.


The lead dancer holds up a feather
in each hand.
Behind her, the children follow,
one step, step-step-step, one step,
dipping and weaving
to the sound of the drum.

In a circle, the warriors sing
and pound their drums in a steady beat,
songs handed down
from grandfather to father to son,
songs of heritage,
songs of healing,
songs of pride in culture,
songs of coming home.

"The ancestors are smiling today,"
says the chief.
I can almost see them,
on the edge of the circle,
behind the veil between
this life and the sky world,
holding up their hands
in support of the dancers,
swaying to the beat of the drums.


for Isy's prompt at Real Toads: Writing Unseen, to write about something you can't see fully. The other day I attended  Tla o qui aht Days, a celebration of the rich culture of the Nuu chah nulth people, in whose territory we are privileged to live.

Prime Minister Trudeau was here in town on a family vacation. First Nations invited him to attend and he accepted.