Wednesday, June 30, 2010


[This poem is about Ada Annie-Rae Arthur, who came to Clayoquot Sound in the early 1900's, settling on rough land near Hesquiaht Harbour, which she worked her entire life to tame and cultivate. She is one of the notable characters of the area, having survived four husbands, personally killed 72 cougar, and raising eleven children.  The flower, above, is on her property. The photograph is likely included in the book Cougar Annie's Garden, by Margaret Horsfield. The garden is now maintained by the Temperate Rainforest Field Study Centre.

The poem was inspired by a quotation by David Whyte:

"I pull the bow out into the wide sea,
paddle dripping towards darkness,
and enter again
the quiet."]

June 2001

In the fading light,
I can just make out

the black shapes of the trees,
tall sentinels

that darkly watch me pass,
roots tangled thickly

down the ancient banks
right to the water's edge,

the shore held fast.

Dip and lift,
the only sound the water's lick,
paddle moving cleanly

through the spreading flow,
the low call of a sleepy owl,
winglift of swooping heron
in mid-flight.
Earth falls away,
above all a starshine glow,
inverted bowl of sky at night
protects me as I go.

Around the point, I drift into Cow Bay
where the big grays are feeding
in a pod.
A whoosh, a whoosh, a whoosh
a vast arched back
a fluke
and then the mystical descent,
their breath sounds like
the hidden voice
of God.

Dip of oar,
scattered droplets
silvered by the moon,
to the head

of Hesquiaht Harbour
home so soon
to farm and garden
mine now, only mine:
husbands and children
spilled like the sands of time,
homestead clawed

from tangled bush,
hardscrabble years
in which
I tamed this once wild patch
of ancient pine.

Now no one here but me,
no one to see:
the vibrant blooms

that spread out everywhere,
unexpected garden

from unyielding soil,
an unexpected life
of endless toil,
I now reflect upon.

I planted flowers
and blooming bushes
all those years,
nourished with laughter,
watered well with tears,
they flourished longer
than leggy children,
grown and so swiftly gone.

Seventy years upon this place,
from young bride
to homesteader/hermit
no man stayed long beside.

At ninety
still a hard glint
in my eyes
my face bird-like, alert,
intent and listening,
hands cradling the rifle,
head cocked - hush!-

ears tuned for the sound
of cougar in the bush.

72 cougar I killed
over the years,
mice and chickens'

necks I snapped
without a thought.
Four husbands

lived beside me
then they died;
eleven children

into the world,
eleven gone.
What mattered most
this place, the life
that living in it


All gone now,
but this place meant
for no other.
The blooms turn

their sweet faces up
to meet me
like a lover.

The fog parts;

my canoe slips
in between
the veil that hides

from this world
the unseen.
These ghostly shores
I shall forever roam.
I'm Cougar Annie and I'm

heading Home.


My two beautiful daughters,
Lisa, above, and Stephanie, below with Sanchez

February 12, 2003
You do not have to be Superwoman
You do not have to leap tall buildings
with a single bound
You only have to get through
this one intricately challenging
and slightly preposterous day
with as much grace and humor as possible
Tell me how hard it is,
just to keep going
and I will hear you
Meanwhile the myriad galaxies spin
in their mystical and so mysterious orbits
across a midnight sky bejeweled with diamonds
Meanwhile the generous sun comes up each morning
offering a brand new day for trying
Meanwhile all beings in the cosmos
arise and go about their single day of solitary living
Whoever, you are, whatever your state of being,
the world awaits your constant co-creation -
issues you a blank canvas that cries out for
all the vibrant colors of your day,
you the living paintbrush, to draw forth
all your fire and fortitude and passion
and your deep, sweet peacefulness
at resting in the life that is oh so sweetly
and familiarly
*** *** *** *** *** ***
safe passage
october 8, 2004
looking around
at all the broken lives -
people with mental illness,
depression, poverty-
such a long highway
from where they are
to where they want to be-
bombed countrysides
famine and despair
the whole earth a global entity
in need of healing-
what prayer
can possibly encompass
all that needs to happen?
what prayer
like a mantra
whispered by a mother
over her sleeping children
can grant
the impossible....
that all may have
safe passage
through this world?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Poems for Eric

[I am hiding this back in my archives, as they are not for the general public. But they are a part of my history, and part of my poetical output, so I want to include them. These poems document a part of my journey that I often remember. Eric was the one and only man I was ever with because I really loved him. Other men "happened" to me. I was with them because they chose me, not the other way around. Even so, it was far from perfect. We did love each other, but Eric was unable to commit and I was too insecure in those days, too afraid of abandonment to be okay without a commitment. He was a beautiful but tortured soul without the gift of happiness. I was a free spirit trying to be okay in cages. We moved in together with a total of five teenagers and one seven year old between us. Clearly impossible. The kids were not happy and I felt we were all paying a high price without any surety (though there is never any surety.) Plus I was all too aware - he made me all too aware - that his eye was always roving - there were so many other, more beautiful women out there, and I was only one woman. How could he be content with a snack, when there was a whole smorgsbord waiting?

Eric gave me doves on my birthday. One of the doves was killed by his cat. The other dove lived on alone. The evening I told Eric I was moving out, he sat in silence for a few horrible moments. Then he simply reached over and opened the door of the cage. The dove flew out to its freedom. That said it all.

However, when I look back, he is the only one I regret, the only one I remember, the only one my feelings did not change for. These days he is living in Nicaragua and feels he is in Paradise. I am glad he has found happiness. Because I so wanted someone to share the journey with, my task was to make it through this life mostly alone. I have children, and friends aplenty, but never managed a long-term partner and, finally, I no longer wanted or needed one. Though, at any time through all the years, had Eric ever called and asked me to, I would have been on my way to him within the hour.]

February 16, 1983

After the long night,
an early morning.
After the long silence,
a tapping at my window.
After too long alone,
I rose to greet you,
and now I often wake
at four in the morning,
remembering your touch
that woke me,
woke me
from my long sleep.

March 3, 1983

Out in the country,
brown and bare,
I'm watching seagulls
gray rainy skies
when suddenly
thoughts of you
invade my quietude
with an urgency
that tells me
this must be

March 14, 1983

somtimes I feel
like a closed book
I want you to open
as if you see
only the covers of me
and I'm not sure
if you even want to read
all that lies hiding
inside of me.
sometimes in the dark
when we open up the pages
e get close
but time and all
there always is to do
and I feel I've been snapped shut
in the middle of a chapter
till the next time
there is a time
and it's not that I'm asking
for more time
for us to be -
only to know
whether you want to
keep on
reading me.

March 24, 1983

you like beginnings:
the thrill of the chase.
I'm careful at beginnings.
I like to feel safe.
You came on so strong
that almost, I believed
and though you are already
halfway gone
I begin to feel attached
just as you leave.
For you like beginnings
and pain has taught me
everything I know
and so perhaps I was
a little slow
in removing my defences
just before you go.

March 39, 1983

Like a daisy
growing out of a crack
in the pavement
I see you,
your feet in cement,
your head in the sun.
Fill your eyes full of clouds,
your heart with content:
scent of earth,
blue of sky,
good work to be done
and no need to ask why.
Think a thought of me
on the periphery
of your day,
sweet person,
as I grow peaceful
in my garden plot.
Like a daisy
I count all your petals,
one by one:
he loves me,
he loves me not.

April 17, 1983

at the end of a
peaceful day
spent watching you -
the face,
the smile,
the voice,
the quiet eyes.
and listening to my heart
as over and over
it says
your name
your name
as over and over
and over
it says
your name.

April 27, 1983

your face
above me
dark-bearded and beautiful
against the sky

behind your shoulders
and in my heart
a boulder
that dammed up
all my feelings
slipped and slid
and I know
I love you
love you
for giving me
my most beautiful day.

May 1, 1983

Toss me aside
so lightly.
It doesnt hurt
because you prove
there never really was
any caring there
to make it
the shedding of
one tear.

May 5, 1983

sifting through your words
and reservations,
your disclaimers,
I return again and again
to the friendly closeness
of lying in your arms.
With all the holding off
you do with words,
with your arms you draw me
closer, closer in
and so you draw me back to you again
from where I'd retreated
in my fear of pain
and even though you promise
to be leaving soon
I love you now
in the dark, dark, dark
of your room.

May 23, 1983

and sunshine,
your face caught against a backdrop
of fluffy Muppet movie clouds
on clear blue sky.
Your kind eyes looking down
rush of traffic down below,
children's voices,
then no sound.
Only you and me,
locked suspended
in a world of We,
eyes closed fast
against the light,
holding tight.
And I forgive the universe
for all those lonely years,
for all the tears
and times I thought
it would never happen to me.
I had almost forgotten
the little I ever knew
of closeness
and love on rooftops
till life gifted me
with you.

May 28, 1983

when I sometimes feel you
traveling vast distances away
following other faces
that beckon you like stars
and I remember
too many years alone
untouched, untouching
and how I traveled far
to find this closeness
just being where you are

Fear turns
to gratitude
that at least
once more
I've had the chance
to hold you close
within the friendly dark
and tell you
just how beautiful
you are.

june 13, 1983

look outward, friend,
and see the beauty there:
each flower and each tree
so perfectly being
what it's meant to be.

look inward, friend,
and see your beauty too.
Arent you as beautiful as any tree?
So much I see there when I look at you;
just like a flower,
all you need do is be.

look closer, friend, and see
the way you are reflected in my eyes:
you're made of star-gazing and dreams,
sorrow and seeking,
and through your pain-filled eyes
your soul is speaking.

Like an eagle rising through black clouds
into the clearer air is how I see you.
I long for you to fly beyond the pain
and find the freedom that awaits you there
when you let go and see how much remains.

July 2, 1983

still like an eagle,
above the clouds you soar now.
Something has freed you,
flying up so high.
And down below,
I catch my breath to see you:
a thing of beauty
dark against the sky.

August 12, 1983

I watch you walk on sand.
The surf rides up the beach,
like emotions fill my heart full -
ebb and flow.
Music plays behind me.
My feet play in sand,
and my spirit soars
as new contentment
fills me fuller
than I've ever been

August 19, 1983

The baby dove takes flight.

You walk under the branches
with kind eyes.

In total trust
it steps into your hand.

I engrave the sight
upon my heart

I know it is your spirit,
your inner being
that I am seeing
shine so plainly there,
and that I love a man
of rare worth and beauty

So in total trust
my heart takes flight
and comes to rest
within your
gentle hand.

September 15, 1983

sometimes I'd like to
just chase clouds and dream,
roll downhill
through buttercups and clover
and pretend
there'll be a time
when all the pain
and struggle
will be over.

When I lie beside you
my tears are not for joy
(though there is joy
in all I've found in you)
but for chagrin
that even in finding
all I have been
it's still real life,
each day with its
own struggles
and I still must stay
so strong.
Not halving the load,
each of us packs
his own burden,
and all we can
hope to do
is comfort
and take comfort in
each other.

Hello, fellow traveler.
Your path is so like mine.
Like two oxen in a field
did we stumble and stagger
over rocks and hillocks
to meet
and try to
pull our load
in tandem.
How we fight
the bitter harness,
our eyes raised
to where the world
is free,
up to our knees
in mud,
with a head
full of dreams,
-to what avail?-
hello, brother dreamer.
When you hold me,
comfort is
the only word I know.
I see
your spirit
and I admire
your beauty
for surviving.
Let me help you.
Let me tell you
how you help me
by giving me days
when I feel life is all
I ever wanted it to be.
And in days
when my spirit cries
it doesnt want
any more
any more
just no more pain
and struggle,
you help me
just by being there,
you share,
and in your sharing,
you bring forth
all my caring.

Hello, friend.
Your hand in mine
doesnt make the load
any lighter
but it sure feels friendly.
And there is a rightness
being here with you
that I dont need to
put words to.
I'm glad I didnt miss
this part of the highway,
so much nicer walking
here with you.
I'd have missed so much
I'm learning
on my own.
And I may cry
because there is
no easy way
but all I have to do
is look at you
to know
I'd rather share
the struggle
here with you
day by day
than take
the easiest path
any other way.

October 17, 1983

Swimmer in
my secret sea,
you've touched
the inner parts
of me.
While others
on my shore,
you've come
where no one
ever was before.

Striving together
upon the tide,
locked together
do we ride
and you are
deep deep deep
the inner chambers
where I hide.

And oh, the fear,
the fear it comes
at thoughts
of one day
being one
after all the
warmth of you
and the closeness
of being two.

Swimmer in
my secret sea,
I know words
wont set fears free,
but you have
traveled far too far
to where
my deepest
feelings are.

And even when
you go away,
part of you
will always stay
swimming in
my secret sea
in the
heart of me.

October 15, 1983

Brother Dreamer,
when your struggles take you
so far away
from where my touch
can reach you,
lonely as the eagle
who soars gray skies
and perches on jagged peaks
surveying harsh
of the inner soul,
it makes me
lonely too.
I watch
your painful journey,
knowing all my love
encircling you
does not warm
that cold distant place
where you're circling
Beautiful traveler,
your path
my path,
your pain
my pain.
In sharing
your aloneness,
I am alone

December 26, 1983

Loving the eagle,
glorying in his flight,
in his beauty,
in his eagle-ness,
could I
throw a rope
around his neck
and pull him
from the sky?
Tie him to earth
with love untrue
where, fettered and tame,
and with his spirit lame,
he would not not any longer
be the eagle
I once knew?
Fly, eagle, fly,
free and beautiful and high.
Set your spirit free,
be all that you can be,
for my love wants to lift you
up so high
that you find all the beauty
in the sky.
I love your beauty now,
appreciate the being
that you are,
and all I know
is Love is not the captor
of our hearts -
only our own fear
of letting go.

March 14, 1984

Your interpretation
was so far
from my intention.
All the times
I put my arms
around you
you thought I was
asking something of you,
while I thought I was
I'm stunned
you did not see:
it was for you
I always loved you,
not for me.

[In September my kids and I moved out. Soon he was driving past my house laughing with someone new. But this September day in 1986, I found myself stopping by his house and worldlessly he took my hand and led me to his room. I wrote this poem, perhaps hoping we would start up once again. But we never did. He never called, he was never one to initiate and after all that had happened, he would have needed to this time.]

Brother Dreamer,
we've traveled far
to get to where we are.
How much further
we have yet to go
it is good we
do not know.
But I trust
the universe
is taking me
where I'm
supposed to flow.
And am set free
to accept
such offerings
as sky and trees
and a sheltered
rainy day
within your arms,
knowing there'll be
no harm.
Sweet Dreamer,
as always
when I look at you,
your beauty shines.
Life has been kind
that I can count you
as a special friend
of mine.

[I spoke to him on the phone the summer of '89 when Jeff was so ill. His daughter Lorill went to visit Jeff. In our conversation he asked me how I liked Tofino and I told him how ecstatic I was there, that it was like one big coffeehouse. He was happy for me. He told me he had bought himself the Harley he had always wanted, suggested he might take it on the road and come and see me. But he never did. So it was unexpected when he phoned me on Christmas Eve, 1991. My house was full of kids and we were about to make the trip to Qualicum to spend Christmas with my mom at my sister's house. Eric told me he was in Vancouver, at his father's. As always he didnt say what perhaps he was hoping and without the words, I couldnt presume or guess. But I imagine, now, being that close to the Island, he might have been hoping I'd come to him or invite him to come to me. As always, I was hampered by family and not free. We spoke for a few moments, I hung up confused. What had he wanted? Why couldnt he say the words?

Sigh. Always missed connections. It was so rare for him to reach out. And of course it had to be a moment when I was up to my eyeballs in obligations.

December 24, 1991

Eagle brother,
your eyess have always
pierced me through
to the secret place
only you knew.
There was
in your glance
that drew me
straight to you.
Fellow dreamer,
weary traveler,
in a world
of happiness
where finally
it is only
found within,
we once shared
and a comfort
that I only knew
with you.
For you alone
was my love
deep and true.
I walked on -
your pain
too great
to allow me
to stay,
my love too deep
to be able to say -
yet the sound of your voice
on the phone
makes the years
fall away,
and suddenly
it is
eight years ago
once more.

[This last poem I actually mailed to him and I think he may have received it. No answer of course. Later I heard he had moved to the Kootenays, long his dream. His daughters both came looking for me in their young womanhood to thank me for being an influence on them back when. I asked his older daughter to ask him if I mighrt email him. He gave his standard answer: let the past be the past, no looking back. But I have always looked back. He was my one love. He always told me "No easy answers". But I didnt want an easy answer. I just wanted AN answer.]

July 13, 1997

These days
I often find
my thoughts
to dusty mesas
dotted with dry scrub
along the arroyo
through dry, sandy gorges
you once told me
was a river
long ago

In reverie
I circle
sleepy rooftops
finding yours
where we made love
one afternoon
your face
so dark and beautiful
above me
those summer days
that ended
way too soon

Those days
you were an eagle
soaring / captive
caught somewhere
between the earth
and sky
while I caught my breath
and emptied out
my being
into the wonder
of becoming
you and I

Now my spirit
sometimes walks
on summer mornings
-dew-fresh scent of tall marsh grasses,
willow trees,
fresh lake ripples
lapping gently
on the shore-
the scent of
all the mornings
I remember
and I long to walk
beside the lake
once more

In memory you turn
your slow smile on me
always a bird
on your hand
I hear again the coo
of doves at daybreak
and somewhere -
another time, another land -
"Blackbird" is singing
in the dark of night
while two lonely seekers
try to hold their pain
at bay
by clinging to each other
way too tight
unable to find words
to make it right
and somehow lost their way

The dove lost its mate
and flew
but keeps on
circling back to you
never very far
from where you are
if you but knew

Through all those years
I saw your beauty plain
and now I am

The single step
that started
my long journey
the thousand miles it took
to bring me home
all I was searching for
I found within me
forever now
without the need
to roam

I have one more hug
to give you
in this lifetime
one more time to see
the smile start
in your eyes
if we never meet again
know I have loved you
as no other
all the seasons
of our lives

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time to introduce the Children!

It finally occurred to me there are a lot of DOGS on my site, and no humans. So I thought it might be time to introduce some of the people in my life. This is my sister, Lori, and her horse Beau. When Lori isnt working or mowing the lawn, she is attending horse events, like cattle penning, which she and Beau are pretty good at, or various Back Country Horsemen events. Lori lives right across the street from me, so we help each other out with all the critters, the non-human ones that is.

This is The Big Four, above, from left to right my son Jeff, daughter Lisa,
younger daughter Stephanie, and big brother Jon. A good looking crew, if I do say so.

This is the beautiful Zenny, brother Jon's wife, the sweetest girl in the world.
The whole family adores her.

Granddaughter Ali and her son, Damian,
now four whole years old.

Grandsons Caleb and Josh
I called Caleb Mr Sunshine when he was little -
His smile is temporarily unavailable - they call it
adolescence :)

the grandsons, Tyler on the right,
looking way cool,
and the beautiful Emma,
Josh's girlfriend

Great-Grandma Sherry and Damian
at the lake
How did being a great-grandma happen
so fast? And Lisa has got to be the
youngest most beautiful grandma ever!

That's the Clan! I did it! And not one dog in sight, hee hee!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Narrows, Stamp Falls

March 30, 2002

Song of the river wild,
Song of the rapids leaping
Through the chiseled rock-walled chasm
Green with weeping,
A plunging torrent
To the ocean seeping

Song of the sea-green foam
Song of the white froth dancing
Sun-dappled baby wave-tops prancing
In the sunshine, all my dreams

Song of the green rock wall,
A vessel for the river's journey,
Guiding the flow along the channel churning
To the ocean and as it's

Song of the tall green trees
Rootbound and stoic in the deep crevasses
Rooted in bedrock holding up the mountain,
Sentinels for every year
that passes

Song of the laughing brook
Below the rapids green, swirling and babbling
Huge salmon leap,
Fall back in shallows dabbling,
Plunge forth to lunge again,
Leaping and scrabbling

Song of the river wild,
You sing my tattered soul a new song,
Bless the silver beauty of this new day,
Make me know the path I'm on
Is not wrong.

Song of the seasoned soul
That knows the underlying message
Of the river:
Flow with me,
Not against me as we journey;
Travel lightly,
Not a taker,
But a giver.


January 31, 2002

I am a lover of the blue sky.
Perfect clouds
like a dream sail by;
of a green walk in the wild wood;
of tall trees dripping on me
where I stood;
of mist rising up
where the river bends;
of the small sweet song
of a striped-headed wren.

I am a lover of the burning flame
lit for world peace
in hearts the same.
I am a lover of the morning sun,
already radiant
the day begun.
I am a lover of the whale, leaping,
of the blue, blue hills
in the sunset sleeping.
I am a lover
of the eagle's cry,
who sweeps and soars
without a Why.
I am a lover
of life alone,
of the heart's peace
when it's at home.

I am a lover
of my old dog's smile,
of his warm brown eyes,
of his lack of guile.

I am a lover of the warm spring rain,
of the smell of earth stirring
to life again.
I am a lover of the ocean's roar,
of the sandy beach
stretching all before.
I am a lover of rock and log,
of driftwood shapes
looming through the fog.
I am a lover of clouds, of stars,
of the falling dark,
of soft guitars,
of the meadowlark,
of the summer breeze,
of days of struggle,
days of ease,
of heartfelt love
gone away too soon,
of goodbyes
under a slice of moon.

I am a lover
of fresh-cut grass,
of children's laughter,
of dogs I pass,
of babies all
innocence and rapture,
of the bent and aged
who tremble after,
of the falling leaves,
of a job well done,
and I am a lover
of beasts that run,
of water that moves
and creates its own way,
of the journey made
and the price I pay.

I am a lover
of brand new books,
those journeys that
I never took.
I am a lover of music that sings
songs of the heart,
the hope it brings,
and the flight of poems
for a brand new dawn
that knows this life
is Moving On.

Like the heron, stalk-still
at the water's edge,
makes a sudden leap
I am the same.
Poised to dive
from a tilting ledge,
the horizon lit
with a golden flame,
I'm waiting
to hear
call my name.


(thoughts while walking the dog, looking up from my worries
to see more than one rainbow in the sky - glorious!)
January 25, 2006

When you are hanging onto
the very last edge
of the edge
of the skinniest branch
and you feel your grasp slipping,
look up!
There's a sky full of rainbows,
row upon row of them,
shining up there,
to tell you that
all will be well
all will be well
all will be exceedingly well.
God's in His heaven
in the so clear air,
and all will be
exceedingly well.

When the grayest of rain clouds
has just dumped its deluge
upon you,
and you are mopping your eyes
and wringing out your hair,
look quickly!
You just might glimpse
the shine of angel wings
hovering there,
at the very edge of
your peripheral vision,
to encourage you and I
that, on the other side
of this trauma
or sadness or challenge,
the radiant dawn
of a brand new day
lies somewhere
just waiting
to break across your
morning sky.

When you have reached
the very limit
of what you feel you can
or should
when the stress has
weighed you down so far,
you're not sure exactly
how you will
pull through,
go out to where the water
the mountain.
See the waterfall
tumble down its slopes
for you.
Watch the eagle
lift out of the mist
into the shrouded skies.
Take a deep breath
and believe,
just like the eagle,
your spirit, too,
your spirit once more
will rise.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Clayoquot Sound, photo through Friends of Clayoquot Sound

[This poem was written as I ferried down the Inside Passage from the north, where I had wintered, (hibernated!), back home to my beloved Tofino. Joy accompanied me, every inch of the journey.]

Song of the green, green hills,
Song of the porpoise leaping,
Ice-pack down the mountain seeping
A sudden torrent, like a giant weeping;
Prayer of the silent earth,
Deep within, where the springtime's stirring,
Gratitude into my heart creeping -
My spirit waking, which had long been sleeping.

I'm alive as the waterfall,
Cascading downward, like a fountain.
Its living waters carve an ageless path -
Eternity upon the velvet mountain.

Song of the evening sky,
Soft colors fading, end-of-day to starshine,
Each star a promise of a new tomorrow,
Song of the hopeful heart that is mine.

Surge of the sea-green foam,
Sound of the mountains singing,
Joy within me ringing,
Thrum of the motor bringing me,
Lift of my heart winging me,
Song of the mountains singing me
All the way home.


july 14, 2002

twenty thousand
four hundred and fifty days
upon this earth
have I
gazed up in unceasing wonder
at the
each morning opening
my eyes upon
a brand new canvas
lit up by the dawn,
ready for
brush strokes
by a Master Artist's hand,
in hourly transformations
bright and clear
across the land.

I look away, look back,
and all has changed.
Unseen, the canvas
has been
like a flawless magician
whose magic is
too pure to understand,
our eyes drink in
the beauty
and applaud
the sleight of hand.

No two canvasses alike,
each one supremely
an ever-changing masterpiece
created there
by God.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


July 20, 1999
[This was written as a Tofino writers' group exercise: what kind of tree would you be, if you were a tree? I chose the Hanging Garden Tree, on the Tall Tree Trail on Meares Island. Many life forms grow upon its branches. As a single mother of four, grandmother of four, I could relate to this tree:) The title could be a response to Jerry Mander's In the Absence of the Sacred. The air in that forest was more holy than any cathedral.]

I am Hanging Garden Tree,
my thick trunk hosting
an abundance of life forms,
diverse and vital;
garlanded with root and vine,
with fern and flower,
a universe
within my leafy bower.

I am home to Sky Creatures,
all the winged ones,
Owl and skyhawk,
Murrulet and swallow;
small furry-pawed ones
dart among my branches
and nestle soft within my sleepy hollows.

A thousand fern fronds
drape fringed shawls
along my shoulders,
soft moss, green lichen
and fat mushroom clinging,
climbing vine that wraps itself around me
and, in my hair,
a hundred sparrows, singing.

Myriad insect worlds
I tend and harbor.
I shelter bear and wolf,
am food for deer.
To all Two-Leggeds
who come before me, seeking,
I offer peace
within my
silent arbor.

Young Standing People
upon my branches grow.
They came through me,
nurtured the best I know.
Roots fattened
with the seasons
of my living,
they stretch beyond my reach now,
one by one,
as I support
their separate struggle
towards the sun.

In this the season
of my deep reflection
I'm tired now;
I have endured an age.
At dusk,
Sky Woman comes
serene and sage
to scatter stars
about my weary head,
while Sister Moon
sends me
such perfect dreams
I'm spirit-fed
and morning comes
too soon.

In this grove
we're in
the presence of the sacred:
feeling our shared breath,
tenancy of earth and sky,
to all the Four Directions
by the Love
to which we all belong,
under the grace
of a Celestial Eye,
all singers
of a universal song.

Hymn of Praise

October 4, 2001
Wind whispers
through the canopy
like lake ripples
through the trees
Small leaves spiral
thick as raindrops,
pixies dancing
on the breeze
Sunlight consecrating trees -
almost I hear an organ sound:
I, pilgrim and acolyte,
the golden forest
hallowed ground
Birch bark like ancient manuscript
writ by a gnarled and pointy hand
tells tales of olden times long-gone,
bygone days upon the land
Once again, the breeze-song swells,
upon the wind a hymn of praise:
to these blessed simple days,
these days we have,
a hymn of praise.
*** *** *** ***
July 22, 1999
Graceful heron
swooping across
the evening sky
like a pteradactyl,
Prehistoric bird
perched on a treetop,
My heart swoops with you,
then stills,
standing by the silent pond,
waiting for the night to settle
around us both
softly as feathers.
*** *** *** ***
July 9, 1999
Song of the frogs
in the fading light
soft fade the hills
in the falling night
God touching earth
with a gentle might
and all is beauty
within my sight
soft falls the light
on garden walls
a rose-hued mountain
as day's curtain falls
a froggy symphony
serenades the night sky
and grateful, grateful, grateful
*** *** *** *** ***
meditation on green
july 1, 2001
the color of life, of growth,
tall, spindly pine
draped in old man's beard
a thousand fern fronds
under whose umbrella
twin blooms
small as a baby's tears
peek pertly
jagged stump
covered in soft thick moss
framed by tall cedars
among whose lofty branches
songbirds flit
their trill echoing across
the sleepy forest
winding trails
through the silence
paths springy, living
where we walk
heads thrown back
one with the ferns the fronds the trees
the height that teaches us to strive
the sky
a compass for
all our flighty dreams
clouds drifting by
one breath two breaths
leafy breath
and human sigh
ringing through the silent
piercing me
with each piercing
I'm made new
forest floor alive
under our live feet
step so lightly
dont crush the mosses!
fairies drinking dewdrops
from the white bell-shaped blossoms
frogs in the skunk cabbage
yellow jonquils
line the deadened pond
the forest holds its breath
and waits
it waits
till we are
*** *** *** ***

This Hobbled Existence

May 2006

Every now and then
I look up and out
from this hobbled existence
through a window of miracles
and glimpse:

a heron gliding by
like a grim and skinny matron
clutching her pocketbook
under a stiff wing,

or a shimmery rainbow
gossamer valentine from the deity

or the silent promise of daybreak
every day brand new upon the planet

or a patch of blue amidst gray storm clouds

or the stalwart enduring heartbeat of a thousand year old cedar
an eagle peering down from its topmost scrag

Every now and then a brand new miracle occurs:
a baby catching its first breath
utters its protesting cry
at leaving its gloried heaven
to endure this planet's pain

Each time we celebrate with joy
a new soul's journey
is beginning
once again.

Every now and then I look up
beyond the burden and the blessings
at the vast and constant sky
and remember
what I'm doing here
and why

Sunday, June 20, 2010


My grandson, Josh~I wrote this as one grandmother to another.

Sister Refugee,
your hopeless tear-streaked face
looks out at me from my tv screen
and I recognize how easily
it might have been reversed,
I finding myself
sitting in your place.

It could so easily be me instead of you
huddled on that muddy hillside in the rain,
looking so tired and old,
so resigned and full of pain,
cradling a sleepy grandchild
against the bitter cold.

What do we know or care of politics?
Our lives are about love,
and keeping children safe.

We walk the same earth,
share the sky above,
that yours rains bombs and mine rains tears
a trick of fate
that could just as easily reverse
this time next year.

Your eyes meet mine across the miles
with bitter dread.
In the midst of all this folly
how do we keep the children fed?
How nurture the future,
how hang on to hope,
when life hangs suspended
by such a fragile thread?

We both agree
that this is not The Way,
are helpless but to endure,
having no say,
until the tide can turn
and turn once more,
tossing us up
upon a kinder shore.