Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Changing the World

[image from]
Posted for the Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Wednesday
challenge to write something with a metaphysical bent.

Is it foolish
for humans to think
we can change the world?

We already have
changed the world.

We just have no clue
how to change it back.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Dogs

Hi kids, I was thinking of this poem this morning, written for last year's Christmas, when everyone and their dogs (literally) came home for Christmas, to my teensy trailer. It was pretty hilarious, lots of cackles. It was the old Pupster's last Christmas, too, and we all knew it. He only lived a couple of weeks past Christmas. I decided to post it, to give us all a smile this morning, as the last days of November fade away, and we turn our thoughts to this year's Christmas.

This year, everyone isn't coming home. Lori and I will have our Christmas on Christmas Eve, and then I will bus down-Island to be with Steph and Gord in Victoria on Christmas Day. Here is what it was like last Christmas Eve in my little trailer:


The stockings aren’t hung.

It should be no surprise.
In today’s economy,
Santa has to downsize.

The Walmart shoppers
have slowed to a trickle.
If you’re not done by now,
you’re in a real pickle.

Jeff crashes in and out
to the front porch to smoke.
Jon groans:
“Trying to sleep
in this house is a joke”

In the living room Steph and Gord,
tucked in their bed,
watch dreams of a night’s sleep
die in their head.

Jeff’s back! Reaching for
the doorknob with glee.
Five dogs raise their heads:
“Oh, it’s time to go pee!”

Walking dogs in the dark,
I fall in the ditch.
This Christmas gig
can be a real b-tch!

Mother Hubbard arrives
to prepare the big feast.
How’ll she ever turn
lentils and beans
to Roast Beast?

Old Dog thinks he’s died
and gone straight to Dog Hell,
and his owner suspects
she has gone there as well.
Sixteen humans
are coming for dinner
and bringing eight dogs.
Someone’s a real winner!

I’m the old woman
who lives in a shoe.
We’ll have to hang ‘em on pegs
or else go somewhere new.

Two hundred inches
of rain falling down:
Here’s hoping Santa
and his reindeer don’t drown.

I can make it till Christmas
is over, I think,
especially if you pour me
one more little drink ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The River Wild

She walks by the river wild
in floating mist,
the ancient cedars  tall and dark
against gray skies.
She hears a branch snap sharply underfoot
and senses a sudden movement
from the corners of her eyes.

Gray shifting shapes
are flitting through the trees,
silent and watchful,
heads and tails aloft.
Gray wolf family
elusive, wild and free,
dogging her every step
with footfalls soft.

The water roars its song
and fast away
the wild creatures run
to the safety of their den.
Tonight they'll howl
their wild song to the moon
Tomorrow the forest
will be  theirs again.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Child of the '60's

[image from google]

I was a child of the '60's, but I was raised in small-town Kelowna, which was still back in the '50's. Just as I have never owned a car that was in the same decade I am, I seem to have always been living behind the times, never truly catching up.

When the times, they were a-changing in larger centers, conventional churchy Kelowna held the reins tightly on its teenagers. The mores were strict, constant admonishments were laced liberally with Guilt and Fear, and while music was beginning to tanatalize our senses and rustle through our imaginations, we were kept tightly leashed. Being a Bad Girl was not even remotely possible.

It was like American Graffiti - exactly like American Graffiti - on Friday nights. Girls climbed into snazzy two-toned cars with huge fins,that smelled of talcum powder and Brilliantine (remember duck tails?), grinning boys with pink faces behind the wheel, and the procession would begin: up one side of Bernard Avenue and through City Park at the end, then trolling down the other side, seeing who was out with who in all the other cars.

In my world, kissing was all that went on when you "parked", though I remember being shocked when I double dated with a long-time slightly older couple and they made out hot and heavy in the front seat while my date and I sat uncomfortably in the back, each looking out our respective side window. Pepsi, his name was, a short little guy with no discernible pep, which was, at that time, a good thing, given his prim and clueless  date:)

I remember stopping by the radio station after school to request a song to be played for the current boy I was dating, and going home to listen to the program. I had a little box record player, and a growing collection of 45's and 33 and a thirds. It was rock 'n roll, love, bee-bop-a-luba, she's my baby, and at the sock hops, one boy and I danced such a cool swing routine that everyone would fall back and form a circle around us to watch. Sigh. Innocent times.

There was a rumor that a few hippies had actually dared to camp in City Park, and the appalled adults related with grim satisfaction that the City Fathers had made short work of them; they were evicted from town immediately, and told  never to return. What were hippies, I wondered?

It was in the '70's, when I found out. By then, I was unhappily married, and had three small children, living as conventional a life as it is possible to live, in Kitsilano on 3rd Avenue in Vancouver. One block up, on 4th, gloriously beaded and attired, free, beaming, long haired  young men and women were wandering up and down. They didn't work, they just lived, with a sense of self I was still at least a decade away from developing. It was all love and peace and incense and flowers, and I so wondered how they had escaped the burdensome life I lived. How did they learn to be that free?

My spirit was unconventional, but I had been conditioned and programmed to funnel myself into a small box with no horizon. I kept longing to fly, but first had to extricate myself from the cage I had been lured into.

It took me some time, but eventually I wandered into a coffeehouse and experienced some of that alternative lifestyle, among the beautiful gentle people. It was the '80's by then. And in 1989, I made a stunning leap to Tofino and there they were again - my people.

It might have been a convoluted journey of trial and error to find my way, given such a sheltered beginning. But I look back to those days of innocence and safety with affection. My grandchildren live in a world where they are exposed to too much - to everything - and they have no protective shield with which to lace their dreams with hope. Too much Reality to allow for magic. And drugs have the power to seduce young lives away into oblivion.

Will they look back on their childhoods one day the way I look back on mine? I dont see how they can and I mourn that loss of innocence for them.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Trusting in the Safety of God's Hands

[God's hand found on google]

Faiza is beyond exhausted,
at the very edge of collapse,
so focussed has she been
on caring for Bill,
making his final passage
to the next dimension.

"He told me he's ready to go,"
she tells me,
her eyes briming with tears,
in her face such  profound grief,
tempered, finally, with acceptance
that what she most feared
is, indeed, happening.

"I asked God,
'Dear God, the pain
You would give to him,
give it to me,
for I can carry it."

Small and bent,
grimacing with pain,
she hobbles tenderly to his side.

"Are you all right, habibti?
What would you like?
Some cereal, nice and warm?
I'll get it for you,
my sweetheart."

Miles and miles she shuffles daily
in that small house,
caring for her husband's every need.

Week by week, I watch him sinking
deeper into the sleep
that presages the longest sleep.
As his cheeks become sunken,
his face jaundiced,
his breathing harsher,
still, each week, he asks me,
"How are you, sweetie?
It must be Thursday."

Faiza shows me a small photo.
It is the hand of God,
which she tells me appeared
on a mirror somewhere and,
when they wiped the mirror,
it appeared on the other mirror.
She has placed it over her left shoulder,
right in the spot where she says
the pain is like a knife, stabbing.

She prays for strength to see Bill through.
She dare not collapse.
Will power keeps her back upright
that longs to lie flat.
Determination keeps her feet shuffling
on legs that barely hold her up.
Bill's need and her devotion
is her focus.
Later, she will worry about herself.
I worry for her, as she will have
no resources left with which to
weather the hardest months of all,
which loom ever closer.

May God hold them both
in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Joy Rising

Just look at these two beautiful faces! My older daughter, Lisa, and the new addition to her family: Penny. Penny is one year old and her Person died suddenly two days ago. So sad. A mutual friend called up Lisa and asked, "How would you lik the best Christmas present ever?" and Lisa said "Sure!" She is always ready for magic to happen. And the magic is Penny!

Some years back, Lisa had a darling smart little Yorkie called Hope, who bolted out the door one day and was hit by a car out in front of her house. Lisa was devastated and since then has been offered other dogs but none of them  was the right one. It takes a special one to fill Hope's shoes - and this little girl is very special. She and Lisa's small kitty are making friends, too.

Yay! Nothing like a new pup for Christmas. Hmmmm.....small Santa hats....squeaky balls........special soft bed...........yippee!

Penny, you are sooooooooooo welcome! We have been waiting a long time for you. Kids - dont open a door without first finding out where Penny is!!!!!!!

Here is Milo, who has been needing a companion............he is very interested in the new arrival. Now he wont be lonely:)

Happy Days!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Memory Bowl

Ellie, at Real Toads, gave us the prompt of a memory bowl, to fill with objects that evoke memories, photograph it,  and write a poem about them. I havent done the visual part of the prompt, as my memory bowl is between my ears and full of things that cant be photographed. But I will try to write some down.

In memory.......
A little yellow cottage on Christleton Avenue,
awnings lowered over windows like sleepy eyelids,
smell of sweet peas and of pinks,
water slapping the side of the house,
waking me,
as Grandma wet down everything
against the summer heat.

Teen angst, no understanding
of what was unsettled within,
stumbling, flailing,
a blind puppy of need
bumbling about, untended.

Marriage, which was to be the cure
and was no cure,
spit me out the other side
and then the journey
at long last
walking through fallen leaves
in the West End of Vancouver
at twenty-seven,
realizing that this life, finally,
was mine.
Crying when I read the words
of the Desiderata:
You are a child of the universe.
No less than the moon and the stars
you have the right to be here.
A brand new concept,
as was the sense of self,
just beginning.

Then Jonathan Livingston Seagull,
learning to soar, alive and free,
first time being me,
then crashing.
This was inevitable.

In my little house full of children
on Ethel Street,
in Kelowna,
I finally made the home
I had so long been
searching for.
Laughter, noise, busyness,
a huge summer garden:
happy years, and healing.

More pain watching my children
trying to soar, and crashing
in their turn,
struggling to find footing
in an incomprehensible world.
Holding steady so they had a safe port
to come home to.

Then one huge leap
from desert to ocean
and ten shining golden years of joy
in the home of my spirit.

So much growing is required of us.
Every decade a totally brand new life.
Too many memories for this old gray head
to hold upright on my shoulders.
It keeps wanting to lay itself down
on a pillow,
the better to remember
all those exhilarating and exhausting years.

My memory bowl got filled
to the brim
with laughter, with wonder, with broken hearts,
with lessons learned, with miracles,
with serendipities,
with golden friends and messages
from the universe,
with broken trust which taught me to trust myself,
with fear of risk which forced me to take risks,
with a search for love that
taught me to love all people,
with a journey made
and the price I was glad to pay.

In the late afternoon of my journey
memory is what I own most.
I sift through my memory bowl
like a goblet of grapes,
selecting first one, then another,
at will, watching the grainy film blurring on the screen........
those long-gone days, those people
from a gentler time which was,
simultaneously, the harshest time:
one heart's perilous passage
into tomorrow.
The recipe has always included Sorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Pachelbel

[image from google]

The first notes float across the room,
stilling my footsteps.
I know this music,
but I have never heard it before.

In sudden waking vision,
eyes open,
a body memory flashes:
row upon row
of dead-eyed, gray-blanketed women,
shuffling slowly forward in the bitter dawn
of a Gulag winter morning.
Instinctively, I know that
during one lifetime
I was there,
among them,
enduring the unendurable,
staying alive.

I listen as the music softly fades,
each note telling a complicated tale.
Decades later, I can still see
those suffering faces,
row on row,
always accompanied, in memory,
for me, with the opening passage
of the Pachelbel.

At Real Toads, the prompt was to write one's thoughts about a piece of music.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Flexibility

Hmmmm.........I came across a cute quote the other day:

Blessed are the flexible,
for they shall not be
bent out of shape.

But I was ASTOUNDED by what offerings Google had for me, to illustrate the word flexibility. YOIKS!

The one above reminds me of the poster Back in the Day that said:

In case of nuclear attack,
bend forward,
place your head between your knees
and kiss your ass goodbye.

In the following poster, I beg to differ - in this case, flexibility seems to have gone
Over The Top.

I remember my grandmother. In her day, a girl could not even sit with knees apart. It was considered indelicate. I am imagining her observing these two photos :-) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lover of the Sky

[New Zealand sunset from Our Beautiful World and Universe]

[Poets United's Thursday Think Tank prompt this week is: Who Am I? I had already written the answer to this question a few years back, so here it is, with apologies to anyone who has already read it. It is probably the poem that  best says who I am that I have ever written.]

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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not One Tear for Remembering

[sunrise by NASA]

This is a piece of prose poetry, for Kerry's Wednesday challenge at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads. I gave it a try and these words spilled out all by themselves, revealing a truth I try not to look at too squarely. Yikes! Gotta watch these poems!

Fix your eye on the north star and turn right before morning. The madman walks between daybreak and hellfire and has fallen. Never say to me that I dont know soaring. I do, but I know it from the safety of the ground and the longing in my heart, always captive, tethered like a  kite in full sail to the hand of the needy. Never tell me that I dont know love for, alone and solitary, I have learned to love the whole world and I carry that love with me like a prayer, like a weeping elegy, like a song of hope that refuses to be muted.

Come my way and I'll show you a bit of the highway you may never have seen, through the eyes of blindness that have been opened. I'll teach you to listen to wolfsong and witch-howl, and we can join in towards the midnight hour, when the longing is too great to be contained within any longer.

I dont know what I'm writing here, it is writing itself, and it is telling me that though I smile and insist on hope, within there is a sorrow, constantly ebbing and flowing like the tide. A sorrow, under the bright smiles and determined hopefulness, as deep as the ocean, and as wide, that dare not, dare not, shed one tear for fear of drowning.

The Shift

Here's a treat for you this morning , kids. I am tangling with bureaucracy these days, in all of its cumbersome inefficiency, so as usual the universe sent along exactly the message I needed to hear last night, in the form of a dvd I borrowed from the library: The Shift, with Dr. Wayne Dyer. I always enjoy listening to Wayne and, this time, his message is couched in a drama, which shows the effect of a shift in consciousness on the people involved in the film. Plus it was filmed on the ocean, so was a treat for me to watch.

As I watched, my mindset, which had been like that of a cat up a tree yowling at the moon, calmed and restored itself and I went directly from "I cant possibly survive till this situation gets fixed", (ego/fear/conditioning), to "I am and will be all right. I have all I need and, indeed,  more than millions do, in the comfort and stability of my little room."

I jotted down some of the quotes that impacted me most, for you to enjoy this morning with your cup of coffee. Hop aboard!

     *****     *****     *****     *****

Get out of your own way, and let what is meant for you arrive.

We take this step into the afternoon of our lives...with the false presupposition that our ideas, ideals, beliefs of our morning will still serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live our afternoon according to the precepts of life's morning. For what was great in the morning, will be little by evening. And what was true in the morning, by evening will be a lie.

You begin to recognize that there's a powerful organizing intelligence that supports all things. It is in all things and it is working in you and for you. When you are connected to the Source, it's like the intelligence is telling you "Play the music you were sent here to play. Don't die with your music still in you."

Forget the ego; reach out and serve others. It is always about serving.

You don't attract what you want. You attract what you are.

One of  the things that happens when you move away from ego is your move from a sense of entitlement to a sense of humility. We ask, "How can I want something more for someone else than for me?" Instead of  "What can I get?" ask "How can I serve?" The universe will respond by giving back to you.

The ego is your false sense of self. Your authentic self is way beyond the ego. Once you step back, detach from outcome and become the observer, you're no longer the one making things happen, you're waiting for them to show up. Then you're living in process, trusting the Source.

You're not here to struggle. You're here to enjoy and be at peace. That is what is meant for the afternoon of your life.

As Hafiz wrote, "Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth: 'You owe me.' Just think what a love like that can do. It lights up the whole sky."

A sense of purpose comes in serving others. Live in a way that  the world is a better place for your having lived.from changing your lif
***   ***   ***


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Light a Candle

When times are darkest,
get the matches out.
Light a candle.
Light the room,
and drive the shadows out.

Hold on to hope.
Scare away the fears.
Hang tight through
the midnight hours
till daylight reappears.

Morning Song

[ Morning - Jon Merk photo]

Wild Woman
is singing
her morning song,
a song of the sky
once the dark has gone,
a song of snow
on the rounded hills,
for winter is coming,
as winter will.

Wild Woman
is listening
for the wild wind's howl,
for the lashing rains,
for the thunder's growl,
when the sky opens up
and does its worst
then tiptoes off
having slaked its thirst.

Somewhere in the hills
the wild wolves run.
She listens to hear
a special one.
Wild Woman's heart
lives with them there,
though her feet are planted
in pastures bare.

A morning song
as the last star fades,
a morning song
that the sun
has made,
a morning song
as all creatures wake,
a morning song
as the new day breaks -
a song of the geese
across the sky winging,
a song of the new day,
small songbirds singing,
a song of the horse
breathing steam
in her stall,
a song of today,
the best day of all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

One's Lot in Life

Wild Woman receives a message:

This is to inform you
that you did not win the lottery.
But, as a consolation prize,
you have won your lot in life.

It figures.
Did Wild Woman cannibalize someone,
last lifetime,
in order
to win this lifetime?

Methinks she may have mistreated her cleaning lady.

But then again, looking at her bay window,
all lit up with prisms and pretty lights,
candles, Pup's memorial,
and Ms. Jasmine snoozing below,
she thinks maybe she did win
the lottery,
after all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Message from Mr. Dog

[Pup's last time at Great Central, summer of 2010]

Wow. Was just talking to my son, Jeff, who listens to a higher frequency than is accessible to the rest of us and, as always, he blew me away with what he had to say.

Jeff has been exploring astral projection of late, and he told me the other night he visited Mr. Dog. (We often, in his later years, called Pup Mr. Dog). Jeff also saw the last cat he had, and Snoopy, the dog we had in Kelowna, who died when she was thirteen in Tofino, and who was very close to Jeff.

I tend to be cautious, personally,  about things like astral projection, likely in fear I might not return to my body in time for breakfast. But I dont discount others' experiences and am open to pretty much anything - the entire universe is bathed in mystery. Anything is possible.

My immediate question was "Did he give you a message for me?" And Jeff said that there was no specific message, but they exchanged a lot of love and that of course Pup loves me. I told him next time he sees him to tell him I miss him.

I miss him more than anyone or anything in my entire life. It was like, this lifetime, my soulmate came wearing black fur. Truly. He had near-human intelligence and we connected on a visceral and psychic level. Perhaps a connection from past lives - it's the only explanation I have for how hard his death hit me. In a life full of losses, this one has been the hardest to withstand.

Jeff says Pup is full of love for me and knows I love him.  Jeff told me to just talk to him and he will hear me.

Jeff says Pup is very happy and vibrant and full of ecstasy, and that made me happy. No more pain. He was in terrible pain his last years, but he kept on living, for my sake, longer than he might have. I know he didn't want to leave me.

So I have had yet another cry about how much I miss that wonderful creature. What joy he brought to my life.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ms. Jasmine, Fresh from the Groomer

A tad mortified at having all of her curls shorn off. We had reached a point where we needed to just Start Over.

She perked up considerably, once she realized liver treats were part of the picture.
You might note the drool collecting along her jaws :)

Pretty Girl.

And so to bed, and dreams of more liver treats.

The Princess Who Ate the Pea

[image from - original source unknown]

[for the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads prompt:
un-fairy tales. Re-posted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry]

She'd been told, of course,
about the princess and the pea:
the girl with such delicate sensitivities
she could feel a pea under fourteen layers of mattresses.

What does it mean, then,
when her bed has concrete blocks in it
and the message is "Get used to it,
you made your bed now lie in it.
What doesnt kill you makes you stronger"?
How strong does a woman
have to be?

In her world, the prince did not come.
There were no glass slippers.
She got stuck in the wrong fairy tale,
the Cinderella one.
But the Good Fairy got the address wrong,
so she has been cleaning chimneys
for way too long.

She feels more like
the aging woman in the Dickens parlor,
draped in spiderwebs,
from waiting for her suitor
for decades.
She is always brushing
those damned cobwebs off her face.

Un-fairytales are her medium.
She has got un-fairy tales down.

She has learned to cut her own way
through the thornbushes
and free herself from her own stone garret.
She has learned to gallop at a high lope
across the fields
on the great adventure of life,
on her own,
with a brave heart for the journey,
no need to be rescued by a knight on a white horse,
clinging limply to his back as he leads the way
forward into Tomorrow.

 Un-fairy tales can get repetitive.
One may feel like she is beginning
a new chapter every other week.
It can be exhausting.

And delicate sensitivities?
One needs to toss those overboard
right from the start,
and develop a hearty cackle
and a Can-Do attitude.

But she still Believes,
for all that,
in fairy tales.

Siberian Winter of the Heart

How many times can a heart break?

Many times,
until it freezes
like a Siberian winter
so it won't be hurt again.

But the thing about winter is,
it ends.

The sun warms,
the flowers open their blooms,
petal by petal,
and, despite itself,
little by little,
it melts,
and dares to
love again.

For Poets United's Thursday Think Tank prompt: winter

Friday, November 11, 2011


Just clicked online and MSN has a front and center report on my home page that raised my Irish.

Wall Street bonuses are "set to PLUMMET", the headline says. Purportedly,  CEO's accustomed to receiving bonuses (as in on top of huge salaries) from one to 20 million, will have to make do with a reduction in bonuses of up to 20%.

Oh boo hoo. However will they manage?

Just shoot me, says the old age pensioner, whose pittance is taxed so severely that 26 days of every month are a struggle for survival.

But not to worry, kids, the report assures us that SOME of the top dog execs will still "easily clear 8 figure 'bonuses' ", in this time of "supposed restraint", so all is not lost.

The only restraint being shown is that the Occupiers are not flogging these guys in the town square.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Hour Under the Weeping Willow of Remembrance

The scent - green and khaki-striped canvas
mixed with my Grandma's sweet peas,
the willow branches forming an arch of sanctuary,
lake breezes, bullrushes and the fresh scent
of summer mornings
when I was a child
at Grandma's house,
all those summers that were a time out of time,
endless and blue-skied
in memory.

When the adults came,
then ice cubes tinkled,
and there were many trips
back and forth to the kitchen
while my Grandma and I withdrew
to the back porch,
akin in our dislike of the sound of ice cubes
clinking in tall glasses
of amber brew.

Happy Hour stayed happy
for maybe an hour,
and then voices grew louder,
old wrongs were aired,
and people had trouble
with their feet
on the way to the kitchen.

Weep, Willow, for all those long-gone days,
for the people who lived those turbulent love stories,
for their passage made the best they knew how,
for all the love and pain and human misery
that dogged their paths
and kept their lives from peace.

Weep for the silent big-eyed children,
ghosts who dared not speak,
who were banished out of sight as the nights came on,
who carry the legacy
of those years
for the rest of their lives,
a burden that lifts
once they learn compassion
for the struggling travelers without road maps
who were their people then.

If there were a Tree of Forgetting,
I would go there
and, most days, I do.
But when it comes to remembering,
it is the weeping willow tree
and my Grandma's
little cottage on Christleton Avenue
where I hung my childhood,
leaving it there for safekeeping
at summer's end,
picking it up again
like a second set of clothes,
when I returned.

It was my own years of searching
and anguish
that taught me forgiveness.
I laid it all to rest
and created a peaceful refuge
for my own grandchildren,
as the circle of the generations
turns and turns.

Process Notes: Lately, I have added to my list of Must-Reads a book called Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, by Alexandra Fuller - a stellar title, and one that immediately took me back to my childhood. In my case, my memory flies back to the weeping willow tree in my Grandma's back yard. It is the tree I hang my childhood on. My Grandma's was the place of safety and refuge that lent calm and  stability to a life that was volatile and unpredictable at home, given we are a family riddled with addictions. I was the child of a generation that drank, with all that goes along with that.