Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nostalgia Button

google image

At dVerse, the prompt is Buttons and it took me - zip! - back to the late 1940's,
playing on the rug in my Grandma's living room.

Grandma had a small black wooden button box
filled with buttons in all shapes,
sizes and colors.
It was a privilege
to be given the button box to play with
on a cold winter afternoon,
in those times
when kids didnt have 
roomfuls of plastic toys
and knew how to amuse ourselves 
endlessly with virtually nothing.

You could fish around in it,
pulling out the buttons you wanted,
line them up like a parade,
make designs with them,
even play a makeshift game
of tick-tack-toe.

Remember those times when
buttons got sewed back on
when they came off,
and clothing was patched and repaired,
rather than discarded and replaced?
Do you remember?
When we were lucky to have 
a few changes of clothing
in the correct size,
given hand-me-downs, 
and adults' penchant for "buying bigger"
when buying could not be avoided,
so we could grow into things?

I remember having the same underwear 
from age six through twelve.
Is that even humanly possible?
And I HATED them so much,
because they were so big and bulky,
I once threw a pair behind the toilet
in the girls' room
in grade one,
and was horrified 
when someone brought them in
and held them up in front of the classroom.

Being too honest to pretend 
they were not mine,
I slowly raised my hand,
shaking my head with fear 
and horror at the admission:
("I'm so sorry,")
and the nun telling me
"I know they'e not yours.
They're way too big,"
then sitting at my desk
in acute fear as
the nun went around 
peeking under all the little girls' dresses 
to see whose knickers were missing.
My mind blanked out before she got to me, 
so I dont know what happened next. 
Merciful memory gap.

In those days I could while away hours
making "houses with a deck of cards,
adding each card to the roofs
with bated breath
till all collapsed in a laughing whoosh
and I started all over again.

The story of the three little pigs
and the big bad wolf
(that I told to Sebastian last night,
to his intense delight)
figured largely
in these card houses.
It was great fun to be the wolf
and blow the houses down.

Grandma had a kitchen drawer
with bits of string
and folded brown paper
cut from bags.
Having survived the depression
she saved everything
and wasted nothing.
They lived modestly:
small cottage,
careful expenditures.

They would be horrified
at the excess of today,
everything disposable,
inflated, over-priced
and cheaply made.

Oh, for Grandma's button box,
and the days when missing buttons
got replaced.

Rice Koan

 The model of a Japanese Zen priest, 
borrowed from The Reformed Buddhist

Kerry's intriguing Sunday challenge at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads is a Chinese koan. Her instructions and historical references can be found here.

The sound of rice swishing in the sorting basket
is like small pebbles in a tilted rain-stick.
Is that the scent of fresh rain, through the open doorway?
The rice is full of imperfections today.

A Dream Whose Time Has Come

[photo of the Dadaab refugee camp, in Kenya, where 
almost 500,000 refugees live.
AFP file, Tony Karumba] 

"There cannot be peace without justice."
Benjamin Creme

Yesterday on the news, they were talking about the four NGO aid workers abducted by armed gunmen in Kenya, near the above refugee camp, close to the Somali border. It is ironic that those abducted were there to help the people. But there is an anger that festers in people who have next to nothing, in a world where some countries live in terrible excess, and avert their eyes to such utter desperation. The terrible unfairness of a world system based on continuing such imbalance is the biggest obstacle to peace.

Right now, I am reading a slim tract on the state of the world, that contains everything positive and hopeful, including the possibility - and the need -  for world governments to come together to assess the needs of all, then redistribute resources in a more equitable manner. 

The will of a turning tide of people on this planet can effect this transformation of consciousness. It is possible. Each of us adding our voice, our little bit of positive,  doing what we can where we are, helps to assist this transformation. I'll go along with that, because it is better to live in hope than in despair.

If we direct
our thoughts, words, 
energy and action,
no matter how small,
in a positive manner,
and to bringing 
our unique gifts
to the table of life........ 

If we add our voice
to the clarion call
for peace in our time,
to the rising demand 
for social justice,
so all may share
in the global bounty........

If we join hands,
we can, like Sisyphus,
push this toppling boulder
of planetary transformation
up and over the mountaintop.

We can assist in the birth
of the thousand years of peace,
equality, and harmony
we have been promised.

Until every man, woman and child
can come to the planetary table
and be fed,
until the Have countries
and governments
are willing to take
a little less,
so others may have
a little more........

this may sound like 
an impossible dream.
But it is a Possible dream.
It is a dream
whose time has come.

Square Poem

At dVerse yesterday I saw Sam's challenge to write what is called a square poem. Six lines of six words, the first word of each line reading like the first line across. Check out his instructions here. I tried it simply because it seemed impossible. The following is not earth-shaking poetry, but it gave my brain cells a bit of a workout, not always a good thing :) 

Hear, pray tell, this bitter truth:
pray  not for unending youth.
Tell  Pan: soft and pouting sighs,
This  is certainly not too wise.
Bitter but better than foolish lies:
Truth  shining bravely  in one's eyes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Juliet's Dotage

Found this perfect cautionary sign in google

At Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, Kerry challenged us to take our inspiration from a Shakespearean title or quote. The Bard himself. I am too exhausted to be inspired this week, which has been demanding, but am always up for a humorous slant at such times.

I base my offering on the famous balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, imagining what it might have looked like had both of them grown to be old. Remember?

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon
who is already sick and pale with grief
that thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.

Here goes:

But soft! what is that tapping:
tap, tap, tap?
It is her cane, her other arm outstretched.
How daft! her tilting step the very brink
of yon balcony skirts.
May she not lean too far.
What aging spectre dims the smirking sun?
I tremble with horror at what time has wrought.
Her neck, once swan-like, now has definition naught,
spilling like bedtime candle. Who didst thus plot?
Tis Juliet! How can this be,
my lady-love grown so old?
Can such transformation be time's laughing truth?
Forsooth! and verily, 
verily and forsooth,
methinks yon Juliet,
once so passing fair, 
is now a beldam
grown too long in the tooth.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wild Woman Update

Kids, I am not online much right now, as my elderly friend Faiza is in serious condition in hospital, and I am running back and forth to be with her as much as possible. I will have to leap back into the pond once I have some time and dig my way out. Forgive the lack of posts and comments. I am thinking of you all. 

This reminds one, how much we take for granted things being "normal", and how quickly all of this can change - in a heartbeat.

Be well. Be happy. Be grateful. For every "normal" moment.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thirsty Roots

Beautiful photographic art by Margaret Bednar of i&I

Hard to believe
that, on this golden field,
under lowering clouds,
this field 
ran red,
young soldiers 
lying amidst the bluebells,
screaming out 
in agony,
the ground rumbling
and heaving
under their feet,
from barrages
of these ancient cannons.

in extremis
young souls
departed from this earth
too soon. 

After the gunfire
faded away,
and the rest of
the raggedy boys
were finally 
heading home,
the earth began to heal.
it forgot
those blood-soaked days.

By the following summer,
bees buzzing at the blossoms,
all that was left
was this sad sentinel,
to remember the years
when their young screams 
rang out
across the land. 

Perhaps the wheat 
is a richer golden color
because so much
young blood
enriched its thirsty roots.

The Sunday Challenge at Real Toads is to choose one of Margaret Bednar's beautiful photos, and write a poem. I found the colors in this photo striking, and the cannon took me back to thoughts of the Civil War, and the suffering of those who fought in hand to hand combat in those early days.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Love is the Open Door

Captives of love,
we circle
the enclosure.

Trapped by our hearts,
we need to stay near,
yet long to fly.

I see you yearning
for the freedom
of wild places.

I hear your 
mournful howl
under the moon.

How can I bear
to ever be
without you?
Yet how can I hold you,
when you're longing
to be free?

One long look:
I know you love me.
A pang in my heart:
I will love you.

You need to gallop, now,
those far wild beaches.
You are
 a wild thing
and you are
no longer tame.

I click the lock
that keeps you
from your freedom.
I take the step
that is so
hard to make.

Off you go,
bounding into
One last look back:
we will

Life moves us
ever towards
the far horizon,
the gift of love,
 the open door.

I am reading a book Part Wild, by Cierwidwen Terrell, about her life with a wolfdog, who was always escaping his kennel, in his urgent need to run free. As I read, she and I are coming to the same conclusion: wild creatures pay too high a price to be with us. I remember Pup's joy when we lived in wilderness. I remember his grief and anger when we were in town and he had to be tied. And his gratitude when the fence was finally built and I unclicked the lock and set him free. He did a little bow to me, and danced in a light-footed circle.

In this poem, it was getting through his death I am talking about. His hind end gave out, time after time. Each time, he got back up, until the last time. He didnt want to leave, I couldnt bear for him to leave. But his suffering was too much. He tried so hard to hold on for me. I had to set him free, take him to the vet, let him go. 

I am still missing my boy, so much. But this book is helping me to know that now, his spirit is running free, as it was always meant to. In each of our journeys, love is always the open door.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Pipes of Peace

Green Labyrinth by Sarri at

Interestingly, Ella set Labyrinth as the topic at the Thursday Think Tank today. Only yesterday, up at the hospital in our town, a labyrinth was opened to the public. Today I went back and walked it alone, and simply WAS, with the path, the sky, the birdsong and the breeze. The ancient symbol of the labyrinth goes back a good 3500 years. Walking the path in a meditative state is said to  promote calm, insight, connection, healing, hope, peace, personal growth and transformation. Today, I was too exhausted to gain much beyond simple appreciation for the fact of its existence  in my town. That was enough for today.

I enter the labyrinth from the East,
and circle it towards the West. 
I set myself in harmony
with the ancestors,
invoking help
from all the Four Directions,
aligning myself with
the earth, the sky, the sea, the air,
and with all its inhabitants,
each one with its sacred right
to be here.

I circle, the way my thoughts 
can sometimes circle.
As in life, I end up where I started out.
Sometimes I get confused
and retrace part of the path,
and that's okay.
It is all

May every footfall
on this path
bring peace.
One step, I breathe peace in.
Another step, I breathe peace out,
sending compassion
to all the struggling beings
of the world.

May each footfall
plant me more firmly
on the path of peace.

In my mind
the pipes of Peace 
are playing.
May their melodies
be carried
on the breeze,
to each of the Four Directions,
to every son and daughter's heart
that longs for peace,
till the planet is encircled, 
by only Love.

Walking the Labyrinth

Kids, I was given a gift yesterday. This week has been rather hectic, as I trundled dogs back and forth to the vet and the groomers, as well as going back and forth to the hospital to visit my friend, Faiza, whose heart is feeling the stress of  two years of caregiving her husband, and his recent loss. Yesterday, when I arrived to see her, the hospital lobby was in the middle of a celebration. The Vancouver Island Health Authority and the First Nations community, the Tseshaht, came together to raise awareness of First Nations culture, to share community, and to celebrate Solstice and the opening of a labyrinth on the hospital grounds.

Wow. I was really impressed - this is pretty advanced for this little mill town. I was stoked.

Below a Tseshaht singer sings a welcome song.

Chief Cliff Atleo spoke,  then sang a celebration song.

First Nations women, dancing in support of the men's singing.

The labyrinth, whose mere existence makes me so happy.

Walking the labyrinth, singing an African Song of Peace.

Tseshaht dancers, led by an enchanting tiny dancer.

I could not take my eyes off her - so lovely to see 
a young one
following the traditions of her people.

With great confidence and composure,
she led the women through the dance.

Beautiful tiny dancer!

A soft, warm west wind began to blow.

So lovely. 

This tree blooms outside the hospital's doors.

This is the view the patients see from the front entrance - our town lies in a valley
ringed by these blue hills. That's why our skies are gray so much of the time. We capture
the condensation that forms a cloud cover. This year it is taking an unusually long time to lift.

This is the view from the parking lot. Often, deer tiptoe through, as they travel from forests on either side of the building. Altogether, it was a heartwarming day, though I am worried about Faiza. I have so missed the First Nations community, whom I lived and worked among for so many years in Tofino.

The treatment center I worked at has moved to Port. I have decided I will begin to attend their Bluebead ceremony at the end of each session. Only one of the people I worked with remains at the center. But I need to listen to the singing and the drums, the speeches from the honest hearts of these beautiful people, and hear their ready laughter once again.

I am pretty happy to know there are people of vision after all, in this little mill town, who made this day of coming together, respect, celebration - and the labyrinth itself - possible.

I will return to walk it when there are no people there. It will be wondrous to walk a labyrinth once more. It has been too long.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On Waking

image from google

sunlight through prisms
colors dance across the walls
room full of rainbows

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Wolf of My Heart

Black and silver shadows
flit among the trees,
ears alert
for the sound 
of other creatures
in the bush,
tails plumed, arching
over supple backs:

And then
I see you:
black against 
your silver pack.
Your steps slow.
Your eyes meet mine.
Your head tilts back.
You sing
a mournful howl.

My eyes bless every 
moving muscle,
every hair,
from nose
to tip of tail.
I miss you,
it hurts,
but seeing you
brings joy
for, in those 
fleeting moments,
you live again.

Last night I was walking with my little friend Sebastian, and we met another boy walking his black dog, who looked like Pup, only smaller. The boy said she had been rescued from a pack of feral dogs living and breeding with the wolves on Meares Island. That made her one of Pup's relatives. I rescued him in the same way.

When we went back inside, there was a film about wolves on National Geographic. My heart lifted at the beauty of these glorious creatures moving across the screen. Mostly silver wolves....but some black. And one looked exactly like my boy, Pup. How the heart can feel joy and pain at the same time. How I still miss my guy.

Jagged Edges

At Poets United, the Vice-Versa prompt words are: 
jagged/smooth and lack/abundance. Good words.

Given time,
smoothes out
the jagged edges
of our hearts.

With experience,
every lack
we once
turns to

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I see dVerse has a theme of Exile......interesting.

She feels shunned by her community,
judged by people of closed minds
who do not understand 
the spaciousness of her outlook
and the flight of her spirit,
so accustomed are they
to keeping their eyes on the ground -
and on each other.

They do not see her radiance, 
how she shines,
or her compassion,
so generous,
or the fact that she is
living her truth
and being honest with herself,
and why should that bother them so much?
Why do they want
to keep her chained
to an anchor that can only 
drag her backwards
and underwater?

Secure in their little cliques,
they gossip about
a girl who never said
an unkind word
about any of them.

Her eyes look sad.
Her mother tells her
"It is their loss!
Find people whose spirits
want to soar, like yours,
and leave them
in your dust."

The girl has been
down this road
There is no way to fit
a spacious mind
into  the confines
of a small box.
God knows, she tried.

Her mother wants
to nudge her off the branch,
is waiting to see her
soaring through the sky,
alive and free.

She knows it will happen.
Once one
has tasted flight,
there is no going back.

for Lisa

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Type A Dream

My dreams would be
somebody else's nightmare.
In them, I am always
looking after multiple children,
all under the age of five,
including twin babies.
I am baking masses of things 
from scratch,
and the cat is giving birth to kittens,
(I dont even have a cat!)

I am running a laundry.
A load of whites simmers
in the big kettle 
over the open fire
(just to make this situation 
slightly more challenging -
no mod cons in MY dreams!)
and there is a cacophony of noise
to keep me rattled and distracted.

Then I wake up.

Thank God.

Waking becomes 
a dream.
Time for tea.
Make mine a double,
after such a busy night.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Poets United's prompt today is Opportunity. "When one door closes, another opens." Hmmm. I've had lots of closing doors, I can relate:) Check out the other poets, posting at Poets United. This topic is a great opportunity to read some good poems, hee hee.

When the door closes
so fast, it hits you on the bum
on the way out,
look around
and congratulate yourself
on this wonderful opportunity
to experience
turning down
an unexpected path.

There may be dragons,
but there might, also or instead,
be lovely maidens, handsome princes,
glorious adventures,
or, at the very least
a few devoted dogs
with loving eyes,
to make up for
what you missed
not going the other way. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bird of Joy

Poetry Jam's prompt this week is Celebration, and I can find no better example of it than this little fellow, who bops amazingly on the beat, and practically dances himself out of his feathers. Take a moment to celebrate the joy of being alive, along with him. He will make you smile. Then dance!

For Joy,
all there needs
to be
is music
and a
willing spirit.