Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Old Woman of the Sea

The Old Woman of the Sea
surveys the cloudscape,
while the wind billows her cape
as she stands atop a dune
from early morning until noon
watching the waves break.

The Old Woman of the Sea,
she feels a sadness,
for the times that are no more,
for all that came before,
for all the losses
as she stood waving goodbye 
on the shore.

In the Old Woman and the Sea
-this the Wind did tell to me -
joy also rises,
for the times that came before
have filled her spirit More,
suffering bringing wisdom 
in life's disguises.

The Old Woman of the Sea,
she is a wild one.
She has a poet's heart,
she took too long to get this smart,
but the old woman of the sea
- and this the Wind did tell to me - 
the winding path that led her to the sea
is the route it took to set her spirit free.

The Old Woman loves the sea
and feels joy rising:
so much beauty everywhere,
she can only stand and stare,
at a loveliness almost too great to bear.

The Old Woman of the sea,
she is a traveler,
back and forth to the seashore,
to memories of time before,
her heart beating to the rhythm of the sea
and - this the wind did finally tell to me -
she knows all is as t'was always meant to be.

One from the archives of 2011, kids, as I am severely under the weather this week. Will make my way to you as I am able. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inner Witch
As we get closer
to Hallowe'en,
I can feel my
Inner Witch

(and let's not even TALK ABOUT my hair!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Kindness Revolution

Instead of anti-bullying campaigns,
let's have a
Kindness Revolution,
teach children to have compassion
for babies and animals,
for the disabled and vulnerable,
for other children
and for themselves.

Let's hold workshops in every school
where kids share who they are
and the pain they carry,
so all may see
that each of us has 
our challenges, our fears,
our own burdens and heartaches.
Let's teach them to look each other in the eye,
human to human,
to reach across the divide 
of perceived differences,
to honor the samenesses 
of being human
in this world.
Let's teach them to say, 
"I see you, friend,
and I'm here for you."

Let's take our Revolution to the streets,
march singing, holding placards that say
Occupy Kindness,
through the main street of town, 
drums beating, smiling, singing,
inviting the homeless, the elderly,
the abandoned and unwanted animals
to join our parade.

Let's make a place at our table,
in our worlds,
in our hearts,
for Hope, and then
serve it up in heaping spoonfuls
to every child who needs a hug,
every oldster who needs a smile,
every homeless dog who needs a friend.

If we hold a Kindness Revolution,
and everybody comes,
the bullies will all be transformed
into children in pain,
who have lost their way,
to whom we'll hold out our hands
and invite them to the party.

Kids, the video above is about the KindActs movement, centered in Vancouver, B.C., founded by Brock Tully, whom I am proud to call my friend since 1980. Brock has devoted his entire life to spreading kindness in the world. He holds an annual Kindness Concert, which totally rocks out with great feelings, and has programs happening in the schools to help kids get back in touch with their hearts.  I love what Brock says in the video: "Bullies are not bad people. They have just lost touch with their beautiful hearts."

Posted for dVerse's challenge: to write about bullying for Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. I think the only way bullying can stop is when there is enough love that the pain stops, inside the hearts of those who bully. And that takes all of us.


Monday, October 28, 2013

for Toads

The mask I have to wear
to make it through the day
wears a smile
that covers disappointment,
loss, and
all the words I dare not say.

Soon I will fly over the mountain pass,
breathe deeply the energy 
of being where I belong,
among my people,
where there is no need of masks.
Where masks are what doesnt fit.

belatedly, for  grapeling's mini-challenge at Toads: Masks 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sudden Grace

has always wanted
to walk the Camino.
And now she is traveling -
a 500 mile pilgrimage
to the center of her soul.

She readies her kit bag
of memories,
to sort through,
one by one,
at the base of a tree
come nightfall.

She has marked the places
where she will stop
to find water
and shelter.

She has chosen the finest
to companion her journey.

She has prepared for dark places.
She has prepared for pain.
She has prepared that the journey
will be difficult,
might be terminated,
that night might find her 
still with miles to go,
but a shortened path.
She has prepared for 
sudden endings.

What she has forgotten
to prepare for,
what she could never have anticipated,
is sudden grace
and the removal 
of her burden.

Kids, I am home,  resting and recuperating, too tired to be online very much. But everything went wonderfully! The aged hotel we stayed at in English Bay was perfect. From my bed on the 17th floor I could watch a strip of beach, and admire the lights after dark. 

The last words I heard as the anaesthesia closed in were: "Imagine yourself in Tofino, walking along the beach, listening to the sound of the waves....." I did, and then I woke up in recovery. To my astonishment, I am largely pain-free. It is like a gift. I was prepared for everything but Easy! 

I am happily home and resting, and now waiting only for the magic words: "it was benign", to liberate my spring.

*google image

Letter to the Farm

Dear Little Farm,
You were my mom's farm
where, for the last years of her life,
her dream came true,
the one she thought it was too late for,
then she found you
and you wrapped your 
big old haystack arms
around her.

Then you were my sister's,
where her dream of a horse 
in her backyard came true,
and she spent the years 
honoring our mom by loving you

Thanksgiving, Christmases have all been 
spent within your walls.
Kids, grandkids, great-grandson 
all came and gathered
you became the hub upon which 
our whole family traveled,
coming from far to have
those happy hours.

Then you were my home,
and I put down roots so deep
I thought I'd never leave you.
But life is change and, even before I go, 
I grieve you.

The Language of Flowers

photo credit: Mammaoca2008 via photopin cc

Speak to me
in the language of flowers:
sensitive to the nuances
of soil, moisture,
climatic fluctuation
and response.

Look beneath my surface,
for what is there,
waiting to be discovered.
Part the fulsome  greenery,
and find the bud
in the place
I keep most hidden.

The blooms of our two lives
are heavy-laden,
heads tipped and toppling,
nodding in the breeze.
From underneath
their most precarious weight,
our hands emerge,
as tentative
as leaves.

Speak to me
in the language of flowers,
if you care to understand,
and perhaps,
my heart
will find   an answer.

At Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Kerry set us to writing about the language of flowers, a topic that speaks to me this morning. I did recycle the concept of "the blooms of our two lives" from an old 1980's poem, but it is a new write. Not as good as the 1980's version though. Nor am I. Hee hee.

Food and Writing

google image

How is it
we can take the batter
of this lumpy, mixed-up life,
all the wrong ingredients,
too much beating,
rancid flour,
and still wind up with
a pretty good cake?

***   ***   ***

When I write, 
I write the way 
I want my life to be.

When I eat,I eat the words 
I cannot say.

   ***   ***   ***

Kim at Poets United's Verse First wants us to write on the topic of Food and Writing.
Hmmmmm..........the first regurgitates some lines from an earlier poem. The second popped out and made me go: "whoa!" 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spirit, Rising

To my sisters, in Kigali,
who somehow survived 
the horror of genocide,
losing so many loved ones
in the bloodbath,
to my sisters, survivors of rape, 
brutality and displacement 
in the Congo,
yet still able to care about others,
in whatever refuge you have found
upon the desert,
to my sisters, enslaved around the world,
made beasts of burden
who grow thin
so corporations and 
the military industrial complex 
can grow fat,
to my sisters in Palestine,
trying to survive 
amidst the bombs and tanks.........

know there are women in this world
whose reverence is for your right to life,
unassaulted, on the plot of land
on which you find yourself
attempting to survive.

You have our respect and, even, awe,
that in the midst of rubble, 
and the bombing and the burying
of your children,
you somehow find a way,
still, to live.
You find a way to make a life:
when no soft bed is near,
you make a nest with stones.

What happens to one,
happens to us all,
and so I weep for you,
but also I applaud you
for being Woman,
the Divine Feminine,
which, if it were allowed,
would create the world we need,
in place of this world 
of unconscionable 
violence and greed.

There is much work 
for we women to do.
We cannot feed and care for all,
but we can feed and care 
for the ones
right in front of us.
You show us how.
We do not set aside our ethics for money.
We do not waste our effort making war,
when it is needed for tending
the living:
planting gardens and trees,
even when the only water we have 
to nourish them
comes from our tears.

I see the spark 
that kindles
in your eyes,
that warms
when you recognize 
we see you,
Sisters of the earth,
in your struggle to survive.

We applaud your courage
as we hold our breath
and watch
your spirits rise.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Last Chance To Slow It Down

Yes, sorry, kids, it is gloomy old me again. A friend sent me this video this morning, about the urgency of slowing methane emmissions (at risk of being massively launched by global warming and the melting of polar ice and tundra) in order to prevent going beyond the tipping point where it will be too late. This is a succinct, clear and well expressed explanation, and an urgent message made by global scientists. I feel compelled to post it, as until enough of us become actively opposed, we are all in peril. More frightening, our children and their children will be dealing with disasters on a global scale.

Child of Trauma

[ iphone wallpaper]

Child of Trauma,
walking in your cloak of pain,
I see you.

Know that the misery
you are living now,
caused by the big people in your life,
is not your life.

You will grow.
Your own life awaits you. 
Up ahead, you can be
anything you dream.

Dear little being, you deserve
to be told every day
that you are unique, and worthy,
and well loved.

Take these words,
and fashion yourself
a garment of hope,
to warm and remind you
that this is just a chapter
you are passing through.

One day
you will write your own story,
and it will be brighter
than you ever
could have dreamed.

posted for Victoria's prompt at dVerse: to write a poem to a child

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Sadness of the Trees

Wood nymph, sylvan, she slips
through the trees,
fog rising around her ankles 
from the forest floor.
Behind a fat cedar, she peeks 
at those gathered in Circle.

Draped in antelope hide,
white feathers in his long dark hair,
Wise Shaman speaks with
 Bear and Wolf and Deer,
truth warriors, 
consulting together
about the sadness 
of the trees. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Messages In Ice

Mendenhall in winter, 
frozen Mendenhall Lake in foreground
creative commons attribution - share 

As your icefields melt,
an ancient forest
is revealed,
voices from
another time.

Ice Forest by Abby Lowell, Juneau Empire

I googled the glacier, and discovered the retreating ice has bared the remains of an ancient forest, tree remains between one and two thousand years old, now being exposed to the air for the first time since  the advancing glacier swallowed them up. Wow.

The short poem above is all that came, after which I was speechless, so in awe I couldnt think of another word.

posted for Hannah's prompt at Real Toads -  Hungry and Haunted: The Mendenhall Ice Caves

Do check the links at Toads. There should be some intriguing responses!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anti-Fracking Activists Arrested After Violent Standoff in Eastern Canada

The feather in his hand means he wishes to speak-
and that he comes in peace

My heart is heavy tonight, kids. Today has brought a prolonged anti-fracking standoff by the Mi'Kmaq people and their supporters in Rexton, New Brunswick, to a violent eruption, as a heavy and intimidating police presence moved in on the protestors - who prefer to be referred to as Protectors, because that is what they are.

They have long been opposed to fracking in their area and have peacefully protested. But today police presence was so intimidating, it pushed everyone over the edge. Videos show  crying elders, young people yelling, "we are not armed, we do not have guns", aggressive police lines advancing, yelling "MOVE!",  on  terrified people, who might be understandably confused, in that moment,  as to what country they were living in.  

The men in camo are police and 
yes, those are assault weapons.
And yes, believe it or not, this is Canada.

Pepper spray and rubber bullets were used against unarmed civilians who had, one would think, given we live in a democracy, the right to peacefully protest the assault on Mother Earth in their area.

Frustration and anger escalated, given the unskillful and disrespectful handling of the situation. There are reports a grandma was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet. Others were roughoused. The oppressive tactics, after generations of oppression under white rule, finally exploded, several police cars were set on fire, and 40 activists were arrested.

Red Power United photo

I do not condone violence in any form. But I can understand when people pushed to the wall get tipped over the edge by aggressive and confrontational behavior.

I was on the blockades in '93 to protect Clayoquot Sound's old growth forests. Arrests were made daily, and hundreds gathered daily to protest. But the RCMP behaved very respectfully, as the arrests were made. Their behavior ensured the situation did not escalate to what  happened in New Brunswick today.

What is fracking? Quick research  at Farm Aid tells me it is the process of mixing huge amounts ( 6 million gallons) of water, with chemicals and sand, then injecting them into wells at high pressures to break up the rock and earth and release large amounts of natural gas or oil.

It seems our thirst for oil will reach into every poor, rural, farming or aboriginal community, with no concern for the effects on Mother Earth, first and foremost, and, secondarily, to the people whose water, land and actual lives will be impacted in the process of filling our voracious appetite for oil and gas. The process is violent, blasting sections of rock,  releasing fuel, but also waste-water and chemicals.  

"Each well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater laced with heavy metals, corrosive salts, naturally-occurring carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, in addition to carcinogenic chemicals used in the process. Much remains unknown about what happens deep in the earth’s crust as a result of a hydrofracking well. For example, it’s unclear how far wastewater and chemicals can spread or if hydrofracking deepens existing fissures in the earth that allow for leakage into groundwater and streams. While companies can capture some wastewater for reuse or storage in holding ponds, estimates are that anywhere from 20-70% of hydrofracking wastewater remains underground." (

It goes on to explain that food and livestock will also be impacted by the chemical runoff......So, are the aboriginal people and other environmental activists right to not want this in their neighbourhood? Damn straight! I watch the videos with an aching heart. I regret police vehicles were set on fire. I regret more that the way the police advanced so threateningly on these people ignited the standoff to reach such a pitch where protectors, emotions already running high, and fearful of the antagonistic presence, were provoked past the point of restraint.

How to start a revolution: disrespect the people who are stating they wish drinkable, not inflammable, water to drink, as a basic request.

In one of the videos, a young brave says to the police in front of him, "We're doing this for your children." Another voice says, "They don't care, man. They don't care."

I imagine some of the policemen have heavy hearts tonight as well. The problem is so much bigger than this one standoff. Oppression and incarceration will NEVER resolve the differences between the Establishment and the people living close to the land.

In the end, each one of us, wherever we live, will be impacted by the globally voracious appetite for oil and gas.

Red Power United photo


Yesterday I added a bunch of new blogs to my reading list, in order to follow more people. 

This morning, my reading list shows me following NO blogs - they have Disappeared all of you. My on site old blogroll is there, but none of the sites I added. So I have a nice job ahead of me adding you all back in. Sigh.  If I miss anyone out the next day or two while I am Re-Doing my blogroll, I apologize. 

SO annoying. Blogger does not seem to like changes or additions, I discover.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Autumn Harvest

Centering ourselves
under the smiling wisdom
of a full, round
Grandmother Moon,
what is it that calls to you?

Whatever it is,
Now is the hour.
That voice is the harbinger
of your transformation.
It is inviting you
into the fullness
of your autumn harvest.

For Verse First

Crows gather around him on the pavement,
waiting for crumbs. Only they see him,
in the maze of legs hustling past.

All his hope is for the next cup of coffee.
As he tries to connect with all the averted glances,
his hands and his heart slowly grow cold.

He starts each day with hope and desperation.
Each hour finds him more disheartened. But
he shares what he has with his friends, the crows.

For Kim's prompt at Verse First: Half and Half,
I chose a homeless young man.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Of Shamans and Hooty-Owls

Port Alberni backyard owl

The shaman walks the medicine way
leaving no footprints.
The cry of the owl bids you follow.

Take up your staff, wrap up well in your cloak,
for the night is cold and the fog will poke 
its chilly fingers
into every exposed inch of human skin,
seeking to steal some warmth
for itself.

Hush! for there be spirits here.

If you listen, you will hear
the heartbeat of an ancient cedar.
In its bark is the memory
of who you were a thousand years ago,
when it and you and the land 
were young.

In the night sky
is written the promise
of who you are becoming
a thousand years from now.
Gaze well, and remember,
so when at last you meet, 
you will recognize yourself.

There are dreamers, and there are
the ones being dreamed.
The journey of transformation
is the shedding of the false self
- the one who meets the world -
and the stripping away of everything
that is not essence, joy, wonderment,
trust and awe.

is knowing
all is as it is meant to be.
All we need do
is Surrender.

The mystical hooting of the owl
bids us safe passage
through this eery midnight world.
Hasten, for the shaman guide's cloak
is already swirling 
with the swiftness
of his being gone.

Hi kids, in between my daytime cleaning job and my evening babysitting job, I decided to take a little metaphysical trip of my own. Ow-woo!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Indigo Child

Kids, this human angel gave me chills and brought me to tears this morning, with her voice and the message in her song. Indigo child - sent to show us the way. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Your Dream Will Come

When anxiety and fear attack the fortress of your soul,
take heart, the cosmic plan  will soon reveal. 
The pounding hooves of Conviction claim the goal,
Faith galloping, with Trust hard on its heels, 

           Take heart, the cosmic plan will soon reveal.             The bugle calls to thrill your heart and still all doubt.
Faith galloping, with Trust hard on its heels,
now Hope arrives, to drive misgivings out.

The bugle calls to thrill your heart and still all doubt,
though you can scarce believe your dream will come.
Now Hope arrives, to drive misgivings out.
Your heart takes wing, to hear the pounding thrum.

Though you can scarce believe your dream will come
The pounding hooves of Conviction claim the goal.
Your heart takes wing to hear the pounding thrum.
 Anxiety and fear vacate the fortress of your soul.

The ship is the Duen, owned by friends of mine, who spent one summer giving whale tours aboard her in Clayoquot Sound. She is seen here in Tofino Harbour. Lone Cone is right behind her, Catface on the left.

Friday, October 11, 2013


You were always waiting for me
on the corner
of Elliot and Richter 
in the snow
all those dark sub-zero
bitter weekday mornings
in the crystal dead of winter
long ago,
under crisply winking stars
fall in beside me,
our steps crunching
across the frozen snow
towards the lighted school
where you would play
my champion,
towards the lighted school
where I would play
the fool.

We need not speak;
you were just there
to guide me
you supported me
and loyally you cared
through all those years
you walked,
silent, beside me
so full of all the words
I could not speak
so left unsaid,
brittle with so many
I knew not
how to shed.

Your presence
along the deep abyss
that I was skirting
was a comfort
you, the only one
to see that I was hurting
you, the only one to see
who I was
really meant to be
hiding behind the gay bravado,
the laughing eyes,
the laughter,
you saw me shining then
and ever after
all my life long,
you've always been
my friend

Perhaps your presence
kept me from
the chasm,
my pain hid deep
behind my
thousand smiles,
you knew I needed
along those
so-precarious miles,
and up that hill of pain
so steep,
who would
my painful

You were so loyal,
you asked for nothing
but it is true
that in those years
that burned us deep
I was your defender, too
When other boys taunted you
beyond your years,
so sage, so wise,
till angry tears stood,
in your outraged eyes,
frustration at living in a world
so cruel,
I would fall in beside you
as we walked away
from yet another day
survived in school

I lost you for a long and lonely time,
went looking for you many years ago
you, the one who always made me laugh,
you, the only one from those sad years
who "knew me when"
and who was still my friend

I needed to thank you
for always
standing by,
be your friend
than I could be
back then
when you watched me
breaking my heart
over silly boys
who decried me
while all the time
someone who cared
stood right beside me

One day your name was there
on my computer screen
it was so good to finally
make up the lost years
in between

But, Marcel, you left too soon
and suddenly.
This time I thought
that there would always be
more time to tell you
all you mean to me
especially how
kind you are
and rare,
how clear you see,
how loyally
you care,
we still had so much
to share

Once again,
as if the years
had never intervened,
there you were
supporting me
behind my winking screen
making me laugh as I did you
with stories
all too ludicrous
and true
because laughter after pain
is what we always knew

I took for granted
this time you would
always be
at the other end
of an email
never lost again
to me
We never had the chance
to meet again
If we did
I knew your face
would be the same
because your heart was
throughout all the years

We did not metamorphose;
from those young ghosts
our spirits rose
and we became
more truly
who we are:
delightfully deranged,
two solitary souls
who are
wicked awesome

I still had a hug
to give you
in this lifetime,
wanted one more time
to look into your eyes
You left too soon
but this I surely
you'll always
be a friend
of mine

I have to believe
that one day
I'll be crossing
a clear and frozen
all alone
until I reach the
far and distant
just past the morning star
the corner
where you are
just waiting
to fall into step
beside me,
your presence
in that moment
not denied me,
to support me through
that last stretch of the journey
Once more
I will be
Heading Home
with you.

back when you loved me then
so true,
I'll bet you never dreamed
that it would end up
me and you.

Marcel with his beloved Paprikas, 
two weeks before his death, 
when he knew he would be leaving.

Marcel was gay in 1960's Kelowna, and was taunted mercilessly by the Good Ole Boys, who would goad him till he erupted in a tirade of Shakespeare - "Begone, thou milk-faced fools!" - red-faced, tears in his eyes, while the other boys fell about laughing. Always a champion of the underdog, I became his friend and he repaid me with utter devotion. 

We lost touch for a few decades but I had only just found him again when he was gay-bashed - assaulted and with limbs broken - by a homophobe in Vancouver. The police did not pursue charges, though Marcel identified his attacker, who actually stalked him for a while. At the same time, his insurance company denied his claim for disability (for other serious health problems) and Marcel said "I cannot work and I will not beg." Altogether, he gave up and definitively took his own life in March, 2001. I read the above poem - crying all the way through it -  at his memorial.

I wrote the story of Marcel here.

I am posting this for dVerse, where Brian has called for us to write about friends, as our community mourns the passing of Dave King, a lovely poet and fine gentleman, who will be greatly missed.