Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elder Brother Speaks

Ta'Kaiya Blaney of the Sliammon Band
Caring for Mother Earth artist Betty Popp, USA

Step into the old growth rainforest, 
Younger Brother,
and experience heeshook-ish tswalk*:
everything is interconnected,
everything is one.

Trees, deer, bear, salmon,
humans, living waters -
all are dependent on sustainability
of life and community.

See the wisdom-trees, 
experience the diverse life forms
thriving in this place,
but go beyond the senses.
Enter into the sacred,
where physical and metaphysical 
energies connect: the belief of 
Creator and Creation as One.**

We have managed our lives, Younger Brother,
successfully for millennia,
yet in 40 years, half of earth's creatures have died
because of your lust for More.

It is time for Hupee-ee-aulth - cooperating
with the original design of the Creator***.

Take with reverence
and, for everything you take, give back.
For every action,
calculate its effect
unto the seventh generation.
Our grandchildren's grandchildren
will need to live, too.
We have been saying this
since you first set foot on these lands,
but you have been slow to listen.

We are coming full circle,
to the beliefs of the ancestors:
everything is connected,
everything is one.
What happens to one,
happens to us all.
As we watch wild creatures dying,
watch the living waters grow ill,
watch the ice floes melting,
the animals grow hungry,
just remember, Younger Brother, and reflect:
what happens to one,
happens to us all.

sources: Nuu chah nulth First Nations of Clayoquot Sound - myth, legend, oral tradition.

*, ** and *** attributed to Richard Atleo, UMEEK of Ahousat - his legends were gathered in the oral tradition in the  Nuu chah nulth language, from his grandmother, Margaret Atleo, in 1972. As read in the paper Coming Full Circle.

(Margaret Atleo, sitting beside me on the boat going home from work one afternoon, pointed to the Clayoquot Sandspit, where Tofino originally was settled, saying "they traded us that land for a barrel of molasses.")

posted for Abhra's prompt at dVerse: mythology as applied to today

Our Ecological Footprint

CBC News just released the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report, which states the world's wildlife, some 3,000 species,  has had their populations cut in HALF since 1970 - due to "unsustainable human consumption". 

Canada ranks #11 on the list of the most voracious. The report states in order to continue the rate of consumption occurring today, if everyone lived like a North American,  the planet would have to be three and a half times bigger than it is. They say we have ten short years before the tipping point.

The worst affected are freshwater species, who have lost 76% of their populations.

I tried to post the news clip here but it wouldnt cooperate. You can find it here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/wwf-report-global-wildlife-populations-down-by-half-since-1970-1.2782031

Extremely depressing.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ninotaziz's Book Launch

Kids, from my earliest days online, when I fortuitously found Poets United, thanks to Robert Lloyd, (to whom I will be eternally grateful), Ninotaziz has been a constant encourager, supporter and loving friend of mine. This week is a big one for her. Over the last few years, Ninot has brought out a series of books preserving Malaysian legend, a passion of hers, and this week she is Going Global with her latest book!

Today Ninot's novel, NAGA, hits the global audience, and I had to hop on board to share the excitement. The book will be launched simultaneously  in Malaysia, Australia, India, USA, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines. 

The plot is as follows: A princess under a curse. A sleeper assassin. A young sorcerer.Three people’s destinies intertwine and forever change the fate of the ancient city of Nagara.

Sri Gemom is born in a time of change. She is whisked away to Bhumi Semenanjung from her royal parents and her city of Nagara for her protection. While she is gone, a coup forces the king off the throne and he is killed, while the queen is forced to marry the usurper. Nagara is slowly falling apart. Sri Gemom is facing her own losing battle, and the people who love her must come together to save the city of Nagara, or see it lost forever. 

Sounds like a very topical plotline! Check out this cool book trailer:

You can find Ninot's release info here. Congratulations, Ninot, you are blazing a trail in the pursuit of your dream to preserve Malay legend, and all your hard work is coming to fruition as you move into the global market. 

Poet Eyes


What is a poet to do
with a gray rainy day,
when gauzy wisps shroud the mountains,
raindrops trickle down the windowpane,
dogs nestle in their dog beds,
and the world basks in wetness?

Let's look through
our magical poet eyes:
small particles of moisture rise up, 
 are transformed,
and then return as rain.
The clouds mesmerize as they
wrap shawls around the mountains.
The trees tip back their heads, drinking deeply,
after a parched-throat summer.
The grassblades loll about, replete,
having finally drunk their fill.

And the leaves? most magical of all,
changing from their staid summer green 
into ribald, dressed-to-kill matrons,
giving one last blast of slay-them-in-the-aisles
orange and gold and red
before toppling off their perches.

A poet on an ordinary autumn day
can look through poet eyes
and watch the magic, 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Breadcrumb

Indigo Child,
you with stars and planets in your eyes,
you with the whole sky dreaming in  your face,
you, beloved of the wind
and grandchild of the sun,
what do you Know
that the rest of us,
less blessed, can barely grasp?

Tell us, so we can save this planet
from imploding into itself
in sheer despair at the stewardship
of we humans-of-little-brain.

You do not understand.
You think you are powerless.
You think things 'just happen' to you,
oh me, oh my.
You think war, poverty, chaos, inequity,
the Way Things Are
is the way things have to be,
the way it's always been,
outside of your control,
the System cannot change.

Here is a breadcrumb:
your life did not just "happen" to you.
You were, even when you didn't know it,
making choices,
even when you chose not to choose.

Governments, the military-industrial complex, 
the financial power brokers,
all are making choices too: 
to maintain the chasm (money) between rich and poor,
to choose oil (money) instead of climate health,
war (money) instead of peace,
money instead of what is right.

A breadcrumb, my dear hamster-wheel humans,
spinning out your desperate, frenzied lives,
knowing - KNOWING - life should be so much more than this:
align yourself with spirit and justice in every single interaction, 
and demand your governing bodies do the same.

The secret you both know and -
with every fibre of your being
do not want to know-
is that the power you think lies elsewhere
has always been
in you:
the Power of Choice.

posted for Herotomost's brilliant prompt today at Toads: Trolling the Cosmos for Breadcrumbs, the title alone surpassing anything I can find to write. Wowzers, Corey! Brilliantissimo!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When Women Had Wings

Space Flight wallpaper by
Tobias Roetsch of Germany

I am daughter of Renee,
who is daughter of Florence,
who is daughter of Julia
of County Cork.
I come from a line
of strong-spirited women.

Far back, in the time 
when women had wings,
my foremothers flew.
They sat in council, governing,
around the communal fire.
Their eyes flashed; their utterances
were wise, and respected.
In those times, the waters ran clear,
and the land was bountiful.

In the crooning of the wind,
I hear the names this life has given me:
Walks Far Woman,
Woman Who Talks to Trees,
In Love With the Sea Woman and
Daughter of the Sky.

Part of me has not yet
fully landed in this place.
My DNA still remembers we come from
particles of stars.
My collective memory recalls those times,
when women had wings,
and my foremothers flew,
when living with the land
is what we knew.

for Susan's Mid-Week Motif prompt: Heritage Day

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Message to a Young Warrior Woman

I know the journey
you are making, for I, too, have walked
pain's pathway.
Know this: the route will make you strong.
As you grow, your warrior woman
will arise.
(She is waking now.)
Your warrior power has been dampened,
but not extinguished,
by those unable to see
who you are.
One day, little bird,
you will fly.

Right now you are at the end of the branch,
contemplating the sky,
wondering what soaring 
might feel like.

Gather the air under your wings, little bird,
and, when you feel ready, lift off,
trusting the sky
to carry you.

But always remember:
the longest journey that
we ever make
is the one between
our heads
   and our hearts.

A wise medicine man once said to me: "Your greatest pain is your strongest medicine". And he was right.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Nice Mouse Stew


Witch Hazel rode to town
on a water buffalo.
(you may frown, 
but she couldnt find a Puffalo)
she was looking for  ingredients
for a nice mouse stew,
six fat brown ones she already slew
(the stew might taste better if we never knew)

But the greengrocer 
was out of eye of newt and leather boot
and the toe of frog/tongue of dog
looked rather hoary.
(you may be pleased to know,
my poet friends,
that even though it rhymes
this is not a true story)

Undaunted, she got up upon her broom
(The cat moved over, gave her plenty room)
She took a turn through spiral forest green,
gathering furry fronds and splattered spleen,
selecting just a few delectable bats
wearing an assortment of delicious purple hats,
hastening home, salivating, fast 
in anticipation of a most tasty repast.

But the bats clung to the pot-lid
and refused to Enter In
and how was she to make a stew,
if stew would not Begin?

She freed the bats
and fed the cats; 
she made a salad green
and now she's out 
dancing about -
to hell with haute cuisine!

for Tony's fun prompt at dVerse: nonsense poems. I just happened to have one in drafts, who'da thunk it? I did expand it a bit, but was happy to have an idea ready to go.

The Visit


He and she lay in bed,
in the cold, in the gloom,
she fretful and worried,
when into the room
her mother, long dead, 
in a long white gown,
came to the bed 
and sat right down.

"Don't worry, dear Floss,"
as she soothed her daughter's brow,
"everything will get better
than it is right now.
It will be all right,"
and she felt her mother's kiss.
"It will not forever
be like this."

Floss touched her cheek
and she tried to believe;
she could still feel the kiss
as she watched her mother leave.

for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: science or the supernatural? Being Irish, our family abounds in ghost tales and this one was told to me by my cousin this past weekend, as it was told to her by our grandmother. I added some dialogue to maintain the rhyme scheme, but the story is true.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Traveling In Tandem

Traveler has made such a long journey
since her blue-eyed boy was born,
those big guileless eyes, looking up,
uttering truths, trusting,
even though his nights were 
so often peopled 
with monsters.

The journey he took into the life 
of his tortured mind
at seventeen
was fraught with pain,
and watered with a mother's tears.
Yet now they both say those years,
that long hard journey,
each of them at the other end of the phone,
a conversation that spanned twenty years
of healing and growth,
was one they might not have made
by any other pathway,
and for that
they are grateful.

He journeys now at times
through other galaxies,
sometimes calls her from the astral plane,
tells her his third eye has opened,
he is now awakened.
She listens carefully, with respect,
for in every journey,
there are deep teachings, 
wisdom to learn,
deep truths to impart
and to receive.
He dances to a music
the rest of us cant hear,
but he is happy to share,
so she listens closely, 
attempting to discern 
the melody.

Her blue-eyed boy is a man now
who says his spirit longs for the wild,
that he wants to return to being
a grown-up child.

Mothers' hearts break during such journeys.
But also, hearts inevitably
heal and mend.
The gift of being brave enough
to make a journey this precarious,
is that mother and son 
have become best friends.

Gabriella at dVerse has set us the wonderful prompt: Travel. One of my names is Traveler, many of my poems having been written on this topic. So I tapped out another, having just returned from a visit to my blue-eyed boy.

'A Feather On the Breath of God'*


The sting of the lash against my back
the early dawn, my sisters' sighs
Oh God, I stand before you,
a humble and unlearned woman

why have you sent me these visions?
who will listen?
who will believe?

you breathe on my life
- a simple feather -
you leave me no choice,
and so I fly

I so love Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: the work of mystic and visionary, Hildegard von Bingen. I have loved her music for decades. It harks me back to those dark winter mornings at Mass when I was a teen: the incense, the holiness, the candles, the chanting of the beautiful Latin phrases. 

Hildegard lived from 1098 – 1179, not one of the best times to be a woman, and she was humble and often referred to herself as an unlearned woman. But her heart was pure and she saw visions from the age of three. At the age of 42, she received instruction from God to "write down that which you see and hear". She was hesitant to share her visions and became ill. Finally, she began to transcribe her visions.

" I set my hand to the writing. While I was doing it, I sensed... the deep profundity of scriptural exposition; and, raising myself from illness by the strength I received, I brought this work to a close – though just barely – in ten years. (...) And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, 'Cry out therefore, and write thus!'

On 17 September 1179, when Hildegard died, her sisters claimed they saw two streams of light appear in the skies and cross over the room where she was dying.

*A Feather on the Breath of God is an award-winning album of sacred vocal music written in the 12th century by the German abbess Hildegard of Bingen.

It is an album of early medieval plainchant, the title of which is taken from a passage in Hildegard’s writings that is her own description of herself:

"Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I '"A feather on the breath of God."[3]

source: Wikipedia

Kids, I am just back from my trip and am still digging my way out of my crammed inbox at two p.m. Fortunately I  responded to Susan's wonderful prompt before I left. That was clever of me. Once I am out of my inbox I will start trying to catch up online, which may take another day or two.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Kids, as of 5 a.m. on Saturday, I am off on a road trip with Jon, Zenny and the beautiful Smokey....heading back to our old stomping grounds, Kelowna, B.C., where I grew up. I went back there to raise my kids, so it is home base to them, too. I look forward to the beautiful scenery of the Hope-Princeton, a road I traveled so many times through my life..............I will visit relatives and a dear friend in Kelowna, then bus to Vancouver and see my son Jeff.

I am not sure when I will be back, likely mid-week. So have a great few days, and I will catch up as soon as I recover from jet lag. (I now get jet lag from ANY form of travel, even to the mall in Nanaimo, LOL.) 

I have been having so much family fun this summer, I am nearly catatonic! I will make a lovely dinner guest, with my head face-down in the soup-bowl! I think I am making the heroic effort to travel, in order to have one more day with Jon, Zenny and Smokey.

Ciao, amigos!

My Inner Old One


Birds cross the sky in covens,
this golden autumn-of-my-life.
My eyes follow their flight,
my soul quickening to the sound
of their honking admonition:
follow the predestined route!
Find your way home!

The Voice of My Tribe croons a chant
that murmurs on the breeze.
I feel the winds of change blowing through
the drafty chambers of my 
just-before-winter heart.

The Old Ones are telling me:
Time to open the door of the cage
and free the wild bird of your being,
the one you have been hushing
and placating with crumbs
for so long.
Free her with joy, and,
as her wide wings swoop and thrum 
across the shimmering sky,
traveling between the worlds
in the space-where-there-is-no-space,
along the-way-where-there-is-no-way,
heed the call of those wild birds.
They are giving voice to
 the longings of your soul.
Lift up that expectant, waiting life 
with the urgency
of not-much-time,
and, if you're ever going to fly again
as, once, you flew,
do it soon,
do it completely.
Do it now.


Lisa and Jeff
two shining lights

My son Jeff, (who calls himself Jeff Siddhartha Crazy Horse Marr and, sometimes, Squawking Crow), whom some of you know is a wildly gifted poet, recently wrote this song, dedicated to his sister Lisa's daughter, Ali. The music he composed to accompany it is so beautiful! He is always amazing.

My Dreaming-Eyes 
(Dedicated to A.B.)

You gave us dreams with your youthful figure sweet
Walking the byways lost with secret desire,
Your royal robe of gems with your footsteps fleet
And your golden crown blazing with sunlit fire.

There is a  traveler in my heart
I dream that one day I may depart

            My Dreaming-Eyes
            White bird flying
            Across the sky  

Now comes the cooling evening that leads to dawn -
A still shadow on that house beneath the star.
You must choose alone:  are your soul’s steps led on
To wander, through darkened valley, near or far?

How I long to return to the wild
And turn again to a grown-up child

            My Dreaming-Eyes
            White bird flying
            Across the sky  


Take your brush;  paint living stars against the night;
Walk wondrous hidden paths on the pale moonbeams -
Lift your sparkling eye to the morning star bright;
Go, my daughter:  you may manifest your dreams.

I lose your hand and I wave good-bye
Then turn to love as I start to fly

            My Dreaming-Eyes
            White bird flying
            Across the sky

            My Dreaming-Eyes
            White bird flying
            Across the sky  


Wonderful writing, beautiful advice. Jeff kindly allowed me to share this with you. Jeff also composes classical music to rival Mozart's, plays multiple instruments, and sings. He is, in every genre, completely self-taught. He learned to compose classical music from library books, quite astounding. I am very proud of him. He is also a sweet soul, and very hilarious. We cackle together often. We will have a visit during my time away, and I will treasure every moment.

Lisa has also been writing over the years, and has just had a poem - my favourite poem of hers -  accepted for a Canadian anthology. I can't share it here, as it is hers, plus being accepted for publication, it likely cant appear anywhere else. 

Needless to say, I am a proud mama - proud of all four of my chicks, all incredible beings.

The Maestro

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Observer


The years roll by more quickly
as we age,
as if we are Tibetan prayer wheels
being spun,
till we fly right off our perch
and disappear
into the sun.

We become The Observer
as we age -
the sage
with wisdom
no one wants to hear.

We smile.
It is all right.
They will learn
in their own time.
One day, they, too, 
will be
spinning clear.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Moonrise over Broken Islands
photo by Jon Merk

The song of my life is the summer breeze
dancing within  the rustling trees
it's the murmuring shore, the waves' ebb and flow
it's the beauty of nature wherever I go
it's the call of the mountains, the tumbling falls,
it's the  riverbed green,  and the canyon walls,
it's sunrise and sunset, the golden glow
of a fall afternoon as the sun sinks low
it's the smell of smoke on the evening air
it's the howl of the wolf, the growl of bear
it's the cackling hen and the warbling wren
the fox's leap over the cattle pen
it's the translucent light on the sandy shore
glorious beauty spread all before
it's the moon that crosses the midnight sky
it's the beauty that forever draws my eye
it is, most especially, the song of the sea,
ever drawing away, then returning to me.

For Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: Melody - without using the word melody. I cheated a bit with "song," for lack of gray matter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

JOURNEY, continued

photos by Jon Merk

Jon and Zenny were on the north-east side of the  Island when they took these shots. The play of mist and fog, light and water,  along the ocean, always fascinates me with its ever-changing beauty.

In Telegraph Cove a pod of orcas surfaced not far from their small zodiac.

That's its fin on the right behind the big ripple 

Now they are in my territory, on the west side of Vancouver Island, camping on the ocean overlooking the Broken Group Islands. Sigh. Be still, my heart. The beauty of these photos pulls me like a magnetic force to the beach the beach the beach.......

Mussell Beach, and the weather has been holding wonderfully for them. They are having such a glorious time!!!! 

Jon calls this shot Moonrise over the Broken Islands. So beautiful.

This weekend, I will hop in the car and join them for a trip to Kelowna, where Jon grew up. Then they will carry on home to Regina, and I will visit the relatives for a few days, then make my way home via Vancouver, where I will visit with Jeff. A lot of travel for this homebody. Prying me out of my nest is rather like root canal work. However the lure of the day with Jon, Zenny and Smokey, and that familiar and beautiful scenery over the Hope-Princeton, a trip I made so many times in my younger days, and I could not resist.