Saturday, November 29, 2014



I put on the day
like a prayer shawl
and count my beads
of gratitude.

We had our first fall of snow, and everything is so beautiful outside, I can only repeat these words, written a few years back on a similarly snowy morning, to describe the way the beauty makes me feel.

Happy Winter, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Radical Gratitude

how do we give back for so much beauty?
sight, and laughter, and love and dreams,
rushing river, burbling streams,
the miracle and mystery,
the beauty and the blight,
the chance to keep trying
to get it right.

give back for it all.
give thanks without ceasing,
even for the unwanted passage
that turns out to be the very portal
your soul has been seeking.

Oracle Owl calls from the forest deep:
don't go back to sleep, don't go back to sleep.

posted for Susan's timely prompt at Mid Week Motif: Gratitude

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Old Shaman by Marek Hlavaty

Up in the sky
there is an upside-down world
the mirror opposite of this one.
There, the shamans and dreamweavers
rule by a system of restorative justice.
The old ones make sure
that all the children are fed, and loved,
and told stories, and not one tear falls
that is not comforted.

What the trees breathe out, 
the humans breathe in,
and so trees are considered sacred.
There is no excess, no waste, no More,
in order that all may have Some.

Up in the sky
is a world peopled by my dreams.
On a clear day,
I can almost catch a whiff
of smoke from the pipes of peace.
I hear their drumbeat, always,
in my heart.

For Anthony's prompt at dVerse: to write about a place of our imagination.

A Spine Poem

The searching spirit,
the audacity of hope -
fire in the soul.

Reason for hope,
a return to Love -
paths to peace.

Being peace,
peace is every step -
the open heart.

Compassion in action,
I give you my life -
How can I help?

A spine poem in response to Izy's post at  Real Toads.

Monday, November 24, 2014


photo by Jon Merk

Graceful heron
swooping across
the evening sky
like a pterodactyl,
Prehistoric bird
on a treetop,
my heart swoops
with you,
then stills,
standing by
the silent pond,
waiting for the night
to settle
around us both
as feathers.

One from the archives, kids, as I am a bit under the weather. In need of some rest, also some inspiration. Someone throw me a prompt, LOL!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In the Bracken

A Port Alberni back yard owl

If ever you would speak with any tree,
come walking in the forest here with me.
I'll show you the wild mushroom  and the root,
but where the ancients gather, set no boot.

If you would speak with nature spirits wild,
you must maintain the heartbeat of a child,
learn riversong and  mountain chasm deep.
You must commune with angels in your sleep.

As you step lightly on the pungent moss,
and feel the leaves the winter wind doth toss,
let your spirit fly away among the trees.
It will return upon the morrow's  breeze.

I go into the forest dark and deep,
every night after I fall asleep,
become a woodland guardian, reborn.
I do not want to leave when it is morn.

Last night my spirit fought as a black wolf,
against four brown wolves on the forest floor,
This told me that a battle lies before,
my spirit having recognized its door.

Come with me. I will show you secret groves,
moss-hung and ancient in this stand of pine.
Deep in the bracken, where the hoarfrost glows,
the Old Ones are singing Home this heart of mine.

One from the archives of late 2012, my friends. Posting it for the Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


River Road photo by Lisa Melanie

grey sky
soft as a dove's wing,
river pock-marked with raindrops,
ripples swaying with 
the gentle current,
traveling to where
the water meets the sea

bare twiggy brush along the shore,
heron lifting heavy wings, 
skimming the surface

misty West Coast morning
grey clouds hanging low, 
heavy with tomorrow's rain

I take a mental snapshot
to forever remember
This Moment,
being perfectly

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Becoming Young

I did it backwards,
came to life at 27,
turned 40 and ran away all free and wild.
I was born old,
far too scared of hell and heaven,
raised all my kids,
and then became a child.

I started rocking it at 64
(will you still need me,
and still feed me
as before?)
Stay tuned.
I trust that there are
still, of years,
some more.

With each decade
I have become
more of my Self.
It's cool (if you're me)
scary (if you're related to me)
how life has filled my cup.
I live in such a way
that every morning, next door,
I can hear them say,
with foreboding,
"Oh, God! She's up!"

I know
all of my songs
are not yet sung.
In the best of worlds,
as we age,
we become
Forever Young.

for Kerry's prompt at Toads: Youth and Age
I have limited computer access this week, kids, as am away from home. 
If I dont make it around to everyone today, I will visit you tomorrow.

World Toilet Day

The Mayan women came to visit,
passing in wonder all the rushing rivers, 
fresh-water lakes, waterfalls -
an abundance of resources,
their eyes round and amazed.

They visited huge homes,
filled with every manner 
of luxury and convenience.

They showed us slides,
how they carefully carried 
a small can of precious water
to water, one by one,  the roots 
of tiny tree seedlings
in parched, cracked earth.
They showed us a slide
of their proudest possession -
a flower-bedecked latrine, 
recently built for their village.

It was a child who asked them:
"Do you have any questions 
you want to ask us?"

"Yes," one replied. 
"Why do North Americans
complain so much?"
And we were silenced.

for Susan's prompt at Mid-Week Motif: Health, and/or World Toilet Day, which is today. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I'll Paint You a Poem!

My beloved Wickanninish

With these keys, I will paint you
a honeydew melon patch at the far side of summer,
draped in dew-kissed webs, the spidery artist 
long-gone on its trembling legs.
I will sketch for you a patch of shy fiddlehead ferns,
unfurling delicately, blushing green, 
to the tender song of the brook.
I will paint you a sky-high sun over the mountains,
so you may clearly see the path of the waterfall down its slopes,
and I will colour in perfect puffy storybook clouds,
birds of many colours,
a rock covered with growling, barking sea lions,
and a gray whale, leaping, far out at sea.

if you are still not sated, wait one instant more,
and I will, with a flourish,
create for you a star-flung sky
just before midnight, frost crackling underfoot,
scent of wood-smoke on the almost-winter air,
and I will pencil in the faint sleepy cry 
of an owl going into its burrow
just before dawn.

Sunrise over Tofino Inlet

For Victoria's cool prompt at dVerse: paint me a poem! She asks us to accompany it with whatever artistic medium we use to illustrate our poems. I am only able to draw funny pictures for the little ones, so my "medium", as such, is photography. But truly, it is nature who does all the work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Music of My Years

The musical soundtrack
of my parents' love story haunts my years:
I'll Get By, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Skylark,
plaintive, lovelorn notes taking me back
down all those country roads.

Just fifteen, hopping into a two-tone Chevy
with boys who smelled like talcum powder,
pack of cigarettes rolled in their t-shirt sleeves,
and all was love and dreams in the 60's, 
as the 8-track played
Blue Velvet, My Girl, Where the Boys Are, I'm Sorry,
and I dancing up a storm to Sherry Baby 
while  people fell back and I grooved 
in the glow of their circle,
as they laughed and clapped.

Gastown in the 70's, in my fringed suede jacket,
as Your Song played in the gallery,
and I finally was cool, like I never was in school,
Bridge Over Troubled Waters spinning on the stereo,
so much I still didn't know,
but I was learning.

Folk tunes and soft guitars in a coffeehouse
in the 80's, Suzanne, Fire and Rain,
and we just knew we would be Forever Young.

In Tofino, in the 90's, it was all Jane and Enya:
Bound by the Beauty, and listening to Watermark
as I drove that highway home 
through the old growth in the rain,
heading towards all that I loved, my soul lifting off
with the joy and wonder of having
realized a dream.

A little boy fell from a window back then,
and his dad wrote Tears in Heaven.
Tears on earth, too, in the listening
to that heartbreak, little boy home from the circus
on the best day of his life, and his father's worst.

The night they closed the Peace Camp down,
Dana Lyons, singing Magic as hippies danced
in a clearcut under a full, round Grandmother Moon,
and behind and around and through all of the tunes,
the unending song of the waves,
ebbing and flowing, forever, in my sea-spun heart.

Now it's the old tunes I play, full circle.
From vinyl to cd's, the tunes in my heart stay the same,
down all of those music-filled years,
the love songs of my parents' lives, and mine,
captured, forever enraptured,
memories shining golden
against the soundtrack of our lives.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Bye Bye Miss American Pie, about how iconic people shape our lives........definitely it was music that shaped and serenaded me, all the way along.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When Love and I Were Young

Swimming in the blue lake
surrounded by "the big blue hills",
as a child my joy was to ride a current-sent log
atop the gently lapping waves,
a princess on her chariot,
dreaming of her prince.
One afternoon, in gray storm, I swam alone
as thunder rolled,
the air metallic, like the taste in my mouth,
just before the lightning flashed.

Later, young woman in my prime,
in love for the only time,
I called him swimmer in my secret sea,
and he smiled as he read my poem.

Lake-scent and whisperings
forever engraved on my heart,
weeping willows along the shore,
weeping like my heart does, in recalling
all those long-gone years,
blackbirds and doves at daybreak,
poplars down all the country roads,
as I remember another time,
another country,
when love and I were young.

posted (a little early) for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif : Swimming. Which takes me back to Kelowna, B.C., where I grew up beside the lake, returned to raise my children, and once knew a beautiful love.

In Remembrance

Military Command issues  decrees.
The boots go marching, one, two, three.
The fresh-cheeked lads, all in a row,
on return won't be the lads we know.

Mothers and wives will try to heal,
no way to know how their men feel.
The things they've seen, they cannot say,
they'll carry till their final day.

There isn't a mother on this earth
who thinks the cost of war is worth
the price their loved ones have to pay;
wish we could find a better way.

To those who served, my deep respect,
they knew not what they could expect.
That faraway look in their eyes
is what war made them realize.

The boots go marching, one, two, three,
war knows no other way to be,
more fresh-faced lads for the War Machine.
Of peace, mothers will always dream.

In Remembrance of all of those - at war and at home - who have suffered because of war - most likely just about everyone on this suffering, beautiful, tragically unenlightened planet.

My uncle served in the RAF in WWII. He was a princely man, gallant, with great class, and a sensitive, romantic soul. His eyes had that faraway look, and he would never - ever - talk about what he saw in war.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Heron by the wonderful Tofino artist 
and environmentalist, Mark Hobson

hunch-shouldered in the mist,
picky-toeing among the pebbles
at the water's edge,
you search the shore with lidded eyes,
your every curving line
teaching me:


Friday, November 7, 2014

Antelope Canyon

Long time back, the antelope roamed freely here.
Long time back, our elders hid within these walls,
the old ones who stayed, 
the ones who would not leave their home
to go on the Long March, where so many died,
so many trusts and hearts were broken.

Long time back until today,
the people of this land
do not enter this holy place
without prayers of respect,
prayers for protection.

We call this place Tse bighanilini,
place where the water runs through.
When the monsoons come,
be wary of your footsteps.
Listen to the voices in the walls
which whisper to us
when it is time to leave.

When we enter, this is our church.
A thousand years of prayers
still echo here.
We will take you there,
but your heart must meet ours
in the going in, and the coming out.
This is sacred land. 

Lynette Killam photos

for Hannah's Transforming Friday: The Antelope Caves

My friend, Lynette Killam, photographed these canyons extensively. You can see more of her photos of the Antelope Canyons at The Imaginative Traveler.


photo by Jon Merk

And now the little nightbirds all are sleeping.
A froggy chorus rides the evening air.
High in the cedar, mourning doves are calling;
in the topmost branch, they've found
some purchase there.

The dusky light sifts softly down the mountain.
The heron on one leg folds up her wing.
Owl swoops the tall grass searching for her dinner.
Around the pond the noisy crickets sing.

Onto the darkening pasture creeps the nightfall,
atop the barn, a single slice of moon.
The stars wink on. The twilight turns
to darkness. It's time to sleep.
Morning will come too soon.

One from the archives, kids. This was written in 2013. Felt like posting something more cheerful this morning........Annell suggested I could have written Dead Woman, Hobbling, which cracked me up. I still might do it, it's an excellent idea!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dead Woman, Waiting


The dead woman lives in one room,
surrounded by all that she loved
when she was alive
wolves, elephants, ocean, forest,
photos of herself in those vibrant years,
photos of the children, long grown and gone,
who forget to call.
The Dead Woman sits
and, some days,
she  remembers it all.

She once spoke with forest sprites and firebirds,
danced the dawn up every morning,
put the sun to bed at night,
communed with whales
and talking trees,
and laughed under the moon.
Now she lives in a silent room
where the dust
settles around her,
a stale blanket
in the gloom.

Her hair and her heart are covered with cobwebs.
She is resigned to this waiting life,
as the fog of Alzheimers
slowly creeps into
the fingerlings of her mind,
like a coastal shoreline,

Some days she counts up
all the wrong turnings
that stole so many years.
The worst days
are when she remembers.
The best days
are when she forgets.

Ha, a dark tome for Grace's prompt at dVerse: Dead Man Poetry. 
Note: mercifully, not autobiographical.

Blue Flame

At Mid Week Motif, Susan set us the challenge to write about bonfires. My thoughts went in two directions for this prompt. Susan included a quote by Francois le Duc de la Rochefoucauld:

“Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones,  as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire."

Winter afternoons,
in Grandma's peaceful, tiny living room,
she would smile at me,
small wayfarer in a turbulent world.

Come sit by me, she'd say. I'll light the fire,
and we can watch the fairies
dancing in blue flames.

Those flames burn brightly in my memory,
these days when
my grandma's face stares back at me
in the mirror,
and I say to my great-grandson,
Come sit by me
and we can watch the fairies dancing
in the flames.

My second thought was how, in long-gone times in Ireland, villager elders would light a huge fire on the common, and people would carry hot coals from the communal fire to light their own hearth fires.

To a communal source, 
one by one we come,
day after day,
gathering sparks from the screen
with which
to light, inspire 
and elevate our way,
and keep the ghosts
of loneliness
at bay.

There. I think I'm done.  The second one I dedicate to you, my blogger friends, with thanks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Peace....we need it now
like never before.

It is time, my friends,
to come from our hearts.
Every corner of our planet
is in need of love.
And social justice.

Let us shift
the collective consciousness
to a more peaceful paradigm.
There is still time
to join together
all our human hearts
- the only place where
   peace can truly flower.

hosted annually by Mimi Lenox of Mimi Writes

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Little Broken Wing

Gentle dove,
chained to a bamboo stalk,
you can only gaze at the sky
that should be
your home.

You have lain, curled, broken,
abandoned, hopeless,
on the floor of your cage for so long
you have forgotten how to fly.

Little gray dove, 
banished from the sky,
may rescue come soon
and lift you into
a world of love.

Kids, I am reading The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam, the woman who works so hard to rescue girls from the barbaric world of sexual slavery in Cambodia. The things that are done to these children are beyond comprehension. Somaly Mam's journey, and her mission, are inspiring. She and the girls she rescues demonstrate resilience and strength of spirit. She shows what one person can do, when she sees a need and does what she can. As we see, time after time, the movement grows.