Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mother Tongue

Mother Earth - credit Earth First Newswire

There is one language that is the same 
all over the world.
It is the way Mother Nature speaks to us,
whether we live in the desert,
in the mountains,
by the sea,
along a river,
in rolling farmlands,
in the jungle,
or on an African savanna.

When each of us stands at our window 
in the morning, 
or steps outside to greet the brand new day,
our eyes lift to the sky,
caress the hills, the water, the grasslands,
follow birds in flight,
listen to their song,
breathe in the fresh breeze,
breathe it right into our beings,
our mother, above and below,
keeping our lungs
moving  in and out.

There is a hum scientists have detected
coming from the centre of the earth.
It is Mother Earth, singing to her creatures
her song of love.
We attune to it without knowing,
a child to its mother's heartbeat.
She slows us, stills us,
reminds us to breathe,
keeps us looking up
at all the wonders.

That feeling in your chest,
when you watch an eagle in flight,
when you stand under the starry heavens, 
in touch with the Great Mystery,
when you walk in an old growth forest -
That's it,
that universal language
that we all understand,
the voice of the land we live on - 
in my chest, in yours,
in everyone's,
gladness to be alive,
loving Mother Earth,
Mother Earth
loving us back.

for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: Mother Tongue: International Mother Language Day, this past February 21. Do check out the links. There will be some good responses!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The lords and ladies softly creep
past the cave where the dragon sleeps.
They do not care at all
to be captured in his thrall,
because they're on their way 
to a very special ball.

The castle walls are hung with banners bright and gay,
the ladies' gowns resplendent, in colorful array.
The knights stand, tall and brave, 
against castle walls of grey
and all is bright and beautiful, 
so bountiful a day.

Sir Brian and Lady Claudia are sitting on their thrones.
The lords and ladies leap about, 
all jerky arms and bones.
"Hip, Hip, Hooray!" the folk all cry,
clapping our hands with glee.
"Blogdom's never had a King and Queen
as wonderful as thee!"

The Royal Pair smile, they wave, they bow,
then they get off their thrones.
"Sir Bjorn," King Brian kindly says,
"now you're on your own."

Sir Bjorn gulps, he stands up tall,
though feeling not too well at all.
"I'll do my best to fill your shoes,
my feet are not too small."

We sing, we laugh, we cry, we thrill.
We all burst into song.
"Thank you for giving us this place
where everyone belongs."

LOL. At dVerse, they want knights and tourneys and jousting, as the pub keys get handed over to Bjorn and the team. So there had to be a dragon.

Brian and Claudia, our heartfelt thanks to you, for your many labors of love over the years at dVerse. I'm glad you will  both still be around, as I doubt I could do without reading your words. Welcome, Bjorn, as you don your mantle. We're very glad you and the team are willing to keep the bar open and thriving.

Hop over to dVerse, kids, to join in the fun as Claudia and Brian hand over the pub keys to Bjorn and the team.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Born to the wind and the wildish waves,
trapped in a river valley,
my soul lifts up to trace 
great flapping circles across the sky,
grey, mist-trailing clouds, flowing out behind me,
gauzy veiled mystification, obscuring sight,
like woolly scarves along the mountaintops,
like stunted wings.

I touch down in my spirit place:
mossy banks and old growth,
the sacred silence enveloping me
in the everness of time,
then soar back to my body,
replenished, but land-fettered, 
all sky-blown.

Somewhere along the way,
one's questing self catches up 
to the soul's journey,
integrates the all-that-was
into the being-here-now,
the looking ahead, finite and already scripted,
measured against the pressing beat
of time's accelerated passage.

The treacherous pilgrimage across 
the perilous mountain passes of the heart,
the bloody-footed stumbling up rocky ledges,
the sliding down,
the impetuous struggle of surviving,
the constant rising up and beginning again,
has morphed into this kinder, slower, 
more benign acceptance
of What Is.

Life is already done.
Now is the summing up, the reconciling
of the dreams, met and unmet,
the telling of the story
that is creating its own slow ending.

After struggle, after enduring,
after all the Keeping On,
I find myself in the turret
of my being,
calm and still,
gazing down and across
my own peaceable kingdom.

*I borrowed the phrase "peaceable kingdom" from the closing lines of the fantastic poem Getting There by David Wagoner: "your own unpeaceable kingdom". Altered, since mine is peaceable. Whether from inner peace or sheer exhaustion has yet to be determined, LOL.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Night of Broken Glass

The tinkling shattered glass of Kristallnacht
still echoes through the years,
the night when the crystal heart of mankind
fractured, and
took a dark turning,
from which there was
no place to hide.

For Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: Glass, or glasses

I thought of the sound of breaking glass on this night of infamy, Kristallnacht, November 9/10, 1938, when Jewish synagogues , businesses and homes were attacked and destroyed, and many were killed, millions more to follow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Token Grove, 2050

At Token Grove,
the tour busses are pulled over
so the tourists can admire
the last of the ancient cedars.

The trees stand behind protective fences,
neatly, in rows, branches clasped to their chests,
their ferns and fronds and
old man's beard neatly combed,
posing prettily for the photographers.

A grandfather, his hand on
his grandson's shoulder,
says, reverently,
"Look, Johnny, these are trees!
When I was a boy, there were a lot of them."

"How many was 'a lot'?" asks young Johnny.
"More than this?"

"Yes, many more. They grew all over this island.
Not behind fences, whole hillsides and acres of them."

Young Johnny: "What's an 'acre'?"

"Well, er, land that it,
earth and grass and trees and growing things.
Land without concrete, without tall buildings,
without expressways, paved lots,
shopping monstrosities, er, malls.......
In those days, I could ride my bike
through the countryside
and see trees everywhere.
And we didn't have to wear these
oxygen tanks then,
because the trees gave us air."

"Wow," says Johnny, impressed.
"No oxygen tanks?
Grandpa, what happened?
And why do they call this Token Grove?"

"Big companies wanted to make big money
and they cut all the trees
and shipped them away,
as fast as they could.
Till the hillsides were bare
and began to slide down
the mountain slopes every rainy season."

"And that's why the mountains are little hills now?"

"Yup. And we call it Token Grove because
these are the only ones that were protected,
and the only ones left on this whole Island.
They are rotting now, and soon will fall to the ground
with the winter wind."

"Grandpa, I wish it was like when you were a boy, for me."

"Me, too, Johnny. Me, too."

for Grace's fantastic prompt at dVerse: how weird will the future be? My guess is - very weird.

A Pilgrim's Prayer

Mount Chomolhari

I approach your holy mountain
with a humble heart,
scattering rice
for the blessing.

One step , another step -
a prayer, in human form,

Tiger's Nest -

Breathing the air of the gods,
bent low, I approach

Taktsang Dzong, Bhutan 

Clear the greyness from my eyes,
all darkness from my heart
O Beloved One,
Make me clean

[The glaciers of Bhutan, whose ice melt is essential to the growing of crops below, are expected to be fully melted within 25 years. In fact, flooding is already occurring with devastating consequences to the people living below. As the flooding is attributed to climate change, this is a controversial topic in the Bhutan. But the Prime Minister has said the melt is occurring faster than predicted by the UN report of a few years back, and is likely to occur much sooner.

I cant imagine how they built those monasteries on the edges of such sheer cliffs! Carrying everything by hand and yak, likely. So beautiful and precarious a perch.]

Monday, February 16, 2015

Every Prayer a Thank You

aquarius new moon by

Wild Woman discovers
the new moon is in Aquarius.
It is time,
she understands,
to manifest one's deepest desires.

Liberate your wildish heart.
Make known your every dream.
Convey your wishes
to the moon.
Write them 
upon the stars.

All, all, is beauty. 
Let your every prayer
be "thank you",
for all that has been,
all that is yet to come.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Promise Is a Promise

The Divine Intelligence that set this 
universe of stars in motion
made us a promise - and extracted one from us,
in return.

You are interconnected 
to every particle of the galaxy,
no single cell is any more or less 
important than the other.
All are One.
All want to live.
What you do to one, you do to all.

There is bounty enough on this earth 
to fill all your needs unto Eternity,
if you take only what you need, 
with reverence, respect and gratitude. 
Guard resources well. Do not waste.
Harvest sustainably, replant, replenish.
Pick one, plant two,
so future generations may live.

If these laws are not followed, 
you will find yourselves in distress.
From your own choices and actions,
I cannot save you.
I have given you free will, 
and a bountiful garden.
There are laws of cause and effect.
As you sow, so shall you reap.

Pondering on these things, 
driving through this
gloriously blue-sky day,
heart awash in sunshine,
I saw a cloud - perfectly formed, 
to shape a gigantic Hand,
palm up, fingers curled slightly,
God's Hand, bestowing blessings,
or, perhaps, ours cupped to receive.

for Karin's prompt at Real Toads: write about a promise, made or broken. This came to mind. Right now CBC-TV is running a series on The Nature of  Things, called The Human Odyssey (trailer here). The first segment said that, in the past, cooperation, as opposed to competition,  is all that stood between us and extinction. 

Today, it occurs to me, we are once again in that same place. 


Union Bay, BC

August 1993 - Clayoquot Sound 

I can feel you near me
as I dance and sing
with this group of women
on the road.
We mourn man's treatment 
of the earth
as, at the same time, 
we celebrate
our power.
We have a voice
and we will use it.
Our drumbeat is 
the heartbeat
of the Earth Mother.
After all the untold years
of pain and tears
that held me down,
I have risen
as an eagle 
seeks higher ground,
no more earth-bound.
I have found my voice
and I will sing with it,
laugh into tomorrow,
feel my strength, 
my peacefulness
and my joy,
along with love and pain
for Mother Earth.
now that I am 
a grandmother, too,
I can hear you.

The summer of '93 saw the biggest incidence of civil disobedience in British Columbia, when thousands came from all over to protest the clearcutting of the old growth in Clayoquot Sound. Hundreds were willingly arrested, standing guard for the trees. My hours on the blockade those early mornings were among the most passionate of my life. We had a Peace Camp nearby all summer, in one of the clearcuts left behind by the logging company, and the night we closed the Peace Camp down lives forever in my memory: hippies dancing in a clearcut under a big, round Grandmother Moon. Oh, such times, kids, such times!

In the photo above, I was on Meares Island, walking the Tall Tree Trail, gigantic trees unlike anything you have ever known a tree to be. They are still there, thankfully, protected by the Nuu chah nulth people, who stopped the loggers from clearcutting Meares Island. But twenty years later, there is still clearcutting going on, most of Vancouver Island has now been logged. Corporate business as usual. 

Friday, February 13, 2015



He was addicted to beginnings,
to conquest,
to the thrill of the chase.
He had perfected
the bedding of women,
the cute little schticks,
the crafted phrase,
the poetic verbiage.

She was a romantic
whose life had held
precious little romance.
She had been alone, 
it seems, forever.
She felt like 
the Dickensian character 
sitting in her parlor
draped in cobwebs
waiting for the phone to ring.

Alas! they found each other.

He believed he was 
Don Quixote,
always off on a quest.
He wooed her wary heart
with words of forever,
cajoled her past her fear
with honeyed phrases.
Her heart, starved for love,
for romance,
for this to be true,
while her Inner Wise Woman
was thrown into fearful panic
and did not feel safe.

Her head, however,
refused to listen
as the ground shifted
beneath her feet,
and she clung on.

He spoon-fed her promises
and butterscotch pudding.
To others, he said he was
"keeping his options open".

Too soon he grew bored.
She had toppled too easily.
She wasnt "playing the game",
her sister said.
Confused, she replied,
from her honest heart,
"I dont play games."
"More's the pity,"
said her sister.

On the side, he was already
lining up
the next glorious
breathtaking adventure.
There were two women 
in his sights.
He "kept his options open" 
in case one of them
didn't work out.
To her, he said,
he was "confused."
He "needed time."
Then, he must "follow his truth."

He dumped her on Valentine's Day.

And she?
About to go into 
the full-blown shock
of betrayal, devastation, 
and, quite soon, 
some healthy, 
invigorating anger,
before she left
she made him a batch 
of her wicked blueberry muffins,
to remember her by,
because he'd 
"miss her muffins".

Good God.

She'd never see another
blueberry muffin
without an ironic grimace,
the thought of him
bumbling about
the scattered 
landscape of love,
tilting his sword 
at all the pretty ladies.

Well, Happy Valentine's Day from the Grinch, LOL. I wrote this in 2010 as an offshoot from a poem of Fireblossom's: Sunday Bookstore Cafe, which is wonderful. So it is not new, but seemed the perfect response to Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Is Love a tender thing? Well, sometimes it is. I am not entirely jaded. And sometimes Mr Right turns out to be a big black laughing dog who understands devotion. Smiles. Happy Valentines Day, to all romantic dreamers, of which I am still one.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Starry Starry Sky

Van Gogh's Starry Night

whose starry starry skies are these?
whose rainforests, whose  deep green seas,
and who did lay this banquet fair
for us, partaking as we please?

It arcs above. I stand aglow,
awe the only word I know.
Who placed the firmament above,
who placed us, awe-struck, here below?

the night sky leads me from my bed.
out into the world I'm led.
I may not know the path ahead,
trusting my every dream be fed.

I say to starry skies good night,
head indoors to hearth and light.
whose starry starry skies are these,
whose rainforests, whose deep green seas?

for Gay Reiser Cannon's  prompt at dVerse: to write in the form of Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Your face, eyeless, has seen 
a thousand years of living.
I place my hand upon your nubbly bark,
breathe in what you exhale.
It is a perfect exchange.

You give me shelter.
Your beauty makes me forget all the words.
You teach endurance, unquestioning existence,
the art of being, bending and not breaking.
You show me how
to Be a Tree,
to keep my peace
inside of me.

Standing before you,
I am in the presence of the sacred,
suitably awed.
I come to this forest
to communicate with God.

"I think that I will never see"
was the first poem I  loved
in grade three.
And now, once again, here's me
writing love poems
to a tree.

LOL. Cant help it. This is What Came. e.e. cummings I am not. Sigh.
For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: write a poem to a loved one

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The incredible art work of Danny Gregory

You are my sun,
upon which my every day 
is hung
However long you are away,
however long the endless day,
I wait for you.
I sit patiently,
wishing I had hands
instead of feet,
watching you eat,
just hoping for a treat.
You are my world,
you are my sky.
For as long as I'm alive,
you will remain
the dearest object of
my eye.

for Gabriella's prompt at dVerse, to write to the art of Danny Gregory, founder of Sketchbook Skool. His work is amazing. Do hop over to dVerse and check him out. Gabriella interviewed the artist, who has led a fascinating life.

There is no truer devotion than that of a dog. I love the look on the face of the spaniel in Danny's sketch. So patient.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Site of car bomb explosions in Syria

I am spellbound by the fact
that a beautiful perfect mysterious earth
displays its beauties across its many lands
and, at the same time,
people who have forgotten 
they are human beings
go about the  business  
of killing other humans.

War is an oxymoron when placed beside
peace, religion and freedom
in the same sentence.

Bombs send blasts of ominous smoke skyward,
women and children fleeing in terror.
All over the earth,
the animals are disappearing,
the ecosystem is being destroyed.
We are fouling our nests 
and blaming everyone else
for the damage.
Waiting for everyone else
for the cure.

Someone, please,
break the spell
and topple us into affirmative action
on a global scale.
Wake us up from this nightmare
disguised as the American Dream.

For, no matter how fast or how slowly
we kill each other off,
none of us has yet had
time enough to love.

italicized words are Carilda Olivar Labra's
for the prompt at Toads: to write a piece inspired by her work.

After writing this, I plugged the documentary I Am (by Tom Shadyac) into the dvd player, and am amazed at the discussion. The question is "what is wrong with our world and what can we do about it?" 

"People have to substantially change their way of thinking, if we are to survive," Albert Einstein. 

"The ethnosphere is the sum total of all the ways that human beings have imagined the world," David Suzuki. 

I have only watched for a few minutes, and already have resonated with so much. Participants discuss which is the strongest drive of human beings: cooperation or domination. Indigenous societies view cooperation as the highest, and competition taken to its extreme is considered mental illness. In our society, competition is the strongest drive. Ha! 

Friday, February 6, 2015


A dreamer within a dream,
I bow to Mother Earth again and again,
and the trees drop down word-blessings
on my page.
The Ancient Ones are singing in the mist
along the riverbank.
Shape-shifters, elusive,
swirl, transform,
and are as swiftly gone.

I heard an eagle calling this morning.
I was in First Nations country,
homeland of my ideology.
The ancient forest is the topography
of my heart's home, the wild waves,
the ocean's roar,
the resting place of my soul.

I come from
a long-ago valley of apple blossoms,
from willow-weep and lilac, 
sweet pea and mimosa,
lake-scent and whisperings
engraved on my soul,
all of it inking the nib of my pen
since I was a child
with the single directive:

for Ella's fantastic prompt at Real Toads: to write a Kumulipo, a Hawaiian prayer chant that describes the creation of the world, as it applies to where our creativity comes from. We were to include our birthplace in the poem. Photos by my daughter, Lisa Melanie.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


"I feel like an angel,
burning up from the inside,"
my son tells me.
We're in the 
oncology ward.
Chemo is
into his arm.
His hair is wisps now,
across his bald head,
like when he was a baby.
His eyes are still
as blue and true.

"I view reality 
with perfect clarity,
but I've become aware 
of another dimension.
When I look into a flower,
I see the whole universe.
I can hear the earth
groaning in ecstasy
and, in my body, I can feel, 

with my heart of compassion,
myself groaning along with it.
It's a good thing," he smiles -
his unchanging smile.

The chemo
into his arm.
My son is an angel,
burning up from the inside.

for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif : Cancer

In 2010, my son had his first round of chemo for lymphoma. We discovered the oncology ward was not a depressing place, but was full of quiet heroes, positive attitudes, and loving smiles, everyone doing what they needed to do to get well. 

I am happy to report that my son, one of those heroes, is doing well, five years later. He had a round of radiation this past summer to manage a recurrence. But he remains his sunny, positive self, viewing treatment as a necessary, if annoying, small blip on his radar screen. He has better things to think about: like composing music and writing poetry. He amazes me. Yesterday was his 44th birthday. 44 years of his sunny smile. I have been blessed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


He was a beautiful young First Nations man,
twenty-one, gentle with children,
in love with the elder's daughter,
just starting out as a teacher.

All was good and hopeful
and wonderful in his world.

Then he grew tired, and started running
to try to raise his energy.
Then he went to the doctor.

One morning the elder, Dave,  told us
"Matt has leukemia."
Disbelief. Tears. How could this be?

They gave him a black puppy that Christmas
and it hurt my heart to see him,
a young boy with his pup.
And cancer.

Chemo. Strong positive attitude.
His girl by his side, down in Victoria.
He sent me an angel with a note that read,
 "People have been sending me angels ever since I got sick.
I thought that you might need one, too."

Then Dave came to tell me,
"Matt is just doing Indian medicine now."
They held a potlatch for him
and he was radiant, glowing.
He and his girl were expecting a baby.
She was seven months old when I saw the headline
in the Victoria paper:

In the photo he and his wife and baby daughter,
all beautiful, and smiling.
Dave said there were angels in the room when he passed.
Of course there would be.
They were coming to escort home
one of their own.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tofino Skies

My energy always goes from zapped to euphoria when I escape the grey valley skies and head for the coast. The weather was wonderful, the rain holding off till I headed for home. I had no wheels so couldnt get to the beach, sadly. I miss the ocean waves so much. But they are too far away for me to walk to now. So I contented myself with the harbor and the village centre.

This is a huddle of floathouses, off Strawberry Island, some long-time locals solving the housing problem in this fashion. There are others, farther away from town, tucked happily into pockets among the many small islands scattered throughout the Sound.

Sunlight and mist on the slopes of Meares Island.

This was my view from Chris's doorstep. Sigh.

Beautiful Tofino skies.

A viewing spot for the harbor, looking across at Lone Cone and, in the distance, Catface.

I had a wonderfully joyous time there, my friends. Next time, I MUST get to the beach so I can share some shots of the wild waves, and the song of the sea, that sings in my soul, forever calling me home.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lavender Sky

for Hannah's prompt at Real Toads : Lavender

I'm in love with this place,
with its lavender sky,
its shining sands, the seabird's cry,
where every tree is a friend,
every rock knows my name.
In love with the sea,
one is never, after, the same.

The sun sets low, the skies aglow,
this perfect moment
all I know.
The beauty saturates my soul,
and I am Home, 
in my home of homes,
peaceful, joyous,

In lavender dreams I float
across a lavender sky,
and no one ever loved a dream
as much as I.

Sigh. Home, my friends, and it was all spectacular, and perfect. I did take photos, of the harbour, as I couldnt get to the beach without wheels. I will post them tomorrow. Am tired, and replete, and needing some rest!