Sunday, May 31, 2015

Love's Barbs

stock image -

I feign would tremble when my skirt gets caught 
on barbs, no nimble fingers exercised by him ,
us both stuck fast, exceedingly o'er-wrought,
and soon the very sun is growing dim.

As I preserve my pallor in the shade,
back to the fumbled barb he goes and goes.
Thank heaven for the coolness of this glade,
for where he stands, his perspiration flows.

An afternoon's dithering I shall retell as lies,
as one who knoweth well the Blarney stone,
while every romantic thought between us dies,
him sweltering under my ever-cooling tone .

Finally he frees the torn and wretched lawn;
bowing stiffly, he could not be more quickly gone. 

LOL. For Bjorn's prompt at Toads: to write Bout-Rimes, with end rhymes of the selected words: caught, him, got, dim, shade, goes, glade, flows, lies, stone, dies, tone, lawn, gone. I actually enjoy writing sonnets, but decided to go with humour this time, after a plodding day at my desk, all glum and serious. I substituted oer-wrought for got, because it just sounded more sonnet-like. The lawn referred to is the material often used in skirts and dresses for M'Lady.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


I thought I'd put my heart into a poem,
and take it to the forest, dark and deep,
find the mossy path, the broken limb,
a perch from which to read the trees to sleep.

So sonorous, all words verdant and green,
so soft the moss, the pages all between.
I turn them, leaf and fern, salal and flower,
sweet and protected, in my leafy bower.

The dark will tiptoe in on doe-like feet,
will settle tenderly upon the boughs,
and I softly away, and smiling sweet,
the forest safe and dreaming deep, for now.

Oh forest dear, my sanctuary blessed,
it is to you I come, when I seek rest.

A sonnet from early 2014, re-posted here for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you are likely to find a lot of good reading, come Sunday morning. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Inner Inukshuk

Towards the rising sun, I turn
my morning face, 
ever hopeful.
Vision obscured, I peer through cloudy glass,
towards the brighter sky.
Beyond the meadow, I can see 
the ghostly shapes of ancient horses,
shape-shifting among the trees.

The shaman sits on a fencepost,
smiling, wise and kind,
with an owl perched on his shoulder.
He will not point the way,
for I must find it for myself.
But he gives me a blessing
for the journey,
as the road is steep,
and he knows there will be storms.

To the south lies treasure, precious stone,
inukshuks to point the way
for lonely travelers.
Their arms point west, always west,
where my spirit flies, up over the mountains,
along the familiar highway
that leads me forever home.
A row of prisms cast rainbows, for beauty,
refract the light, for brightness
and clear-seeing.

Towards sunset lies the illumined path,
following footsteps I trod before,
called ever forward 
by the unceasing song of the sea,
siren, lover, clarion call,
to fly my spirit home.
I heft my kit bag full of memories,
tuck in a soupcon of wonder,
and a song to merry me along,
towards my nest at the edge of the world.

North is an inner compass, a knowing that,
whatever the  direction I am headed, 
however long or short the journey,
I am my own
True North. 

This poem arrived thanks to an exercise by Elizabeth, to turn in all the directions, make notes on what I saw and turn it into a poem. Thanks, Elizabeth! Great exercise! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

For My Feathered Friends

We have a flock of mourning doves
living in our yard. Here, they are gobbling some seed.

While all the trilling birdsong , throat by throat,
sings the morning into waking, note by note,
bold robin red and mourning dove doth coo,
and I will share their skysong here with you.

In meadow fair and forest glen of green,
the songs of many can be heard, not seen.
Within the trees, the hidden forest lives,
us grateful, for the melodies they give.

A scientist came to the living woods one day
to see what sounds the loggers took away,
set out his recording box, before and aft.
The loggers thought him daft; they laughed 
              and laughed.

Before the felling of the greenly trees,
enough song was heard to bring him to his knees.
But, sadly, truck after truck, day after day, 
with the trees, all the birdsong, too, had flown away.

The feathered flocks, the doves and jays, are gone.
Where birdsong swelled, a silence now lives on.
How can we fit? Our actions dont belong.
How can we live, if we lose all the song?

How to bring back all that we love, and soon,
when we are the ones so wholly out of tune?
Bring back, bring back, those stands of ancient pine.
Bring back the songs, those feathered friends 
              of mine.

I just watched one of the Ted Talks, Voices of the Natural World by Bernie Krause, which I discovered after reading a post by Hannah Gosselin. Bernie explains that "Every wild habitat produces its own unique soundscape," an ecology impacted by human activity and global warming. He recorded the amount of birdsong, before and after a logging company did selective logging, (not even clearcutting!). The logging company had promised no damage to the environment.

Bernie recorded a high level of birdsong before the cut, and nearly no birdsong at all even fifteen years after the logging had occurred. The recording caught a lonely woodpecker, and not much else.  That is just one small meadow. Think of what is happening globally. 

This sort of thing chills me, that greed is running so insanely  rampant, while endangering the survival of all species - including our own. We are a strange breed, the only ones who destroy our own habitat, (along with that of every other creature.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dandelion Wishes

Dandelion puff,
a child's brightest wishes
blow away on the breeze.

Tiny lawn daisies 
held in a grubby fist:
no bouquet as precious.

Weed growing strong
in a harsh root-bed
has much to teach us about tenacity.

for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: weeds. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Starshine and Spirit-speak

Open the window, so the spirits of the dying
can fly out and away, into the starry night.
May the song of the spheres serenade their passage,
moonglow seal up the opening in the veil
between their new world and ours.
Watch the early morning light 
slowly outline the rosy mountains,
then faintly tinge the sky 
with the pink of promise
a new day begins, for we, the living.

This moment, as every moment,
all of the waters of the world
are traveling in riversong to the sea,
bearing life along its precipitous passage,
down the mountain slopes,
plunging over falls,
pooling in quiet eddies,
till finally it reaches the ocean's roar
and finds itself home again,
on tomorrow's shore. 

There be spirits here. Come walk 
in the ancient forest with me.
Hear Brother Wind whispering the shaman's song
softly through the branches of Grandfather Cedar.
If you listen closely, you will hear 
him speak.
He knows those who are lost, 
those who have journeyed on,
those who will return again. 
He will bring the touch 
of the one you have loved so well
on the evening breeze.
When the puff of wind touches your cheek,
know it was sent to you with love
from the spirit world,
to gently dry your tears. 

I wasnt sure where this poem was heading when I started off. I was remembering my mother's death, and how it felt like her spirit was flying towards the window, out and away into the night.

A short while ago, my friend, whose husband died a year ago, told me she had waited almost a year for a visitation from her husband, who had made visits to everyone else in the family. One night she finally dreamed of him. They were talking and laughing together, in the dream, and then she started to cry and said, "But you're not here!"  And she said he told her, "But I AM here," as he wiped the tears under her eyes. And she woke, still feeling the touch of his fingers on her cheek.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Still With Me

from - artist unknown
no infringement of copyright intended

As I'm walking,
my steps slowed now, 
compared to what they were,
I remember your slow padding steps 
beside me in the middle of the night,
when your body was failing
and you needed a midnight stroll 
along the road, under the trees,
to make it through the night.

What people cant see,
as they pass,
is that when I walk,
you are still with me.
I carry you in my heart
and there is an invisible leash
hanging down
to where you still
 - and always will - 
walk beside me.

I am following you.
Wait for me.
I am not far
behind you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Migration of Souls

czribou migration photo by Rachel Kobernick

Millions of Monarch butterflies,
fluttering tag-teams,
cross thousands of miles
to journey to their
place of origin.
A million wildebeeste cross the Serengeti,
propelled along ancient, instinctive pathways.
Caribou traverse the northern wilds
along a route they have followed
for millennia.
Grey whales swim, their babies by their sides,
 along the western coast,
from birthing to feeding grounds,
such a long journey.

And seven billion human souls
are making their own migration from birth to death,
trekking the mountainous reaches,
stumbling across deserts,
treading water, floundering,
searching for and finding
one's own circadian rhythm
in the fluctuating cadences 
of life's waves

Each soul is heading out
on a route honed by instinct
and a thousand years of prayerful travel,
towards the Portal of Mystery
at life's end,
driven forward by a force 
far greater than ourselves,
an unstoppable journey
through All That Is
towards a finite point
we cannot fathom,
when we will slip out of our cocoon,
and don wings,
our souls taking flight
into Whatever Comes Next.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Clouds and Happy Puppy Smiles

First time going to the lake this spring - which is very hot in these parts, heaven knows how we will make it through the summer. Before loading everyone into the car, anticipation ran high. But we stopped to take a look at my clematis, which is looking pretty skookum at the moment.

The clouds are doing their thing this week, they keep me looking up. This is Taylor Arm, out the highway, on Sproat Lake.

The goldens had a new toy - a floating rubber "stick", but they were uninterested. They are used to trying to drown each other over the Kong, so they maintained their loyalty to the old toy.


Luke and Jasmine


Jas in creek

Ferns...just Being

Then we got home, unloaded happy wet dogs 
and took one last look at a lingering Farm Cloud.

Here is a photo of the farm in spring, 2015.

Happiness is a Perfect Cloud

Driving the back way into town, suddenly:
Oh! My! God! LOOK at those clouds!
Puffy white picture-perfect storybook clouds
ringing the valley, outdoing themselves, 
truly, the most spectacular clouds
I have ever seen, against 
a perfect blue summer sky.

And there it was:
perfect happiness.

for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: Happiness. I didnt have my camera, so the photo is from another day of beauty-happiness. But yesterday's clouds were the most astounding I have ever seen. Taking my camera with me from now on! I SO wanted to share them with you.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


[from posted by]

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.

a poem from December 2012, posted for the Poetry Pantry   Happy Sunday, friends.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Speak for the Bees!

The bluesman and the Queen Bee are
a-rockin' my soul
and my knees are kinda knockin'
'cause they're not too used to boppin'
since they got so old.

Now the Lorax takes the mike -
he has a Message for the World -
he speaks it like a rap
while we whirl and twirl:

"The bees are in peril! You must help them, please.
I can't get no more honey from my main squeeze.
I speak for the bees! I speak for the bees,
for the bees have no knees
and no reason to please."

Oh my soul, oh my soul,
the planet grows cold.
The times are a-changing.
Go Home or Go Bold.

There's a Queen Bee and a Lorax
singing songs in the night,
about the earth's sorry plight,
and it gives me a fright.

I speak for the bees! I speak for the bees!
I'll turn around twice
and be nice as you please
if you'll join me in trying
to save all the bees.

This sorry offering is for Marian's prompt at Real Toads: mix Taj Mahal's Queen Bee song with Dr Seuss.

I echo a sentence from Dr Seuss's book, The Lorax, with its environmental message: "I speak for the trees! I speak for the trees!" and it was all downhill after that!

Feathered Dreams

I am thinking of owls this early morning,
their eyes heavy-lidded, as they tuck their little heads 
under their wings and go to sleep for the day.
They have kept watch all night, under the moon,
and must rest before their next vigil.

What do they dream of?
Mice, perhaps, skittering across the forest floor,
their feet  jerking in sleep as they dream of pouncing.

Or perhaps they dream of flight,
that swooshing sensation 
of casting their bodies with faith, into the air, 
the beat beat beat of their feathered pinions,
and the energy it takes
to keep themselves aloft.

Every time they take to the air,
it requires conviction, trust,
and a boundless belief
in their wings.

Yes, I think they dream of flight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Waves of Grief

The waves of grief rolled in,
I bobbing in my little boat
along their peaks and valleys.
Times, I thought their fierceness 
would swamp my fragile craft,
but I plunged on and 
somehow stayed aright.

Times, all I could see
was greyness in all directions,
with no horizon
to help me make my way.

At others, there was a flatness  to everything.
I could see which way to go,
but had no wish to travel.

The waves of grief eventually lessen,
but sorrow never leaves us.
Our departed loves come to live in our hearts.
We make a hallowed space for them there,
safe within the temple of our being,
ours now, only ours.
As the rest of the world moves on
and slowly forgets,
we will carry them with us, always,
till our last breath.

for Sumana's prompt at Mid-Week Motif : Waves

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Rabbit On the Lawn

Along the window, my treasures,
too many for this small space,
but too precious to give away,
wink in the sunlight.

So, my heart is too full 
of the comings and goings 
 that carved deep etchings
onto its surface,
down which blood falls like tears.

And yet one's soul stretches
like a mountain gully,
expanding to accommodate
all the loves and losses,
peaks and valleys,
of a life,
the meadowlark's trill at dusk 
often enough to patch it up
to live another day, 
when too much has been
stripped away.

I have been less than I wanted to be
in this life,
yet more than I might have been.
It cannot be done over.

Watch the sunset transform 
the color of the sky. 
There'll be another dawn or two,
still, for you and I.

I saw a rabbit, this morning, 
on the lawn.
One blink, and she, too, 
will soon be gone. 

For Real Toads, in the style of Jane Hirshfield's STANDING DEER

Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Heart is a Fiddlehead Fern

My heart is a wild fiddlehead fern,
unraveling its stem slowly as I raise my face 
to the sun.

My veins are sap rising,
sending nourishment to my leafy arms
waving at the sky.

My feet are planted deeply
in Mother Earth,
loving the warm dark underworld,
so rich with life and nourishment,
so sustaining,
that encourages my unfolding.

My heart is a wild fiddlehead fern,
that needs an intact forest
to survive.

We think that we are apart from nature, when in truth, we are just another of nature's creatures, neither less nor more important. We are systems, intricately designed, by a Master Engineer, to give us - each human, each worm, each fiddlehead fern - exactly what we need to survive, as long as we understand our interconnection with all things. And even when we don't, so generous is Mother Earth to her creatures.

This is one from 2014, reposted for  Poetry Pantry # 251. Happy sunny Sunday to one and all!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Once You Were Warriors

First Nations in Nuu Chah Nulth Territory photo

Once you were warriors,
free and brave upon the land,
living with the forest and the sea
in harmony.

Now I drive through the reserve
where the government put you,
see the imposed poverty,
a landscape that makes it hard
to dream.

In the eyes of your elders,
I see pain:
the memory of residential school,
the worry that your language 
and your culture might die out.
They have lived one hundred years
of painful history.
They have suffered much.

In the next generation,
I see the defeat
visited upon some of your people
by poverty, addictions, generational trauma.
Yet also, I watch, with joy,
a spirit rising,
that says
"Our culture is our greatest strength,
and we will honor it."

In the eyes of your children,
starting the day with strength and pride,
drumming the sacred drums,
holding the feathered wing,
chanting the prayer to the Creator 
for a good day,
the pride of heritage will live
into another generation,
one in which hope and dreams are strong and limitless:
that you will rise up
and be warriors
- with your message for living 
in peace and harmony with the land -
once again.

This morning, my friends, I drove Sebastian to school and waited to hear the drumming and singing with which the Haahuupayak School begins their day. I am happy to see a strong love for culture surviving the abuses heaped upon First Nations people since Europeans arrived on these shores. In the shining eyes and smiles of the children, in the leadership and strength of the teachers, I see great promise of a day when First Nations truly will rise again, proud and free upon the land. They are rising now, all across Canada in the Idle No More movement. For they know the way we have used the land is not sustainable. They have much to teach us about sustainable living, if we only listen.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Sea, At Dawn

Meet me 
at the place
where riversong meets
the ululating susurration 
of the sea,
waves in endless cycle,
coming back
to me.
I left a fragment of my heart
upon its shore,
will not be whole
until I can return
once more.

Let's raise our faces to 
the morning mist at dawn,
feel its gentle kiss
our face upon,
watch heron picky-toe along 
the fragrant shore.
Meet me where my soul,
to thrive,
needs nothing more. 

for Michael's prompt for Get Listed at Real Toads. I chose the words, fragment, withdrawing and sea.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My Heart a Tiger's Nest

Tiger's Nest Taksang Monastery in Bhutan
photo by Sushma_KS

My heart yearns towards a monk's cell
perched on the edge of a mountain cliff,
halfway between here and heaven.

Yet here I am, in a gray little town
in the valley,
trying to fashion my unwieldy life
into something
that does not give offence.

My challenge, the cliff-walk
of understanding the distance
between where you are
and where I long to be.

My practice, the lighting of incense
and, sometimes, hearts,
with the weaving of words.

My sorrow, the mantra of my soul:
how to tame
the tiger's nest of
keening for all that was,
all that may never be again,
so it may bed down
in peace. 

Peace Pilgrim

from 1953 until 1981, she walked 25,000 miles,
on a pilgrimage for peace. She walked 
until given shelter, fasted until given food.

"I shall remain a wanderer until mankind 
has learned the way of peace," I decided
and, thus, my journey began. 

I walked through all fifty states,
the ten provinces of Canada,
and parts of Mexico,
spreading my message of peace:
peace among nations, among people,
and within oneself.

Sometimes I slept in ditches,
with only a newspaper to cover me 
from the cold.

On one occasion, after 45 days 
of prayer and fasting,
I had the most beautiful dream.
The nations were arming for war. 
I spoke to them, but they would not listen.
I wept for them; they paid no attention.
And then I saw that the people of the world
were praying with me.
A luminous mist was rising, 
a radiant being emerging.
'Put up your swords 
or perish by the sword!' he said,
in a voice like thunder. 
And the nations of the world
put up their swords.

People of the world, let us join together.
Join me in my prayer for peace.
Send your messages of peace
to all the leaders of the world.
If millions share the same vision 
if  a billion voices are heard, 
a change will come across the land
and peace will no longer be
only a dream. 


The Peace Pilgrim's  death was untimely, a head on collision as she was being driven to a speaking engagement. 

"Free of earth, free as air,
now you travel everywhere."
-five of Peace's friends, in Sante Fe, 
upon her passing.

for Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: honoring Our Elders. I thought of Peace Pilgrim, who lived a most amazing life. The italicized words are taken from Peace Pilgrim's writings.