Thursday, July 30, 2015


Last night's moon

magical mystical purveyor
of myth and mystery

Silvery ambassador
who shines from sea to sea

As if you know the secret
of whatever is to be

Radiant midnight moon,
the stars and I agree

If you know the future,
please don't tell its tale
to me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Postscript : Remembering Marcel

He was a slight, pouty-mouthed, effeminate lad,
unable to come out as gay
in a Catholic school of blustering good-ole-boys,
in a conventional, narrow, small church town in the '60's.

The other boys would tease and provoke him
for his differentness,
till he erupted in a red-faced, frothing rage.
"Begone, thou milk-faced fools!" he'd quote,
followed by an entire declamation from Shakespeare,
while the other boys fell about laughing.

I watched, and did not speak,
not knowing how to make them stop.
But I fell in beside him, walking home.
We did not talk about the pain of school.
We just walked, quietly, in solidarity.

He always waited for me, after that,
at the corner of Elliott and Richter.
We'd crunch our way through the snow
towards the lit-up building,
to endure another day of surviving school.

He came into his own in university,
where individuality was admired.
There, his knowledge of art and Shakespeare,
of being his own person,
stood him in good stead.
There he found love,
and lived his happiest years.

His story does not end well:
only that one, brief love,
then aloneness, illness, poverty,
gay-bashing, disinterest by the police 
to whom he reported the crime,
and rage against his fate.
He took his life one early morning
and definitively left this world.
A sad life that would have been
- deserved to be -
so brilliant, with the addition of
a little human warmth and acceptance.

or Susan's prompt at Mid Week Motif: Acceptance

I wrote Marcel's story, Remembering Marcel, here, if anyone cares to read more about him. His life and death sort of broke my heart.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

This Poem is a Big Red Heart

This poem is a six year old boy 
whose dad and dog both died.
This poem is a crayon.
This poem is a big red heart.

This poem is a sweet and valiant little boy,
who has known tears, but who loves to smile.
This poem gets knocked down, and
bounces back up again.
Like the boomerang, it keeps coming back,
because it has known death, so it cherishes life.
This poem is a six year old boy 
whose dad and dog both died.

This poem is a crayon held in a grubby fist
by an intent little boy 
who wants a picture of his pain.
This poem can draw a stick figure dad 
with a big smile, and open arms,
and a devoted droopy-eyed dog, 
with floppy ears and an old soul. 
This poem is a crayon.

This poem is a gigantic wobbly red heart
with a dog inside, along with  the words
"Papa and Phoenix are fishin' in hevven".
This poem squeezes the heart
of his mother, who lost her mate,
then, one year later, held the body 
of his old fishing pal as he went to sleep 
for the last time.
This poem has lost too many loves,
but keeps on smiling, loving and moving forward,
because of a small boy made almost entirely
out of hope and trust and sweetness and love.
This poem is a large red heart.

*for Real Toads' Play It Again, Toads, where I was happy to pick Hannah's wonderful Boomerang Poem form, which makes writing a poem easy, given a few key ingredients.

* also posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Free Tibet

Red Buddha image associated with the youtube video The Mountains of the Gods

The sun god rises, crimson on the mountain 
of eternal snow,
like the bloodstains of the red-robed monks 
who fell before the invaders' guns.
May there be no more bloodshed. 
May its snow stay forever on its peaks, 
so all beings may live.

The snow leopard pads, elusive, 
on its slippery slopes,
furtive as the Old Ones, 
who clasp the forbidden image 
of their beloved, the Dalai Lama,
close to their hearts, hidden away 
from the oppressors' eyes,
which are everywhere.
May the deity who lives 
inside the mountain
step as softly, when he awakens,
so the mountain does not fall.

On its summery slopes, drogpa,* 
yaks and sheep bask in grassy fields of wildflowers. 
One might, in the moment, 
forget all those who died,
fighting for a free Tibet.

One might forget the bitter winds of winter,
howling around the cement walls,
when humans, yaks and snow leopards alike
shiver in their skins,
and the wolves howl dismally 
on the icy slopes.

There will be enough stores of dri** 
to comfort all this winter.
In the soft light of the lamp, 
wrapped in our chubas,***
the Old Ones will whisper stories
of life before the invaders came,
when the young Dalai Lama 
still lived in the Potala Palace,
before so many monks were killed, 
so many temples shattered,
so many sacred relics desecrated.
Their eyes grow sad, remembering.
Their wrinkles chart a landscape 
of painful history,
a loss engraved within each line.

In other lifetimes I have made 
the essential sacred pilgrimage,
three times around the base of the holy mountain.
I have made prostrations for a hundred miles,
so my soul and my country can be free.

May the invaders see the justice of retreat.
May the land of Tibet be restored 
to its peaceful people.
May the Precious One return to his palace
so all may follow the meritorious 
path of Dharma.

*drogpa are a nomadic people who prefer to live year round in yak hair tents, away from towns and villages

**dri butter, made from yak milk,  is a valuable resource for cooking, fuel for lamps and for barter and paying taxes.

*** chubas are the traditional garment, worn by men and women, and adapted for winter wear by lining them with wool or sheepskin (normally the nomads favor the sheepskin lining, while those who live indoors use woolen lining.)

I borrowed a past life - or a dream within a dream - for this poem.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Will Walk There Again

created for me by my dear friend,

In the ancient language the First People know,
there is no separate word that means The Wild.
The closest word for wilderness is 'home'.
It has been my soul's home since I was child.

There is no separate word that means The Wild.
Interdependent, its being lives in our being.
It has been my soul's home since I was a child.
The beauty of its being lies in our seeing.

Interdependent, its being lives in our being.
My spirit at rest  upon its wildest shores,
the beauty of its being lies in my seeing.
I will walk there again, as joyous as before.

My spirit at rest upon its wildest shores,
my closest word for wilderness is 'home'.
I will walk there again, as joyous as before,
in the ancient landscape the First People roam.

The idea for this pantoum (slightly irregular) came from my deep resonance with an article in Tofino Time Magazine by Tsimka Martin, about the traditional territory (hahuulthee) of the Ahousaht people. She quoted elder Levi Martin's words about there being no translatable word for wilderness to English. The closest he could come was the word "home".  The Nuu chah nulth people have always lived as part of the land, not as beings separate from it, (as the dominant culture lives).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back from the Beach

Steps away from stepping out onto......

French beach! This beach is outside of Sooke, a small community 40 minutes outside of Victoria. I was visiting my daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Gord and their puppies, this past weekend, and were determined to hit the beach.

Wild Woman in the wind, and loving it.

Beautiful Stephanie, who is a Beachbody fitness coach.  Steph was born when I was thirty, so we hit our milestone birthdays together. Next summer she will turn 40 when I turn 70. Wow. Not that long ago she was five.....then nine....and fourteen.........then things started to get blurry. LOL. 

It is tricky, catching this exact moment.
After this, we went to China Beach, farther down the road.

 Panoramas of China Beach from above by Stephanie

This little driftwood house at China Beach 
made me think of Wickanninish Beach

So, kids, it was a great trip, and wonderful to go to two beaches, and to visit with Steph and Gord and the dogs (who went insane when I arrived, as it has been a while since Grandma visited.) 

They live in a beautiful area, in the forest outside of Victoria, and a family of deer live in their yard much of the time, because it is a safe place for them. A buck, a mama deer and two babies, plus a yearling from last year are always around. They are so calm when we stand on the deck, they just look back at us when we talk to them, knowing they are in a protected area. They sleep below the kids' bedroom at night. It was wonderful to be surrounded by trees and nature.

I am, of course, wiped out from all the fun, and am moving slowly, trying to get back on my feet. Will catch up with you all as soon as possible.

On Unity

the wise old monk ponders the perfection
of the word "unity" being part of
the word "community".

perfect unity:
the trees, the sky, the ocean waves,
and me.

you galloped along the shore,
i followed after,
in perfect unity.


The wild world waits
for humans to learn to live
with it in unity.


The animals already know
how to live in unity. They are waiting
for us to join them there.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Heading Down-Island

My friends, I am heading down-Island by bus today to spend a couple of days with my youngest, Stephanie,  her husband, Gord, and the puppies. Somehow the months have gone by so fast, it has been too long since I was last there.

I will have restricted computer access at her house - the internet but no if you dont hear from me, no worries. Will be home Tuesday night, if all goes according to plan.

See you then!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


In a home where those forgotten by the world
are cared for,
she changes diapers, bathes and feeds
half a dozen severely disabled,
mostly non-verbal adults.

"I love them," she says, sincerely.
"People think there is no one in there.
For 30 or 40 years their bodies 
have been well cared for, but efficiently.
But what about the luxury of choice?
what they might wish for?
what they might be thinking?

"I give them choices. 
The others think this takes longer, 
makes more work. 
They grumble it's a waste of time.
But choice  makes a difference to them,
even in such small things as
would you rather wear this, or that? 
Would you rather sit in your chair, or on the couch?
They are learning to say No.
Now we're working on Yes!
"They trust me. They know I see them.
I sat beside one man's bed one night, 
with no one else around.
I made him look at me, eyeball to eyeball, 
and I said to him,
"I see you. I truly see you. And you are beautiful."
And a single tear trickled down his cheek."

Grace. It is what makes us all
shiny dancers.

for my daughter, Lisa, who works in a home for severely disabled adults, who sees and advocates for the persons inside those broken bodies, who brings them laughter, and choice, and respect, and who has gained their trust and adoration.

for Karin's prompt at Real Toads: Grace. A quality I greatly admire in human beings.

A Heart Too Far

photo credit: Bob Smith, National Geographic

Wild Woman's heart lives
halfway between a cackle and a howl,
waiting for the moon to rise,
for the owl in the wildwood
to murmur a chook-chook-chook to the chicks
nestled beneath her feathery wing,
listening for the wolves to sing
as the darkling sky winks its million stars
across the mountains and back again.

The waves are singing their siren song,
somewhere too far, out where
the wilds things are.
My heart, remembering, 
is waiting, too, like the moon awaits
its moment to rise,
like the owlet perches on the edge of its nest,
summoning the courage to fly,
like the shore anticipates the lip of the wave
advancing, retreating, and returning once more.

Wild Woman's heart lives
somewhere between a cackle and a howl,
displaced, too far
from where the wild things are.

contemplated as a response to Kerry's prompt at Real Toads, to write from our true poetic voice. The phrase Where the Wild Things Are comes from the title of a book of that title for children by Maurice Sendak.

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Philosophy of Hope

I keep my hope
on the end of a rope,
haul it up at random moments,
just as needed.
A zap straight to the brain,
there is no living without pain.
But my reality
is by my hope exceeded.

One has to have a bottom line,
to keep on grinning at the sky,
moving forward with a purpose
without always asking Why.
While sliding down that slippery slope,
for my hope I quickly grope,
          foolish optimist, my mantra:         
"We live in hope!"

This video cracks me up...always has. It is SO the way I live, the Great Survivor, continually flattened by  heavy objects falling on her head, popping up grinning like a loon.

for Brian's prompt at dVerse, in which the title must begin My Philosophy is wonderful beyond words to see the Big Guy behind the bar today! Do stop by to say hi.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Changing the World

Is it foolish 
for humans to think
we can change the world?

We already have
changed the world.

We just have no clue
how to change it back.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nothing Like A Good Fantasy


Scary Fairy Sherry breeches the holy vault
of the national legislature.
A hush falls as she swoops overhead
sprinkling magic dust on all the
rotund, beefy-cheeked, porky politicians.
They stop name-calling and squabbling about
more tax breaks for the rich,
and a "cost-of-living" increase in
their own gazillion dollar "extra benefits" package,
(to be financed by cuts in services to the poor) -
the only two items on the agenda.

They stop asking, "Mr Speaker,
will Someone please tell me, Mr Speaker,
when Mr (Harper, Trudeau, Mulcair)
will tell the Canadian people
what the fuddle-duddle
is going on?"
The roars of approbation 
and equally loud disgruntled booing
come to a full stop.
They all (for once united)
fix their beady eyes, 
jowls quivering in consternation,
on the small, green eco-warrior
at the podium.

The security guards are not sure of protocol.
They finger their holsters nervously
until she shoots them a look
and they desist.
You don't want to piss off
a person with magical powers.

Scary Fairy Sherry flutters
at the microphone.
"Ahem. This is to inform you
that the Women's Revolution
has begun.
In a moment, I will strike you
mute and motionless
long enough for the Women of the World
to get our housekeeping done.
We will sweep the armies off the landscape,
open the storage silos where food 
is uselessly warehoused,
and feed the hungry.
We will order all multinationals 
to pay their fair share of taxes,
clean up their mess,
and reduce all emissions to zero,
effective yesterday.

"We will begin programs all over the world,
to protect, nurture and restore
wildlife and ecosystems.
We will develop clean energy systems
all over Mother Earth,
to provide work and reverse the damage
oil-based energy has caused.
There will fricking be
No More Fracking.
We recognize you are addicted
to the oil energy model.
When you wake up
(to a clean green world)
we will send you all to treatment
for detoxing and rehabilitation.
Do not worry.
You will find out
there is another way to live.

"All of this rehabilitation of the earth
will employ every able body, for fair pay,
thus ending poverty and hopelessness
Every person will have a purpose,
and a means of sustaining him or herself
and their families.
We will enforce Sustainable Only use
of resources world-wide.
We will set up Task Forces everywhere
for restoration of the health of land and sea.

"Grandmothers will replace you
in positions of governance.
We will make decisions
based upon the well-being
of our children's children's children,
to the seventh generation. 
Decisions will be based on life and health,
not greed, money or power.
And you can bet your sweet patooties
we will not be sending 
our pink-cheeked boys
into the desert with guns.
Not gonna happen.

"So you can feel, deal and heal.
Or not.
We don't really care.
We have a lot of work to do,
cleaning up all your mess.
Sweet dreams.

Scary Fairy Sherry waves her wand.
The porky politicians
topple over onto their desks
for a Hundred Year Snooze.
And the women of the world
get to work.

LOL. Don't I wish!!!!!! For Susan's prompt at Mid-Week Motif : to write about how much people can get done when they work together. Or, alternatively, one's fantasy about power. I picked the fantasy.

The fuddle duddle comment harks back to when Pierre Trudeau (father of our current incumbent) famously said the F-word in legislature, and covered it up by saying he had uttered "Fuddle Duddle". 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Awaken the Mother Mind*

from youtube video Awaken The Mother Mind

The time of the warrior is past,
the time of wars and killings,
of linear thought, of invasions and
take-overs, lust for power,
and the oppression, killing
and subjugation of people.

It is time for the Divine Feminine to arise,
time to awaken the Mother Mind,
which sees from the womb,
from the place of giving life,
whose vision is circular, inclusive,
gazing in all directions at once, 
respectful of all beings,
respectful of all life.

The shaman says we must feel what is happening
in the core of our being: it hurts,
but when we understand the other's pain,
we can work to ease that pain.
We cannot then disassociate from
what is happening to others.

This is a painful seeing.
But mothers are born strong enough
to bear the pain of others,
wise enough to see the samenesses
between us are greater 
than our differences.

The shaman says, "We must think like grandmothers."
Grandmothers cherish life. 
Grandmothers have gained life wisdom.
Grandmothers know how futile is 
the firing of bullets and bombs.
Grandmothers know the way of peace
cannot be won by war,
and that freedom is not free
if thousands shed blood to achieve it.

Let the warriors rest
from their thousand years of warring.
Let the Mother Mind flower all over this planet.
Let the joyous bells ring out for 
the long-awaited
thousand years of peace.

*Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa's video Awaken the Mother Mind inspired this poem. The thousand years of war and peace is from Tennyson's "In Memoriam", which Sumana reminded me of yesterday. I'll enclose the video for those who might wish to view it. It is short and sweet.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Weeping Willow of Remembrance

I am weeping willow,
lake-scent and whisperings
engraved on my heart,
in a small, sleepy town in the 50's,
water hitting the side of my grandmother's house
to wake me in the morning.
At my grandma's house,
it was always summer.

Willows weeping along the lake,
ripples lapping at the edges of my heart,
full of dreams of a future
I had no idea would be
so difficult, or so wonderful.

Bending willow, strong enough 
to weather wind and storm,
but soft enough to harbor dreams
and nurture hope.

Weeping willow of remembrance,
down all the years, the sight of one
takes me back to that sleepy little town,
my grandmother's cottage,
the beginning of a journey too long for telling,
and far too short and swift
in the remembering.

A couple of commenters on my Hanging Garden Tree poem mentioned the weeping willow, and I replied that were I to write what kind of tree I would be now, it would be the weeping willow. So I decided to write it.

Black Milk

The following was written for Grace's prompt at Real Toads - inspired by the life and writings of Paul Celan, who survived the Holocaust, where his parents perished. He lived the rest of his life in a landscape of depression. Towards the end of his life, he grew mute with sorrow, and committed suicide in 1970, at age 50, by drowning in the Seine. He had tried an earlier suicide attempt by plunging a knife into his chest, missing his heart by one inch. I tried to get inside his head, based on my extensive reading about the Holocaust, and a few essays about the poet and his life.  His style was very dark and terse, so this will likely be a heavy read. I did not aim to write in his style but, rather, to write about how he must have felt, inside of all that painful history.

Wielding the knife, I miss my heart by an inch
and am forced to continue 
this grey endless horizonless trek
across Abandoned Hope.

I am drowning in the weight 
of all I have endured,
My heart can no longer carry
all I have lost.
I remember the stench, the filth, the lice,
the coughing, the hunger,
the bone marrow cold of the camps.

My parents' faces, as the guards signaled them 
to turn to the left, I, to the right. 
How can I bear still being alive?

How is it possible to smile, to chat,
to exchange pleasantries, 
top up my coffee with cream,
in a world where madmen 
torture the innocent,
the helpless, the hopeless,
then feed them to the ovens?

My pain renders me mute.
My history renders me mad.
I have lived a thousand darknesses*,
with one too few dawns.

*the phrase "thousand darknesses" from an essay about the poet by Luitgard N. Wundheiler, who described Celan's poetry as "creat(ing) a landscape of death"