Saturday, December 31, 2016

Messages From Water

If a drop of water responds
to language and energy
so dramatically,
imagine how a flower, a tree,
a child, any human,
an animal, any living creature,
responds to the energy
and the words
directed its way.

We are responsible
for the energy we bring.

May we be kind.
May we walk with
care and concern
for all in our path.
May we be respectful
and filled to our sparkling eyes
with gratitude.

Happy New Year, Friends!

for Bjorn's prompt at Real Toads: the Tao of Physics (smiles). Really, it is Brownian Motion, but I took a leap from that to what I am more familiar with: Messages From Water by Dr. Masaru Emoto.

Friday, December 30, 2016

She, and the Song of the Sea

Wild Woman lives with the song of the sea in her veins, and the heart of a wolf in her chest: a tired old mother wolf who has seen many seasons, and whose strength is wearing out. But she remembers the pulse of the wild; her blood quickens at sunrise on the coast, as she watches the indefatigable sun rise, morning after morning, the eternal waves ebbing and flowing, on the shore and within her being, through the everness of time, in the only place where her soul is at home. She carries this with her inland, in her waning years, yet every cell of her being is attuned up and over the mountains, where the seaspray, the ancient forest, the eagle's cry, the ley lines in this power place, call to her forever, singing: Come home, come home, so spirit and being can be one, before you lay your body down for the last time.

This place claimed her, long before she claimed it.
It has called to her for lifetimes.
It is forever and forever singing her home.

- a haibun from February 2016. Sharing with the first Poetry Pantry of 2017 at Poets United. On New Year's Day my daughter and son-in-law are driving me up and over the mountain pass to my beloved shore, to enjoy a few days of wild waves and turbulent weather. I will be within sight and sound of the sea for four glorious days. No better way to begin the new year.

Happy New Year, Friends!


We have learned some new words:
post-truth, bigly, adulting,
alt-right, woke*.

There is now a new societal disorder:
election stress disorder.
They say there is nothing new
under the sun,
but this has been new to me:
the impossibility of politics
becoming reality tv,
with all its dysfunction,
hyperbole, buffoonery,
a tweeting prez,
an audience of the unawakened.

You can't make this stuff up.

We come to the end:
of an election,
of the year,
of writing our way
through disbelief, angst
and a coming to terms
with what is,
with concern for what will be.

We soldier on, fellow pilgrim,
because the only way out
is through.
Keep your eyes on the skies.
Hug a tree.
Tell her she will be all right.
Look into a dog's trusting eyes.
Dogs don't think we are idiots.
And fortunately, they don't watch the news,
thus they maintain their equilibrium.
Be like Rover.

It is good 2016 is coming to an end.
Best wishes for 2017.

* an African word, the state of being alert to injustice, especially racism

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Finish. Thank you, Elizabeth, for guiding us through these weeks, and for devoting 40 days to assisting and supporting us. Being able to express my angst truly helped me to make my way, and find some sort of footing in this brash new world we find ourselves in. I appreciate you so much.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Political Chat

the president-elect is taking
a crash course in adulting.
His aides question
whether he can make the leap.
His "landslide election"
means he is revered "bigly"
in some parallel universe
of his own delusion,
which is all he needs -
that, and a mirror.

Alt-rights are bleaching all their whites,
preparatory to reclaiming the 50's.

A chatbox will soon be installed
in the Oval Office
for taking daily briefings.
Perhaps Artificial Intelligence
could do the work of governing
while the prez is busy tweeting?

Hygge, if ever actually
in the political arena,
will never be felt again
in the halls of power.
Everybody rational is in
a serious state of woke,
having traded in
the Audacity of Hope for
a new syndrome called
Election-Stress Disorder.

for Mama Zen's prompt at Real Toads, to use some of the following words:

post-truth: objective facts are less influential than emotional appeals

adulting: behaving in a way characteristic of an adult

bigly: a word made-up by someone not operating with a full deck

alt-rights: an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservatism
(as we watch the emerging from the shadows of the neo-nazis and skinheads

chatbox: a computer program to simulate human conversation, especially over the internet

hygge: a feeling of cozy well-being

woke: an African word indicating a state of being alert to injustice in society, especially racism

Good luck in 2017, friends. We're going to need it.


ancient cedars bent
with the weight of snow,
attentive presences
praying for
a peaceful world.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winter Trees

A path of pain and homelessness
in search of home,
a path out of chaos and violence
in search of peace,
led me through the door
of a coffeehouse full of gentle people
in 1980 Kelowna.

They tended my roots
until my petals unfurled.
They taught me how to thrive
in the joy of being alive.

That path led me onward
to the sea,
and the relief of my soul
at being at home among the wild.
I go now to the forest-breathing-peace
when my heart needs soothing.
On the riverbank, under the tall cedars,
all cares fall away, and I breathe in beauty,
balm and comfort, abandon sorrow,
allow the ancient beings to restore
my faith in our tomorrow.

The other night, driving icy roads in fear,
I suddenly saw the ghostly trees
arching over the road,
branches laden thickly with snow,
and shimmering with an unearthly light.
As attentive as angelic beings,
protective presences,
hovering over us in prayer,
they showed me heavenly beauty
my heart holds fast,
and saw us safely past.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Path and Relief. The other night, the small bus was driving through very treacherous conditions. We were all silent and praying. I suddenly looked at the trees, and they were more beautiful than I have ever seen them, their branches so thickly loaded with snow, they drooped over us, as if protectively. They were stunning, shimmering. I wished we could stop and gaze our fill but of course we had to keep moving.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


I gift you a morning sunrise,
in winter,
new-minted with promise,
a fresh day unfolding.

I gift you hours with a loved sister,
sharing songs, and stories, and laughter,
and tears, in the remembering
of those things we have lost.

I gift you sunshine and birdsong,
and a winter hummingbird,
magical and unexpected,
at the feeder,
blue Jays and scarlet cardinals,
and a horse in the field,
huffing small clouds of breath
into the cold air.

For your lonesome heart,
I send you an old dog's smile,
patient and devoted,
and always there.

For your tomorrows,
I send you a small fairy
sprinkled with moondust,
and a wand,
to bid you safe passage,
and the certain knowledge
you have a place in this world
that is distinctly yours, where you
are treasured and needed.

Happy Christmas!

....for Jae. And for Elizabeth Crawford's challenge : gifts

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays, Friends

My friends, I will soon be trudging off to the big city, to visit my son, Jeff, and spend Christmas with him. I am looking forward to all the pretty Christmas lights, but not so much the getting around vast distances on my hobbling leg. Smiles. I will view it as both challenge and adventure, and report back when I return. Meanwhile, I wish every one of you the warmest and happiest of seasonal felicity, whatever it is that you celebrate, be it solstice, Duwali, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or just being alive on the planet............the joy in every holiday is spending it with those you love.

Here Ms Jasmine looks rather pensive. Her brother, Lukey, is declining, and she has some health concerns herself. Here at Geriatric Ranch, there are a number of us on the downhill slide. Smiles. We grow old, we grow old. We will reassess our statuses in the new year.

Jasmine's trademark smile never fails her, though. She is a cheerful girl. Goldens are all about love and happiness.

Here is my boy, Pup, in his glory days. He looks quite lordly in this photo. He much preferred the hat to the shameful antlers. He is never far from my thoughts, especially at this time of year, when I remember his last Christmas, two weeks before the end of his life. I miss the life we shared in our little trailer. Every day.

Have wonderful days with those you love, kids, and hold your furry ones close to you while they are still here. We are their joy, every bit as much as they are ours.

The Significance of Orange

The future is tense
and painted in unexpected colours.
There are walls,
and armed guards every six feet
with semi-automatics,
ready to use a hammer
to pound in a thumbtack.

2017 is painted
with an orange glow,
the colour of his skin,
taking up too much space
on my tv screen
and in my head.
Maybe it's a toxic haze
slowly covering the mountains,
now that climate change
no longer exists,
or a platoon of grinning pumpkins
with steely gimlet eyes,
sent in to the castle
to plunder the goodies.

The public is divided: half unaware
of what they have done,
the other half too aware
for our own peace of mind.

The future is tense,
and so am I,
trying to figure out
this new orange haze.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Public

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Untitled (The Future)

Untitled 1989

no longer has
predictable outlines.

I stare into the void,
knowing whatever the regime brings,
of racism, disruption, injustice,
the ripping apart of all supports and safety nets,
one thing remains fixed:
our hearts will not change.

We will remain just.
We will protect those
who need protecting.
We will speak up
for the voiceless,
for Mother Earth,
for each other.

I gear my weary heart
for struggle,
after a lifetime of struggle.
But that heart remains unswayed
in its forward thrust towards
love and light,
  liberation from oppression,
intolerance and division.

We shall withstand.
We shall move through the days
with our good hearts.
We may not overcome,
but we will not be

This is my prayer.

For Kerry's cool prompt at Real Toads  (and check out their cool toadly banner!): to use the art of Felix Gonzales-Torres as inspiration. And for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge, Day 32: Prayer. We are writing our way through these heavy political times, and are gaining strength. The Poets' Pens are Piping Peace. (Make Peace Possible Again?)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Picture collage by The Unknown Gnome

I walk under soft, dark greenness.
Peace falls on me like rain,
The fiddlehead fern of my being
gently unfurls.

I breathe in cedar,
that my Inner Old One
from centuries past.

among the trees, unseen,
but felt,
perhaps in the dust motes swirling
in patches of golden sunlight
filtered through ancient cedar.

an owl utters
a sleepy "who-hoo?"
Somewhere, a black wolf
through the veil,
his eyes speaking
the language without words.
I feel them
in my soul.

*Shinrin-Yoku is the Japanese practice of forest bathing. We need to do a lot of that in these times. This poem was written last spring, and is shared for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Breathe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

When the World Was Young

In the lifetime before the lifetime before this one,
and again the lifetime before that,
I danced under the blue sky at the sundance,
when I and the world were young.

The beat of the drum sang in my blood
and my feet moved in joy,
and I danced
and I danced
as if it would last forever,
when I and the world were young.

The Old Ones smiled on me
with kind eyes, but with sadness, too,
for their dreams foresaw suffering
for the people.

Over in the meadow, grey wolves flitted
in and out among the Standing People, 
paws prancing high,
and the backs of the buffalo 
carpeted the earth
in the days
when I and the world were young.

And now I live again, 
in an alien skin,
in a world grown cold.
The buffalo are gone and all that moves
is made of metal.
And I am an Old One 
with kind, sad eyes,
watching the young dance 
in a world gone mad,
and the ancient spirits are crying still,
remembering the days of 
dancing under the sun
when they and I 
and the world were young.

I wrote this poem last year at this time after attending a concert at a First Nations school here in town. The young fellow above was one of the children dancing as animals, birds and whales. The dance was titled Everything Is One: what happens to one, happens to all. A concept First Nations people understand very well.

Shared with the day Tuesday Platform  at Real Toads. Happy holidays, fellow toads!

Traveling in Two Worlds

Morning at Wickaninnish

There are two worlds we are walking through:
one a place of pain, sorrow and turmoil,
man fighting man,
humans destroying the environment,
and each other,
hate, division, injustice,
warfare and desperation.

Then there is the other world,
the real world:
shimmering with beauty,
filled with beautiful wild creatures,
dawns and sunsets and mystical seas,
and rivers to carry our hearts along,
and mighty trees breathing us
oxygen and peace.
It is a world of plenty,
a world of Enough.
We need only to share.
We need only care.

The beautiful world weeps at
man-made destruction
it cannot comprehend:
in the midst of a paradise,
warring armies drop bombs,
corporations bomb under the earth
and the black snake spills oil
into pristine rivers.
She weeps at the two-leggeds
running amok on her surface,
so destructive, as if they are
anti-life, anti-joy, anti-peace.
They make no sense.
They are destroying
their earthly garden.

Despite it all, Father Sun comes
beaming up every morning,
streaking the sky with pink promise:
it's a new day, fellow pilgrims.
He sinks behind the horizon
every night, putting the day away
in surpassing beauty.
It's a sky-show in the heavens,
every moment.
Fellow pilgrim, don't despair!
The beauty of life is everywhere.
Keep looking up!

We should all be walking around,
jaws dropped, at the beauty and grace
we are walking through.
A single step to start our journey,
a thousand miles to bring us home,
and we are wandering through Beautiful
everywhere we roam.

Jumbled thoughts for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Beautiful. Earth beauty must be our solace, now, and we must protect her from destructive forces, now to be set loose in unprecedented numbers.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Protecting Hope

As the dark year comes to a close
and the possibilities of the new one
stretch ahead,
I form a bubble around
the tender newborn, Hope,
promising to protect it,
no matter the threat.

For, as humans,
we need to keep hope alive.

The dark forces may swirl.
They may think they have won.
But they cannot rule our spirits,
or divest us of our humanity.
They cannot change
the truth of what we know.

Within, we are strong.
We resist.
Within, and together,
we are invincible.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Protect. I was inspired by the Mayor of New York's pledge to his people: that, whatever decrees might come from the new regime, New Yorkers would resist and refuse to comply, "because we are New York". This is the url:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Emperor

It was a child
who pointed out
to the obsequious, fawning adults
that the Emperor had no clothes.

Who will be brave enough
to step up and say
the Emperor has
no head?

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge : Symbol

"The Emperor's New Clothes" is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that they don't see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as "unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent". Finally, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" The tale has been translated into over 100 languages. Source

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Their Final Twilight

Mother Wolf

In what feels like their final twilight,
an injured Father Wolf and two babies
try to live.
Mother Wolf was shot,
four of her babies 
were struck by trains,
and living is not easy
even in a national forest.

How are they to live,
when even the protected places
are unsafe?
Humans, humans everywhere,
and no safe place
to hide.


["In the past three months, two of the five members of the pack — including the alpha female, or mother wolf — have been shot and killed by wildlife officials in Banff National Park and a third is now looking for food in campgrounds.

"At least four of this year’s six wolf pups have also died after being struck by trains on the railway line and the alpha male is limping after likely being hit by a car on the Trans-Canada Highway.

“It’s not going to get any better,” said Paul Paquet, an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary and carnivore specialist with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. “This is the legacy of decisions made by Parks Canada for many years.

“The decisions have really been about the commercialization of Banff and the ongoing development — that’s pretty clear and it’s at a huge cost to the environment. It’s not just wolves. Wolves are just symbolic of that problem.”

"Paquet suggested it’s getting more and more difficult for any wildlife to eke out a living in Banff National Park."]

source :

posted for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads: The Final Twilight

To Love What Is Left To Love*

Mount Arrowsmith 

I turn off the news,
turn on the Christmas lights,
the Christmas tunes,
buy puppy treats for all the dogs,
watch Lunabella's eyes,
in awe at all the pretty colours.
At her age, life is only joy and hope,
and all good things.

We draw into our family bubbles,
snug and warm and safe inside,
set the worries aside for the new year.
At Christmas, there needs to be
good food and gathering together
and cackles.
It is traditional, our laughter,
as we remember
the old stories, and the faces
who are no longer here.

It is time to draw into our familial circle,
not look too far beyond the walls.
For today, and through Christmas,
it is time to "love what is left
to love."*

*This quote is from an email from  Hedgewitch, and the words have stuck with me. A pathway of light  through this portentous time, when the big picture is too dark to look at, so we retreat to our well-lit homes and cheerful Christmas trees for a time out.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Laughter. At our house, when we all get together, there is always cackling.

Friday, December 16, 2016


It is an honour to be loved by a wolf.
So quick of wit, full of humour
at the ludicrous concept
of living between four walls,
~(what are these humans thinking?) ~
he intuits your every thought,
weighs you and finds you worthy
(if you're lucky, and have a true heart),
rests his head on your knee,
his trust a gift you must never betray,
or take lightly.

Being loved by a wolf
awakens your wilding nature,
sets you forth on an unmarked passage,
leads you into the forest, far from the city.
Understand, you may never come back,
not fully, from those wild lands.

His howl crosses the song of the shaman;
both find you in the still, midnight hours.
And when he leaves,
he leaves you with a hole in your heart
none other can fill.

Being loved by a wolf
was this lifetime's gift,
along with the wild,
that sings through your bones
of those long-lost days,
a song that will forever reverberate
within this deep, soulful

I wrote this poem last New Year's Day, beginning the year of 2016 with memories of my wolf and the pounding sea. As the year winds to a close, so much is uncertain about 2017. But this New Year's, I will be at the shore, with my daughter and son-in-law and their two dogs, with the wild surf singing through my soul. And I can't wait.

Shared with the last Poetry Pantry of 2016 as Poets United takes its Christmas break. Do come and join us.


When a deranged demagogue runs amok,
the ground itself shifts and trembles
under our feet.
We wait for the next Bad News.
And it comes:
a warmonger in charge of defense,
appointees against public health and public schools
in control of those departments,
ready to slash and burn,
climate change naysayers
in charge of climate regulations.
What they are for:
corporate interests,
more big breaks for the wealthy,
screw the common man
who believed the empty lies.

The people wanted Change
and they will get it,
but the changes that are coming
contain nothing good:
certain war, toppling systems, financial instability,
and as usual the 99% will feel the hit,
while the elite continue polishing
all their gold and brass.

They may not believe in climate change,
but the icebergs will continue to melt,
the ocean to warm, the coastlines to rise.
Their paranoia will spark global conflict,
their leanings towards Russia bode no good.

We watch, appalled, while the Electoral College
contemplates our fate.
The first time I felt like this,
Cuba and Kennedy were holding a stand-off
during the missile crisis in the  Bay of Tonkin,
and we were learning to tuck and roll.
The last time I felt like this
was during the meltdown at Chernobyl,
waiting for the domino effect to take hold,
and blow us all away.

Now a baboon will sit in the Oval Office,
looking at the pretty red button,
in love with himself and his limitless power.

On Monday we will learn
whether we still have hope,
or whether this deadly mistake
will be allowed to continue.
Stay tuned.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Threat. There is more than enough threat to go around, in every direction. God help us.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kali's Song

It is a mistake we feel in our soul:
something very wrong is happening here.
Or is it a mistake?
It may be the lancing open
of a festering boil,
so it can be cleansed and healed.
It is the culmination of centuries
of social injustice,
of rampant colonialism,
of corporate control
so tight the very foundations
of democracy are rocked.

The jackboots gather,
with their gimlet eyes
and hollow souls.
The Black Snake
slithers across the land,
polluting all in its path,
spewing gold for the few
and death to the rest.

In the darkness, Mother Earth's voice
begins to be heard, and responded to,
by people of the earth.

In the darkness, our eyes
are finally opened
to the truth:
we have been spoon-fed lies.

In the darkness,
the brave hearts begin to sing.
Holy change will begin to happen,
though it may take some time,
may take collapse of everything
we thought we knew,
may take the planet toppling on its axis
for the Dark Mother to reclaim
her power, and for those who are left
to begin to mend and heal the earth,
join together in holy
brotherhood and sisterhood
to find a more just way to survive
than the path that got us to
this moment in time.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Mistake

source: Kali Takes America, by Vera de Chalambert, spiritual storyteller and Harvard scholar of com-arative religions. This essay is a wonderful read, an interesting perspective on the turbulence we are experiencing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wolf Music

Collage by my friend,

When he died,
somewhere in the mountains,
a grey wolf pointed 
her muzzle to the sky
and howled.
Others joined her,
until the mountainside 
was alive
with wolf music,
echoing through the dark trees
under the moon.

Ever since,
an invisible black shadow
has been silently
dogging my steps.
Though his song is stilled,
I carry his music
in my heart.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Music. And for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge at 1sojournal: Shadow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Life, Post-Cage

First, there was the cage.
Even when the door sat open,
the small bird of my being
was afraid to venture forth,
until desperation
drove me out and away.

Then there was
learning to fly,
and falling,
the exhilaration,
the crashing.

One learns, finally,
to settle on a branch,
sing sweet songs,
enjoy the sunrise.

They may build walls and cages,
attempt to silence the truth-tellers,
try to shoot us
out of the air.
We'll just go underground
and bide our time.
The storm without may rage.
But within one's feathery breast
and small bird brain,
we remember
those spacious skies.
For Freedom,
once experienced,
cannot be unlearned.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge at 1sojournal: Freedom

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Hearts of Its Women

END OF THE LINE: THE WOMEN OF STANDING ROCK Teaser from Red Queen Media on Vimeo.

"A nation is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground."
A Cheyenne saying

It was a grandmother who first stood
by the river at Standing Rock and said,
"I will not be moved."

In the old ways, matriarchal societies
were balanced and effective,
until men took their turn
at ruling the world.

Now the grandmothers gather.
Aho, we have been saying
for so many years,
that Mother Earth needs balance,
that she is crying in distress.
We have been mourning the extinction
of the wild creatures,
our hearts in pain at their struggle
to live in a world of
the most dominant and
apart-from-nature species
that ever lived.

The grandmothers sing by the river,
promising to protect her.
They stand together
before their sacred burial grounds:
Let no bulldozer pass.

If ever there was a time
to tread gently on the earth,
it is now.
But the jackboots are gathering,
ready to lay waste.
If ever there was a time
to be truthful and honest,
to take responsibility for our sins
against Mother Earth, it is now,
to help her repair her wounds,
to work with her,
allowing her to heal.

But the deniers and naysayers say
"Business as usual".
In fact they plan worse pillaging,
with no controls,
for the ruling billionaires
banded together
feel a strength that need not worry
about repercussions.

Our grandmother spirits are weary.
But our minds are wise.
And our hearts are no where near
to being on the ground.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge : Women

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Song of Water

Stamp Falls

Water falls as snow,
draping the world in beauty,
softening the hard edges,
hiding the detritus of man-made existence
under a coverlet of pristine perfection,
a mask that hides a thousand man-made wounds,
and a million of humanity's clamoring needs.

If I were a river,
truth would be my song.
I'd roar through rock-walled chasms,
green with weeping,
crash over rocks of resistance,
find my way
through decades of wrong turnings
to the ocean of well-being,
if it took a century
of tribulation,
for that one final moment
of immersion
where my soul belonged.

Water is alive.
Its cells respond to positive and negative,
to love, to anger,
to fear, to distress.
When the Black Snake spills
into its rippling depths,
you cannot hear its anguished screams,
but the dying fish and strangled birds,
the oil-drenched river otters, the grounded swans,
the bears and eagles who have
no fish to eat or water to drink,
join in its song of death.

for Elizabeth Crawford's challenge: Water. I snuck in yesterday's word (Mask) as well. I'm sneaky like that. Smiles. Shared with the Poetry Pantry at  Poets United  and the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Snow Days

The snow fell for days
without stopping.
The world went silent
as every creature slept
a dreamless sleep.
Inside the cabin,
Wild Woman kept the fire crackling,
and melted ice on the stove-top for tea,
grinning fiendishly,
knowing  her long driveway
was impassable,
and no one would be able to stop by.

LOL. I am enjoying a snow day: fleecy pj's, hot chocolate, a crackling fire, sleepy dogs.......and a fiendish smile. Can't possibly go anywhere or do anything. Yay!

for Magaly's prompt at Real Toads: flash poetry, 13 lines or fewer, using the words:  snow, ice, and cabin.

Winter 2016

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

It is Christmas time at the farm, and we have some  snow happening, draping the world in beauty. Gifts are stacked, waiting to be given, and the lights are making everything cheerful.

In times like these, when the big picture is frightening, it is comforting to draw our simple domestic pleasures around ourselves, love our animals, who know the secret of life better than we do, and hope and strive for better times.

One from 2012, my friends,  shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fighting For All Of Our Lives

Friends, please watch this very moving video. This is not about one pipeline or one protest. The planet hovers between ongoing life or eventual death. The First Nations of these lands are fighting to save Mother Earth. They are fighting to save ALL of our lives.

The Power of Three

The trump triumvirate,
Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo,
are up for the task
of setting us back fifty years.

No holy trinity they:
it's been a long time since
right wing has been this far right.
(Think: War. "Good for the Economy!"
Think: curtailed civil rights.
Think: Beyond the Orwellian Nightmare.
Think: Corporations and billionaires rule.
Think: We are truly screwed.)
Add a climate change denier as head of
the environmental protection agency,
and the environment will need
to be protected
from its own administrator.

I turn my fear into words,
strike with my pen.
It is hard to watch history
repeating itself
over and over

for Elizabeth Crawford's challenge: the power of three.

source : The Guardian

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

He Who Walks Among the Stars

From up here,
the world looks new,
peaceful, beautiful,

Down below live
people with holes in their hearts,
toxicity on their brains,
struggle on their paths.
They are longing for
wholeness and healing,
even if they don't know.
Down below,
looking up and dreaming,
live people
with the ability to
make the whole world new,
if they but choose.

One walks among them who shows
that it is possible to reach out
and do good
even in the midst of
one's own struggle.

He is a man
on his journey,
He Who Walks Among the Stars,
who told of one small boy's death
and woke his country up.
The chief thanked him for
"taking the time to care
about our people."

That is how we will remember him,
a man with time to love one small boy,
and, through him, a whole people,
before he takes his
walk among the stars.

Gord Downie, leader of the Tragically Hip, now on his journey through brain cancer, has just completed his farewell tour. Recently, Gord produced a short film called The Secret Path, a true story about a twelve year old boy who died while escaping from residential school in 1966. Yesterday, First Nations chiefs and communities gathered to honour him, with an eagle feather, a blanket, and the gift of his native name, Man Who Walks Among the Stars. Gord cried throughout the ceremony, calling it the best day of his life.

The link above will take you to the moving video of the ceremony.

for Midweek Motif's prompt: To write from the vantage point of someone in a flying machine, and also for Elizabeth Crawford's challenge at 1sojournal: Ability.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Green and Blue

Mother Earth is green and blue.
Sadly, money is green too.
To get it, they will wreck the earth,
for only dollars are of worth.

What colour are the corporate souls,
with their red hearts so full of holes?
How can they not know that they borrow
today's wealth from our kids' tomorrow?

Sigh. for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Colour. North Dakota pipeline says it will continue building in that location regardless of the order to stop. And trump's regime wants to privatize reservation land, to make it easier to extract (rip off) all the resources. Have we gone into a time warp? I seriously can't stand it. Someone make it stop.

Monday, December 5, 2016


It was a grandmother who first
stood by the river and said
"Enough is enough."
The warriors at Standing Rock
held the line for months
before the world took notice,
and went to join them.
The movement grew.
Their prayerful courage touched our hearts.
When the veterans went
to put their bodies between
the protectors and the militarized police,
finally their message was heard,
and the pipeline halted.

There will be more Standing Rocks,
for the black snake tries to find its way
against all scientific facts and warnings.
"Money Rules!" they say.

But oh! good people, never forget :
"The Spirit Liberates!"

We stand together, with the indigenous people
who love and know the land,
we grandmothers and grandfathers,
joining them in solidarity,
standing for the future of our grandkids
to the seventh generation.

Money may rule.
But in the end,
for always and forever,
the Spirit liberates.

for Elizabeth Crawford's challenge at 1sojournal: Together

Sunday, December 4, 2016


[I wrote this poem in 1963, when we were asked to write a sonnet at school. It was December. It appears I have had these conflicting thoughts about Christmas - excess in a world of inequities - since I was young. I was seventeen. What I most wanted to do was go to Africa and care for orphans. I so wish that I had.]

Pure snowflakes fall upon a dust-gray street:
Love's beauty, scattered by a Baby's fingers.
The softened, hov'ring winter darkness lingers:
A gentle life, so sweet to me, so sweet!
Clear, poignant carols echo on the air,
Sung by the pale-lipped children of December.
With breathless joy, always will I remember
Their angel-sounds, so fair to hear, so fair.
The gifts pile high under the Christmas tree.
The gaiety grows greater every day.
Into my dreams, a starved child finds his way:
"A crust of bread for me, a crust for me."
The thought of him remains all season through -
So far away, so little I can do.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: to give the world a hug. Children everywhere need our hugs and our help, all year long. Our hearts feel happier, when helping those in need is part of our lives. It is great to involve our kids in this as well, so they feel the joy of giving.

I just turned on the news and received an unexpected hug. Permission has been denied for the pipeline at Standing Rock. What is that quote: never underestimate the power of a group of committed people to do great things.

Our voices, joined together, CAN and DO effect change........let us keep our voices raised against all the issues to come, especially around climate change. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I imagine a world
of social justice:
resources used sustainably,
and shared,
wildlife and water protected,
a world of clean energy
and thriving organic gardens.

The humans are all smiling
and no human or animal
is abused or beaten or shot,
a world where guns do not exist.
The children are all loved,
and the elderly are 
not lonely, but included,
for they are the storytellers.

It is a world of peace and beauty
and, the thing is,
it is available right now,
if humanity wants it.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge: Imagination: to envision the world the way we would like it to be. Dark and light forces are battling right now. My best hope is that light will emerge as the chosen direction, and set to work recreating the world. This is likely only when humans are forced to find a better way. The concern is, we don't have much time left to make the turning. And are about to be set back years we can't afford to lose. But we shall dream on, because we must. It takes every hopeful human heart.

Friday, December 2, 2016

An Earthly Garden

A forest is alive with diversity:
trees of every kind, draped with moss,
and fungi, salal and fiddlehead ferns
tucked in at their feet.
I walk, head tilted back,
blessing every leaf and branch,
for all are beautiful.

A garden is an array
of bounteous colour:
purple iris, pink peony,
a variety of roses,
abloom with heady scent
that I drink in with gratitude.

Dogs come in a multitude
of shapes and sizes,
each one's eyes speaking devotion.
Their big or small tongues
kiss our hands,
their tails all wag;
their wriggly doggy bodies
writhe in ecstasy every time
we walk in the door,
for every doggy heart
speaks only the language of love.

How is it that we humans
have so much trouble
appreciating our
unique and varied selves?
Each one of us with our own beauty,
each of us a blossom
in the earthly garden.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Challenge: Diversity.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hoping / Hopeless

The poet feels a mandate
to inject light and hope into her work,
the better to inspire, uplift and motivate.

But in dark days,
seeing the planet
and humankind as it is,
discouragement takes up residence.
She tries to beat the dusty curtains of her soul,
polish up the windows of her eyes,
nudge that flagging heart into action,
but her soul is weary
of the struggle.

Seventy years of bumpy road,
we humans struggled towards social justice,
and now we are about to
step back fifty years.

She believes in the transformation
of human consciousness,
the evolution of souls,
the race of rainbow warriors
now arriving.

She knows we can be better than we are,
are meant to be better than we are.
Yet here we are, a melting planet
of extinct and endangered species,
(including us),
a warming, dying sea,
too many nations a battleground;
it feels as if the human experiment
has failed.

Existential angst,
as hope settles into acceptance
of defeat.

Her best hope, on the worst days:
that somehow Mother Earth will survive us,
will grow cool and green and lush
..........and  begin again.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge:  to choose a word reflective of what one is seeing and feeling, and write about it. I am hoping my default optimism will return, but with current events so dismal, I am having a hard time, especially in the area of climate change.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Earth Grief

I will speak for Mother Earth,
whose innards are  being fracked,
explosions underground
sparking earthquakes and unease.

I will speak for the oilsands,
earth turned into death zones,
and for the rivers
along the pipelines' routes,
the black death seeping in,
killing all in its path.

I will speak for the birds
covered in oil,
who have lost their song.
I will speak for the wolves
and lions and tigers
who are dying out
as they're trying to live.
I will speak for the whales
swimming in an ocean
of plastic,
a warming Toxic Soup,
and for the coral and plankton
that is already all but dead.

I will speak for the salmon
trying to survive and procreate
in polluted waters.
I will speak for the polar bear
ever in search of ice
and food.

I will speak for the forests
that are burning up.
I will speak for the topsoil
that is blowing away on the wind,
and for the pesticide gardens
bringing disease to the people.

I will speak for the animals
caged in pens too small
for moving,
as they eat and grow,
and wait to be brutally killed
and then eaten.
I will speak for the bawling calf
ripped from its bellowing mother,
taken away so humans
can have the cream.

I will speak for dogs chained
for ten years
outdoors in the cold,
their misery plain in their eyes.
I will speak for the voiceless,
the captive, the dominated, the abused,
who cannot speak for themselves,
to express their despair,
who are at the mercy
of merciless folks
who think animals don't have feelings,
because they never dare to
look into their eyes
and see emotion shining
so plainly there.

I have no power,
but I have a pen and a voice
to write out my
heart full of pain
at what humans inflict on Mother Earth
and all of her creatures
for monetary gain.

Though it eases
not one small creature's burden,
and Mother Earth is suffering
at hands more powerful than mine,
it is all I can do,
bearing witness,
giving voice to our shared
creaturely and planetary pain,
to our Earth Grief -
our soul's understanding that,
if we continue as we are,
not much of earth
will remain.

posted for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge at 1sojournal : Voice - to speak for those who have no voice. Note: today is Remembrance Day for Extinct Species. Latest statistics:
the number of wild animals living on earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020. Source

Standing Alone

photo by Lisa Barnes

He was crying in his hospital bed.
"Can I help you?" I asked.
"I'm cold. I have AIDS,
and the nurse won't come into my room."
"I'll get you a blanket,"
I said gently.
I brought him two and tucked him in.
Later, I was pleased to see the other nurse,
sitting by his bed, holding his hand,
laughing with him,
restoring my faith in human nature.


She left her marriage
because she was being abused,
but she was not believed.
Her church community went silent,
withdrew their support.
Pale and distraught,
she walked through her days alone,
being stalked and tormented,
and shunned by her community
at the same time.


She brought sexual assault charges
to protect other women
from what she had gone through.
But it was she
who went on trial.
It was she whose past was shredded,
whose integrity was attacked.
whose testimony was questioned.
In the end, he walked free.


Well, one doesn't have to look far when it comes to incidents of social stigma. Posted for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Social Stigma.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I Will Stand For the Wildlands

What will I defend,
in this topsy-turvy world,
setting off in a direction
we never expected?
I will stand for the wildlands
and its creatures, who are 
fast disappearing.
I will stand for their habitat,
being laid waste for dollars,
and for the dying whales
in the warming sea.
I will speak for the polar bears, 
swimming ten miles for a meal 
where the ice used to be.

I will wield my pen till my last breath
saying: "Please! Stop!
Take measure of what we are doing
to Mother Earth,
who is patient,
but who can't withstand, forever,
all the good we are taking from her,
all the bad we are dumping into her waters,
and expelling into her air."

I will defend the indigenous peoples' right
to exist, free from oppression, 
and corporate takeovers
of their sacred lands,
for they love and understand the land,
and we should be listening to them.

I will defend Mother Wolf
and her babies from harm,
as the helicopters hover,
and the men raise their guns.

I will stand for the wildlands,
the trees and the birds.
I will stand for the last of the last
wild creatures,
lion and elephant,
tiger and bear. 
As they pace their slow way
into history, I will sadly
and tearfully
wave them goodbye.

for Elizabeth Crawford's Creativity Challenge at 1sojournal: Defend: what will you defend in this current political climate?