Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gone to Bago

Trini's dad went to Bago,
to Bago he did go,
he wasn't seen for half the year
'cause traveling was slow.

Her mother had
for Trini's dad,
a few choice words to spell:
"if he don't come
when I bang dis drum,
den his spirit goin' to hell."

for Gillena's prompt at Real Toads: fashion your words in the spirit of Pierrot Grenade, at the Trinidad and Tobago carnival, in 100 words or less. I thought "no way can I do it" but my silly side popped up and said, "oh, let's give it a shot." 48 words.


The shaman walks the medicine way
leaving no footprints.
The cry of the owl bids you follow.

Take up your staff, wrap up well in your cloak,
for the night is cold and the fog will poke 
its chilly fingers
into every exposed inch of human skin,
seeking to steal some warmth
for itself.

Hush! for there be spirits here.

If you listen, you will hear
the heartbeat of an ancient cedar.
In its bark is the memory
of who you were a thousand years ago,
when it and you and the land 
were young.

In the night sky
is written the promise
of who you are becoming
a thousand years from now.
Gaze well, and remember,
so when at last you meet, 
you will recognize yourself.

There are dreamers, and there are
the ones being dreamed.
The journey of transformation
is the shedding of the false self
- the one who meets the world -
and the stripping away of everything
that is not essence, joy, wonderment,
trust and awe.

is knowing
all is as it is meant to be.
All we need do
is Surrender.

The mystical hooting of the owl
bids us safe passage
through this eerie midnight world.
Hasten, for the shaman guide's cloak
is already swirling 
with the swiftness
of his being gone.

One from 2013, my friends, posted here for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


This was my boy our last time at the beach.
He was surveying that farther shore, where 
my footsteps cannot yet follow.
In the photo one can see a white light 
outlining his body. His spirit 
was already contemplating its passage 
to the spirit-world.

I followed your footprints
to the edge of the known world,
the vet's office, one step short of
the open gate of the crematorium.
I could go no farther.

You did not want to go.
Your footsteps faltered, you held back,
I urging you on,
because I had no choice,
because you were dying,
though your spirit wanted so much to stay.

I accompanied you to the final moment,
when your heart and mine stopped beating.
Mine resumed its steady beat,
but less strongly,
without song.

I am still following your footprints,
and will until the day
that gate into the fire
opens for me,
when again our spirits meet
and together we're set free.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads:  Transforming Nature's Wonders: to write about footsteps in nature - any creature's. Of course the footsteps I thought of first were those of my wolf-pup, on that final night.

This One Unrepeatable Morning

I look hard
at this once-only,
never to be repeated morning:
clouds wisping mistily over the Beauforts,
fog  dreamily swirling among the trees
and across the pasture,
(spirits, carrying their secrets into the forest.)
I can almost - or am I dreaming? -
hear wolfsong faintly calling from the mountains,
my black wolf, whose spirit roams their slopes.
He misses me.

For solace, I look into the deep, kind eyes,
as old as Soul itself,
of a thirty year old horse,
her nose whuffing a soft greeting 
this grey morning,
when everything is on its way
to spring.

The juncos and the jays are at the feeder
and lately, I've been hearing an eagle's cry
from across the road.
She must have a nest near,
but she remains elusive.
One day she will reveal herself,
when I am worthy,
and maybe she will drop one feather 
down to me.

I breathe in the ground, stirring to life again,
in endless cycle,
smile to encourage the daffodils, 
inching their way ever closer to blossoming.
This one moment, blessed, peaceful,
lifted up,
a moment of life traded, stored,
acknowledged, by a heart old enough
to recognize its blessings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bearing Witness

courtesy BC SPCA

If you can live the sad, hard lives you live,
though it breaks my heart to see
every picture, every video, every news story,
at least I can bear witness to your suffering,
send love,
send poems and prayers,
send your stories far and wide,
hoping more and more people
will finally learn
how good it feels
to just be kind,
to hold out a hand
to a fellow being,
to pat a head,
to feel a grateful lick,
to bring you in out of the cold,
feed you
and tell you:
"You are safe now.
Your suffering is over."

One more emaciated, starving dog found tied up behind a pet store in WEST VANCOUVER, an affluent suburb of Vancouver. He could barely walk or stand up for long, is terribly emaciated, and has other health concerns. Hardness of heart crosses all boundaries. Thankfully, so does kindness. 

This poor scared fellow, whom staff have named Louie, is now at the SPCA being treated and brought back to health, and will eventually find a loving home. I just saw him in a news report and he is happy, has the run of the SPCA office, and is likely very relieved to finally be having regular meals. He was skeletal when discovered behind the store. Witnesses say a teenage boy left him there. Perhaps because his parents were not feeding him and that is why the boy chose a pet food store to leave him at? There is a heartbreaking story there, for both dog and boy, I am sure.

How many times can a heart break? Every single time I read or see a photo of one more poor creature like this -  beings of love and devotion, so often cruelly mistreated.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Martyr or Witness. I first wrote a gloomy tome about martyrs of yesteryear and today and couldnt bring myself to click Post........this one is just a hair better, at least there is a positive ending. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Like Flawless Magicians

As a single snowflake melts
And merges into earth,
I like to imagine that,
When the final moment comes,
We each will transform,
Like flawless magicians,
Into stars and sky.

For Kerry's mini challenge at Real Toads....a verse in ten lines or less, sparked by a line about a single snowflake by e.e. cummings.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Moon Raven,
Lift me up on your bent wing.
Swoop  me away, through the misty night
Into the forest.

There we will commune
With wolf-ghosts and ancient trees.
We will sing with the spirits,
Ululate with owls,
Keen with all beings over our losses,
And send out blessings and gratitude
For All That Remains.

Towards dawn,
Having divested myself of my tears,
And having rekindled my hope,
Let me curl up in the roots
Of Grandfather Cedar,
Pillow my head with moss,
Pull pine boughs over my shoulders
And escape to my haven of forgetfulness:
A dream.

One from summer of 2014, kids. I am without a computer at present, but will make the rounds of the Poetry Pantry on Sunday with my trusty tablet.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Marriage 

She stumped the thorny aisle, pled troth, wore ring,
but on that morn no happy birds did sing.
His awkward kiss grazing her fast-turned cheek,
the justice of the peace smiled: two such geeks!
Babes in the wood, unaware and sorely bound,
a small cafe, for their wedding repast was found.
Thus the beginning, which did not bode well.
The toad did not transform; she heard the tolling bell.
When it came to the intricate game of life and love,
it seemed she was a solitary dove.
Marry in haste, so many years to rue.
He built the cage from which she finally flew.

They came apart: the years ahead too bleak.
She waved farewell; he kissed her fast-turned cheek.

a response to Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116": what happens when there is not a marriage of true minds, for Susan's Midweek Motif prompt at Poets United: Marriage

Grandma's Kitchen

The little war-time cottage had 
only five tiny rooms.
I spent much time in the living room, 
listening to radio stories on winter afternoons,
much time as a growing teen 
in the back porch talking to Grandma.
We both withdrew to the porch
when the adults started pouring drinks,
ice cubes tinkling in the glasses,
laughter growing louder.
We both hated "the drink".

But it is the kitchen I remember,
where she made wonderful lemon cookies,
pancakes, cups of tea for tea parties.
And soup. Soup for after school, 
comforting and nourishing,
to be supped with a deep-bowled china spoon, 
one of which I still have.

Mostly, it was the peace,
a quiet so pervasive you could hear 
the metal clock on the kitchen windowsill,
ticking and tocking all over the house.
At Grandma's house, the hours rolled by
predictably and uneventfully,
the hosing down of the outside of the house
on early summer mornings
against the heat of the day,
the simple meals that came at eight a.m.,
twelve noon, six p.m. like clockwork.

When I think of childhood
it is the rooms in Grandma's house
that I remember.
They were the anchor of my childhood,
where all my best memories

for Mary's Poetics prompt over at dVerse: Room

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Blind Sage

What do you know about dying?
she asked the blind sage,
who was stirring her tea 
with a dainty finger.

There are many ways to die,
the sage mused, 
adding a sugar lump, then two more.
It can creep up on you slowly, like mist,
and suddenly you are enveloped.

It can crack you open 
like lightning rends a tree
and, poof, you are gone.

For the not courageous,
it can be self-inflicted,
like stepping off a high roof,
 falling. and changing your mind
halfway down.

It can  bless you like rain on a desert,
after a long drought,
you gratefully drinking it in.

Whichever way it happens,
it opens a door to a new journey,
and you go through.

There are many ways to die, 
she musedstill stirring,
not least never learning how
to really live.

Sproat Lake in February

The misty skies called to us,
and young Sebastian and I
set off on an adventure.

 Sproat Lake was beautiful,
draped in cloud.

Next, we went to the Quay,
where the best doughnuts in town
are to be had.

This canal is a very long passage to the sea.
Big foreign ships dock here
to load up on lumber
from our vanishing forests.

Local West Coast carvings grace the dock.

The big bird looks like he might just
lift up and take Sebastian for a ride.

This is Swept Away Inn,
where fine dining aboard
will delight the connoisseur.

West Coast salmon

A stop at the playground
made for a perfect day.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Thousand Years of Living

When we walk through speckled landscapes 
                           where the shape-shifters dance,
we are walking in the footsteps of the ones 
                            who came before.
There are signposts they have left us 
                            all across the forest floor.
A thousand years of living - we don't set our sail 
                             by chance.

We are walking in the footsteps of the ones 
                              who came before.
The Old Ones' songs I hear upon the breeze.
A thousand years of living - we don't set our sail 
                               by chance.
I sing wolfsong to the mountains and 
                               knock on midnight's door.

The Old Ones' songs I hear upon the breeze,
under my feet the brittle leaves of summer past.
I sing wolfsong to the mountains and 
                           knock on midnight's door.
The night air whispers: here you are at last!

Under my feet the brittle leaves of summer past.
There are signposts they have left us 
                           all across the forest floor.
The night air whispers: here you are, 
                           here you are at last!
Walking through a speckled landscape 
                                 where the shape-shifters dance.

One from the fall of 2013, kids, shared for Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find good reading to go with your coffee every Sunday morning.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Wild Woman Nuggets

Wild Woman, in her habitat

So much depends 
on getting one's coat 
(and one's attitude)
on right-side-up.

So much depends
on whether one's legs
hold one up
when you first stand up
in the morning.

So much depends
on one's ability to go on dreaming,
as the years roll by
and the dream stays
just one tantalizing  titch
out of reach.

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads: So Much Depends

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Inanimate, Conscienceless Book Writing Device

The "writer" sits at his computer,
slides in the softwear,
a context or two,
and in twenty minutes, 
a "book" is produced
by the inanimate, conscienceless
book-writing device.

There are thousands of these "books"
for sale on Amazon.

Poets with their scritchy pens
can only  mourn
the arrival
of times such as these.

Sadly, this is not fiction. A couple of years ago, I heard writers on CBC radio talking about these computer-generated books. One of them quipped they are in their early stages, right now, but give it five years, and one of them may win the Giller Prize. Sigh.

reference: Singularity Hub

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Inanimate

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Miracle / Not A Miracle

My daughter Zenny, with her pup Smokey
photo by my son, Jon Merk

There are two ways to live: you can live
as if nothing is a miracle;
you can live as if everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

             *****     *****

Rain sluices down the windows, day after day.
Inside, she looks out at the dismal greyness,
and tears roll down her cheeks.
There will never be sunshine.

Trees gratefully lift their branches in relief
as the winter rains sluice down.
They drink deeply, against the 
parching heat of summer drought.
How miraculous is nature's design.

Wolves can be seen at the edge of the meadow.
Quick! grab the gun! Fire shots into the air!
See if you can scare them off!

Wolves can be seen at the edge of the meadow.
Quick! Grab the camera!
See if you can capture their beauty.

The apples are falling all over the grass,
rotting and making a horrible mess.
What a drag, to have to pick them up every fall.
We should cut this tree down.

Apples are falling all over the grass.
Let's leave them, so  deer and bear
will find snacks waiting for them
when they pass by.

She is having a baby and she's just seventeen,
a baby having a baby. What a disaster it will be.

She is having a baby. Though she's just seventeen,
a baby is a miracle and, somehow,
they will find their way.

It is just an ordinary day.
Nothing is happening.
The hours tick by uneventfully.

It is the gift of an ordinary day.
Nothing is happening.
The hours tick by uneventfully.

It is all in the perspective. I plucked this poem, written in 2012, and am posting it for Poets United's  Poetry Pantry, where there is always good reading on a Sunday morning.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wild Woman Hits the Road


Wild Woman, before she knew 
she was Wild Woman,
once packed up a little yellow Pinto with:
a ten day old baby, two small sons, 
a St. Bernard puppy (who grew!),
an English pram, an Underwood typewriter,
and assorted cereals, breads and cold cuts.
That's the Before shot.

Behind the wheel was 
an alcoholic con man,
temporarily disguised as
My Baby's Daddy,
with his calculating eye 
and a beer never far
from his right hand.

Down Highway 101 we rolled, 
past the glorious ocean
at which he refused to stop,
past the Monarch butterfly migration,
which we flew through,
because he was always rushing 
to get Somewhere Else.

My baby daughter smiled 
her first smile at me,
on that long drive.

We lived in and out of the car,
our own Hotel California,
for two months, give or take.
He had promised to get a job
and "look after you for a change"
but it didn't happen.
My kids grew lean and hungry
and once I wrote 
the only bad cheque of my life
to get them some food. 
(I repaid all of what this trip
- and this relationship - cost, 
for years.
But it was all worth it,
to have my sunny little daughter.)

It was an adventure.
There were high moments, laughter,
the feeling of being young, and alive,
along with the worry, 
and the coming to see
exactly how impossible
my life had come to be.

Late fall, we pointed the nose of the car north,
and made our way back up the coast.
I looked out at all the little houses,
the little yards, men washing cars,
kids playing,
moms hanging their wash out on the line,
and Normal had never looked
so good to me.

Note: on return, he hit the road, thankfully, and I was able to start my life over again from scratch, not for the first time, and not for the last. There is more to this story, but I'll save it for my memoir, LOL.

for Corey's prompt at Real Toads: Hitting the Road

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Coming Back

I do not think I'll come back as me.
I will come back as Soul,
continuing the journey 
in another body, another lifetime,
perhaps carrying on 
from the level of karma 
I worked off here,
to hopefully make the next lifetime
a little smoother.

Perhaps those souls 
who touched mine in this life
will find me again,
also in other bodies,
like my wolf-pup found me this lifetime,
looking at me with the gaze of a human,
unable to verbalize the psychic connection
that we both always knew was deeper
than wolf-dog's and human's.

All I ask is that there always be
ocean and old-growth forest,
wherever this soul takes me,
on the other side of death.
And let a big black wolf come to guide me
when I cross over,
as I asked him to do,
at the end of his life, 
when he gave his wordless promise.

for Abhra at dVerse, who asks us: would you want to come back as yourself, if you were to come back? An intriguing question, which should bring some interesting responses. Do follow the link and check them out.

She, and the Song of the Sea

One of Pup's cousins on a Tofino beach photo: Chris Darimont

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.

An attempt at a haibun (with syllable count gone wild), on the topic of Identity for Sumana at Poet's United's Midweek Motif. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Old Raven

Old Raven by Jon Fitzpatrick

The prompt was to self-describe in ten lines, up close and personal:

OLD                and dented, but only mildly discouraged
WOMEN           always remember - It Could Be Worse
LEAP-FROG      across my heart - come on, I dare you!
OVER              and over, same old same old, but beats 
                           the alternative
DITCHES          rhymes with witches ~ a clue
WHEN             will it all get better?
OLD                as the hills, but with an undiminished
RAVEN            fly me across the forest on your 
                           midnight wings
CALLS             the wolf, like a shot, I'll be gone

I found this in my draft file - a Real Toads prompt  from a while ago, to be read both down (first words) and across. I must have played with it, but didn't post it. Just found it and it made me smile. Plus I have zero inspiration going on at the moment. Posting for Real Toads Tuesday Platform.