Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Summer of '93

Lynn Thompson Photography

Soft drums tap-tap-tapping in the early morning mist.
Around the fire we gathered , we were there to resist.

We were Protectors from the Peace Camp,
from the cities and the towns,
We came to say these ancient trees
should never be cut down.
We stood across the road,
as the logging trucks rolled in,
The police read the injunction,
then arresting could begin.

Soft drums tap-tap-tapping 
as the early morning dawned,
we stood, arms linked together, 
and then some of us were gone.

Tears in our eyes, our hearts on fire,
we stood for the trees.
One by one, they carried us
by our arms and by our knees.
We would not let them pass,
nor let the mighty old growth fall.
Told them take us one by one,
or don't take us at all.

Soft drums tap-tap-tapping 
as we stood for the trees,
those glorious mornings on the road,
the summer of '93.

In Clayoquot Sound, in the summer of '93, local protestors began blocking the logging roads at the Kennedy River bridge, and brought logging to a stop. As the Peace Camp was formed, people came from all over to stand on the road with the locals, to protect the ancient rainforest. I was there as many mornings as I could, working two jobs, and they were the most passionate of my life. My heart was on fire. The big trucks rolled in, the injunction was read, then those who agreed to be arrested that day - from children to the elderly -  were hauled off, by arms and legs, two police per person.

12,000 people took part in the peaceful protests. Of the 932 arrested, 860 were charged with criminal intent. Penalties included fines, probation and jail sentences. At the time, it was the biggest instance of civil disobedience in Canada, and the unjust treatment of the peaceful protesters gained support for the environmental movement in BC.

 In 2000, the entire Sound was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. But in 2006, areas of the Sound were opened once again to logging.

source: Wikipedia

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motiff: the '90's. For me, the 90's were all about the forests and wild beaches of Clayoquot Sound.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Earth and Sky

Water comes first, then we follow,
gasp in a big breath of air, and then we cry.
Thus we are introduced to the world
as it always was and always will be.
Water: essential, blessed,
part of our beings from our very first day.

Through the Sacred Medicine Wheel I journeyed,
dipped my toes in a magical sea,
soul thrumming with the song of the waves.
My sign, my element, my spirit's home:
Mother Ocean.

Above, the sky, the air, the vast expanse,
curving over all
the great blue bowl of aether,
underfoot, the earth, brown and humble
and mothering.

I bow to you, Sky, I sing with you, Wind,
I dance in the rain, laughing
at the great clap of thunder,
feel the rushing whoosh of wind on my face,
raindrops falling on my spirit,
cleansing me anew,
healing the riven places, washing
all negative energy away.

When I am clean, 
when the Great Bowl Above grows dark,
I creep homeward, 
settle beside a crackling fire,
remember the winking stars, 
the great wheeling seabirds,
wonder at the beauty gracing this span of time 
that is still mine.

To the earth I bow, in gratitude, 
in homecoming. 
It waits to receive me
when that final moment comes,
when I will become one
with All That Is.

First, there was water,
at the end
only earth and sky.

One from December 2015, posted for Real Toad's Tuesday Platform, since I am Without Muse at the moment. Hoping April will kick it into gear! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Heart, a Tiger's Nest

Tiger's Nest Taksang Monastery in Bhutan
photo by Sushma_KS

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

Yet here I am, in a grey 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.

One from 2015, re-posted for Poetry Pantry at Poets United - do stop by for some good reading with your coffee on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Eating as a Revolutionary Act

When I learned baby calves are taken
screaming from their mothers,
so I could have cream,
I switched to cashew milk.

When I knew that cows raised for meat
are treated terribly, chained, beaten,
pumped with hormones,
killed traumatically and hung on hooks,
that hamburger formed a lump in my throat.

When I heard that pigs have the intelligence
of a five year old child,
ham came off the menu.

When I read that factory farming
is the greatest cause of
deforestation and global warming,
I needed to act.

When I realized that eating a plant-based diet
is a revolutionary act,
and the quickest way to reverse climate change,
my fork took on new status
as a change agent.

"Eat your veggies," Mama says,
"because they're good for you."
Turns out that eating veggies
is good for the planet too.

Factory farming, animal agriculture and our voracious meat consumption is the leading cause of global warming, deforestation, species extinction and ocean dead zones, says

The quickest way to reverse climate change, with the fastest recovery time, would be adopting a vegetarian lifestyle.

Animal agriculture uses over 50% of our arable land base, a majority of fresh water stores, and is responsible for up to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Leonardo di Caprio, in an article by One Green Planet,  states, "A shift in diet is a revolutionary step. We would see an immediate impact within ten to fifteen years." If we all went vegetarian today,we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 63% by 2050, the article states. The planet would begin to regulate itself.

Going vegan is not for everyone. But we all can reduce our meat consumption, and ensure whatever meat we do consume is grass-fed, and humanely raised. Small steps such as eating meatless more often, having one plant-based meal a day, and learning to replace our favourite dishes without meat and dairy is a  beginning.

In the last 40 years, we have lost 52% of the wildlife on the planet, produced more carbon emissions than the last 800,000 years (!!!) and oceans now have over 400 dead zones, devoid of life.

Those who believe animals are sentient beings, who have intelligence and  feel the same emotions as we do,  can turn towards a largely or totally plant-based diet, as well as advocating for humane treatment of all animals, domestic and wild.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motiff: climate change

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Lost Art of Listening to the Land

White Buffalo Calf Woman
Art by Rogue Guirey Simpson 

White Buffalo Calf Woman 
holds a sacred white calf in her arms.
See their tears flowing, mingling,
with red blood and rain from Mother Earth,
cascading down the mountain slopes,
bouncing off cliff faces that wear
the eyes of the ancestors,
stoic, resigned to our unceasing folly,
our refusal to wake up, to see
what is plainly before us.
Mighty river roaring through the gorge
storms the mountain pass,
trees waving their arms in distress,
Mother Wind battering the earth
with pounding rain,
a furious housecleaning,
trying to rid herself of parasites and vermin
clinging to her skin.

There is a thin keening in the wildwoods,
cries of the young and their dams,
all hungry and ever in search of a home
away from the Two-Leggeds
who stalk them to the end of their lives, 
walking ghosts with no eyes
and small, unawakened hearts.

Every inch of this earth is alive, and beautiful.
Every inch of this earth is alive, and suffering.

The pale ones wander the earth
in search of their vanished spirits.
Who will call their souls back into their bodies?

The blood of the fallen trees is on the land,
which is grieving bitterly.
The stones that receive their blood
hold strong healing for ones who know they are ill.
Hold one in your hand.
Feel, and listen, for the spirit in the stone,
the ancient memory it holds.
It will speak to you
in the language of mountains and rivers,
tell you of long-gone times upon the land,
when buffalo coloured the landscape brown
and then, so bitterly, red,
and then were gone.

The stones, the land, remembers.
Listen, for all this earth has to teach us
about being alive.

from 2014, inspired by Tim Lilburn's Ghost Song. Traveling through the mountain pass from Tofino to Port Alberni, I began to see faces in the cliffs. The ride was wild and stormy, water cascading down the cliffs, rivers wild. The land was speaking, as it always is.

Lakota legend prophecies  teach that the return of the white buffalo indicates the peoples' prayers are being heard, and a time of peace and plenty is at hand. How we long for this to be true!

posted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry, wonderful reading with your coffee every Sunday morning. I have been trying to fight off a stubborn virus for two weeks now, kids. Forgive my being so far behind. Am trying to keep up as best I can.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Consciousness Evolving

St Francis - source

One wonders if saintliness
is simply consciousness evolving,
the challenge and test
of humankind which, sadly,
we seem to be failing.

The longer one lives,
the more truly we know:
all that matters is love
and to do no harm.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Saints or Saintliness.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Moon by Priya Kumar in Oman Aug/2012

We womyn of the moon,
following in the footsteps of 
the shamanic dreamers of the past,
hearts attuned to the sound of the drum
and the voice of the Watcher within,
know that, in every sister's herstory,
is an old wise woman with wrinkled cheeks,
a cackling laugh,
and earth-based knowledge 
of how to Be,
how to be She.

In this grey-cloaked winter of the dream-time,
we must remember to water 
our parched womanly roots,
hold fast to the place in the earth that is ours,
as the winds whip our branches,
and the icy cold seeps at the edges of our being.
There be danger in this domain,
if we try to stay.

As the days slowly lengthen,
we reverberate with the rhythm of the tides,
those wild winter waves which knock our hearts 
off the shelf of safekeeping,
into the depths, where we rediscover
what we had forgotten
that we already know.

There will come a time, just before spring,
when a woman has to step from 
the shore of the familiar,
into the ocean of womynkind,
open our eyes in the space
between the old world and the new,
the darkness and the light.
There be no old maps to guide you.
You must follow in trust,
with a wild, instinctual, wolfish Knowing,
from which you will emerge,
keen of eye, imbued with wisdom,
to mother the whole world.

from winter, 2014, revisited - a bit early for Poets United's Poetry Pantry, and a bit late for International Women's Day. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Weird Little Troll

Norwegian hand made trolls at

A weird little troll
was perched on a knoll,
singing: "Aye-de-aye-de-aye-de-

Said the little troll,
speaking from her very soul:
"About weird,
that is all I have to say."

LOL. for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: weird.  I  have already written my definitive poem about weirdness here, so this is the best I could do.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Days That Will Not Come Again

Where there was something and suddenly isn't

- a beach, a forest, the song of the surf,
the crash of the wave on the shore,
sunset sinking below the horizon,
and a big black laughing dog -
absence becomes a presence
that fits into a corner of our hearts.
Heart walls expand to make room
for the memories, watered with tears,
that come, unbidden, at random moments.
There is an ache, a missing, that feels somehow
stronger than the presence did,
for we are remembering Joy
from a place of less-than-joy.
We are remembering love
from a place of loss-of-the-beloved.
We are remembering companionship
and feeling the pining of our solitary soul.

Where there was something and suddenly isn't

we have to work hard to 
remember gratitude and enough-ness,
remember to look up at the sky
and trail the eagle's flight with our eyes,
to seek out riversong in place of salt and sea.
We somehow learn to make a space for sorrow
inside our aching chests,
and place our love and remembering there,
glad that we recognized joy
and fullness of soul when we had it,
though everything after has been muted,
tinted grey and sepia,
compared to those golden,
radiant, long-gone days
that will never,
     will not ever
         come again.

for Mary's prompt at dVerse, to take one line of the poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, Burning the Old Year , and write our own poem from it. The two italicized lines are Naomi's.

I wrote this poem before reading a few lines in Julia Cameron's memoir, Floor Sample,  that resonated: "Missing a place creates a slow and constant ache. The body goes into mourning as if it had lost a lover." Yes, she has it exactly right. The beauty of Clayoquot Sound has always been my lover.

Shared also with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Language of Clouds

My fave beach
by Graham Moore, Tofino

Looking at the sky, we long to learn
the language of clouds, of mountaintops.
Mother Sky, teach me
how to sing like small bird, like raven,
like Owl.
Quiet my heart, so I may listen
to the breath of Grandfather Cedar,
and learn to speak tree,
to speak river,
to speak wind.

Transform my soul
to make me worthy of
learning to sing
in whalesong.
Lead me along the shore,
to count the waves,
my heart singing 
joyously and forever
the song of Ocean.

From October 2015, posted for the Poetry Pantry at  Poets United. Do hop over and check out the links - there is always fine reading in the Pantry on Sunday mornings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016



A flower was offered to me,
a pretty bud, tightly curled,
brand new, without blemish,
innocent and full of promise.
I was given few instructions,
had to learn through trial and error
how to care for it,
how much water, not too much,
how much sunshine, not too much.
I had to learn to loosen the soil
around its roots, so it did not strangle,
give it room to breathe.
I had to learn how to wrap it
warmly against the cold of winter,
how to encourage it when it faltered,
and began to lose hope.

Somehow, through storm and struggle,
it survived, for it wanted very much to live.

A flower was offered to me.
It took longer than most to bloom.
But, once blooming, it wanted to never stop.
My dear bloom aged and, in its aging,
was the sweeter, honeyed, rich and full,
brimming with memories, laughter and tears
at the long journey it had made,
and my gratitude grew and grew
for the incredible gift of the bloom
that was my one, precious life.

for Sumana's prompt for Midweek Motif at Poets United: "A flower was offered to me", after the poem by William Blake. Do check out the other links. Great prompt, Sumana!