Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This Must Be Love

Jon Merk photo

As night slowly covers the sky,
And morn after morn ambles by,
So has your soft inner glow
Gently captured my eye.

Not like cresting a tall mountain peak,
Or like eagle and hawk, beak to beak,
Before the need even to speak,
It's your beauty I seek.

As sure as the blue sky above,
As snug as a hand fits its glove,
I surprise my heart - quiet grey dove -
Thinking this must be love.

A bit of fictional romantic nonsense for Susan's prompt  at   Midweek Motif Conquest

Saturday, August 27, 2016

With Lunabella at the Quay

Today Lunabella discovered birds.
I showed her pigeons pecking at our feet,
she watching with amazement
as they lifted up and flew into the sky
- "Look Luna! Birdies fly!"-
After that she kept on
looking up,
as I have done since I was her age, too -
head tilted back, and grinning at the sky-
at birds, and clouds, and that
dream of endless effervescent blue,
that has kept me moving forward
all life through.

I stood holding her, Rainbow Child,
showing her bobbing boats in the canal,
its wind-tossed swells,
guitar-man singing songs
I knew when I was young,
singing into Luna's ear
the songs I've always sung,
and it hit me, in a wave, 
(and still I grieve),
already mourning
this beautiful world
that I will be missing so completely
when I leave.

Shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Blackbird Fly Away
by Shane Owen at deviantart

I heard an owl this morning
just before dawn,
and I thought of you,
all these decades gone:
waking to the doves' gentle coo,
me amazed at waking next to you,
with your dark blackbird heart,
so lovely in my eyes,
soaring/captive Brother eagle,
both longing for
and fearful of
the skies.

Your beauty and your pain
held my heart fast,
fire and rain, I thought would 
for forever last,
a fire of passion
felt for no one other,
a rain of tears
when you could not tell me: "Stay,"
and so I 
slowly turned
and walked away.

"No easy answers,"
was what you always said,
with your so-easy smile,
and those compelling eyes.
There was an easy answer,
but you could not say the words.
You could not choose just one sparrow,
with the sky so full of birds.

We set the doves free when I left.
Blackbird was playing on the stereo.
I loved you then,
and love you still,
though you may 
never know.

I have remained, this lifetime,
a solitary dove.
The answer was, 
Brother Dreamer,
then and always,
only ever Love.

One from 2013, my friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets Unitedwhere there is always good reading of a Sunday morning

Woolly Mammoth

You are supposed to weigh  75  pounds,
the vet declared, with exasperation. 
But you have turned into a megafauna,
through the years,
a smiling, happy, well-fed  woolly mammoth,
because you love food too much,
and I am unable to starve you.
We have a dilemma which,
given your advanced age,
we are not too likely to resolve
to the vet's satisfaction
this lifetime.

for  Gillena's prompt at Real Toads, to write about a megafauna, a large animal over a hundred pounds, in 100 words or less.  I have been living with one without knowing it. Smiles.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Face of Loyalty

Bravo, Guardian 

Bravo, you are well-named.
When rescuers tried to take you away
from the rubble that had been your home,
you stood firm.
your job was to remain at your post,
stand guard
until your people
could return.

When the walls tumble,
when all one has is lost,
a faithful dog's heart
is the great gift
that remains.

Bravo's  people were pulled from the rubble and taken away, after the earthquakes in Italy. He felt it was his job to guard what was left of their crumbled home, and, once he was lifted from the rubble, growled at rescuers, refusing to leave his post. Finally, they were able to convince him to go with them, and he was taken for treatment of a serious leg injury. Just one more small story of survival of the earthquake in Italy that touched my heart. I hope his people will find Bravo soon.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016


photo of 1950's Kelowna
by Don Collier

Sister Forest,
when I stand under your soft-sighing branches,
breathe in the scent of cedar,
walk on pine needles soft,
I am infused with a deep green peacefulness,
feel more blessed than in any cathedral.
I breathe in Spirit,
the breath of the ancient ones.
I breathe out gratitude, beatitude,
send a prayer skyward to the Holy One,
who created forest, shining silver sea,
the earth and sky,
and you and me.

In memory I hear bells ringing 
at evening benediction,
in a small white church so many years ago,
the sweet smell of incense,
as the censor clanks to and fro,
the look of light refracted through stained glass,
those long-gone days we thought
would for forever last.

Send gratitude and praise, my friends,
for these soft, sweet-scented 
end-of-summer days,
when blessings fall upon our hearts
like gentle rain -
these days that will not,
will not ever
come again.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Blessings

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Row upon row of grinning people, munching popcorn, 
eyes on the ring, ready to be entertained,
and in she comes, huge grey beast,
prodded by sharp poles, yelled at by trainers.
She sullenly complies till, one sharp jab too many,
she turns on her keeper, knocks him down,
rolls him around the floor, enraged,
charges out of the tent, folks screaming and scattering,
is shot in the street, paying for her captors' harshness
with her life - this life she did not choose.

TYKE was an African elephant, not suited for circus work, (what elephant is?) yet made to perform anyway, for years,  until the day in 1994 when she snapped, killed her trainer, and ran into the streets of Honolulu. She was shot and killed by police, who fired 86 bullets into her. There is a film about her, (Tyke: Elephant Outlaw) explaining how owners had been advised against continuing to force her to perform, advice ignored in the interest of finances, as usual. She was not the outlaw, in her run for a freedom found only in her death. This breaks my heart.

for Kerry's prompt at the Sunday Mini Challenge at Real Toads: ten lines on the theme of "This is not what we came here to see."

source: Wikipedia

Saturday, August 20, 2016


photo by Jon Merk

And now the little nightbirds all are sleeping.
A froggy chorus rides the evening air.
High in the cedar, mourning doves are calling;
in the topmost branch, they've found
some purchase there.

The dusky light creeps softly down the mountain.
The heron on one leg folds up her wing.
Owl swoops the tall grass searching for her dinner.
Around the pond the noisy crickets sing.

Onto the darkening pasture 
creeps the nightfall,
atop the barn, a silver slice of moon.
The stars wink on. The twilight turns
to darkness. It's time to sleep. 
Morning will come too soon.

One from 2013, my friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Friday, August 19, 2016


I open my eyes to another day of living, (eyesight, life)
open the door of my little room (shelter, refuge, safety)
to the fresh morning, tinged with
hints of autumn. (new beginnings, sky, air, trees, weather)
Doves coo, horses whicker and
kick up their heels in the field,
fat dogs loll about on porches, happy, panting.
A mama deer and her baby nibble  grass
at the far side of the meadow. (Birds, animals, pets, wildlife)

All is peaceful.
All, all is peaceful.
I live in the deep silence of solitude. (A choice, the right one for me.)
I breathe in gratitude. (A nose.)
I breathe out thankfulness.
I wrap the morning around myself
like a cloak, (I love mornings.)
and count my blessings. (Peace, solitude, many things for which to be grateful)

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Blessings, which we in this part of the world have many.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Star Voyager

I swirl and swirl around the ceiling,  then it vanishes, and I am flying through the radiance of the stars, awesome Sky-World. Down below is the planet, blue and green, radiant and beautiful, at peace, a cloud-draped snapshot of the way it's meant to be, peopled by loving human hearts, everywhere a sanctuary for furred and flying and skin-covered beasts. I look again, and now an oil-spill slicks and sticks along the coast, no place to land, herons and dolphins,  seals and whales, all sputtering and gasping in the inky sticky black. Now forest fires  crackle, swallowing hillsides with flame, deer and wolf, bear and cougar, fleeing side by side in terror, no safe place anywhere. Toxic fumes thicken the grey air, larger cities obscured by smog. Fire and flood, the earth is heating up from within and without. The last iceberg melts sadly into the sea, and all the polar bears are gone. I want to un-see what I have seen, our cancer spreading across the beautiful land, and, as this is a dream, soon all is blue and green and whole again, if only it were that easy.

I fly Up, and there are Beings here who beckon me to join them, and I know, (have always known), that we are One, as bright as stars;  we are singing, each of us a note in the universal song. Then I am back in my soft bed, my eyes wide open, and for sure no longer dreaming, and I see his face before me, First Nations warrior, his eyes behind his mask so infinitely kind and wise. Oddly unafraid, I hold his gaze, beguiling, as he looks deeply, deep into my eyes, and smiling.

Oh Medicine man,
your chants on the wind sing me
ever into hope.

***   ***   ***   ***

A mixed-up attempt at a haibun, for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads: Dreams. (Sorry for the haiku part of the haibun, Shay!) I merged two dreams into this piece. The shaman remained in front of my open eyes  for several seconds,  before fading away. I don't often remember my dreams. But I remember these two.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Big Boy

His name was Big Boy
and he was black, fluffy and regal.
Imperiously, he would miaow to go out,
and switch his frothy tail,
that had a kink in it.

Her name was Grandma
and she had a wicked sense of humour.
She would open the screen door enticingly:
soft summer morning air,
birds chirping,
inviting green grass where he ardently needed to go........
memory of the screen door slapping on his tail
not all, but some of,  the other times.

He would calculate:
the depth of his urgent need,
the space from here to the door,
how swiftly the door would slam
once she let it go.
Would this be one of the times?
Dare he trust her for a pain-free exit?
Life is so random.

scented air, pressing bladder, her smiling invitation,
"Come on, Big Boy," so sweet and lilting,
her hand just waiting to let go.
And he would streak, screen door would slam,
an outraged yowl of pain and betrayal,
Grandma chortling back to the kitchen.

All quiet. Until the next time.

This now horrifies me, on the one hand, but Grandma's sense of humour was so zany - and infectious -  that I can't help smiling at the memory. Poor Big Boy! Life is such a crap shoot. For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Cats

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Talmud Angels

we are the Talmud angel
and sometimes
we are the blade of grass,
needing an angel's whispers.

we are heavy-laden,
and sometimes
we're heaped  and running over
with gifts to bestow 
upon others.

we are our own True North,
and sometimes we need
a little help to find our way.

The earth, our lives, 
our cosmic journeys ~
all are circles.
We step in
and step out again
at varying turns
of the karmic wheel.

we are our bodies,
our etheric bodies connecting us
to higher realms,
of which we are 
not always aware.
The veils part;
and we catch 
hidden glimpses.

On our journeys,
we somehow find each other.
I will be your Talmud angel
when you need one.
And, times when you
may feel alone,

Just Breathe,
upon your own blade of grass
and urge it:

an oldie from 2010, my friends, for Real Toads' Tuesday Platform, where the emphasis is on caring and sharing.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wild Woman Knows What She Knows

Wild Woman knows
what she knows.

It is time, Wild Woman,
to bring forth all your gifts,
for the seasons are now quickening,
and swift.
Sing out your songs,
sing loud and strong and clear.
Write all your poems,
to say that you were here.

A Wild Woman creates her own way.
She runs with her inner wolves,
and she has a lot to say.
She speaks with an authentic voice,
avoiding angst or wrath.
She follows her intuition,
along the unmarked path.

Wild Woman knows what she knows,
and she'll share her wisdom well 
before she goes.

She steps into new territory - no fear.
She follows her heart, in trust,
honest and sweet and clear.
Her spirit has been
forever on the rise,
the long journey having made her
compassionate and wise.

She no longer harbors life,
brings new visions forth instead,
that she sees with eyes located
somewhere else besides her head.
She feverishly transcribes dictated words.
Her songs she then gives freely
to all the singing birds.

Follow these pawprints into the forest,
Sister mine.
They will lead you to a home
Grandfather Cedar makes so fine.
An owl with piercing yellow eyes,
a cat with Cheshire grin,
will be on the doorstep watching,
waiting to let you in.

There is a conjuring old woman
living there,
her spirit fixed between
the sky and earth.
She has lived apart from others
since her birth,
doesn't care at all what people think.
Listen well to every incantation,
for all of them
are linked.

Wild Woman has fallen bewitched
by the beauty of the earth.
Before the fire,
she is singing over the bones.
When she finishes her song,
she will arise
and welcome you into the very
Sisterhood of Crones.

One from 2013, kids, just for fun. Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Walking Lunabella In the Sun

Walking small-town streets, pushing Lunabella,
I count up sixty years of steering strollers
full of sleeping babies in the morning sun,
past rows of cottages behind white picket fences,
domestic sounds tinkling
through open kitchen windows,
the shush-shush-shush of sprinklers 
in flowery gardens.

Gentle is the muted call of dove,
in the big old tree above me.
The steam train whistles in the distance,
round low hills circle the town
like those of long ago,
and I am transported back to long-gone days
of dreaming of a cottage of my own,
and later days when I finally had one,
stuffed with leggy children, 
laughing in the sun,
when life and I
were young.

Life repeats and repeats the same refrain,
then comes full circle, under this big old tree
as Luna slowly wakes, 
opening her Old Soul eyes,
her gaze pure spirit,
smiling her sweet smile, 
pure love and joy,
her presence in my life,
the gift of my old age.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Young Cougar

Linda Dahiman photo

We flushed him out of his habitat,
chopped down all the trees,
leaving him bare hillsides, 
decimated deer populations,
and no place to hide, or rest.

Down the slopes he came,
skinny, hungry, 
searching for food,
into what we arrogantly call
"our" territory,
(as if it ever was anything more
than loaned to us
to preserve and protect).

Young Cougar has had to learn
to co-exist
with our noisy presence,
the shriek of chainsaws and helicopters in the woods,
to dodge our speeding cars, 
put up with our racket,
our paved streets and row upon row of houses,
our Everywhere Presence,
encroaching further and further 
into a vanishing wilderness.

This week, Young Cougar lay down in her yard
and stared at her through her window, unafraid.
His look was not threatening.
It was curious, assessing.
Finding no threat,
he lay down for a few moments, to rest.

But calls have been going in to Wildlife
and what is euphemistically called Conservation.
And now they are hunting him
with guns and dogs,
to shoot him for being so unafraid.
Instead of taking him far out into the wilderness
and setting him free,
they will shoot him
for being hungry and homeless.

Who the predator?
Who the prey?

If we can remember that,
over the course of centuries,
we all may have been
both hunter and hunted,
predator and prey,
warriors and warred upon,
perhaps we can spare
some mercy
for other creatures (and other humans)
who are also simply
trying to survive
in this shrinking, calamitous world.

Nicole Shanks photo

Run fast, young cougar.
May you survive into your old age.

I tried to copy the video on facebook of this youngster lying down looking through the window, but it would not copy beyond facebook. Sigh.  This is for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Predator and Prey. Timely, given the several cougar sightings around town this past week. We had a cougar move through our creekbed across the street, out behind my old trailer. He left our livestock alone. But Mama Deer, who has been visiting us with two fawns, now arrives with just one. The way of the wild, sad though it is to think of the terror the deer experienced in those terrible moments. 

We are out of town a ways, so our cougar may survive. The one in town is being actively hunted and will likely not last the week. He was seen eating a deer and has not so far threatened humans or domestic animals. But his presence within the city limits puts him in peril.  How they expect him to know the boundaries of the city limits, i have no idea.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


I loved  your darkness, blackbird singing in the dead of night*, caught somewhere between the earth and sky, soaring, captive. I saw your beauty plain. And I am remembering, remembering, again. I wanted to love you into the sun, release your pain. How your dark eyes smiled the morning you pulled a string that opened the curtains across the room into the sunny morning, and I caught my breath with delight! Your eyes, smiling at me, as a bird flew across the greenhouse and landed on your hand. You gifted me with doves on my birthday, whose soft coo gentled our awakenings that short year of our loving. One dove was captured and killed by the cat. A portent.  I knew I would love you forever. But you could not commit to only one, when there were so many beautiful birds in the sky. Your eyes, if not your heart, had wings. When I told you I was leaving, you reached over, opened the door of the dove's cage, and off she flew. (Forever circling, ever circling back to you, if you but knew.)

Blackbird, captive heart,
who so wanted to fly free,
do you think of me?

a haibun for  Toni's prompt at dVerse : A Little Romance *quote from the famous song that always takes me back to those days. We had five teenagers between us, none of them on board with our being together,  another significant factor in my leaving.


I loved  your darkness, Blackbird, Beauty, singing in the dead of night*, soaring / captive, caught somewhere between the earth and sky. I saw your beauty plain. And I am remembering, remembering, again. I wanted to love you into the sun, release your pain. How your dark eyes smiled the morning you pulled a string that opened the curtains across the room into the sunny morning, and I caught my breath with delight! Your eyes, smiling at me, as a bird flew across the greenhouse and landed on your hand. You gifted me with doves, whose soft coo gentled our awakenings that short year of our loving. One dove was captured and killed by the cat. A portent.  I knew I would love you forever. But you could not commit to only one, when there were so many beautiful birds in the sky. Your eyes, if not your heart, had wings. When I told you I was leaving, you reached over, opened the door of the lonely dove's cage, and off she flew. (Forever circling, ever circling back to you, if you but knew.) I was to remain a solitary dove, still tethered to your name.

Blackbird, captive heart,
who so wanted to fly free,
do you think of me?

a haibun for  Toni's prompt at dVerse : A Little Romance *quote from the famous song that always takes me back to those days. We had five teenagers between us, none of them on board with our being together,  another significant factor in my leaving.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

La Loba, Sing

La Loba,
in your dark cave,
under the full moon,
Sing as you gather the bones 
of my brother and sister wolves.

Sing as you lay them down
on the ground.
Place them end to end,
tenderly, carefully,
piece by piece, 
until they are whole.
Then breathe life into them 
and watch them leap up,
joyous-eyed, tails arcing,
teeth snapping and smiling,
around the fire.

as they take my heart with them
and run away,
beautiful, laughing and free,
into the welcoming
midnight forest.

from 2013, my friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. La Loba is a mythical woman of the Pueblo people. I found a fascinating description of her powers here.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Message in the Tiles

When I try
to understand something,
the world grows quiet,
attentive, helpful.

He cried,
There are times
when I remember,
then falls silent.

Gone are the castles, the Queen
and summer dreams.
Ghosts are afoot in the land.

Children, be slow
to leave the nest.
Family is important.
(Something easy
to understand
while danger
stalks the land.)

From a magnetic poetry kit.  These words popped out at me. I added just a few of my own.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The First Song

Small Bird,
you carry my message 
to the spirit world
on your feathery wings.
You embody my longing
for freedom, for flight,
for Seeing Below
and Rising Above.

Your song sings
in my heart,
of hope and sunshine,
 trees and Beauty.

Long ago,
Bird Woman,
dressed in skins and pelts,
sat by the fire,
looking up at the stars,
feeling a longing she
had not language for.

Beside her, her wolf-pup
raised his muzzle to the sky,
howling mournfully.

She began to thump,
hand against knee,
the beat growing
in rhythm and intensity,
until she, too,
tilted her head far back,
making guttural, keening sounds
in her throat,
that had no interpretation,
but described her longing

The first song.

A revised and expanded version of a poem from 2014, for Stacie's prompt at Real Toads: Voices, Spaces and Songbirds

Dim the Lights, Good People

Small voyager,
you follow the stars
to find your way home
to your rookeries
to lay your single, precious egg.

Your baby,
moving to ancient ways of knowing,
will follow the moon out to sea,
when its life begins.

Dim, dim the lights
along the coast,
good people, 
so puffins
can see
the moon.

I saw a news item about puffins being confused by our lights along the coastline., which are impacting their natural migration patterns. Puffins return to their birthplace to lay their precious single egg with the same partner. When hatched, the puffling (cute!) follows the moon out to sea, to begin its life. When it follows our lights instead, it gets trapped inland. It can't live four days without food. I am heartened to discover there is a Puffin Patrol in Newfoundland, which drives around looking for stranded puffins, returning them to the sea. They have rescued two thousand babies so far. They also encourage people along the coast to turn off their lights during the summer fledgling season. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


The song of the sea
is full of s's,
sibilant, sussurrating,
singing waves,
seaspray, salty,
slips and slides,
seabirds sailing
surf and sky,
seahorse, starfish,
castles, shells,
scent of seaweed
casts a spell.
sunset shining,
shimmering shore.
I sink,
I sink,
and leave no more.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: the Song of a Single Word

Monday, August 1, 2016

Breathing Peace

I am a tree,
breathing peace.
I  aged full of birdsong and hope
and fresh, dewy mornings.
In evenings, with sunset in my hair,
a wolf pup curls up
in one of my arms,
and the song of the sea
lulls us to sleep.

for Lillian's  prompt at dVerse: self-portrait in 44 words

Raven Heart

When you came through the door, laughing,
into the lamplit room,
my heart stopped.
I recognized you.
I had been looking for you 

Everything prior to that moment
was me Before,
and in everything that followed after,
I was forever changed.

That year was tinged golden
with loving you, beautiful creature,
dark raven beauty,
eagle heart trapped and earthbound,
both longing for and resistant to the skies.

You started my slow heart beating
with love unknown before or after.
It played pitter-pat symphonies
on slow summer afternoons,
your eyes dark above me,
blue sky behind your head.
No other could compare.
No other ever did.

True Friends

Elephants never forget. Two elephants who bonded in a sanctuary when one was adult and the other an orphaned baby, when reunited 25 years later, responded with joy and definite recognition.

An elephant that bonded with a dog in a sanctuary, mourned him for a long time after he was killed by coyotes. She carried him back to the compound in her trunk, unable to leave her dear friend out there alone.

Elephants have been seen visiting the bones of their dead relatives, sometimes lifting the bones and putting them down, in a ceremony of grief and honouring.

They are fiercely loyal and protective of their young. When they perceive a threat, they form a circle, putting the babies in the centre, standing facing outward, trunks up.

They fear humans, with good reason. I cant bear to think about the physical and emotional suffering mankind has visited - is still visiting - upon creatures both wild and domestic. It is the biggest heartbreak of my life.


My Dogs and Me

Deep in the forest,
my house would be,
windows and doorway
carved in a tree,
with room for
my rescue dogs and me:
a fire, a teapot,
a cozy bed,
enough room for us
to lay our heads.

Plenty space for us all
if we curled up tight,
nose to tail
all through the night.
All day they would run 
through the forest trails,
barking and singing
their sheer delight.

At the end of the path,
we'd come to the sea,
every morning and night,
my dogs and me,
to watch the sun
go up and down.
We'd buy bones when we
went to Town.

When we were back home 
fed and warm,
heads tucked on paws,
and safe from harm,
rain patter on salal,
all wet and gleaming,
would send us off to sleep
and set us dreaming.

Because It Is My Heart

I selected what went in with great care:
wolf howls and a shaman with wise kind eyes;
a big black wolf whose eyes and memory
never leave me; hope and love and trust in the divine,
waves rolling endlessly onto sandy beaches,
and an old-growth forest, breathing peace;
music and puppy paws, wagging tails and doggy smiles,
lions and elephants, whalesong and birds on the wing,
and I packed them all in together, leaving nothing out,
because it is everything I love, and because it is my heart.

for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Because It Is My Heart