Monday, January 30, 2017

Weary In My Soul

We are the Baby Boomers,
the generation we thought
would change the world.

We're seventy, now,
and oh, how the world
has changed.

And now it feels like
it is changing back:
racism, divisiveness,
rattling of the sabres of war,
muzzling the press,
registration of The Others.
(Of course, we understand:
there is no "other."
The Other is Intolerance.
It's us.)

Once more, we're marching in the street.
But this time our solidarity
is even stronger, and has
no divisions of age, race or religion.

As dark forces try to wrest the planet
from its people,
our spirits, weary though they are
from this long struggle,
rise in resistance,
our mantra:
Love trumps hate.

Last night in Quebec, a terror attack on praying Muslims, by gunmen likely incited or given license by the recent focus on this community by the highest office on the continent, and the resulting furor in the media. My old heart grows weary, friends, at all this hatred, injustice, singling out of peaceful people who simply want what all people want: to live, to love their families, to be safe, allowed to live their lives in peace.

But I am heartened by people rising in response, protesting, marching, insisting this is not the America (Canada and US) we believe in.

Elizabeth May, our Green Party Member of Parliament, said it best, in Parliament this morning: "Today, we are all Muslims."

This morning crowds protesting the trump ban on Muslim travel have shut down the US Consulate in Toronto, in solidarity with the Muslim community. I have never witnessed a worse ten days of political mayhem. May it end soon, somehow. Enough is already too much. Good luck to us all.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Two Lives

Baby days with Lukey and Jasmine

Ms Jasmine in the leaves

Getting two tumbling puppies to sit for this shot 
was a feat

Swimmies - their happiest times

Neither would let go of the Kong!
An ongoing competition

Jasmine suspects Lukey is getting
something to eat - no fair!

2015, in better health

Resting her head on her gigantic moose,
that she loved so much she wore its ears
and antlers and arms off. 
She was buried with it beside her, yesterday,
alongside her brother's grave, here on the farm.
This gives me comfort.

Sister and brother, towards the end,
always smiling, always beautiful


Two tumbling puppies
wrapped tentacles
around our hearts.
They breathed happiness.
They knew only love.
They came into the world together
and left it one month apart.
Two golden butterballs
with loving eyes
and gentle hearts,
they say dogs come
to teach us how to love and,
as they leave,
they teach us
about loss.

Our hearts break,
yet we know
the years of joy 
they brought us
are worth
the price we pay
in tears and pain.

They leave us grateful
for the gift
of two tumbling puppies
who wrapped tentacles
around our hearts.

for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United

An update: My neighbour is one whom animal spirits visit. She called to tell me that after Jas was buried, she had a visit, from both Lukey and Jasmine, who were young and healthy again, and playing. She had a message to me from Jas, thanking me for setting her free from the pain and saying we will see each other again. Many tears, but a comforting message.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

To Live In Harmony With All of Life Again

The women of the world are on the march.
We have had enough of  the patriarchal norm.
Under the lash, we bent, but then we arched.
Metamorphosis is needed. We must transform.

We have had enough of the patriarchal norm.
Millions of sisters' spirits are on the rise.
Metamorphosis is needed. We must transform,
to the shining vision bright before our eyes.

Millions of sisters' spirits are on the rise.
We're steering earth's essential evolution
to the shining vision bright before our eyes.
We're dreaming of a women's revolution.

We are steering earth's essential evolution.
Power and greed has Mother Earth in pain.
We're dreaming of a women's revolution,
to live in harmony with all of life again.

Power and greed has Mother Earth in pain.
Under the lash, we bent, but then we arched.
To live in harmony with all of life again,
the women of the world are on the march.

for Sumana's Midweek Motif prompt at Poets United: Change, and shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, January 22, 2017


The thing is, Mr. t :
your rhetoric is offensive
and divisive.
You are delusional,
live in a golden bubble
of your own making.

Your efforts to convince us
what is not true is true,
and what is true is a lie,
won't work.
Just you saying something
doesn't make it real.

You can deny climate change,
but the poles are still melting.
When you are standing
up to your knees in water,
will that be a conspiracy too?
Maybe the penguins
have it in for you?

Your labeling everyone
who doesn't buy your lies a liar
does not endear you to the masses.

The thing is:
this world isn't safe for our children.
We need social justice, world-wide,
and we need it now.
A handful of billionaires
will not save the world.
They'll just get richer.

Did you hear the voices
of the women of the world?

That's where it's at, kiddo.
We can't believe we are still
having to fight for this shit.
But fight we will.
We have a world full of children
that we love.
We care about the planet
we are leaving them.
We love Mother Earth,
she is in trouble,
and enough is enough.

We have come a long way
from the 50's, kiddo,
so buckle up.
You are in for a bumpy ride.

We're going to make
your hair
stand on end.

LOL. Can't help it, I got so pumped up from yesterday's marches, from all the gutsy women's voices. I would have liked to hear more about climate change, but those people were out there, they just didn't hit the media. If any of you missed Ashley Judd reciting a kick-ass poem written by 19 year old Nina Donovan  from Tennessee, you must hear it. Talk about strong women's voices!

Here's the link:

 I also loved Gloria Steinem's speech. She is so real.

This is for Brendan's  prompt at Real Toads: Voices

Saturday, January 21, 2017


This wonderful picture of Wild Woman
was created for me by Ellen Wilson of Ella's Edge

This poem is a wild woman,
knocking down invisible inner walls,
the better to observe the sky of mind.
This poem is agitated,
the inner wild a climate of unrest
when too far away from the untamed places.
Attuned to the call of the Raven,
the howl of the wolf,
this town full of monster trucks and logging rigs
assaults her senses, she feeling
as alien as a cougar
inexplicably materializing
on a sidewalk in the middle
of this grey little industry town.

Where is her soul’s home?
Deep, deep, in the wild places
where only the creatures live.
Sorceress of the midnight moon,
follower of the shaman’s path,
she drums a primal beat
that speaks “Home! Home!”
with a stick carved from her breastbone,
chants incantations to earth, air, water, fire,
prays her spirit guides will lead her well,
back to the ocean’s roar and the forest’s
sacred, hidden trails.

While waiting, Wild Woman
makes her escape in a poem:
sings to the trees, communes
with restless spirits, ululates with owls,
flies up and away over the mountain pass
every morning, every eventide,
to where the wild things are,
always and forever, forever and always,
a lover of rainforest and ocean-song,
she knows where she belongs.

Confined, her spirit finds no rest
away from her soul’s home.
Wild Woman restlessly circles and turns,
within the inner landscape,
like a too-large dog circling a too-small bed,
trying to make what does not fit, fit,
too tight the wrappings that keep her
from flying free,
for she has always been a seeker,
now hoping to find, one last time,
what has for so long been sought.

This was written in May 2016, and has not been seen by many eyeballs. I happened upon it today, and it reminded me that when one hangs onto a dream with determination, it can come true. In my lifetime, not just once, but twice. I am blessed. 

Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is always good reading on a Sunday morning. See you there!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Just For We"

is walking across
a barren landscape
out of an apocalyptic dream.
Jagged stumps stand, charred,
against a colourless sky,
and black ravens shriek,
watching her with red eyes and sharp beaks.

There is no kindness here,
no hope.

The clan of overlords is on the horizon,
reptilian eyes peering,
scaly skin gleaming
silver in the unsetting sun.

"We are coming for you."

"But this is supposed to be
the land of the free."

"Not for you.
Just for we."

A nightmare that appears to be becoming a reality with every passing day.

"We Have Been Here Before"

Ohio State Senator Nina Turner

Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif is Unity. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner's stirring speech at the civil rights rally in Washington is a perfect example of a rallying cry for unity. She is an inspiring orator. I hope she moves up to higher office.

It just might be that the most divisive president-elect of all time  has galvanized the nation, and everyone is more united than ever. I hope so.  If we continue speaking truth to power, and marching together, surely we can turn this ship around.

not a word
to be spoken lightly.
More, a hand held out,
feet marching alongside other feet,
smiles exchanged,
common cause,
hearts that believe
in the rightness of brotherhood
and sisterhood,
social justice and
a better life for all.

Usually not experienced in the ivory
or gold-plated towers
of Me-and-Mine.
But very familiar to the marginalized,
the disenfranchised,
the struggling,
the stressed middle class,
the working poor,
who share the little they have
in the connection
of a similar lived experience.

When the American dream
turns into a nightmare,
let us listen to the visionaries,
who will help us
to dream
(and march toward)
a new and better dream.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


I dreamed about you.
You were walking on the beach
with a little black puppy.
Is this of significance to you?

Yes! I told her of the beach,
my wolf dog, dead for years,
my longing to return
to the home of my spirit.

Hold fast to that dream,
and I will put your intentions
out into the world
with my drumming and praying.
Your wolf dog visits me
to let you know he is near.
He will walk with you
on your beach
once again.

I held onto hope,
though it faltered with the slowness
of the years.
I watered my long-held dream
with longing and with tears.

I want to tell you
the other night when I was drumming
I put your intention out there once again.
I heard a wolf howl
and I felt energy moving
in your direction.

The call came the next day.
A space had opened up for me
in the place of my dreams.
That night I read that the planets
sometimes (rarely) align, as now,
in a certain way.
When they do, if you have a dream
that has been blocked,
and you are offered it:
Say Yes!
Do not let fear or doubt enter in.
I smiled as I read,
for I had said yes,
                  and yes,
                     and yes.

This is all true, kids. Every word. My mentor was chosen by Pup and found me through my poems. Even in old age, even if one has resigned oneself that it might never happen, I am here to tell you that dreams can come true - not just once, but many times. We are energy, and if we beam that energy in a good way out into the universe, the universe responds. It brings me comfort to know my Pup still howls for me. I howl inside my heart,  every day for him.

for Elizabeth Crawford's prompt at The Heroic Journey, Stage Four: The Mentor

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Paying the Tillerman

six years ago today
you left this world.
Now a little sister
is heading your way,
and I am going home,
over the mountains,
to our beloved beach.

There is a price to be paid
for every journey,
tears for all the sorrow,
smiles for all the joy.
You pay the tillerman
and step aboard.
You take the journey
as it comes.

It brings wonders,
and heartbreak,
and it stretches
the walls
of our hearts.

I will carry you and Jasmine with me
on every walk on Chestermans Beach.
I will whisper a prayer of gratitude:
for you, for Jas,
for all the wagging tails
and puppy kisses
that have blessed my life,
with every setting sun
until I find you both again.

for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. 

Pup is six years gone today, and I still grieve. And now Jasmine is making her way towards the Rainbow Bridge. She is eleven and a half and her tumors are aggressive. Yesterday the vet said we are near the end, in order for her to have a peaceful passing, not in crisis. We are hoping she will make it to the end of the month so I can have as long as possible with her. But time is precious now, and going by too fast. She is still smiling, though, her trademark smile.

The hardest part of loving dogs is losing them, as every dog lover knows.


He woke agitated, disoriented, confused. Rushing in to his mother's bedroom, he asked, "What's happening? What's happening?" She tried to calm and soothe him but, as she approached, he turned and ran upstairs.

She followed.

On the terrace, she found him straddling the lip of the concrete wall. Life stopped, suspended, in that moment between Before and After. Fourteen floors below, the sound of traffic. Nearby, the chirp of a startled bird, then all was still and silent, a moment suspended in time.

"Carter! Please! It's all right. Don't. Let me help you."

He looked at her, wavering. Almost, he leaned in her direction. But then, he raised his hand, whether to stop her from approaching or in farewell, she never knew, and toppled from view.

from A Mother's Story, by Gloria Vanderbilt, about the suicide of her son Carter, which she witnessed.

This is for Magaly's flash fiction prompt at Real Toads:  to write something sparked by the last book we read. Carter was under medication after a painful breakup, and his mother feels he was affected adversely by it, when he woke from his nap. The conversation is approximate, just what I remember from the book.

I discover I misread the prompt: to use a line from the book as a springboard. But I am tired, so will just leave this, as it may inspire others to read the book. Smiles.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Under A Befuddled Moon

Wolf Moon - January

I once had a tryst
with someone who was
a legend in his own mind.
He wooed me with poetic phrases,
beady eyes, and butterscotch pudding.
I ate it up, spoon by spoon.

"Je t'aime", he said,
looking up at me on the porch
under a  befuddled moon.
But he didn't, he didn't.

Some men are hollow.
Some men are not
to be followed.

Well, this weird little poem is in response to Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: to use diction and imagery to write about humans in terms of the non-human. The man in this poem was all too human. But in the closing lines, I am thinking of a most inhuman man, who is much in the news for his lack of humanity. Not sure if that counts. Smiles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Door

My daughter Stephanie's photo
of Chestermans Beach, where dogs are most joyous

In the middle of my life,
the door to the life of my dreams
stood ajar.
I peeked in.
All the wonders of the universe 
if I had the courage 
to leap: the ocean,
and whales, 
old-growth trails,
nature, pristine and beautiful 
and wild -
the place where my soul belonged.

If I stayed in place,
it meant giving up my dream.
And I knew I couldn't live
without a dream.

It took trust and a far-flung prayer
to take me from where I was
tamely living
to being there,
where I became Wild Woman
and lived the ten most joyous
years of my life.


I have mourned that loss
all the years since,
longed to return,
nearly gave up hope.

And now, suddenly,
in my dwindling years,
the door to that life
has opened once more:
one more chance
to experience the beauty
of the shore.

In old age,
one more mighty leap
over the mountains,
back to the song of the sea,
and the ancient trees,
proving the universe brings gifts
to those ready and willing
to receive,
and that life can change 
in a heartbeat
from resigned but grateful living
to the realization of a
long-held dream.

My friends, I had given up hope that it would happen, and was at peace with that, when the call came: a small suite in the apartment complex in Tofino. I am sorting and packing, and still can hardly believe it is happening. I will have more beach walks and sunsets before I die. I am, of course, nervous and rattled, but also am feeling the rightness of this, that I have wanted for so long. I just keep thinking of how my windows will look out on big old trees, and, with my window open, I might even be able to hear the song of the sea. Wow, hey? I will be there for the Whale Festival, when the Baja whales arrive on their whale highway. Whu-hoo! Once again I will stand on the dunes and watch. Maybe I will sing.

I read something the night before the phone call came: that this year the planets are aligning, as they do only rarely. That during this time, if you have a dream that has been blocked and you get offered it, SAY YES! Do not let fear hold you back. So I said yes. And yes. And yes.

for Sumana's very cool prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United, which will post tomorrow : The Door. And for the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


google image

Step upon step,
spinning the prayer wheels,
mumbled prayers rising,
pilgrims, we are making
our imperfect pilgrimage.

Come with me
once around the sacred mountain,
and erase the karma 

of the errors of a lifetime.
Take me to the mountain,
holy one.
Make me clean.

The prayer flags flutter
on the precipice.
The search for the snow leopard
remains elusive.
Step upon step 

up the slippery slope,
each step on the path 

to enlightenment
icy, precarious.

The winds howl down the mountain
like ravening ghosts
and shake the candlelit tent
till it almost takes flight.

I'm tethered here,
but only for want 

of a perfect rhyme.
I hear the message
in those shrieking winds.
I feel the hoarfrost
on the hand of time.

When I die, holy one,
lay me on the plateau
for a sky burial.
Let the big birds come
and pick my bones clean.
Let the leopard gather them
and carry them off,
so I become
one with the mountain,
the air, the sky,
no more pondering how
or wondering why.

Return me to the mountain
of past lifetimes,
I beg you,
and let me
begin again.

One from December, 2011, my friends, re-posted for the Poetry Pantry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wild Woman Has A Vision

White Buffalo Calf Woman

Wild Woman has a vision
of the world,
now that the seventh generation
has arrived,
now that the white buffalo calf
has been born,
and the Rainbow Race
is arising.

Corporate greed will not
loosen its grasp willingly.
Money-lust has caught
its captives in its
deathly grasp so tight
they don't even realize
their souls are dying.

But for the other 98 percent,
our spirits rise
to the vision of a world
longing for social justice,
a world of care for Mother Earth
and all her creatures,
a world where humans
are as beautiful and connected
as the other expressions
of creation: a fox,
a tributary,
a fiddlehead fern.

Wild Woman is told this vision
is impossible.
But it is Possible.
It is here, now,
within our grasp,
in every choice
we make.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Vision. A great prompt for a brand new year. Let's use our purchasing power wisely, since dollar bills is the only language corporations speak.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Darkling the night spins its web of stars,
Hazy the moon in its tangerine shroud.
Owl Woman calls out from the forest deep:
Waken, all dreamers, from your sleep.

I rise, all unwilling, from my wildish dreams.
The midnight is peopled with wild creatures' screams.
The trees lie in wait with their strangling roots,
ready to trip my scruffy boot.

The forest moans low as the fog moves in.
When I look up, the starry heavens spin.
Dark and drear, the ground I tread upon;
When I turn to go back, the path is gone.

One from 2014 for the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Tofino Skies

Photos from our trip to Tofino. Stephanie rented us a cabin 
on Chestermans Beach where we spent three glorious days 
enjoying sunshine, sand and surf.

Sunset  our first evening


Morning before sunrise

Lennard's Light pre-sunrise

Lone Cone

Sun coming up at South Chestermans

Stephanie - morning joy

Family coffeetime

Happy dogs

Cali ~ Steph photo

Chloe ~ Steph photo

Gord Oien photo

Wild Woman
Steph Oien photo

By the Fire
As I sat there, I was thinking how beautiful this place is,
and that it likely was never going to happen
that I would be able to return.
I accepted that, and decided
it would be all right.
I was lucky to have had the ten years there that I had.

Steph Oien photo

Steph Oien photo

It was the day after I got home that the phone call came.
I was offered an apartment in Tofino.
Life had one more surprise for me.
So I started packing.

What a gift this new year will be.