Saturday, September 30, 2017

These Days.......

These days
I often find
my thoughts
to dusty mesas
dotted with dry scrub
along the arroyo
through dry, sandy gorges
you once told me
was a river long ago

In reverie
I circle sleepy rooftops
finding yours
where we made love
one afternoon
your face so dark and beautiful
above me
those summer days
that ended
way too soon

Those days
you were an eagle
soaring / captive
caught somewhere
between the earth
and sky
while I caught my breath
and emptied out my being
into the wonder
of becoming
you and I

Now my spirit
sometimes walks
on summer mornings
- dew-fresh scent
of tall marsh grasses,
willow trees,
fresh lake ripples
lapping gently
on the shore -
the scent of
all the mornings
I remember
and I long to walk
beside the lake
once more

In memory
you turn
your slow smile
on me
always a bird
alighting on your hand
I hear again the coo
of doves at daybreak
and somewhere -
another time,
another land -
"Blackbird" is singing
in the dark of night
while two lonely seekers
try to hold their pain
at bay
by clinging
to each other
way too tight
unable to find words
to make it right
and somehow
lose their way

The dove
lost its mate
and flew
but keeps on
back to you
never very far
from where you are
if you
but knew

Through all
those years
I saw your beauty
and now I am

The single step
that started
my long journey
the thousand miles
it took
to bring me home
All I was
searching for
I found
within me
forever now
without the need
to roam

I have one more 
to give you
in this lifetime
one more time 
to see
the smile start
in your eyes
If we never
meet again
know I have
loved you
as no other
all the seasons
of our lives

For the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. I wrote this poem in 1994, remembering a man I loved in 1980's Kelowna. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dog of Joy

[This morning, watching another black dog at the beach,I was reminded of my big black dog of joy, who cracked me up every day of our life together for fourteen years.]

My eyes went right to him,
a black lab mix,
whose people were ignoring him.
No matter.
He knew how to have fun
all by himself.

He was pouncing on the sand,
leaping from side to side,
a loopy grin on his face.
Then he would dig, furiously,
for a few moments,
and return to his 
side-to-side dance.
He was digging up
a buried stick,
with the most intense delight.

He made me laugh,
and remember.
I fed him a cookie,
and his nose snuffled 
into my pocket.
He wanted the second one, too,
which I was happy
to give.

It was small payment
for a moment of joy,
this morning on the beach,
in the amber September sun.

for Karin's prompt at Real Toads: Thinking of the Little Things: to write about a small moment, one of those moments that remind us how good life is, no matter what the larger world happens to be doing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rising Above

Rising up,
rising above -
hope soaring on eagle wings -
we dwell on the threshold
of a dream -
a world at peace.

Rising above the talk
of division,
we meditate upon
the fact that
all of our cells
in this old world
- human, plant, animal -
creatures of air and earth
and sea -
are connected.

Rising above the rhetoric
of war, we ponder:
how can we bomb
other mothers and fathers, 
sisters and brothers,
aunts, uncles, grandparents,
and babies with eyes 
still full of wonder?

Everything alive
just wants
to live.

Time to rise up, 
young men and women.
Time to take to the streets.
Time to rise up
                     rise up
                              rise up
and march to a
different beat.

"Ain't gonna study war 
no more."*
Time to play
the pipes of peace.

Time to right this tilting world
of pain and sorrow
and make it ready
for the children
of tomorrow.

for Sumana's  Midweek Motif prompt at Poets United: Rising Above

*an old African American spiritual, dating from the civil war. If only world leaders studied peace as much as they have studied war. Or spent  money on caring for the planet and its people instead of the instruments of war.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sailing On

The sun goes up,
the sun goes down,
and this ship of fools keeps
sailing, sailing on,
as if there will always be
a tomorrow.
While Rocket Man and Loco Man
toss insults and puff their chests,
we wake surprised
to find ourselves
still alive
with every dawn.

The earth quakes,
the earth shakes,
while water
covers the ground
with death.
The wildfires burn on,
as do the fossil fuels
that feed their every breath.

We are a blue and green
sailing through a
universe of sky.
From out there,
we look so peaceful
but, to a trained and closer eye,
we are sailing towards disaster,
too half-asleep
to even question

for Kim's prompt at Real Toads: Boats.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Is This a Dream Within a Dream?

I gaze at the tv screen:
hurricanes, flooding, wildfires,
earthquakes, collapsing buildings,
people crying, digging through rubble,
picking through destroyed homes.

I step out onto a West Coast beach:
sand and blue sky, the eternal waves,
ebbing and flowing for forever,
stalwart hills,
wrapping protective arms 
around the village.

Why is it that
the second scene
is the one that seems 

for Shay's prompt at Fireblossom Friday: to look at life through a distorted lens. I wrote a first one, but it was too dark, so I flipped the perspective.

The Trees Are Praying, Too

The Hanging Garden Tree
on the Tall Tree Trail,
Meares Island

Entering the peace 
of the forest,
a cathedral of giant cedar,
I incline my head,
bend towards 
the tender trunks.
I am attentive, 

In the silence. 
I feel an awareness,
a presence.
I sense the trees,
bending towards me
in return.
They are attentive, 

I am praying:
for the trees,
for the world,
for all the wild things.

And I can feel it :
the trees
are praying, too.

Te idea for this poem came from the book, The Global Forest, written by the forest sprite, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, who tells of an instance of communing with the trees.

I will share this with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday morning. Do join us for some fine reading!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Brother Bear

Troy Moth photo

CBC video about this image here
The video is short, 1 minute long,
but haunting.

In the landfill,
the fires are burning,
flames flaring high.
The ground is smoldering,
as the food burns to char.

Brother Bear
is waiting
for the flames
to lessen,
so he can eat.

With decreased habitat, increasing scarcity of food, human encroachment, it is getting harder and harder for the wild creatures to live. The photographer saw this bear in a landfill in Ontario, waiting for the flames to die down, so he could eat the burning food. As he watched, the bear went down into the smoldering pit, looking for its dinner. This image haunts me. It is not just our home we have ruined; it is his, too. I remember a First Nations elder speaking of watching a mother bear and her two cubs walking across a clearcut, and how she cried, because it was so pitiful.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


This poem is a search for peace
on a suffering planet.
This poem remembers what we have forgotten:
that we are all one.
This poem has trouble seeking personal peace,
when most of the planet is struggling to survive.

This poem is looking at floods, hurricanes, 
wildfires, earthquakes, wars, genocides,
humans and animals terrified and dying.
This poem feels the pain of Mother Earth, 
of the wild things, of the children, 
of the mothers watching their children die.

This poem can’t bask in the sun 
while its sisters and brothers,
and the blessed creatures, 
both domestic and wild,
are fleeing for their lives in a world askew.
This poem can’t be all about me,
when the “us” of the world is in need.

This poem is a hope and a prayer for a peace
that swells from the grassroots 
and topples the tyrants.
This poem links hands with those on the ground,
trying to save the lives of those around them.
This poem believes that most of us want peace,
and that we have to build it ourselves,
community by community,
for our leaders have gone mad.

I adapted Hannah Gosselin’s Boomerang Metaphor form for this poem. For Susan’s prompt at Midweek Motiff: Peace. It is hard to hope we will turn this mess around, yet now is not the time to give up. A lot could be changed if one person were removed from office. The nuclear threat would lessen, for example. he is a danger to the world.

Monday, September 18, 2017


My friends, yesterday I attended 
a most inspiring event. 
At the Kwisitis Centre, at Wickaninnish Beach,
representatives of the Nuu chah nulth bands 
of the West Coast, 
and of the villages of Tofino and Ucluelet,  
came together to speak of living together 
in this wonderful place, 
 to talk of reconciliation and moving forward 
from the wounds of the past 
to the First Nations of this land. 

We were invited in by the sound of the drums.

On the beach, salmon was being prepared
in the traditional way,
 for our feast

Singing and drumming
by the Ahousaht band

Tofino's wonderful mayor, Josie Osborne,
told a story of being warmly welcomed
on a visit to Ahousaht,
and encouraged Tofino residents to welcome
visitors to our town as warmly. Then she invited
some of the local poets to come forward
and read poems about life on the West Coast

Jan McDougall

Greg Blanchette

Christine Lowther

Joanna Streetly

Many speakers addressed reconciliation.
An elder said words that struck  my heart:
"Speak without giving offence.
Listen without feeling offended."
That is respect, in a nutshell.

People listened with attentiveness to the speeches,
and demonstrated a great desire to live amicably 
and respectfully with those around us,
to remember that we are living
on unceded land, in traditional  territory. 
We are guests here,
as we are on Mother Earth.

These people of the land and water
know that everything is one, and interconnected.
They have much to teach we newcomers
about how to live with and on the land.

Closing words.

This was the day we had. In the morning,
there was a cloudburst, but West Coasters 
are not daunted by rain.
We donned rain gear, and the event was well attended.

At noon, the sun came out, unexpectedly,
to our delight. Bubbles soared through the air, 
children got their faces painted and, though I missed it,
arial dancers were dancing in the treetops down at the parking lot.
Using ropes, they performed among the tops of the trees. 

It must have been a wonderful sight.

I had waves to my heart's delight.

A most wonderful and enriching day.
Soul food.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dancing For the Trees

The blockades of 1993 in Clayoquot Sound -
the greatest incidence of civil disobedience 
in Canadian history ~
thousands gathered, 932 arrested, 856 charged, to stop
the clearcutting of the last of our Old Growth forests

This is Sally Sunshine, now departed
Both photos by Lynn Thompson Photography

Wild Woman remembers
dancing on the earth,
a hundred women
spiral dancing
to the beat of the drums
at the blockades of '93.
Primal, pulsing woman-power,
faces radiant, joyous,
powerful with love
for Mother Earth,
dancing for the trees,
in defiance of the Machine
whose voracious jaws, agape,
threatened to devour

wolf howls,
little girls with 
honest, determined eyes,
rainbows painted 
on their faces,
teens on the cusp 
of young womanhood,
mothers, sisters, grannies,
grey-haired women,
wise with living,
all deeply rooted 
in the earth,
united in the passion
of this moment
on the road,
a hundred women
dancing on the earth,
for the trees.

I am writing here of the Woman's Blockade. But all summer, thousands came to join us on the road. These were the most passionate hours and days of my life, the summer of '93, gathering before dawn on the road, the smell of smoke from the campfire, people sleepily arriving from the Peace Camp, the low beat beat beat of the tom toms. And then the big trucks pulled in, huge, intimidating, and the official would read out the proclamation to clear the road. Some of us stepped back. Those who volunteered to be arrested that day remained standing or sitting and were carried off bodily, to cheers and tears.

The protests received world wide media attention, creating national support for the protests. The clearcutting of the old growth was stopped and a Land Use agreement was eventually reached. 34% of the Sound is protected; 21% is under special management; the formerly 80% designated for resource extraction was reduced to 40%. But that is 40% too much for most of us.

The fight continues to protect Clayoquot Sound's ancient forests. 

For more info: Friends of Clayoquot Sound. These are the folks who made it all happen.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: to write about what moves us, what powers us, what is our juice.

Friday, September 15, 2017

In the Dreamtime

In the Dreamtime,
the ancestors sang of
the way of humans,
being in the world.

They followed songlines
across the land.
Songs and chants
relayed spiritual truths,
the wisdom of how to
belong to the earth
in reverence.

If you go out
under the heavens
in the darkling hours,
harken to the sound
of the sky,
its great bowl
stretched over you
in loving protection,
its stars, signposts,
to guide 
your every step.

Listen, with presence
and attention,
to Mother Earth
and Father Sky,
for the Old Ones
are still singing,
still trying to teach
this wayward,
slowly awakening species
how to be.

Grandfather Cedar,
Grandmother Baobab, 
carry their prayerful messages
on the wind.

To be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find poems to delight you every Sunday morning.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Patient As Nuns

Patient as nuns,
they sit,
through all the
of time.

Whether the apocalypse
comes, or not,
they will

I took a walk for Sanaa's prompt at Real Toads: to go for a walk, and see where our thoughts take us. I live in an area of surpassing beauty, so when I step out onto the beach, all worries fall away, and I mostly am thinking: "How beautiful!" But as I wandered, the peace and steadfastness of these rocks impressed me, and the above lines popped into my head. So I thought I would share them with you, along with some of the other photos. Enjoy!

Frank's Island

So much life, everywhere,

often growing in seemingly
impossible places

The happiest part of my walks
is meeting all the happy beach dogs.
This little sentinel was chilling,
guarding his humans,
who were chatting.

For the Children

"Make it a better place...heal the it for the children." Michael Jackson

The sun comes up,
the sun goes down.
We live in a world
of beauty.

I pray to Everything That Is
that we humans may
learn to
live upon this land
as beautifully
as life itself,
remember the Old Ways
we have forsaken.

May our better natures rise
across the land and sea.
May we "heal the world
for the children,"
as well as for you and me.

All is designed
for our purpose and our pleasure:
seeds grow, trees breathe,
the eternal waves
ebb and flow upon the tides,
under the moon's soft sigh.

Across the land,
may we lay down
our weapons and our wars.
Just. Stop.  Become
one with life,
in reverence and respect
for all that lives,
as we once lived

for Sanaa's prompt at Real Toads: to go for a walk and write what thoughts come. Here, I am surrounded by beauty. The natural world lives with design and interdependence. That is how we are meant to live, interconnected with all things, with all of life, and with each other. We see in disasters like the present ones, how humans come together and help each other, without division. The best in human nature arises.

How the heavens must shake their heads, when they see us, in our earthly garden, running around with weapons, warring and creating havoc and chaos.  I thought of Michael Jackson's song: "Heal the world we live in, save it for the children." And offer you the gift of hope that is this video.

An Evening Walk

Last evening, I walked down to First Street dock,
to take in the setting sun.

Lone Cone
with Catface to its left

Watching the colours deepen

The amber light begins to glow

As we walked home, it became clear
the main show was continuing on
without us.

I snapped this between the hospital grounds
and the daycare.

Such beauty.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


We gather 'round the table,
come from afar,
the table that we have circled
for decades, made by one ancestor,
stained black by another,
reclaimed and stripped 
to its original beauty by a third.
The food and bubbly and plates
are passed;
we chat and joke,
and ply our forks and knives
with appreciative murmurs.
Everything tastes so good,
enjoyed together.

"Tell us one of your stories, Grandma,"
one of the kids will ask,
eyes fixed on me expectantly,
and I will tell them,
to much laughter,
sometimes a tear,
and many a 
"Remember when?"

What we don't talk about
is how each of us
is remembering
the beloved faces 
no longer here:
the ones who once made the meals,
and were central to our gathering,
now gone ahead,
their cackles silenced,
and forever missed.

How many more  before
I am missing, too?
When that day comes,
I hope the children
will re-tell some of my stories,
will say "Remember when?"

And, if they fall silent
and listen, in the midst of 
their laughter and tears,
perhaps they'll hear
a whisper of 
Wild Woman's cackle,
echoing faintly
down all the 
glistening years.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Reunions.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


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.

A poem from 2014, shared with The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Girl, a Book and a Tree

Heathcliff, you were
a dark figure of romance
who taught me
that love equals pain and loss.

But oh, Francie,
lit up in the window,
your arm arced overhead,
as you prepared
for your evening out,
your friend, the old tree, outside,
it was you who taught  me
to dream!

For Magaly's prompt at Real Toads, to write about what a book meant to you in 132 words or less. I used 50. When I was 13, Wuthering Heights was a book with great impact, but it was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, that really spoke to my circumstances, and offered me hope,  a way up and out.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Just Before Dawn

Sunrise over the mudflats,
Tofino Inlet

The dawn is peeping a red and ribald eye
over the mountain.
No one is awake.
The morning birds will not yet sing.
The sleepy valley is still nestled
in the arms of night.

But out in the meadow,
in the mist rising up from the icy fields,
a young doe is dancing lightly
on her tiny hooves.
An elven chorus, murmurous,
is chanting in the veld,
and the skybirds awaken, 
all a-flutter.
In a feathered heap,
they tumble out of the trees.

To witness this magic,
you must arise
just before dawn,
and disguise yourself
as a shrub.

- One from 2014, my friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Coyotes at Last Mountain Lake

I heard the coyotes howling
as evening fell
at Last Mountain Lake,
and I thought of you,
my old wolf-pal,
and how you would tip 
your nose up to the moon
and howl mournfully
for all the wild places you loved
that we had lost.

Then you'd come to me and rest
your forehead against my knee,
wearily, for comfort.
We loved and lost so much together,
old pal of mine.
But, always, we had each other.

And now I am alone.
My nose tilted up
towards the moon,
an inner howl
expressed in secret tears.
Still missing our wild beaches.
And you.

From 2015. For Pup. When I wrote this, I was living inland,  missing the beach. And now I am - gloriously, miraculously - here. Life continues to give gifts as we journey. I am grateful. Grateful for all the adventures I have had in my life, grateful for this peaceful time of savoring and summing up, of just Being with the sea and the sky.

To be shared in the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

In My Next Life, I Will Be a Wolf

In my next life
I will be a wolf.
I will run like the wind,
if there are still
forests to run through.

I will feed my young,
if there is still prey to be found,
and will keep them safe,
if protected spaces
still exist.

In my next life, I pray
I am not running through
an apocalyptic landscape,
paws burning,
cubs crying in distress,
falling behind.

In this life, 
a member of the species
that destroyed the earth,
the most dangerous 
and unthinking species alive,
in my next life,
for my penance,
I will be a wolf,
running through
a burning, apocalyptic
paws and heart on fire.

As always, I think of the animals, who do not have the resources we humans do, who are suffering the results of climate change, in floods, storms and wildfires. Mother Earth is crying as loudly as she can, yet we are not mobilizing fast enough to assist her in her distress.