Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bittersweet Goodbyes

a pair of cooing birds
on my birthday,
his dark beauty
as he gifted me
with doves.

the small finch
to his hand,
his dark eyes
smiling at me
across the room.

the day
I told him
that I had to go,
his hand opening the door
of the dove's cage
and setting her free.

Bittersweet moments,
the rest of my life,
every time I hear
the call of doves
from the trees.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Bittersweet. Of which life has an ample supply of moments. Smiles. And for  Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Goodbye.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

That Farther Shore

When the angel of death
arrives at my bedside,
like the ferryman
coming around the bend
of the river,
plying his oar
with determination,
pulling alongside
and beckoning me in,

When I gaze at him,
my bed the shore,
wondering how to make
my earth-bound body
traverse the space between us
without falling,

I think I will trust
that the air will support me,
entering that bright darkness
interested in discovering
what comes next.

Yes, I think I will trust.

My life has been a voyage
of wonder and amazement.
I have made this journey,
head tipped back,
and grinning at the sky.
Trees have danced for me,
dogs and babies smiled,
my heart brimming with
the dazzle
of this beautiful world,
who performed her best
sunrises and sunsets for me,
draping the mountains 
with breathtaking mist,
always whispering
"watch this!" and then,
watch this!"

I have long loved
the stories of people
who rose - and rise -
from their heartbreaking situations
with hearts courageous as lions,
roaring their love of life
even as the hunter
raises his rifle,
not cowering,
walking into the darkness
with full hearts,
with dignity, with pride.
No surrender.

Yet when that dark angel 
comes for me,
I think I will surrender.
I will ride that bed-boat
out into the cosmos,
transfixed by all the stars,
wrapped in clouds of transformation,
soaring through the heavens,
breath held in awe.

The river of amazement
will carry me,
as it carried me
through this life,
to my next destination,
where I hope I will find loveliness
to equal or surpass
that of this world,
where I will meet
lost loved ones,
and furry tails
will thump in welcome.

At the end,
I will say
that, all of my life,
I have loved most
this earth and its beauty.
In trust, I will step into
the ferryman's boat,
ready to see what lies
on that farther shore.

Ha. I may not be that brave at all. Philosophizing after a hospice workshop. I may be a total wimp. Though in such a circumstance, there is little point in fighting. LOL. For certain, I will miss the beauty of this world. Which I hope to enjoy for many years yet.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Music of My Years

The amber notes
of my dad's alto sax
waft down the hall.
The night is young,
hearts rising
just to fall.

When the band 
finds its groove,
the floor and walls 
all vibrate with
the jazzman’s beat,
up and down,
side to side,
with all those 
dancing feet.

“Someone turn on
the bubble machine!”
my father cries.
He is the hero of
the golden horn
- he glows -
its notes the background music
of everything 
I know.

“Stardust,” “As Time Goes By,
and "I'll Get By",
- my parents' theme -
I grew up marinated 
in their love songs,
the music that taught me
how to dream.

In counterpoint,
his alto clarinet,
the mellow notes
of summer afternoons,
mellifluously serenading
those tender years,
his beautiful music 
way too soon.

for Jazz Poetry with Amaya at dVerse. And I will share it with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is great reading every Sunday morning.


Another Winter

The Christmas
after he died,
my sister gave me
a faux fur throw,
the colour of a wolf.
I held it to me,
rocking back and forth,
my big, black noisy boy,
my grief
making my daughter 

It is another winter.
I sit in my cozy chair,
watching the rain,
the dancing trees,
and the small birds 
that come to feed
on my front porch.

is our way 
of honouring
the ones we have loved 
so well.
I hold it to me,
rocking back and forth.
Like the wolf fur throw,
it offers a strange comfort -
the joy and pain
of remembering -
at once.

for Rommy's prompt at Real Toads: Creature Comforts, to choose an object that comforts us.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cedar Rose

Nimble fingers, 
focused eyes,
she fashions cedar
into the shape
of a beautiful

Her grandmother looks on
with kind, smiling eyes,
as she learns the art
of her ancestry,
carefully weaving
strands of bark
gathered prayerfully
from Grandfather Cedar.

She, herself,
child of dreams,
is a beautiful
cedar rose.

for Sumana's Midweek Motif at Poets United : Flower - Rose. Here on the West Coast, the Nuu chah nulth people remove a patch of bark and some of the living tissue underneath from the huge cedar trees. They weave the strands into cedar roses, as shown. This does not harm the tree. Trees with such evidence of bark removed are termed culturally modified trees, and may not be "harvested."

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Today I opened the door
onto grief,
that I have not put into spoken words
shared some tears and a peek
at the losses
hiding under
the brave smile
I have worn
for so long.
And it turns out
it is all right
to cry.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: Doors. Today I attended a grief workshop. I have always been a strong, stoic person. As a single mom of four, I had to keep on going through many losses, with no time to grieve. And then my dog died, and released my tears.  When they are long suppressed, they will eventually come out, as they have been doing for some time now. And that is okay.

Friday, November 17, 2017


When all of life is threatened,
and barbarians are strutting through
the halls of power,
when our future survival
hangs by a thread,
it is said that is when
the Shambhala warriors 
will arrive.

They are bodhisattvas,
beings of peace.
You may not recognize them -
(or you might: 
check out Joe Kennedy III
and Barak Obama) -
as they will look like everyone else.
(Look for eyes that shine
with spirit and compassion).
The Shambhala Warriors 
will walk the corridors of power
armed with two weapons
  - compassion and insight.
With courage and integrity,
they will dismantle 
the ways of death,
and lead us on a new path,
for the time has come
for a great Turning.

When you feel this earth grief 
we carry
is too much to bear, 
take heart.
It is because you care
that you are alive 
at just this moment,
to assist the transformation
from the patriarchal 
to the divine feminine.
Women are rising up everywhere.
They are planting trees and gardens,
cleaning streams and beaches,
standing guard to protect 
the sacred waters.
They are protecting life,
gathering together
to oppose the ways of war.

Women are wise in the ways
of growing things: 
food, animals, children.
They reject the ways of death.
Women understand that all things 
are connected.
Everything depends on everything else.
We are each a strand in
the web of life.

Mother Earth is speaking to us, now,
with all of her voices. 
Let us hear her,
add our voices to hers, 
and heal this world
back together again.

I wrote this in a more hopeful moment, to share with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


She was  humble, shy, eyes downcast.
In our group of mostly white people,
she deferred, listened,
as we talked, talked, talked.
We had so much to say.

She was easy to overlook.
We were so full of ourselves.

Then they called her name.
She stepped to the middle of the room,
brown dress, moccasins,
feathers in her long black hair, 
in the middle of her life
of many losses.
Suddenly, arching herself, 
one arm up, one down,
like wings,
she wailed a powerful, keening cry
that rattled the rafters,
and circled, singing.
All eyes were on her. 
We were holding our breath
in the face of such pure power,
such unmistakable grief.

I saw her, suddenly,
as a dragonfly,
symbol of metamorphosis.
She was beauty, change, light,
a shape-shifter,
who rearranged 
the cells in my body
with her cry,
leaving me

for Susie's prompt at Real Toads: Dragonfly

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The White Lions of Timbavati

The white lions of Timbavati
came here from the stars.
The shaman says the lions' fate
is intertwined with ours.
Long ago, they shared our caves.
When earth was bathed in ice,
one looked into a human's eyes,
offered himself in sacrifice.
They offered themselves to us to eat,
so humankind could survive.
In return, we have hunted them
to extinction -
just thirteen wild ones
left alive.

The legend of the white lions, many of whom have blue eyes,  is that they came to earth from a star that is aligned with Timbavati, in Africa, where they originated. The people of those lands believe white lions are messengers of the gods.  The shaman, Credo Mutwa, explains their fate is intertwined with ours and when the last white lion leaves the earth, humankind will disappear.

They have been hunted to the edge of extinction. There are now only hundreds, in captivity, mostly in canned hunting compounds, where they are being raised to be shot. There are thirteen wild ones left alive.

The Global  White Lion Protection Trust, founded by Linda Tucker, is devoted to keeping three prides of white lions alive in a 4400 acre refuge in the bushveld in Africa. Linda has written books about the white lions and her heartbreaking efforts to keep safe those few who are left. It was to Linda that Credo Mutwa told the legend of the white lions, and their link with humankind. Her book, above, is one of the best I have ever read.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Meteor showers. I imagine a meteor  shower depositing some star lions many eons ago, in the heartlands of Africa. These lions wander through my dreams..........

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Belated Transformation

I sat beside my mother's bed as she lay dying. Our eyes met: all the words we could not say. All the missed connections, missed perceptions: in our lifetime, it had always been that way. I released the ways we never got it right; forgave, no need to hold the anger tight. Just "I love you", and her spirit flew away, out of the room, into the starry night.

Weeks later, I was driving towards her home when, in slow motion, across my windshield flew a grey owl,  feathered being, infinitely wise, as she passed me, looking deep into my eyes. Time was suspended, on this point of traveling. Somehow I felt a message had been received and, somewhere in my spirit sore, unraveling, I knew all was understood, and I believed. "Owl, swooping sideways into the forest green, bird between two worlds, all that we know and the unseen, wise watcher in the night, friend of the moon, fly after she who left my world too soon."

Fly, messenger of
my tardy transformation
into winter's sky.

Adapted from a very old poem for Victoria's prompt at dVerse : to write a nonfiction haibun that includes an owl.

I'll Paint You a Poem

With this keyboard, I will paint you
a honeydew melon patch at the far side of summer,
draped in dew-kissed webs, the spidery artist 
long-gone on its trembling legs.
I will sketch for you a patch of shy fiddlehead ferns,
unfurling delicately, blushing green, 
to the tender song of the brook.
I will paint you a sky-high sun over the mountains,
so you may clearly see the path of the waterfall 
down its slopes,
and I will colour in perfect puffy storybook clouds,
birds of many colours,
a rock covered with growling, barking sea lions,
and a gray whale, leaping, far out at sea.

If you are still not sated, wait one instant more,
and I will, with a flourish, 
create for you a star-flung sky
just before midnight, frost crackling underfoot,
scent of wood-smoke on the almost-winter air,
and I will pencil in the faint sleepy cry 
of an owl going into its burrow,
just before dawn.

An oldie from 2014, which I will share with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I Never Dreamed - a rondelet

collage by The Unknown Gnome

I never dreamed
missing you would last forever.
I never dreamed
your spirit would remain so large,
your absence would walk beside me
for the rest of my earthly life.
I never dreamed.

for Marian's prompt at Real Toads: to compose a rondelet.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

In the Monastery of the Heart

These days,
when the news
is bad,
when the endless
of the Talking Heads
makes me shake
my own
befuddled head
at the
utter futility
of all those Words -
the completely unproductive
that change nothing -
I turn the tv off.
I do not turn on
the radio.

I live in
the sweet silence
of No Words
and No Sound,
save those of the breeze
blowing through
the wall of green cedar
outside my window.

I draw the sweet twitter
of junco,
the shrill cry of stellar jay,
into my being
like balm, 
tranquil counterpoint
to the silence
living in my soul.

I turn the noise
completely off,
(or never
turn it on),
and retreat
to the
sweet peace
of the monastery
of my heart.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Silence

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Heart Too Far

Wild Woman's heart lives
halfway between a cackle and a howl,
waiting for the moon to rise,
for the owl in the wildwood
to murmur a chook-chook-chook to the chicks
nestled beneath her feathery wing,
listening for the wolves to sing
as the darkling sky winks its million stars
across the mountains and back again.

The waves are singing their siren song,
somewhere too far, out where
the wilds things are.
My heart, remembering, 
is waiting, too, like the moon awaits
its moment to rise,
like the owlet perches on the edge of its nest,
summoning the courage to fly,
like the shore anticipates the lip of the wave
advancing, retreating, and returning once more.

Wild Woman's heart lives
somewhere between a cackle and a howl,
displaced, too far
from where the wild things are.

shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads. I wrote this in 2015, when I was missing the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound. And now I am here. Yay! When you don't give up, even the most impossible dreams can sometimes come true.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


I have always been a strong, stoic person. I had to be; as a single mother of four, I was the one who had to get everybody through, look after everyone else, be a strong oak, for my fledglings to lean on. But seven years ago, my beloved wolf-dog, my soul mate this lifetime, died, and since then I have cried a river of tears. They come so easily now, especially for animals, both domestic and wild, and the cruel, sad or dangerous lives so many of them live because of humans. Because of us.

Recently, I have identified the grief I carry as “earth grief”. I cannot bear what is happening to Mother Earth because of us, mainly because of corporate greed, and the leaders ruled by corporate money and lust for power, entities who are stealing our childrens’ futures for profit now, at the expense of even our questionable survival as a species. I hear so clearly how Mother Earth is crying. She is speaking her distress in all the languages she has: extinctions, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, warming seas, and melting icecaps. But when the octopuses started walking out of the sea along the Welsh coast and beaching themselves, it was too much. What is causing dozens of octopuses to walk out of the sea, night after night, lying limply on the sand, dying? Is it earthquakes underwater, magnetic activity at the poles? Warming or polluted waters? Starvation? How inhospitable a climate is the sea for them, that they prefer a quick certain death to a slower one? What is Mother Ocean trying to tell us?

I know we don’t have four more years under rule by a climate change denier to ignore the urgency of our situation. I applaud those local and regional governments which intend to continue addressing climate change (and social justice) in the midst of the chaos. I am heartened by such groups as Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, and the Tree Sisters: Women Seeding Change, who aim to plant a billion trees worldwide this year. In my village, I plan to gather a group of women and plant trees here, too, in spring, once the winter rains have stopped. Even in the rainforest, we have lost too many trees. The rainforest is changing, getting hotter, drier.

More trees will help, but not enough. For forty years, I have understood climate change and the urgent need, even back then, to switch to clean and breakthrough energy. And here we are, with fossil fuels all but obsolete, with rulers and corporations still determined to run pipes through sacred land and endanger water sources for millions. It makes no sense. The choice is always “the economy” over climate. Yet switching to clean energy systems is not only cleaner, it makes economic sense, creating jobs for millions, while easing pressure on the planet, using natural systems we already have in abundance: solar, wind, and water. 

And now we have a president (sorry, no capital “P” for him), who wants to mine for uranium in the Grand Canyon, removing protections for wildlife and the wild sacred places. I would despair, except that is not an option. I feel the resignation of age and wisdom creeping over what once was my indefatigable hope: I believed for so long that the transformation of consciousness would occur in time. But humans learn the hard way. Perhaps we will transform after everything collapses and life is untenable.

Or perhaps the human experiment has failed. I know we can do better, we are meant to do better. On a smaller scale, in singular human lives, many of us DO do better. We do what we can, what we are moved to do. But the globe is full of the starving, and dispossessed,  those displaced by war and by climate. Chaos, bombings, gunfire, death, destroyed lives are everywhere:  warring factions who see only Other, and not our shared humanity. Heartbreak is universal on this beautiful planet, that would be our garden if we opened our eyes and our consciousness. And our hearts.

In the middle of it all, even given our misuse and abuse of her, Mother Earth gives to us so generously. Like a human mother, she gives even when we take without giving back. She gives us chance after chance, implores us to heed her wisdom, and we walk off laughing. We are still children. It is when we are old that we will remember and will realize what she was trying to tell us.

Because I refuse to give up hope, I will end with a quote from my friend, environmentalist Valerie Langer, who once said, “Mother Earth can feel your pain. Let her feel your joy too.” So I walk on the beach. I commune with Grandfather Cedar. I raise my eyes to the sky in gratitude for the gift of life and all of  its beauty. Unspeakable beauty, coupled with unbearable sorrow.  I speak for the wolves, for the starving polar bears, for the dying and diseased salmon. And for those desperate octopuses walking out of the sea. Wake up, humankind, while there is still a very small window of time. Wake up.

There is a very interesting and relevant discussion going on over at Sreejit Poole's The Seeker's Dungeon these days, a month of essays on the topic Rage Against the Machine. Do check it out. Some fantastic essays in there. It sparked this post, as I have been struggling with what I can only call "Earth Grief" for some time.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Messages From the Deep

It seems I have lived too long,
when I am living
the sadness of watching
the planet I love so much,
the sea that lives in my blood,
beginning its dying.

I cannot un-see what I see.
I cannot un-know what I know.
When octopuses are walking out of the sea
and beaching themselves on land,
could the ocean be screaming for help
any more clearly
the distress for which it has no words
- I have no words -
wake up.
Wake up.
Before everything on land or sea
is dead or dying,
wake up.

On Thursday and Friday nights last week - November 2 and 3 - around 20 octopuses were seen walking out of the sea and beaching themselves at New Quay Beach at Ceredigion, on the Welsh coast. People  tried returning them to the sea but many were found dead.

No one knows why this is happening, whether it is warning of earthquake, magnetic activity at the poles, pollution of the sea, an inhospitable habitat, warming seas, starvation .........    For certain, it is a warning that we, as a species, seem too daft to understand. Everything in nature is sounding warnings, more desperately as the weeks and months go by. If there is an alien species watching us, they must wonder what our problem is, that we can't see the clear signs everywhere of nature in distress. 


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 2015, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is fine reading every Sunday morning.

Friday, November 3, 2017



I'm standing on the rim of the world,
at the far edge of far, 
next stop Japan.

I am thinking of you.

The news is bad.
It is very bad.

But the view is beautiful
from here.

I send you
a small postcard
of hope.

Believe in the essential goodness
of humankind.

Believe in Mother Earth
who, like us,
wants to live.

I stand on the edge
of the edge of the world.
I send you this
small postcard
of hope.


For the  12th  annual world-wide Blogblast for Peace, led by  by Mimi Lenox every November 4th. This year's theme is Finding Peace in Overwhelming Times. I am heartened by all the good things that are happening, in the midst of all the bad news: humans helping other humans, without hesitation,  during the many tragic events we have lived through these past months. Also by such organizations as the Tree  Sisters, a global movement of women determined to plant one billion trees this year to help Mother Earth heal and catch her breath. 

In the photo above is my great-granddaughter, Lunabella, child of tomorrow, a rainbow child whose future, along with your children's, grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's, we need to be thinking of and working for right now.

Namaste.  Let us all do what we can, where we are. Love and light.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


He died on All Souls Day,
the Day of the Dead,
joining all the other saints
behind the veil,
for his life was pure love -
selfless devotion, loyalty,
trust. He hung his world
on Lori's every move.

How is it that animals 
know and practice
what humans find so difficult:
acceptance, lack of judgment,
unconditional love, gratitude,
joy, being in the moment?

He was the youngest of our pack,
and joins the others 
in the pet graveyard
on the farm: Leo, Graham,
Noey, Lukey, and Jasmine.
He will be forever loved,
forever missed,
little black boy, with wiggly bum
and the laughing eyes.

for Susan's Midweek Motif: Saints