Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Note From the Edge of the World

It is late afternoon
on the edge of the edge of the world.
Grey skies and raindrops
play timpani on the budding tulips,
and a pink-headed hummingbird
darts at the feeder,
grateful for sustenance.
As am I. As am I.

There was hail yesterday,
frozen pellets fired from heaven.
I passed laughing villagers,
coats held up over our heads,
as the streets grew white.

Where have all the years gone
and why have all the cherished people
from those days
changed so,
as if I am a different person to them
now that I am old
than I was when I was young
and laughing and strong.
As if they no longer know who I am.

I spend my days and nights
and years
with no dog,
but the song of the sea
is my comfort.
At twilight, I stand at my open door
and listen
for whatever it wants
to tell me.


sailing a celestial sky, 
conveyor of dreams,
you glide serenely,
untouched by the foibles
of humankind.

a wolf howls
in the lonely midnight hours.
we stir in our troubled sleep,
knowing there are things 
to be made right,
answering the inner call
of the wild,
seeking justice
for all creatures.

light our path.
shine enlightenment
on our species,
that all others
may live.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Moon. I have written many moon poems over the years. This one is more troubled, given the times we live in.

Saturday, January 27, 2018


led me into books,
and, through them,
out into the world,
what would 
complete me.

became a road map
for me,
out of pain,
and a manifesto
I could
believe in.

they brought me back,
and took me 
deep inside myself,
where I found
all the 

for Magaly's prompt at Real Toads: to describe what words do or have done for us.

Winter Blue

Wickaninnish Waves in Winter Blue

We sat together,
my grandmother in her wheelchair,
I her most frequent visitor,
as I told her 
I was moving to the sea,
my heart's dream.

We both knew what this meant 
for her.

She gathered herself to speak,
and she was generous:
"You deserve this, Sherry,"
she told me.
"You've had such a hard time."

The next time I visited,
she had retreated into herself,
and lived in silence.
But when I told her of the eagles,
and the whales and the wild waves,
she smiled.

Traces of mixed
joy and sorrow,
reflecting on the years'
unfolding ~
my solace, always,
the silver, shining sea.

for Angie's Get Listed at Real Toads : a celebration or a milestone memory of a loved one. And I will share it in the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Wickaninnish in Blue......

One can never take too many photos of waves -
always trying to get that one perfect shot!

I love the winter blues
in sky and sea.

So pretty, the misty mountains.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ploughshares of Peace

"They will beat their swords into ploughshares.....
nor will they train for war any more."
Isaiah 2:4

It is time
to turn the weapons
into ploughshares,
to till the hearts
of all men.

Make my pen 
a weapon of peace,
of hope, of faith,
of connection.

Let us vote for those
who play the pipes of peace,
not only in words,
but in deeds;
those who will spend 
on social justice
what we now spend 
on killing machines.

I see the world
that we have made,
and the world we could have,
if  we choose leaders
who will take us there.

We have seen the best
and the worst.
And we know, now,
how important it is
to choose.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: a poem of hope on the topic "Weapons".

Wickanninish in the Sun......

Mother Nature gives us a warning, and then a gift........
Today dawned sunny and beautiful, so we went to Wickanninish, 
where the waves were dancing. Enjoy!

Sebastian had a great day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tsunami Warning

The Community Centre in Tofino,
packed with evacuees
during the tsunami warning
[photo by Catherine Lemke, twitter]

I have Sebastian, eight years old, with me for two weeks while his mom is travelling. I told him, "We will have adventures!" I just didn't expect it to be so soon. In the middle of the night, Chris phoned me to say there was a serious tsunami warning, and to get Sebastian and I ready to go to the evacuation centre which luckily is just down the street and up a hill.

The 8.6 earthquake in south eastern Alaska was positioned in such a way that it put all of the western coast in danger. There was a big aftershock in Port Hardy, north-Island, soon after the Alaskan one. They were expecting a hundred metre wave might be out there headed our way. Port Alberni was alerted as well, as during the tsunami of 1964, the surge down the inlet did some damage.

What does one take when one has minutes to flee? Chris found me BRUSHING MY TEETH, and said, "We have minutes!" I took our toothbrushes, the Grab and Go survival kit Chris gave me for Christmas, and some fruit snacks for Sebastian. What I will remember next time: our tablets!

Out into the rain we joined the people walking. Way too many cars were everywhere, no where to park. Up the hill and into the centre which was full of people and their big lovely dogs. All was very calm. Our LOVELY mayor walked among us, calm and smiling, chatting with everyone. I just love her. The young people who are disaster relief people did their jobs well. 

Tofitians have weathered these warnings before and each time it was lowered to an advisory. But this time, I thought it might possibly be The Big One. (I often joked before moving here that I would finally get here and there would be a tsunami. Prophetic words.)

Sebastian was not scared, but he got tired. He never complains though. He is a very easy-going youngster. We sat and waited and chatted and patted dogs. Such lovely dogs. There was a puppy JUST like Pup, still with his soft puppy fur. And there was an old one just like Pup who came from Opitsaht, where Pup came from -  a relative. My heart panged. There was a golden with a big beaming smile and eyes of love. I felt for the parents with babies - including a young mom with a newborn who said, laughing, that she felt a bit of terror. No doubt.

The wave was supposed to hit at twenty to three, and then twenty to four. But it didn't. The announcement was made at four that the warning had been lowered to an advisory. Applause and good words about how much we love this place, what a great community we are. It is such a privilege to live here. It isn't just the spectacular beauty and wildness for me. It is the people, the village of good folk who look out for each other.

The wave is still out there. But it seems it will dissipate and won't hit here, for which I am very grateful. I get very fatalistic in a crisis, accepting  of whatever comes, not nervous. But it would have been difficult had all of us had to stay much longer in such cramped quarters; we were packed in. It was good to come home and have home still be here.

As we walked home, Sebastian said, "Well, you said we would have adventures." I don't know what I'll do to top this, LOL.

This morning it was raining and we went out for storm candles, as the power has been going out often in the high winds, and a reporter for CHEK TV interviewed Sebastian and I for the news. Oh my God, I will be on tv looking like a drowned rat with Bad Hair. LOL. Oh well, I can get away with it in Tofino. They'll just think I am an Old Salt.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dear Mary Oliver......

This is written for Brendan's prompt at Real write a response to a beloved poem, a letter of applause. I chose Mary Oliver's 53 page "The Leaf and the Cloud", a poem that was an amazement to me when I happened upon it. The italicized words are Mary Oliver's.

Dear Mary Oliver,

I read you to him
as he drove us up-Island.
He listened, he smiled.
He was a hello, and so soon  a goodbye.
When I got home, I read some more,
pausing when you wrote, of your parents:
"May they sleep well. May they soften."
Life is a long list of letting go's.

You wrote:
"A lifetime isn't long enough
for the beauties of this world."
All those years spent earning a living,
instead of joyously living a life.
"And I am thinking: maybe just
looking and listening is the real work."

I am a poet, reading a Master, and you tell me:
"....the poem....wants to open itself
like the little door of a temple."
You say: "It may be the rock in the field
is also a song"    and I know this,
for I have heard it, singing songs
of centuries ago.
You say: "Maybe the world, without us,
is the real poem."

I was a woman of sixty, when I read:
"I am a woman of sixty, of no special courage",
and my last love had been and gone.
I and my black wolf were in love with the wild
and it - and we - were enough.

I read your book to the living,
and I read your book
to the dying woman in a coma,
to whom I wanted to give a gift.
I felt the energy in the room change,
as the gift was received,
and walked outside into a rainbow.
And all of it -
the dying woman, your words,
the sky, my heart -
was enough and more than enough.

You said:
"Remember me......I am the one who told you
that the grass is also alive,
and listening."

I close the book in gratitude
for the words that help me
better love this world.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Wild Tofino Waves

Yesterday we had a storm and the waves were 30 feet high. Beaches were closed, as they were covered by water, and access trails were awash, with big logs roaring around. I got no photos, but saw on facebook that at one parking lot where I often go, cars got flooded out!

This is the trail I usually use, but access is 
now blocked by logs.  I had to content myself with 
standing  behind them and using my zoom.

The surfers were happy!
They said they've never seen it like this.
Yesterday's waves were apparently 
the biggest ever recorded.

Beautiful and wild.

Dogs were all infected by the wildness

except this pup
who needed a little reassurance
and whom I delightfully got to pat 
when he came up to the trail.

Home with a happy heart.
We have been waiting for 
the wild waves of winter.

They are exhilarating.


Stamp Falls, Port Alberni
photo by Dan Aman,
This is the river where Pup and I so often took
our wild hearts, when we lived in Port Alberni

Song of the river wild,
Song of the rapids leaping
Through the chiseled rock-walled chasm
Green with weeping,
A plunging torrent
To the ocean seeping

Song of the sea-green foam
Song of the white froth dancing
Sun-dappled baby wave-tops prancing
In the sunshine, all my dreams

Song of the green rock wall,
A vessel for the river's journey,
Guiding the flow along the channel churning
To the ocean and as it's

Song of the tall green trees
Rootbound and stoic in the deep crevasses
Rooted in bedrock holding up the mountain,
Sentinels for every year
that passes

Song of the laughing brook
Below the rapids green, swirling and babbling
Huge salmon leap,
Fall back in shallows dabbling,
Plunge forth to lunge again,
Leaping and scrabbling

Song of the river wild,
You sing my tattered soul a new song,
Bless the silver beauty of this new day,
Make me know the path I'm on
Is not wrong.

Song of the seasoned soul
That knows the underlying message
Of the river:
Flow with me,
Not against me as we journey;
Travel lightly,
Not a taker,
But a giver.

Every fall, the salmon make their way up the rushing rapids and make a mighty leap up the rocky falls, on their annual migration. It is an amazing sight. So much determination to live, against great odds. Like all of life.

I wrote this poem in 2002, and decided to share it this weekend with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Do join us on Sunday morning and enjoy some poetry with your morning coffee!

Thursday, January 18, 2018


The Hanging Garden Tree
on Meares Island,
Tofino, B.C.

Womyn of the earth,
we are rising, all over the world:
primal, wild,
womyn of the wind
and the ocean's roar,
womyn in sisterhood with trees,
clothed in moss green and salal,
mists and cloudlings in our hair
dotted with the last morning stars.
We are rooted, connected;
understanding all living things
are interdependent,
we move through damaged forests,
planting trees and dreams and hope
for tomorrow's children.

Strong, sure-footed, eyes bright,
we are coming:
to plant trees,
to clean streams,
to rescue abused animals and children,
to topple the man-child
off his tarnished throne.

We make obeisance
to the morning sun,
salute the four directions,
proclaim, loud and strong,
that a new day is coming.
Out of the ashes of patriarchy,
we are rising:
to turn off the money-greed,
for we know there is Enough for all;
to turn on the nurturing, the restoring,
the repairing, the healing, the cleansing.
Our inner fire will burn away
the dead-spirited and the dross,
transforming this earth to
healthy growth after so much loss.

It's a new day.

Mother Earth is crying out in relief
that the wild womyn
of the new dawn and the ancient cave
are on the march.
Everywhere She is rising,
planting seeds and hope.
Dew-blessed, singing, joyous,
a million million strong,
we know this world can be
better than it is.
Mother Earth can be healed,
but not by corporate greed
and corrupt power.
We know peace can come,
through social justice,
not through war and killing.

We are coming,
we womyn who listen
to the moon and the tides
and the seasons,
we, to whom the earth speaks
of its ways and its reasons.
Wild Womyn all,
we dance on the earth,
claiming our power,
for this, and no other,
must be our most determined 

for my prompt today at Real Toads: The Tree Sisters aim to plant a billion trees this year world-wide. My prompt is to write about  whatever aspect of the state of the earth fires your passion - trees, climate change, extinctions - but to do it with hope, as much as is possible. I went a bit over the top, given the sorry state of things. But I do think if women rise up all over the earth to speak for things both wild and tame, we have a shot at turning things around. But we don't have much time. The orange man is destroying it all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wild Woman's Soul

Wild Woman’s soul
lives halfway between
a cackle and a howl.

She has traveled far
to get to where
the wild things are.

It took years,
under the chatter
of her monkey-mind,
to hear the steady wise voice
of Wild Woman, 
in her soul,

Years more, 
to learn to follow
her advice.

Wild Woman’s soul
lives halfway between 
a cackle and a howl.

She has traveled far
to get to where 
the wild things are.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Walk On the Wild Side

On Sunday, it was sunny and beautiful, and warm as a spring day. Chris and I took Menina the dog (we borrow her for walks on the beach), and spent the day adventuring. First we went to Combers Beach, one of the long wild beaches, accessed by a forest trail.

So cute!

Combers at high tide

The tide was in, so there was no beach to walk on.

Menina loves our rambles.

We headed to Long Beach,
to find some sand.

Chris and Menina at Long Beach

Incinerator Rock
How many thousands of photos have been
taken of this landmark?

Sun, big waves, a gorgeous day!
Walk along with us!

The tide caught me

Housing crisis in Tuff City. LOL.

A portal

So much life on the rocks

Looking back along the beach - 
I used my zoom, which is amazing.
This scene was a very long ways away.

I remember the wonderful vista on top of that rock. 

This is the photo Chris took from up there. Wow.

Me, down below. Note Menina, 
stretched out full length in a tide pool.

Blissed out.

Another zoom shot, the length of the beach away.

We stopped off at Grice Bay on the way home.
It is on the inlet side of the peninsula,
so peaceful and beautiful.

Soft blues

I love these camel-shaped hills.
This is Indian Island.
It has some human inhabitants,
from time to time.

A glorious day.
One would never know it's winter.