Friday, June 29, 2018

No Easy Answers

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.

an old one from 2013 some of you will have seen before, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United Sunday morning. Do come and join us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Old Tree

Like an old tree,
I survived storm and drought,
the clipping and bending
and breaking
of my boughs.
I learned to stand steady
as winds of change
howled through my limbs;
thrust my roots down deep,
braced myself against
the slipping sands
under my feet.

Like an old tree,
I have endured,
weary of my labours,
branches drooping,
bark chipped and pocked,
the foreboding 
of an early frost
nipping at my toes.

I send messages
of encouragement
to young sprouts

popping up,
jostling me,
their growth encroaching
on my space,
as has been the grand design
through all of time.

They will carry my legacy,
my teachings, my dreams,
into tomorrow,
replacing my songs
with their own,
spreading their arms wide,
expanding in the sun,
all the while 
is bending me
into the earth.

For Sumana’s prompt at Midweek Motif, Poets United: What do I think of myself? I think: I am a tired old tree. I think: I have risen above my raising, yet been less than what I might have been.

And shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Better Than We Are

What do I think of myself
as a human being
when icebergs are melting,
wild animals becoming extinct,
whales and salmon
and every living thing
struggling to survive,
while babies wail hopelessly
in cages, uncomforted,
people bomb, and kill
and oppress other people,
when money is all that matters
to rich greedy corporate criminals,
who smile like gloating crocodiles,
as they lay waste the earth?

I think:
this earth was
meant to be a garden,
and we were born for bliss.
Instead we have caused
devastation and destruction.
Like humankind, as a whole,

I think:
I have risen above my raising
yet been less than
I might have been.
Separately and together,
we were meant to be
so much better than
we are.

For Sumana’s prompt at Midweek Motif, at Poets United: What do I think about myself?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Note Into the Silence

It doesn't matter that the phone has gone silent,
that you are angry, not speaking,
believing I don't understand the extent
of your suffering, as, indeed,
my mother's heart understands
only too well.
I am still here, waiting,
as I have always been, will always be:
for your sun to shine once more,
for the day when you need to speak,
for the phone to ring,
for our conversation to resume.

for Kerry's Micro Poetry prompt at Real Toads:  to write a micro poem whose point of departure is "It doesn't matter", from the poem by Rumi.

You, the Seeker, My Lamp, the Moon

Little hummer,
irridescent rainbow in constant flight,
you whirred into the room at dusk,
thinking my lamp was the moon.
I swiftly clicked off the light,
to guide you to the window
where you beat frantically for a moment,
till you crouched in its corner,
terrified of the giant
whose hands were slowly lowering
to cup you gently.

You stilled, as I carried
your feathered lightness outside
and, when I opened my palms to set you free,
lay for a moment on your back,
surrendered to your fate.
Suddenly recognizing you had survived,
could once more see the sky,
in that same instant,
you were halfway 'cross the meadow.

Just so, do our hearts encounter
their similar terrors,
bring them down to size,
recognize the open door of freedom,
and, each in turn, take flight.

One from 2015 for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. At the farm, given I keep doors and windows open during all the warm weather, sometimes a small hummer would find its  way inside, and lodge itself in a corner of the windowsill. In my cupped hands, they felt lighter than a feather, flight itself, suspended for that one moment. I have hummers here, too, but they stay outdoors. At least so far.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Solstice

He came walking across the sand
carrying a paper torch
in the early dawn,
sleepy little boy
with his smiling mom,
who is no longer
in this world.
We walked a labyrinth
drawn in sand,
between opposing tides.
As the waves met,
covering our feet,
we outraced
the sea.

It was Solstice,
and the world and I
were young.
Life was unfolding
on a golden beach,
and every beautiful,
longed-for thing
was there,
within my reach.

And now 
I am back at the shore,
no longer young.
And at last my longings
and my home
are one.

Happy Solstice!

*for Gael and Clay

An Unhappy Refrain

The news is an unhappy refrain,
the background of my days.
Babies scream in terror,
in the corners of my mind,
and there is no rescue,
no comfort being given.
Bad men with dead eyes
explain and blame,
the biggest con
we have ever witnessed.

Horrified, we watch
a country unraveling.
Humpty Dumpty is shattering
over a Wall.
How long will it take
to undo the damage done?

But, Dear Anne, stay hopeful,
and dream your dreams.
Before you are grown,
we will put this world
back together again,
having learned
just how much illness
and injustice
we need to heal.

We will resist, we will demand,
we will march and WE WILL VOTE!!!!!!
and we will undo the damage done.
We will reclaim
the country we know
still resides
under the abomination
of this present moment.

Marian's talented daughter, Anne, has given us the prompt: An Unhappy Refrain, which could not be more apt, in this particular week. Hatsune Miku invites us to tell her how we feel.  As we listen with horror to the uncomforted cries of terrified children, we wonder who is able to carry out these heartless, soul-less orders. I cant think of anything else. But Anne, rest easy. This will end and the world will return to the one we knew before a year ago. It wasnt always the greatest, but it sure was better than this.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Disconnected Heart

Only a disconnected heart
that has forgotten its purpose,
that same heart that must have,
once, fallen in love,
 experienced the wonder
of its child being born,
could go to work
in a place where it is forbidden
to hold or comfort 
traumatized children
who are crying for their parents.

Ripping a baby
out of her mother's arms
as she screams in terror,
"I'm just following orders,"
flies in the face
of all humanity,
convincing me that wolves
live more ethically
than some humans,
and we have lost our way.

I have had trouble putting words to the situation at the southern border. I never thought I would see such things in North America. Clearly, he thought this situation would force Democrats to let him build the wall he is so obsessed with. I think he miscalculated. There are a lot of CONNECTED and outraged hearts on this continent right now.

I really am at a loss for words, but am attempting to respond to Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Humans.

I read recently that wild animals come out at night now in order to avoid humans. They are wise.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

This Poem is a Broken Heart

This poem is a father, sitting in the sun and laughing.
This poem is a sunny summer's day,
the day before his world collapses.
This poem is a boat sinking,
along with  his brightest hopes.

This poem is a father, sitting in the sun,
laughing, on a day when all is well,
when life is as it should be.

This poem is a sunny summer's day,
just one day later,
the sound of helicopter blades whirring,
and many boats searching the shorelines
from dawn till dark.

This poem is cries for help in the night,
a boat sinking, one man plucked from the water,
one swimming to shore, three young men missing.
This poem is the village
collectively holding its breath,
waiting for word,
keeping hope alive.

This poem is the family,
grouped on the dock,
waiting for their young men
to come home.

This poem is 24 hours later,
still searching, still waiting,
the helicopters making fewer passes.
This poem is a father's aching heart,
praying for his sons' safe return.

At two in the morning on Friday, a small boat went down off Tofino with five young men on board. People on land heard cries for help and the Coast Guard was sent out. They plucked one man from the water. Another swam to shore. Three men are still missing. They searched with helicopters and many boats all day yesterday along all the shores, and a scaled back search is going on today. This father's two sons are among the missing. I dont yet know who the third man is, but in this close-knit community, this is heartbreak all around. It is beyond imagining, what this family is going through. In just an instant, everything can change. Appreciate the ordinary days, my friends. Life can change in an instant.

I adapted Hannah Gosselin's Boomerang Metaphor Form for this poem.

shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come join us on Sunday. And for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads - fathers and sons.

My Heart, a Tiger's Nest

My heart yearns toward a monk's cell
perched on the edge of a mountain cliff,
halfway between here and heaven.

Yet here I am, in a grey little town
in the valley,
trying to fashion my unwieldy life
into something
that does not give offence.

My challenge, the cliff-walk
of understanding the distance
between where you are
and where I long to be.

My practice, the lighting of incense
and, sometimes, hearts,
with the weaving of words.

My sorrow, the mantra of my soul:
how to tame
the tiger's nest of
keening for all that was,
all that may never be again,
so it may bed down
in peace.

A poem from 2015, thatI will share with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


The Saffron Road - A Journey with Buddha's Daughters by Christine Toomey from Christine Toomey on Vimeo.

What is the magic
that picks me up by the scruff of the neck
when I open the pages of a book?

Meet me in Kathmandu.
I will arrive leading an elephant
I have liberated from her chains.
Twenty-six years, she lay on the pavement,
without hope.
Her eyes now gleam:
with relief, with awakening trust, with
-amazingly – kindness.
Although I am human,
like the beings who chained her,
she is willing to believe that
I mean her no harm.
Elephants forgive.

On a rooftop, above a monastery,
at three a.m.,
nuns are practicing kung fu.
Even the birds are not awake.
It is four hours until morning tea.
Below, monks’ rumbling mantras
grumble sonorously.
All is peaceful, conscious, awakened.

I have arrived along the Saffron Road
in the pages of a book,
where I live with delight

as the slow hours pass.

At the monastery,
the youngest nun is six years old.
Her parents brought her to the nuns
to gain good karma,
and also because
there is no money to feed
so many children.

She is nervous, watching the other nuns
to see what she is supposed to be doing.
In her bed at night,
I wonder if she remembers home,
cries silent tears,
feels unmoored,

I turn the page,
and now, so soon, it will be eventide
in the purple mountains,
smoke rising from the chimneys
and the cooking fires,
as amber light falls on stone walls,
and pilgrims make their weary way

I must make my own way home.

Meet me in Kathmandu.
We will speak of the magic
of books that lift us up and away,
taking us on magic carpets
to the land of our dreams.

Today the power was out from the minute I got out of bed until almost suppertime. I recognized my dependence on technology. I began reading The Saffron Road, A Journey With Buddha’s Daughters, by Christine Toomey, who travelled the globe  to tell the stories of Buddhist nuns. The book took me right into its pages.

For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads: to use the phrase “What is the –" as a starting point for our poem. I dont know how to make the film go on top of the doggy faces. But it is a beautiful glimpse of a mysterious way of life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Contemplating the Prompt of the Day

Wild Woman contemplates
the prompt of the day: lust

defined as
a passionate desire for ________

She cogitates.
Kindness to animals?
More years on the planet?
A dog?
All of the above.

Carnality has never been
her strong suit.

She shrugs,
remembers a blackbird heart
she truly loved and swiftly lost,
proclaims her kinship with the wild,
her unwavering companionship
of wave and shore.
Too late for lust,
she does not wish for

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Lust

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Recipe Has Always Included Sorrow

What I Know For Sure:

that even the worst times were necessary
to teach me the lessons 
my soul needed to learn

that it doesn't matter 
how much or little you gather,
in life, only what you give

that each cell, particle, tree, rock, 
each being, in the world
is connected to every other, and to me

that even in times 
when we feel most alone,
we are being guided and helped

that, in order to be truly  
happy and at peace,
we must follow our hearts, 
even when it scares us ~
especially if it scares us!

My Memory Bowl, this lifetime,
got filled to the brim
with laughter, with song,
with wonder, with broken hearts,
with lessons learned, and taught,
with miracles and serendipities,
with golden friends,
with broken trust which taught me
to trust myself,
with a dream in my heart
that forced me to take risks,
with a search for love
that taught me to love all people,
with a journey made
and the price I was glad to pay.

I sift through the bowl
like a goblet of grapes, plucking one
and then another:
those long-gone people,
from a gentler time, which was,
in fact, the harshest of times,
reviewing my heart’s perilous
yet joyous passage
from yesterday
into tomorrow.

The recipe, my friends,
has always included

Never Fully Gone

Collage created for me by my friend,

I feel it coming, this poem I will birth
on the seventh year of your passing
from this earth.
So close to tears, I realized, of course, it is you.
Just how much and how long I would miss you,
back then I never knew.
Like a burrowing owl, you have lodged in my heart,
like a prickle-burr that hurts, from which 
I do not want to part.
You live there, night and day, in a corner labeled Grief.
From the missing and your-being-gone
there is no relief.

Ghost voices whispering on the wind,
and wolf howls in my dreams,
you look right into my sad heart;
your wolf-eyes gleam.

The barn owl says to light the lamp
on the windowsill for you.
But how can you find me in this place
that was never home to you?

I'm homeless in the universe, alone, without you
and I fear you're out there somewhere,
feeling homeless too.
Lead me back, wolf-spirit,
to the land we loved together.
I will walk there again
as we did in any weather.

When I can hear the rhythm of
the turning of the tides,
my spirit may still find a home
once more, where peace abides.
Maybe your ghost shadow
will accompany the hours
as I walk forever beaches that,
for a time, were ours.

*** *** ***

I went to bed and slept, and then they came:
four beautiful, snowy white wolves
who already knew my name.
The first one came close,
oh! the beauty of her face!
pushed a friendly nose towards me,
as I stood still, accepting,
but respectful of her space.
We were at the beach, the wolves and I.
A visitation from the spirit-world
of the not-alive,
and from deep in my spirit,
which needs both wolves and ocean waves
to thrive,
because it has never been enough
simply to survive.
The barn owl called sleepily
in the early light to wake me.
Four white wolves live within me now,
never to forsake me.

***   ***   ***

And you?
big, black, laughing, hilarious
creature of the dawn?
You live in my heart
forever, now.
You are never
fully gone.

This is not the anniversary of Pup's death on January 15, 2011. But somehow I feel like posting this poem of remembering.  When I first wrote it, I was still living at the farm, where Pup had never lived. I worried that his spirit had remained in our former yard, across the street, as I could not feel his presence. I hope he has followed me back to the beach that he loved so much, that his spirit rejoices once again in the song of the waves.

Shared with Real Toads in the Tuesday Platform

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Greenly Greens

When you enter the forest,
walk with an open heart,
with good intention.
Greet the tree beings,
and all who live there.

The forest knows
you are coming.

At the trailhead,
it sends messages about you
through its root system.
If we walk unthinkingly,
with heavy boots,
the ferns and bushes 

So tread softly,
with kindness.
Let your good heart
bathe in green energy.
Breathe in peace.
Breathe out gratitude.

Thank all that is alive
in the greenest of greens,
from gigantic cedar
to lowly slug.

you are walking
in their territory.

I was taught this by a young Nuu chah nulth woman, Gisele Martin, who gives workshops about the history and protocals of the first people to live on this land, who were and are its guardians for thousands of years.

I am fortunate to have this forest a short walk from my apartment. There is a long interconnected system of trails, so that many can enjoy the peace of the forest. Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Do come and join us.

Thursday, June 7, 2018


not like a pounding rain
beating clamorously against
the side of the cabin.....

but like enu*:
a soothing morning mist,
is my heart,
gentled by storm
into stillness.

not like a wild horse
on the prairie,
feet galloping, heart pounding,
kicking up clods of dirt
as her mane
catches the wind.....

but like an old mare
in the pasture,
eating grass and daisies,
tail lazily switching flies,
is my heart,
tired from all the clamour,
seeking only peace.

not like a pack of wolves,
their howls keening
into the midnight hours,
wild and sorrowing......

but like the lone wolf,
silently leaving the pack
to find the pathway
to her solitary death,
is my heart,
reclusive and at peace,
following the gentle
downhill slope
of the months and years
I have left.

*enu: the Japanese word for a misty rain

for Bjorn's prompt at dVerse: Via Negative, using the negative in poetry to make a statement stronger. And for Toni's prompt at Real Toads: 50 Shades of Rain.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Wolves at Long Beach - note how skinny
Parks Canada photo

Their forest is shrinking. They emerge, tentative, ghostly, in morning mist, seeking food, seeking shelter, seeking safe places that are no more. And they are chased, by men with guns, by helicopters with whirring blades, whole families fleeing in terror, falling, one by one, to lie bleeding in the snow.

Run, brother wolf, sister wolf.
Run like the wind.
Sing your wild song,
of forest den and your young.
Sing your plea
that your cubs will live.
Sing your elegy
for all we have lost,
all we are losing.
Sing our shared heartbreak
under the midnight moon.
My heart runs with you
as you flee for your life.
Run fast.
Run far.

May you find a place
untouched by man,
to live and dream
your wolfish dreams.
May you survive,
for in this sorrowing world
I need wild wolves

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Running. The plight of animals, both domestic and wild, in today's world, keeps on breaking my tired old wolf-woman heart. 

Here on the Coast, wildlife officers try to avoid killing wolves. No helicopter shootings here - but in other places in B.C. and Alberta, it happens. And three cougar , a mother and two yearlings, were killed last week on the Lower Mainland. Loss of habitat drives them into developed areas in search of food - pretty much a death sentence for wildlife these days. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Summer Wind

1950's Kelowna
photo by Don Collier

lake-scent and willow whispers
on the summer breeze,
young girl dreaming 
under apple blossoms,
lost in reverie

hot summer nights
in the city,
twinkling lights
and darkling hills,
I sealed my fate
with a promise,
made for good or ill

young mother pushing
baby buggies
through summer afternoons,
at the lake with leggy children
who grew and flew 
too soon

I blew home on the Westerly,
set up house
beside the sea,
felt El Nino's warming sigh,
so welcoming
to me

now I'm remembering
all my summers
while this old planet 
I hear the song 
of all my yesterdays
upon the
summer wind.

for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find good reading on a Sunday morning. Do come join us. Are you all finding it as inconvenient as I am, not having comments come to your email inbox? It makes it VERY hard to keep up and return visits. I used to respond to comments via email when possible. If I have missed you, I apologize. I checked with Blogger Forum. They are aware of the problem and say they will fix it and it will be working again soon. THAT is a relief!