Monday, July 30, 2018

When I Come Back, I Will Be Grief, Part II



We start out whole,
losing pieces of ourselves 

along the way,

and then reclaiming them. 
That is the journey.
I am collecting the last few bits,
before I fly into the light.
I pick them up:
ah, there you are!
and add them to my pack.


When I return,
I will change my shape.

I will be cattails, 

standing dry, bent and broken
at the edge of the dried-up pond.
I will be wolf-pup, 
peering fearfully
from my den,
knowing, to survive,
I must elude
Earth’s biggest enemy:
the predatory Two-Leggeds,
and they are
everywhere.


I fear
I will find a planet burning,

humans and animals 

on the run.
I will be Tree,
gasping for air,
a sudden irradiation
as the orange tongues
lick greedily at my corpse.
I will be lizard,
parching on the earth's
baked crust.

I will be deer,
fleeing the flaming forests.
I will be mother orca, holding 
my dead newborn calf 
above the water
for seventeen days, grieving,
unable to let her go,
saying to the humans:

See! See what you have done!


I will be grief itself,
watching the planet
that I love

burning itself up.


As I am now.
As I am now.



I woke in the night and had further thoughts on the poem I wrote the other day, so I re-wrote it from another angle. Earth grief. I am filled with it. Humankind took the wrong turning. Is it already too late to turn back?

I will be sharing this with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Postcard from the Edge of the World



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
across the waves.

May it reach you
in time.



for   Kim's  prompt at Real Toads: to write a postcard from the seaside. I re-wrote a postcard poem from 2017 for this prompt. I had more hope the first time I wrote it. Smiles.

Friday, July 27, 2018

WHEN I COME BACK, I WILL BE GRIEF



When I lived by the lake 
- smell of cattails and weeping willow -
it was always summer.
I woke to the sound of water
slapping the side of the cottage:
my Grandma, watering things down
against the heat of the day.
Then she pulled the canvas awnings down
like sleepy eyelids
over the front windows.

Smell of sweet peas, peonies and pinks;
wisteria, mimosa.
Tall hollyhocks beside the hammock
where I dreamed away
summer afternoons.
I remember being
the only swimmer in the lake,
during an afternoon thunderstorm,
back then,
the air metallic,
pewter sky lowering,
rumbling, growling.

I was whole, then,
before the fracturing and distress
of living through my teens,
of growing up,
and men, and pain and calamity,
the rest of my life spent
reclaiming
all I had lost.

I will return to that wholeness
from whence I came, one day.
I will be cattails, 
standing dry, bent and broken
at the edge of the pond.
I will be wolf-pup, 
peering fearfully
from my den,
knowing, to survive,
I must elude
the predatory Two-Leggeds,
who are everywhere.

I will be deer,
fleeing the flaming forests.
I will be mother orca, holding
my dead newborn calf above the water
for three days, grieving,
unable to let her go.
I will be grief itself,
watching the world I love
burning itself up.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Puppy Dog Hearts and Hope


My friend Menina


I am made of puppy dog hearts
and soft silver moons,
blue skies and the song of the sea,
wrinkled dreams and
threadbare hope,
fatigue and
rich remembering.

I am made of ancestral stories
told by hearth fires,
ancient drumbeats, prophecy,
and visions of a
Rainbow Race, 
arising.

And i am made of
lost love and wolf howls,
tears and cackles,
forest wilderness
and birds singing
the morning in.

All of these songs
make their home in me.
I perch on the limb
of my inner tree
and sing them to you,
so you can see
how beautiful this life
has always been
to me.


I changed the last stanza of this older poem, and will share it with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is fine reading every Sunday morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Word for Wilderness is Home





In the language of the original peoples of this land, there is no word for wilderness. The closest word
for wilderness is "home". They live upon the land -and with the land- not as a dominant species, as we mamalthni* live, but as part of the interconnected whole, which must provide for future descendants to the seventh generation. Each family is responsible for and to a territory, ensuring that only what is needed  is taken, with respect, the land then allowed to heal. Each tribe has its hahuulthi**, with its own protocols, responsibilities, and language, handed down over thousands of years.

People and land are one.
No word for wilderness
but "Home".

*mamalthni - white people
**hahuulthi - traditional territory


A very irregular haibun for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Wilderness

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Distraught Sister Moon




Distraught Sister Moon,
I see you up there, pacing around,
wringing your hands,
"what to do, what to do, what to do?"

Down below, all hell is breaking loose:
bombings, shootings, drought,
famines, floods, melting icebergs,
forest fires,
wildlife fleeing in terror,
no where to hide,
dangerous people with bad hair
behaving badly.

I see you trying to efface your fullness
quickly, perhaps thinking
if you lessen your roundness
the populace can return to calm
under a slice of moon.
But when were we last calm?
Between the dinosaur era 
and Cro-Magnon,
was there once an age 
of hunting and gathering,
feasting and rejoicing,
before My Cave and Your Cave 
became issues and clubs
started swinging?

By your light, madmen and prophets collide.
By your light, poets seek truth and beauty.
By your light, we dream of a better world.

You have stopped pacing.
You like where this is going.
Okay, hear this:
By the Light of Your Silvery Moon,
on earth we dream, we dream,
we dream of peace.


I will share this poem, written in March of 2017, with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads. Sadly, things are even worse now, over a year later. I references the well known old tune in the last stanza. I remember how innocent life seemed back then. My Grandma would be horrified at what is happening now.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Sky Voyager



In dream, I am time traveling, 
winging through the  cosmos, 
my body its own spacecraft, 
nothing between my Self and all the stars, 
bathing in their friendly light, 
riding the vortex, upward hurled, 
traveling through Forever, 
awesome Sky-world.

Cosmic beings,
giant creatures green and blue, 
beckon me to join them,
this journey all the proof, 
(I always knew), 
that we are One, speaking a tongue
that needs no words, 
in a universe where we all belong,
each of us a note
in the universal song.

Then, as I waken, 
eyes open and for sure no longer dreaming, 
I see a painted mask, First Nations warrior, 
his face alive, suspended there before me. 
He looks at me, behind his paint and feathers, 
Medicine Man, intensely kind and wise, 
and, strangely unafraid, I do not hide, 
but hold his shaman's glance, beguiling, 
as he looks deeply, deep into my eyes, 
and smiling.


As I woke from this dream, his face hung, suspended, in front of me for several seconds before he faded away. His glance was so reassuring. I was ill then and my world was falling apart. I took his message to be that everything would be all right and it was, eventually. I don't often remember my dreams, but I remember this one.

I re-worked an old poem for  Brendan at Real Toads



Friday, July 20, 2018

One More Summer



My seventy-second summer,
and once again it is July;
so many blue-sky mornings, now, 
have I
awakened, with gratitude,
to the smell of earth
blessed by the sun,
the day already perfect,
just begun.

All my life, sky and clouds
have led me forth,
and kept me Looking Up.
All my life,
the beauty of All That Is
has filled my little cup.

One more summer
am I blessed with:
wave-top, skybird,
wind in the trees,
Sister Raven croaking hello
as she flies past
on the breeze.

One more summer
do I have
to hold the beauty fast,
slow down all the clocks,
and make it last.


for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come join us on Sunday morning! It's a hoot!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

MADIBA





The hills and the valleys of Muezo,
where you walked as a boy,
have gathered you home, 
Madiba.
May your people follow
in your footsteps,
ululating your name.

They laid you to rest,
home at last, 
at the end of
your long walk to freedom,
after the shining vision
that you made of your time
on this earth.
You followed
the dream in your heart,
nurtured for decades;
you achieved its reality
- and its justice -
for your people.

Your dance of joy
echoed in my heart,
the day that dream came true.

May the cry of the sacred ibis
and the respectful roar of the lion
sing through your soul, forever,
Madiba.
May the voices
of your people, singing,
all across the land,
croon through your long sleep.
With their clenched fist salute,
they honour you.

In one lifetime,
I am fortunate 
to have witnessed
greatness,
rising:
Martin. Bobby.
Barack.
And you, Madiba,
whose vision and integrity
never faltered,
whose shine
will never dim.


In honour of Nelson Mandela Day. And for Susan's prompt for Midweek Motif at Poets United: Greatness. We badly need another leader like these, to rise and lead North America out of the mess it is in right now.  It is going to take hard work to restore what has been destroyed.

I Choose Peace



In the clamour and the drama
the cacophony, the turmoil,
in the unrest and the anger

I choose peace.

The talking heads are in consternation
with each day's new calamity.
I can control only myself.

I choose peace.

I am watching a train
speeding to destruction,
no one at the wheel. 
I cannot make it stop.
I get out of the way.

I choose peace. 

There are those demanding
that I give what 
I do not have to give:
solutions and peace 
they can only find within.
Helplessly, I watch their 
flailing, angry choices.

For myself, there is 
only one choice,
and it has been hard-won.

I choose peace.


Friday, July 13, 2018

MOON RAVEN


Artist Les Herman


Moon Raven,
lift me up on your bent wing.
Swoop me away
through the misty night
into the forest.

There we will commune
with wolf-ghosts and ancient trees.
We will sing with the spirits
ululate with owls
keen with all beings 
over our Losses
and send out blessings
and gratitude
for All That Remains.

Towards dawn,
having divested myself 
of my tears,
and having rekindled my hope,
let me curl up in the roots
of Grandfather Cedar,
pillow my head with moss,
pull pine boughs over my shoulders,
and escape to my haven of forgetfulness:
a dream.

A poem from 2014, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is fine reading every Sunday morning.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Into Space and Sky




He lived in the city,
but longed for the wilderness;
captive in his condo,
his soul hemmed in
on every side.

One day,
looking up,
he saw an eagle 
soaring
between two skyscrapers,
and felt his heart explode
with the longing
to fly free.

Within two months,
he was living
on a small island,
his sweet cabin
looking out
across forest and ocean.
Content.

A year ago,
he passed away
in that small cabin,
once more
soaring 
free of his fetters,
into space and sky.


True story. My friend Matthew and I shared a love of and longing for the wilderness. He made many trips to visit me in Tofino in the 90's, where we stalked the sunset and communed with old growth.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: City

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A WOLF FOUND ME




I did not find wolves.
A wolf found me.
On the island,
a small wolf-pup, 
was found alone, half-dead
in the March rains,
where he had been living
at the dump.
I took him home
and our wild journey began.

We saved each other.

Oh, he was wild!
Hilarious and cunning,
he made me laugh every day
for fourteen years.
I was never alone
when he was with me.
He opened my heart,
which had been so disappointed.
He filled it with his presence,
and the only unconditional love
I had ever known.
Devoted, his eyes never left me.

Ow-wooooooooooooo,
he cried, each time I drove away,
as mournful as if the parting was
forever.
Ecstatic noisy barks, on my return.
He would stand and try to hug me,
convinced he was a person.
And, in his gaze, I saw such knowing,
such intelligence, such intuition,
it was like a human in a former life
had found me again, this lifetime,
in the form of a wolf.
I recognized those eyes.
They saw through to my soul.

It was for him,
I sought the wild places every day,
for we both needed them
to survive.
It was for him,
(and me)
we always had to live
with space and greenness around us.
Our spirits resisted
confinement, longed for
forest, river, shore.

The saddest thing about wolves
is that they die.
Once a wolf has been your soulmate,
you are forever bereft,
once they are gone.
But, once, I loved a wild thing,
and his memory is what helps me
to go on.



Saturday, July 7, 2018

NEVER ALONE

Picture created for me by The Unknown Gnome


Traveler has been traveling alone
for most of the journey.
Times, she sought a companion
to help ease the passage through difficult terrain.
But none could stay the course.
Each turned off at the nearest byway.

Traveler grew accustomed
to making her way alone.
A wolf companion stayed by her side
for fourteen years, the truest companionship
she had ever known.
His turning was involuntary;
they both mourned greatly.

Solitude was emptier once he had gone.
But in time, traveler began to realize
she was never truly alone.
All around her was the ghost of a big black wolf;
he walked invisibly by her side.

There were trees breathing peace to her,
birds on the wing who companioned her eyes
through the heavens,
reminding her to keep Looking Up;
the moon bathed her in silver
and spread its canopy of stars for her alone;
there were wind-voices singing secret love-songs
just for her, and wave-tops lapping shores
of forever beaches,
where each one knew her name.

Alone is never lonely, as long as you love the wind,
Traveler says now, reflecting.
When you stand in an old-growth forest,
when you watch the butterflies flutter by,
when you look into the knowing eyes
of a small red filly,
you are surrounded
by loving friends.


A poem from 2014. Revisited. Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, hosted by Mary, where there is good reading every Sunday morning.



Thursday, July 5, 2018

Of Hummingbirds and Blades of Grass


"Every blade of grass has its Angel
that bends over it and whispers.....
'Grow. Grow!'"
The Talmud

"Peace is every step."
Thich Nhat Hanh

The ringing phone
brings stress
and lamentations,
situations even a mother's heart
can't fix.
The pressure in my head
reaches critical mass,
as I steady the firm trunk of me
to withstand
the pitch and toss
of shifting earth.

I place my feet carefully,
for peace is every step,*
and I must not fall.

In those moments,
I listen to the sweet chirp
of hummingbirds at the feeder,
gratefully drinking
the day's sustenance,
blissfully living
the present moment,
unaware
of the tumult
humans create
for ourselves
everywhere.

Perhaps our fear and worry
about tomorrow
is our greatest obstacle
to peace.

I walk along the beach,
witnessing the waves' 
eternal journey to the shore.
Sky and clouds lift my eyes,
reminding me to
Keep Looking Up.

Silence fills up 
all the space inside.
I wrap it around me
like a healing cloak. 
We need only live 
this single hour,
take the next step,
do the 
next right thing.

There is a larger landscape
than the one we see*,
a soul journey
each of us
must make alone.
With every step, 
we choose:
angst, fear, turmoil
or
peace, trust, hope.

Love, and let go.
Love, and let go.

In those times
when you are walking
through a barren wasteland,
filled with fear,
feeling so alone,
let me be
your Talmud Angel,
leaning over
the solitary blade of grass
that is your life,
and breathing: 
"Grow. Grow!"


for Paul's prompt at Real Toads: Peace Is Every Step.  How do we maintain our peacefulness when our world, or that of someone close,  turns upside down?  A timely prompt for me right now, as I try not to be toppled by a loved one's distress. (My doctor is doubling my blood pressure medication by the week, lol.) I am grateful for the waves, and their eternal journey to the shore. Their song soothes my tattered and weary soul. The Talmud Angel closing I borrowed from a poem in 2010.

* I am trying to find who said the landscape quote, as I have forgotten - Camus? I will keep looking.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lady Liberty


CNN /  John Moore / Getty Images



I  cannot enjoy my liberty
with you at the border,
incarcerated,
your children removed,
because you fled
danger and death
seeking a better life.

The cries of your children
haunt my dreams.
Their terror hurts my heart.
What we do to one,
we do to all:
other humans,
other species,
the earth:
ourselves.

The day of political
and climate refugees*
has arrived.
But, until rich white men
are the ones who
march across deserts,
famished, thirsty,
homeless, desperate,
I fear humankind
will not change course
in time.



“Bring me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, yearning to break free” – and we will take away your children, put them in cages, and detain or expel you. Never did I think such things could happen in North America, “the land of the free”. Yet here we are. 

* Climate change could create 150 million climate refugees by 2050.
(source: The Guardian)

For Susan’s Midweek Motif prompt at Poets United: Lady Liberty


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Forest's Song

I am fortunate to have this forest
within walking distance


If one were to join in
the forest's song,
one would need to attune
to the heartbeat of trees,
thrum the roots and connections
across the forest floor,
decipher the patter
of raindrops on lichen,
of sunlight on salal,
find the key that opens
the ancients' door.

One would learn to echo
the osprey's call,
the cry of the tern,
the seabirds, all.

One would sing down the sun
at the close of day,
blissed in a world
where we all belong,
if one were to join in
the forest's song,
and stop singing the song
we have gotten
so wrong.


Found in drafts and shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Everything Is Alive, and Listening




The stone in your hand, warm from the sun,
is alive, having traveled such a long journey
to fit into your palm.

Everything under the sun 
is as happy to be alive as we,
dolphins, leaping with joy in the silver sea,
whose squeals turn to pain and terror
when the death boats come hunting,
and the seas turn red.

Trees talk to each other, hold rooted hands
under the soil, all across the forest floor.
They whisper to those of us Two-Leggeds
who listen.
The mighty beings  quake
at the screech of the saws,
roots parting reluctantly from the soil
as their majestic bodies topple.

Everything in the world is alive,
and listening.

Water, too, is alive,
its molecular structure changing
in response to the love,
hatred, peace or discord
we beam at it.

If a drop of water changes structure
from dark to light,
in response to love,
should not the dark hearts of men
respond in kind?

The wild creatures feel all that we feel,
joy at being alive,
building their nests,
raising their young, but they also
feel fear and pain, the struggle to survive,
grief when they lose their kin,
gratitude when, tummies full, night falling,
they have survived another day.

That rock in your hand, warm from the sun,
having made its long journey
to this resting place:
place it back on earth, in testimony
to all that passes, all that will remain.


Found this in my drafts folder, written some time ago.........My heart is listening, these days, to the cries of mothers and children, ripped from each other's arms.