Friday, August 31, 2018

GOING, GOING, GONE


Modoc the Elephant
source



The animals, all beautiful and wild,
that I have loved so, 
ever since I was a child,
are crying their distress,
as they flee their burning nests,
and the habitat we have gravely
defiled.

Mother orca sadly grieves 
her deceased calf;
over-fishing has now
cut her food by half.                                          
Turtles wash up on the shore;
soon we won’t see them any more.
And so I weep and ache 
on their behalf.

It is only us they place 
their hopes upon.
May we be the helpers 
that they can count on.
Let's all raise our voices high,
so we don’t have to 
say goodbye.

But hurry! They are
going, going…..gone.


For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads: Going, going, gone. Sigh. 



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

What If....?




What if……
Al Gore had been elected, back when,
and had legislated standards
to address climate change,
when there was still time
to reduce our emissions,
slow the heating and the melting,
…….......?

What if…….
a giant cloud in the sky
suddenly turned into letters
that said:
“To save this world,
you must do
this
  and this
    and this………….”
like the wildfires
and storms and floods,
wild animals and bees
and birds and fish
are saying now........

Would we do it?
Or continue happily
ignoring
that we are
sitting in a pot
whose water
is rapidly coming
to a boil?


***     ***     ***

What if………
years ago,
I had stayed with him
and ridden out the two years
till all of our acting-out teenagers
had left home…..?

What if Monday’s scare
was the bell tolling
“not much time,
    not much time,
       not much time?”

What if
you gave it
everything you had,
all your life,
and no one noticed?


for Susan's big "What If" at Midweek Motif, which made me ponder some burning questions. Don't worry. I'm okay. Just barely. Cackle.



Monday, August 27, 2018

WEEP WITH THE ROHINGYA



Your pain is my pain
a sisterhood longing for
a world of justice


Such desperate hunger
one small bag is not enough
to keep hope alive



When I carry my bag
of groceries home today
I will remember you


Basic human need
shelter for our family
forever denied


Death by sea is risked
when death on land is certain
Where is our safe place?


The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority group living in the Buddhist country Myanmar (formerly Burma). They are denied citizenship, live in camps, and are not allowed to leave. The Human Rights Watch reports ethnic cleansing is happening there, and the UN delegation has labelled it genocide. Refugees who do manage to escape by land or sea, report they are fleeing persecution, rape, torture, arson and murder by Myanmar security forces.

I find this sad, and confusing, as the Buddhist belief system teaches the valuing of all life. It seems Us and Them occurs everywhere, human-imposed suffering on other humans, who only want to live free of oppression. I am disappointed that Aung San Suu Kyi does not take a stand on this situation. She does not have control over the military, but so far has not condemned what is happening.

The people are suffering terribly, while we live comfortably on. It rarely hits mainstream news.

source

Friday, August 24, 2018

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 like lions,
walking forth into Whatever Comes
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 -
Beautiful Sky-World.

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
like 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.


Well. I may not be that trusting at all. I may flail and moan. LOL. We shall see. I'll report back!

One from 2017, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where we have fine reading every Sunday morning.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

THE SKY OF LOST POEMS



she walks through nighttime streets
sleepwalker of the apocalypse,
ageless, aging,
strength leaving her body
yet still surprised by
her reflection
in shop windows.

who is that scraggly-haired, round
woman in fading clothes,
long ago forever-young,
once able to
command
with just her glance? 


under the guise of old age,
invisible,
spirit flagging,
she is the Observer, now:
of young people who believe
they will never be old,
of rich people who believe
they will never be poor,
of night streets breeding
dying dreams, false 
hopes,
despair,

as the stars wink out, one by one,
across the sky of lost poems.


For Sanaa’s prompt at Real Toads: the last line of a poem by e.e.cummings:  "in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems."

I took the whole poem as inspiration and tried to approximate its tone.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A BEAUTIFUL WORLD




When sunrise reddens the morning sky,
in a sailor's warning,
do you see the mist wrapping 
breathtaking shawls
around the shoulders 
of the shivery hills?
Notice the cedar pointing poky heads 
through the clouds,
as if they are peering around
to see what kind of day it will be.
Hear the slap of a beaver's tail 
on the sleepy lagoon.
To creatures both rooted and rootless,
it is the most beautiful world.

Far off, red-robed monks
are walking prayerfully 
in the footprints of the snow leopard,
to hang prayer flags atop 
the snowy mountain peaks.
They gaze upwards towards heaven,
where their prayers are ascending
to the gods of the Himalayas,
and the thought of them
- humble, prayerful -
expands my heart with love
for this most beautiful world.

When noontime is lazy with the heat,
and bees buzz sleepily 
around the summer gardens,
when you bite into a ripe red strawberry
and juice drips down your chin, 
and you laugh as you catch the drops,
when the mourning doves call
from the top of the willow,
it sounds like they are
joining in earth's song: 
it is the most beautiful world.

When sunset turns the horizon 
into a crimson canopy,
with accents of gold and purple,
to majestically close the curtain
on the dramatics of the day,
when the moon rises up 
in the indigo sky
and the stars come out winking 
like mysterious mystical messengers,
when the dark hills huddle 
like a sleepy giant
along the inner harbour,
and the fading song 
of the whippoorwill
echoes across the inlet,
is the song in your heart 
the same as sings in mine?
A song of songs
to this most beautiful world!




for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: The World Is A Beautiful Place. Despite all of the suffering on this planet caused by humans, one has only to look outdoors to remember: it is truly a beautiful world.



Monday, August 20, 2018

SHAMAN



I dreamed about you.
You were walking on the beach
with a little black puppy.
Is this of significance to you?


Yes! I told her of the beach,
my wolf dog, dead for years,
my longing to return
to the home of my spirit.

Hold fast to that dream,
and I will put your intentions
out into the world
with my drumming and praying.
Your wolf dog visits me
to let you know he is near.
He will walk with you
on your beach
once again.


I held onto hope,
though it faltered with the slowness
of the years.
I watered my long-held dream
with longing and with tears.

I want to tell you
the other night when I was drumming
I put your intention out there once again.
I heard a wolf howl
and I felt energy moving
in your direction.


The call came the next day.
A space had opened up for me
in the place of my dreams.
That night I read that the planets
sometimes (rarely) align, as now,
in a certain way.
When they do, if you have a dream
that has been blocked,
and you are offered it:
Say Yes!
Do not let fear or doubt enter in.
I smiled as I read,
for I had said yes,
and yes,
and yes.


This is all true, kids. Every word. My mentor was chosen by Pup and found me through my poems. Even in old age, even if one has resigned oneself that it might never happen, I am here to tell you that dreams can come true - not just once, but many times. We are energy, and if we beam that energy in a good way out into the universe, the universe responds. It brings me comfort to know my Pup still howls for me. I howl inside my heart, every day, for him.

One from 2017.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Of Totems and Spirit Places


The Kermode Spirit Bear


On the misty islands of Haida Gwaii,
the spirits walk
and sometimes sing.
I have been told they also wail.

The ancient totems of SGaang Gwaay*
lean and topple onto the land
where the Haida thrived 
for 17,000 years.
If one is reverent, and listens 
with her heart,
she might sometimes hear 
the wailing of those ancient spirits,
the thousands who died
after the settlers came,
a desolate, inconsolable grieving
that the land remembers,
carried on the ocean breeze.

The cedars stand tall today
along protected shores,
where the white Spirit Bear
and grey wolf families
move peacefully through their
days and nights.
Mother Orca eats well here,
in this remote archipelago,
where it is more difficult
for our grasping machines
to reach and to destroy.

The Haida fought for forest,
and for sea,
cast off the settlers’ name
for the land they loved,
claimed it back as Haida Gwaii,
the Islands of the People,
strong and free.

My soul walks there
each time I think of it,
(a home where I have never lived),
padding softly through the forest
with mother wolf.
It walks along the shore 

with Spirit Bear.
I hear the whisper of spirit voices
in the trees,
the song of an ancient people,
my footsteps gentle
on this wild
and ancient land.


Totems from the 1890's


*SGaang Gwaay is the Haida name for the World Heritage site formerly known as Ninstints, where the ancient totem poles are now protected, and where it is said the spirits of the dead can sometimes be heard wailing, by those with heart enough to hear.
  
Haida Gwaii has always called to me, for its pristine wilderness, remoteness and wild beauty. Its people are hardy and self-sufficient, having survived its untamed landscape and stormy winters for thousands of years.



Haida Village in the 1890's



Called the Queen Charlotte Islands during the colonial era, it was reclaimed, appropriately, as Haida Gwaii, “the Islands of the People”, in 2010.



The Haida are culturally strong. Because of the archipelago’s remoteness, off the north-west coast of British Columbia,  it has been more difficult for development to decimate it, although it tried. The Haida fought hard for decades to protect the old growth, which was being clearcut.

In 1985, the Haida Nation designated Gwai Hanaas a “Haida Heritage Site", blockading successfully to stop logging in some areas. However, logging continued in others, while the Haida fought on. Finally, in 1993, Haida and government signed the Gwai Hanaas Agreement, designating it a national park preserve.

In 2010 the marine waters were protected also, by the establishing of the Gwaii Hanaas National Marine Conservation Area.

The Great Bear rainforest is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world, comprising over six million hectares. The B.C. government recognized it in 2016, protecting 85% of its forest. The white Spirit Bear lives in this forest, a mythical and revered animal.

The Haida are a matrilineal society, divided into two groups, the Raven and the Eagle. When it comes time to marry, a person must marry someone from the other group.

Property, title, crests, masks, and songs are passed down through the mother’s side.

SGaang Gwaay today


Totem poles tell the story of each First Nations family, reflecting their clan history. Each animal on the totem, as well as its placement, has significance.

Upon contact in the late 1800's, the population of 8000 was decimated, only 589 surviving by 1915. The Haida have rebounded to 5,000 people now. Declining fish stocks and forest resources have led to the development of new approaches to financial survival, including tourism, secondary wood manufacturing and the arts.

For Brendan’s prompt at Real Toads: Totems. Since totem poles are a part of the landscape I live in, I thought I would write about real, rather than personal, totems. I know a woman who recently visited SGaang Gwaii, among the toppling ancient poles. I asked her if she felt the ancient energy there. She said she could hear wailing, the grieving of thousands of ghosts, those who died from smallpox, as she stood on that sacred land.

Sources:

discoveringourstory.wisdomoftheelders.org

thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

fngovernance.org


Friday, August 17, 2018

Because It Is My Heart

Wolf Woman collage
created by Ella of Ella's Edge


I selected what went in with great care:
wolf howls and a shaman 
with wise kind eyes;
a big black wolf whose eyes 
and memory
never leave me; hope and love 
and trust in the divine,
waves rolling endlessly 
onto sandy beaches,
and an old-growth forest, 
breathing peace;
music and puppy paws, wagging tails 
and doggy smiles,
lions and elephants, whalesong 
and birds on the wing.
I packed them all in together, 
leaving nothing out,
because it is everything I love, 
and because it is my heart.





One from 2016, to share with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where we have great reading every Sunday morning. Come join us!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Of Pearls and Barnacles




Wild Woman would like
to pen you a poem
as lovely as a 
perfect polished pearl.

Please accept 
this crusty barnacle 
instead.
Wild Woman had a late night
and has misplaced
her head.


for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: A Poem Lovely As - the best I can do today, lol, hoping to make you smile.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Is This Land My Land? Is This Land Your Land?


***

swastikas waving
in American cities
worst nightmare come true

***

the Oval Office -
rich white men grin with dead eyes
White House aptly named

***

democracy means
flag, votes, rights, justice for all ~
where has it gone?

***

a 5-5-7:

red maple leaf flies
our bright hopes and dreams -
right-wing rising in the east


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: National Flags. Title taken from the famous song.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

And Now for the Good News



I have always been a positive, optimistic person, sometimes annoyingly so, to people with a more jaundiced view of life. I always believed the transformation of consciousness would occur in time. We have all the information, have had it for fifty years. The governments that are supposed to legislate the tough steps we need to take to address climate change have not done so. Had Al Gore been elected, when the Presidency was wrested from him, we would be in a much better place today.

I will admit, this past year, with everything seemingly going to hell - when I have been living my worst nightmare in terms of "leadership" on this continent - I have known true discouragement, felt helpless, begun to believe that there is no stopping us from destroying the earth and ourselves, especially as those in power want to hang onto that power, and do the bidding of the multinationals who have a death-grip on the planet's limited and vanishing resources.

And corporations don't care.

But one friend, an environmental activist, tells me my poems just add to the trauma. And another, who has spent her life working for clean energy, urges me to hold the vision of the world I want to see, put that out into the world - add the hopes, the dreams, the vision, instead of adding to the darkness and despair.

Point taken.

My friend who advises me to hold the vision also believes we will not change incrementally - and in fact we dont have TIME to change that slowly - that the transformation of consciousness will come suddenly, because of an event, possibly a cataclysmic one. She also reminds me there is a spiritual component to the struggle on this planet, and that the more of us who hold the vision, in the light, counteract the darker forces who right now seem to be in ascendance, but who are most likely far outnumbered by people who want to see peace and justice - this world, the way it was meant to be - and could be still, impossible as that feels right now.

I think we are seeing very clearly, now, that the planet is in trouble. Starving orcas, raging wildfires, floods, famines - we already have climate refugees and their numbers will grow. We might very well be among them. This isnt happening at some comfortable date in the future. It is happening right now.

So what is the good news? Many people and countries ARE addressing climate change, just not stubborn, stuck-in-capitalism North America - clinging to the system that is bringing us all to our knees.

We can help Mother Earth if we switch from fossil fuels to clean energy: wind, water, solar, zero point. (Zero point energy uses a magnetic field to harness the energy found in a vacuum and send it to a generator.)

In India, they are making roads of recycled plastic. Britain is testing this possibility. The Netherlands are testing road building from recycled ocean waste. Future roads could be made from plastic bottles - the bottles that are littering landfills everywhere. (And that should be abolished, along with plastic bags.)

A teenager has invented a way to clean the Garbage Patch in the ocean - his system using floaters is predicted to harvest half the patch in five years. (theoceancleanup.com)

In Beijing, SOLDIERS ARE PLANTING BILLIONS OF TREES to counter air pollution. A wonderful use of military resources.

In Germany, all cars are mandated to be electric by 2030.

In California, all new roofs must be solar.

One easy and effective way to lower CO2 emissions is to switch to a plant-based diet. Not only will emissions be reduced, but animals will not live lives of terror, pain and desperation while they wait to arrive on our dinner plates.

Those conversations helped me regain some hopefulness, feel more empowered, less helpless. The climate events on the way may be what it takes to push us into unified action. It is too bad we are reacting to  crises, rather than being pro-active, but we humans learn slowly, much slower than the whales and other wild creatures already experiencing distress.

I hope some of this news is encouraging to you. It feels good to know people like you and I are working hard to do what they can where they are. We live in hope. We need it, as we have grandchildren who want and need to live in a viable world.




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Life's Golden Beauty, All I Know



I try to hold the flickering flame
fast faltering my eyes before,
to clasp it for some moments more,
its magic mine to keep and tame.
It flickers out, no one to blame.

I try to slow the speeding days,
delay them as they canter past.
I want them to forever last;
they rush towards sunset's golden haze,
extinguish in a fiery blaze.

One does not ask the question "Why?"
We live our lives, hoping the end
will answer like a loving friend.
Our choices, as the days go by,
have cast our fate. We live. We die.

Sunset too close, lit by its glow,
I want this life to never end,
as day by day my last ones spend,
bedazzled by its fiery show ~
life's golden beauty, all I know.



One from 2015, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come join us Sunday morning!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Child's Sorrow



Horses were turned loose in the child's sorrow.*
They galloped through deep purple 
midnight hours,
whinnying, rearing up on their hind legs,
the noise loud and terrifying, 
a cacophony of fear and adrenalin, 
crescendoing,
until she leaped on 
a huge white back,
galloping into oblivion,
a wild midnight ride
come to save her
that she would remember 
forever.

Wolves howled in the forest
on that night, 
as she sailed her winged  steed
out of the house of alcohol,
away from the screams, the blows
and crashes,
into the starry sky,
where wizards with kind eyes 
awaited
in a magical land,
secret gardens offering soft moss 
for her to rest upon,
with grass for the white horse to eat.

When dawn came, she and the horse
exchanged glances.
They did not want to go back
into the cruel, fighting world
they had left.
Reluctantly, she mounted.
With slowed hooves, 
so sadly,
the mare carried her back 
to her little bed.

When she woke, 
she swallowed her sorrow,
putting on the timid, placating face 
she wore for the adults. 
They all acted as if
the nightime violence
never happened. 
They all pretended
there was no need
for those blazing 
midnight rides. 

Horses were turned loose
in the child's sorrow,
and she rode. 
She rode.
She rode.


* This was the first line of Carolyn Forche's poem, "Sequestered writing" from Blue Hour (NY Harper Collins 2003), used as the first line in Maureen Hynes' poem, "The Horses, the Sorrow, the Umbilicus", The Malahat Review (April 2018).

for my prompt at Real Toads: Piggyback Poems. Take the first line of a poem, giving accreditation to the author, and make it the first line of your poem.

Maureen Hynes' poem can be read there.


A Poem



A poem is like
a puppy
that comes up
wagging its tail.
It sniffs all around,
interested and happy,
deciding which way
it will go......
and then it grows.


For Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: a poem

Saturday, August 4, 2018

CLAYOQUOT SOUND HAIKU

copyright Gaby Harig


Wolf Spirit, your call
from your misty mountain lair
sends my soul keening

***

footprints in the sand
my heart follows where they lead
till I'm home again

***

bonsai in the bog
a little touch of Asia
in Clayoquot Sound

***

shore birds on the sand
lift,  dart, swoop and land as one 
summer joy in flight

***

in the following I tried 7-5-7


Luna leaves as Sol arrives
Sun and Moon - same sky
little boat chugs happily

***

Sharing these haiku from 2014 with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Do come join us for some great poetry on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Time Traveling



In 1980, to the first notes
of the Pachelbel Canon,
I was stopped, still,
crossing the coffeehouse floor,
by a waking vision -
row upon row of women,
in babushkas and blankets,
swaying in the frozen darkness
of a Gulag morning,
and i knew i had been there.

Tonight a white wolf kissed me,
her joy at seeing me so immense,
it is not just she and I,
right now,
meeting.

I believe Pup came back as her,
to live with the loud, unconscious people
next door to my old trailer,
knowing i come from time to time
to our old neighbourhood,
the only possible way
s/he could find me again.

They say she won't let people touch her.
But she has known me from the first.
Now, when i visit,
she throws herself at my feet, paws in the air,
climbs on my lap
to kiss me,
smiles her toothy smile.
I say,
"I know. I've missed you too,"
and "i'll be back."
It's what i always said.

I cry each time i leave her.

I now am traveling faster than time,
speeding towards
whatever comes next.
The hours pass slowly, but
the weeks race from Friday to Friday.
Soon, so soon,
the journey ends.

We are all time travelers,
living many lives barely remembered.
Sometimes, we recognize a certain human face,
that we have known before,
sometimes a  white wolf's
sweet smile.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads: doppelgangers and time travelers


Dear Kitty

Dear Kitty,
I am young
in an Old Soul body.
In my eyes
lie dreams of the future
and fear that one day
the sirens will stop
outside our door.

I see the darkness in humans
from which we hide,
yet still believe
that people are good.

I want to live.
But if i can't live,
I hope to be
remembered.

Love, Anne

For  the Midweek Motif prompt: Anne Frank, a bundle of contradictions.