Saturday, September 29, 2018

An Imperfect Offering

Light the incense.
As the smokey vapours rise,
may they carry all our prayers
into the otherworld.
Let the hundred candles shine,
illuminating and banishing
our dark night,
in this early morning 
transitory light.
Scatter the petals of aging blooms,
making a carpet on which to kneel,
and pray the prayer
you feel.

When you are ready,
sound the bell
one clear and solitary ring.
As our chants begin,
we meditate
on what we have to bring.
May the All That Is accept
our most imperfect

One from 2012, my friends, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning. I thought we might need to revisit some light and some peace, in this moment. Smiles.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Let's Not Bring Home the Bacon - Warning: Distressing to animal lovers

We live in a world gone mad
where, in advance of storm,
the Keepers of the pigs and chickens
lock the warehouse doors,
climb into their comfy cars,
and flee the flooding 
that drowns five thousand terrified 
sentient beings.

They're not worried,
since insurance will repay them
for "lost inventory".

Can we scream loud enough 
to wake ourselves up
from this nightmare of corporate
indifference to all but profit?

Can we do something more
than wince and abhor?
Instead of a howl,
can we stop eating fowl?
Can we give up our bacon, 
yes, you, and yes, me,
and set all the pigs free?

for my prompt at Real Toads: Earth Grief. I have more than enough of that to go around, but this week it is the pigs and chickens that drowned in the flooded Carolinas in late September, and the massive release of manure into fresh water systems that has gotten me down.

These are all personal choices, no judgment, when it comes to what we eat. But it hit home for me, lover of dogs and of wolves, that all animals feel love, happiness, fear, pain and terror. They all want to live, free of torture, confinement, and the screams of their fellow beings dying, knowing they are next. Factory "farming" is barbaric. There is no farming going on. They say one cant be an environmentalist and eat meat, as livestock is one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases.

Turning to a plant-based diet, or at least reducing our consumption of animal products is one choice we can make to help the planet. 

My cousin calls this "no one got hurt" meals!   

To advocate for ethical and humane treatment of animals, we can bombard our legislators with a demand for regulations that protect helpless non-human beings, who are victims of our disgusting corporate culture. As are we. There is a difference in meat from factory farms and meat healthily and humanely grown, on real farms, as it was in the old days. No trauma, no hormones, no antibiotics. No fear and abuse.

For a better world, my friends. We live in hope.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Come walk with me
inside the garden wall,
mindfully, each step
a human prayer.
With soft heart,
as each gentle footstep falls,
we'll greet the venerable being
living there.

We wade in petals
from one thousand years.
Monks watered its roots
through centuries
with their prayers and tears.
Through her branches,
on her loving leafy sighs,
we send our earthly pleas
into celestial skies.

Hush! the gong rings once.
One more golden petal falls.
Our hearts are peaceful
while we stand
within these garden walls.

This gingko tree is 1400 years old and lives in a walled enclosure at the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in China. Guan Yin (also known as Quan Yin) is the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

For Sumana’s prompt at Midweek Motif: a Wall. I thought of the obvious one, but preferred to spend this time with monks and a beautiful old tree. Smiles. Also shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

That Greenly Land

I go into the woods of leafy green
to take some time away from daily care.
Such greenly grace as I have ever seen,
I find such peace and blessed solace there.

How many times I've walked here through the years,
each time renewed in spirit and in heart.
The green boughs bend. The tree sprites dry my tears;
tall spires against the sky my fondest art.

It's time once more to take that trodden path,
though frail and stumbling, unlike days of yore,
immerse myself in nature's leafy bath.
I still will find there what I found before.

I bless each bough within that greenly land,
where I find refuge, bliss and beauty grand.

for Kim's challenge at Real Toads: to write a sonnet based upon a colour. Mine, of course, was green.

Friday, September 21, 2018


Softly sighs the willow
at the lakeshore
where once I walked with you
so long ago.
You told me then
it once had been
a riverbed;
so many truths
I'd not yet
come to know.

Now desert blooms
between your heart
and mine,
in reverie,
through all the years
of time.
We said goodbye
and left our song
Sweet ache,
when our hearts
were young. 

Sigh. Another one for Shay. So much saudade. Gah! This was the other of my two loves. He was a beauty, with a blackbird heart.  But Pup was my soulmate. He stayed. Also sharing it with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.


The withering leaves of autumn
are releasing, one by one
- fearful of falling,
but having no choice
as stems weaken and let go.
The Westerly puffs his cheeks,
scattering stratocumulus
across Father Sky.

Those days,
I walked with you,
along the shore,
life more perfect then
than I had ever dreamed.

You took exultation with you
when you left.
What remains is
underlying sorrow,
playing counterpoint
to golden mellow hours,
like a slow, sweet saxaphone
playing a serenade of love
on a late-summer September afternoon.

For Shay's prompt at Real Toads - to choose one of the words. SAUDADE jumped out at me, the pervasive longing for one who is gone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


The clues are everywhere,
but the leaders have thrown out
all the magnifying glasses,
and are directing global traffic
with closed eyes.

The multinationals
dump the evidence
of their transgressions
into the sea.

Humanity suffers
the repercussions.
The billionaires gloat,
blaming the poor
for their resulting misfortune.

For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: evidence or clues.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


The Carolinas NBC photo

I resist the fake truths,
the crudeness, the ugliness,
divisive rhetoric.
I know we can do
so much better than this.
North America is full
of big-hearted people.

There is more light
than dark in this world.
It's just that darkness
has the upper hand right now.

I resist a government
who rips children
from their parents,
locks them in cages,
(for $775 per child per day),
then loses track of where they are.

I resist believing
people would consider
voting them in again.

I resist believing
that the climate deniers will win,
that somehow, globally,
our leaders – and ourselves -
will not wake up and
begin to do the hard work
of assisting Mother Earth
to regain her balance.

I resist the likelihood
that species after species
will go extinct on our watch,
that our seventh generation of children
will never see
a forest, a bear, a whale;
that for them water will be
as expensive as oil is now,
and their wars will be fought
over water.

I refuse to believe
disaster upon disaster
will wipe us all out
because Greed and Corruption won
and good people
allowed it.

I can live in this mess
just a little while longer,
waiting for the world
to wake up and get real.
I resist the despair
that edges closer
with every newscast.

Just barely.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: Resistance. If ever there was a time, it is now.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


[I used my zoom. Wow!]

Fat and round and placid
as bellies after harvest,
a smile that harbors secrets
you will never tell,
purveyor of myth,
portal of mystery,
you sail across my evening sky
serene as a ghost ship
easing into port.

Buddha Smile Moon.

One from 2013. I picked one that is easy to read, and positive, as there is so much discouraging news going on. Hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend, and are safe from storms. Sharing this with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sunset at Wickaninnish

As I sat on a log,
those years ago,
wondering if you loved me,
pink clouds,
puffy and portentous,
crept across 
my evening sky.
I thought this must be what
the floor of heaven 
looks like.

And now you are on
the other side
of those clouds.
You did love me,
just not in the way
I hoped for.
We stalked sunsets together,
shared songs and laughter,
supported each other
for 38 years.
A friendship like that
never knows
a sunset.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Sunset. I live in the land of beautiful sunsets!

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Beautiful Gift

On Friday afternoon, in the first downpour of rain in months, we gathered in the small park overlooking the harbour and were privileged to watch the Tla-o-qui-aht men raise Tofino's very first totem pole. This pole was carved and gifted to the village by local Nuu chah nulth carver Joe David, to honour the ha'wiih (the hereditary Chiefs) of this Haahoulthee (territory).

What an amazing gift. Such a beautiful presence, the Thunderbird on top protecting the Chiefs. The small child on the bottom honours Joe David's granddaughter, and all of the children.

In the evening, there was a great feast, to celebrate the occasion, and the Chiefs, the Nuu chah nulth and the villagers came together and shared food and friendship.

I will visit this pole often. I will stand in deep respect, and listen to what it has to tell me about the beauty of people, and how we are meant to live together in harmony and respect.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Starfire When We Pass

Step into the circle, sister mine,
and feel our bond
through all the years of time
that brought us through
times beautiful and dire,
to this moment when
we step into
blue fire.

I lived a love
that became mine alone.
He knew not how to
for his past atone,
returned the gift,
and went on on his own,
so I carried it
through all the years:
a poem.

In the circle,
we return where we belong,
where all the loves we lost
are worth the cost.
We are finite.
We are also infinite,
each one note
in the universal song.
Our lives create
sweet memories
that will last.
As the veil lifts,
we step through
the looking-glass.
We transform into starfire
when we pass.

Hmmm.......not sure if this is what Toni is looking for. Her prompt at Real Toads is about the Void, the circle, and one, two and three-dimensional states. I thought my one-sided love might be one- dimensional, since it became mine alone. And throwing infinity into the poem seemed like a good idea. Smiles.


follow a raven
and find a wolf
hear her gobble-cry,
his soft whuff

up on the ridge
where wild grasses grow
they tarry to listen
while the west wind blows

the wolf sings out
when the full moon beams
hear his howl
threading through your dreams

out on the desert
before the dawn
you can look for his tracks
but he'll be gone

at the end of the trail
near the Joshua Tree
a big black wolf
waits for only me

One from 2012, my friends, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rise for Mother Earth

Last night, I headed to our small theatre (72 seats!) to listen to presenters talking about climate change, an evening titled Rise for Climate: Realities and SolutionsNeedless to say everyone's concern is the rapid pace of climate change. But each speaker had stories of success in their efforts to help Mother Earth.

The evening was hosted by Jeh Custerra, campaigner for the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. Thanks so much, Jeh, for bringing us this hopeful and affirming evening. And thank you to the sponsors, the Friends, the Clayoquot Salmon Festival and

The film crew of Directly Affected was filming the event and we were told we, as audience, will be part of their upcoming film.  Directly Affected  is about the effects of climate change – and who, on this planet, is not now or will not in the near future be impacted?

Nuu chah nulth carver Joe Martin and his daughter Gisele sang a paddling song.

It is always wonderful when like-minded people come together and share wisdom. Local Nuu chah nulth carver Joe David spoke about indigenous ways and laws; he told how his ancestors, going back to pre-contact, held such wisdom. He sang a welcoming song and told us about a song that one of his forebears was given – in the forest, by a white wolf.

I was enchanted. (White wolves wander often through my dreams.)

Gisele Martin, Nuu chah nulth language activist, artist and educator, explained that, in the Nuu chah nulth language, there is no word for wilderness. The closest word that comes to it is “Home”.

The oil sands  - northern Alberta
Devastation as far as the eye can see -
even in a plane.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree nation, (David Suzuki Foundation Fellow/Lubicon Solar), told how the tar sands are devastating areas as huge as Washington in northern Alberta, and how the impact affects the indigenous people who live near there. She said that her community only got running water five years ago! 

In response to the land around them being destroyed, her people erected solar installations to provide clean energy. She also talked about the tiny houses that are being erected along the path of the Kinder Morgan pipeline by indigenous people.

Clarissa Antone, of the Squamish Nation, the woman who tended the fire on Burnaby Mountain outside the gates of Kinder Morgan, to protect Mother Earth from the pipeline, spoke from the heart about how Mother Earth is dying and how much this planet needs us. Her brother Mike Anton talked about the totem pole he carved and cemented into the ground near the gates of the Kinder Morgan site on Burnaby Mountain, where the Antons and others have been camped, not as protestors, Mike told us, but as protectors.

Jason Sam, Pacific Rim Chair of Surfrider, spoke of Surfrider's massive efforts to clean beaches, gathering and hauling out for recycling what they find, (TONS of refuse that wash up on the shores), with the aim of zero waste management. They worked hard with local businesses to reduce the use of plastic. Our local CoOps don’t use plastic bags any more, and businesses have stopped using plastic straws. This may sound small, he pointed out, but with a million tourists passing through our village, it amounts to a lot of plastic waste.

So there were lots of positives, along with the awareness that we are running out of time to save salmon, whales…….and ourselves.

On Friday afternoon a totem pole carved by Joe David in honour of the hereditary chiefs of this hahoulthee (territory), which is being gifted to the District of Tofino, will be erected at the small park overlooking the harbour. It is a historical moment and I will be there.

It is events like this, as much as the beauty of the place, that make me so fulfilled living here. People here are conscious, aware, informed, and very willing to do what they can to protect the planet.

Walking home, through the darkened village, I was heartened that so many are doing so much in the places where they are.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sometimes a Smile

all we have to give
is a friendly smile
and a hello.

In the heart of the discouraged,
the depressed,
the hopeless,
the downtrodden,
sometimes a smile
that lifts the heart
for a moment
and says "I see you"
is enough.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Charity / Giving

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Beautiful photo made for me by

Traveler walks
on the winds of morning,
gentled by the soft mist,
attuned to the music
of the spheres.

Tiny birds alight
on her shoulders,
then lift off, twittering,
to follow her passage,
branch to branch,
through the sleepy forest.

She is Sky-Woman.
Though her feet are planted
on the earth,
her eyes never leave
the sky.

There are footsteps
softly padding along
behind her.
She does not turn
to see who comes.
She knows.

He is invisible,
but she knows those perked ears,
that arching tail,
that long black snout.

Walking on 
the winds of the morning,
their two spirits touch
through the veil of mist.
Their two hearts
are never

One from 2011, my friends, which I reposted last year, but which I felt like revisiting today, and sharing with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Edward Weston (1927)
Fair Use

hide from predators
I borrow your innate wisdom

I borrow your innate wisdom
hide from predators
my spirit
light / dark

for Kerry's Camera Flash prompt at Real Toads: a Fibonacci

I learned that the chambered nautilus is  light on the bottom, dark on the top, to hide from predators. Seen from above, it blends with the dark sea; seen from below, it blends with light from above. Cool.



The White Lions of Timbavati
are wandering through my dreams.
Enlightenment bearers,
beings as old as time's moonbeams,
born under an ancient star that fell to earth,
they carry a choice for humankind:
eternal darkness or rebirth.

The shaman says:
"At the end of the world, a white lion
will roar for the last time.
The sun will disappear forever from the sky.
If white lions vanish from the land,
we all will cease to be,"
too late, by then, to start to wonder why.

Sun God, captive,
backed against the rock,
trapped, he turned and stared 
his hunters down.
He offered humankind a choice:
the Light, or stay forever in the dark,
our fate determined by the bullets' arc.

He walked towards them proudly, unafraid.
They chose, for they had paid;
they raised their guns.
He walked to meet his fate, his eyes old fire,
and, as he fell, his last roar dimmed the sun.

Ingwavuma died aligned with his heart star,
in the Leo constellation from which he came,
marking the proud death of a Lion King -
(they tell me Ingwavuma was his name.)
The human psyche will forever
bear the scar.

Their shots rang out.
Ingwavuma, spirit undefeated, fell.
The hunters chose our fate.
There is little more to tell.

This story is told in The Mystery of the White Lions, Children of the Sun God, by Linda Tucker, who is in love with the white lions. She formed the Global White Lion Protection Trust, and protects the lions she has been able to rescue in a wild sanctuary in their ancestral home of Timbavati, in an effort to keep them from being hunted to extinction. There they roam free, hunt and raise their cubs wild, but in protected territory.

The only other known white lions are kept in captivity, some in a compound in the USA, the others in a compound in Africa for Great White Hunters to shoot, in an enclosure where there is no escape, for a fee of $25,000, and a piece of their souls.

The courageous Ingwavuma, whom Linda knew and loved, was not himself a white lion but was believed to carry the gene, so he would have sired white lion cubs. He was cornered in a "hunting" enclosure. When he saw there was no escape, he did not cower. He met his fate bravely and, thereby, those hunters perhaps cursed mankind to eternal darkness. Certainly their hearts were dark.

Shaman Credo Mutwa told Linda that, long ago, a star fell to earth, after which all animals in the area where it fell bore white offspring, the few remaining white lions descending from that time. The shaman says the white lions, who have blue eyes, guard a secret that can save humankind: to turn towards enlightenment, or remain forever in darkness. He says when the last white lion is gone, the sun will disappear. It is, perhaps, the most fascinating and stirring book I have ever read.

shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. I have shared this before, but felt like posting it again today, with so many ecosystems disintegrating. It seems timely. The trump nightmare invaded my dream last night. I was saying: "I can't do it. Don't make me. Make him stop." LOL.