Friday, November 30, 2018

In Remembrance of Lost Species

Joanna, Chris, me and Elisabeth
                                                  walking for the wild things

photos by Joanna's talented daughter, Toby

We walked,
people of all ages
and a dozen big goofy, happy dogs,
from the fire, 

across the tombolo
to Ts'ix-wat-sats,
just before sunset.
“Despair is an indulgence,” 
Joanna quoted.
“Let’s set our minds towards hope.”
We walked, mindfully,
single file,
and I pondered.
I have been discouraged.
What could I bring back 
to the communal fire
that was about hope?
It came to me,
like the silver gleam
on the shining sea.
The shamans say
we are at a critical moment
in the evolution of the soul
of this planet.
As awareness of climate change
increases, we begin,
of necessity, to evolve,
(those of us who are aware 
and awake.)

This is, if we will it,
a transformative moment.
The people – we, ourselves -
can make the evolutionary leap
beyond those who are fixated on money.
It is within our power – our possibility –
to move with the winds of change
and create other ways of being
with the earth
than the old, tired ways of fossil fuels,
rich billionaires, despairing others.
The soul of our planet is on the cusp
of a Great Awakening.

The bad news:
Nothing will ever be the same again.

The good news:
Nothing will ever be the same again.

Our wonderful Poet Laureate, Joanna Streetly, organized a gathering at Chestermans Beach late this afternoon, to pay homage to the many species we have lost, and are still losing. We all carry grief over this, but Joanna urged us to hold onto hope. I do think Mother Earth needs our hope - and our action - as never before. I will post photos of our gathering as they become available. Meanwhile, here is what I wrote down when I got home.

P.S. I wrote "Pup" in the sand and drew a heart around it. In Memoriam.

Sharing this with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United - fine reading every Sunday morning. With thanks to Joanna, who inspires me.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

In Memoriam

Development is slowly eating the village. Every project begins with razing a small forest to the ground, leaving a scraped moonscape. Big machines rumble across the land, chewing the earth. "Progress" is even making its way into Tonquin park, with its forested trails. We untie surveyor tags on the branches to slow it down. Our lovely maple was murdered last week because the building manager hates trees. "They've all got to go!" he roars. My friend lays flowers on the bleeding stump, with tears, In Memoriam.

In fall,  they hasten
to fell trees. The rain will weep
for them all winter.

For Toni's prompt at Real Toads: Mono no Aware : the sadness of things passing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Dawn infuses the morning sky,
painting the calm sea
All is hushed.
A song trills
from a sleepy bird  
in the hedgerow.
As far as I can see:
peacefulness and beauty.

In this same sea,
salmon are diseased,
whales are starving,
and choking on plastic.
Plankton is dying.
On land, animals with burned paws
limp across a charred landscape.
Dark energies swirl;
it is hard, these days,
to know what I know.

I gaze at the horizon:
next stop Japan.
All is beauty;
all is perishing.
Everything is trying
so desperately
to live
while it is dying.
Half my heart is breaking;
half lifts in gratitude
for the beauty and the wonder
that is here, and shining.

In my old age, I am learning
new lessons:
how to love and grieve
this planet that I adore
with the same broken heart,
how to hold onto fading hope
like birdsong
in the morning (mourning.)

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: Morning Song

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Life, Like a Loping Camel

The days sift by dreamily,
but the weeks snap past like a zipline,
me upside-down and pulled along
too swiftly
into my old age.

My steps are slow and hobbling,
yet somehow
it is always Another Friday,
and another week
has passed.

Not like a field mouse,
hidden in the grass,
but rather a loping camel,
life gallops on:

too fast, too fast, too fast.

For Kim's prompt at Real Toads: And the days are not full enough.

My original last line was: "whipping my sorry ass", which I changed in the interests of poetic sensibilities. LOL. The field mouse is from Ezra Pound's poem, quoted in the prompt.


In the park,
a flock of geese
peck at the wet grass,
in the amber morning sun.
Across the street,
a bulldozer is moving bare earth,
where a row of alders stood
only the day before.
To the right, behind the trees,
heavy equipment grumbles
and stutters, heaves and groans,
clearing the site of
the helicopter pad.

A large white truck is idling
at Tonquin apartments,
Arbor Services lettered
on its side.
Then the chain saw fires up.
All day long, its hungry roar
rends the air -
a scream that bites,
as the trees tremble.
By late afternoon,
a lovely maple
and three alders
have become stumps.

The geese have moved on,
hoping to find a quieter place.
A young woman tenderly
places flowers
on a bleeding stump,
In Memoriam.

The soundscape at Tonquin apartments one day  in late November, 2018.
Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is great reading every Sunday morning.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Kelowna willows

I wonder if you ever
think of me.
Through all the years,
I saw your beauty plain,
from time to time

We had a love
that could not
fate withstand,
could not hold fast,
untrusting  roots in
      shifting sand.

And yet
you are the one,

of all the rest,
through all the years

who stood, of time,
the test,
the one I truly loved,
with whom I
         was blessed.

So I thank you in 
the only way I know:
I continued loving you
      after I let you go.

for Karin's  prompt at Real Toads: to write a poem of loving gratitude. So many directions to go with this: the earth, trees, the sea, my wolf-dog. I chose a dark blackbird heart from 1980's Kelowna.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


When my heart has no words
when there is too much to pray for
and not enough hope
in the world
to right all the wrongs

When California is burning
as the climate naysayers say nay
I walk my speechless heart
into the forest

to try to find my way

Each tree
a living prayer
offering balm and breath
to the soul-weary
Each birdcall a note of hope
in the planetary song

humankind has
gotten wrong

When my heart has
only tears,
and there is too much to pray for
and not enough hope
to find my way
I let the trees pray for me
Breathe their peacefulness
into my being
Listen to all 

they have to say

Each tree
a living prayer,

each human adding either
dark or light
to the planetary plight

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Prayer, and shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

I Go To The Shore

When the world weighs heavily
upon my shoulders,
I go to the shore.
As the sea breeze blows
through my being,
thoughts grow still.
My heart takes comfort
in the sound
of the eternal breakers rolling in,
wave on endless wave,
upon the sand.

The beauty of the sea
strengthens my spirit,
its ever-breathing roar
replenishing my stores of peace.
The susurration of its
eternal song
washes through me,
through my eyes, my ears, my being
until I am as calm
as the lull between waves,
as strong and silent
as the smooth stones
scattered by the tide,
as patient as the sand dollar
that spins its house
from the sand and grit around it
and carries it along.

When the world weighs heavily
upon my shoulders,
when wildfires burn towns
to apocalyptic landscapes,
as people and wild creatures perish,
and whales are slowly starving
out at sea,
when chain saws bite and
trees are slaughtered
right outside my window,
when the phone brings bad news.....

I go to the shore,
let the sea breeze blow
through my being,
am soothed by the susurration
of the sea's eternal song.
My thoughts grow still
as starfish in the tidepools,
as a moonsnail shining
at the edge of the surf.
And when I turn away,
walk the path back to my car,
I am restored,
like the sand dollar,
carrying my home
- and my peace -
along with me,
ready to protect
each whale, re-plant each tree,
repay Mother Earth
for all she gives
to me.

for my prompt at Real Toads on Saturday: The Places That Heal Us. And shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Miracles and Wonder*

The older I get,
the more amazed I become
at the way every life form
is designed to be interconnected
with every other.
We live surrounded by
miracles and wonder*.
Now I'm waiting
for the greatest miracle of all -
the transformation of consciousness
on the planet,
so we can all set to work
healing Mother Earth,
saving all the trees,
and planting more,
freeing all animals from abuse and torture,
cleansing all the life-giving water,
living in gratitude and awe,
the way we are meant to live
in this earthly garden.
The way we were always
meant to live
with other living beings
and with each other.

* Miracles and Wonder from the Paul Simon song on his album Graceland.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Ode to Age. Note to self: rather than waiting for everyone to awaken, I'll just start planting trees, shunning plastic, picking up litter, and signing petitions right where I am. I am thinking of the man who began years ago planting a few trees at a time, who  created an entire forest.

Even LADYBUGS work together to help each other out. Oh my goodness.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Thousand Years of Living

When we walk through speckled landscapes
where the shape-shifters dance,
we are walking in the footsteps of the ones
who came before.
There are signposts they have left us
all across the forest floor.
A thousand years of living -
we don't set our sail  by chance.

We are walking in the footsteps of the ones
who came before.
The Old Ones' songs I hear upon the breeze.
A thousand years of living -
we don't set our sail by chance.
I sing wolfsong to the mountains and
knock on midnight's door.

The Old Ones' songs I hear upon the breeze,
under my feet the brittle leaves of summer past.
I sing wolfsong to the mountains and
knock on midnight's door.
The night air whispers: here you are,
here you are at last!

Under my feet the brittle leaves of summer past.
There are signposts they have left us
all across the forest floor.
The night air whispers: here you are,
here you are at last!
Walking through a speckled landscape
where the shape-shifters dance.

One from the fall of 2013, kids, hauled out again to share with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Just An Ordinary Morning

Just an ordinary morning, fingers of light
filtering softly through the trees,
a sleepy chirp from a waking sparrow.
I plug in the kettle for tea,
turn on the tv.
Breaking news:
another shooting.
More young people killed,
a fallen officer,
who died protecting lives.
More parents grieving.

What fuels this shooter-rage?
How do we heal it?
When will there be
ordinary mornings again,
that don't report
a shooting?

for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads:  How does the story end? I wish I knew.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Truth Is Stranger Than......

I used to read fiction,
when I was young,
dreaming away the days
imagining the fine romance
that would, one day, be mine.
The plot didn’t work out that way.
I set forth, starry-eyed,
without a clue,
not knowing that
what happened to me -
the not-choosing -
was, itself, a choice.

Heartache ensued,
as it always does
for starry-eyed fools,
who mistake Heathcliff’s surliness
for high romance and undying love,
instead of sensibly fleeing.

Next, to heal
my shattered illusions,
I chose novels
written by liberated women,
trying to find a roadmap
out of Clueless,
onto a road
with some sort of
reasonable destination.

Living in a shoe,
surrounded by children,
after the leading (con)man left
and we started over with nothing,
it occurred to me
that I was living
a more complicated
and messy plot
than any of the fiction
on my shelves.
In fact, had I sent in the synopsis,
any editor would have said,
“None of this is believable”.
It was just that weird.

Thankfully, the universe sent in
some gentle people,
midway through,
to heal my heart
and turn my life
back into blue skies
and sunny days.

I turned, then, to reading memoir,
lived experience,
tales of people who survived –
nay, transcended –
impossible situations.
I read of the Gulag,
concentration camps, women captives,
child soldiers, refugees,
people hanging onto life
by a shred,
breath and memory
and a soupcon of hope -
all that anchored them here.
They showed me how
our spirits rise.

I read a book dictated
after a stroke,
one eyeblink at a time,
one alphabet letter at a time,
and told myself to NEVER complain again
about how hard it was to write.

No, I don’t read fiction
any more.
Our lives are plots
to rival that of any novel.
My memoir will make
interesting reading,
if I ever have time
to write it.

LOL. For Susan’s  prompt at Midweek Motif: Reading fiction.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


In 2006, Mimi Lenox, of Mimi Writes, began the annual Blogblast for Peace. Over the years people all over the globe have sent in their peace globes to post for peace. If you would like to join us, visit How to Blog For Peace, grab a globe template and link up.

Look at those eyes - innocent, hopeful, like every child's. Let's dream children a world where they can blossom in peace and harmony. Let's not forget to  dream a world for creatures, both wild and domestic, where they can live free from harm by humankind. While we're at it, Mother Earth needs our help, to demand that legislators draft the laws that will slow emissions, so she can begin to heal. It's a big job, but it is doable, if the global village works together, and all governments cooperate.

Beam Peace. Let's shift the consciousness on this planet - for Lunabella and all the beasts and children.

Join the Blogblast for Peace 2018.

My Inner Inukshuk

Towards the rising sun, I turn
my morning face, ever hopeful.
Vision obscured, I peer through cloudy glass,
towards the brighter sky.
Beyond the meadow, I can see
the ghostly shapes of ancient horses,
shape-shifting among the trees.

The shaman sits on a fencepost,
smiling, wise and kind,
with an owl perched on his shoulder.
He will not point the way,
for I must find it for myself.
But he gives me a blessing
for the journey,
as the road is steep,
and he knows there will be storms.

To the south lies treasure, precious stone,
inukshuks to point the way
for lonely travelers.
Their arms point west, always west,
where my spirit flies, up over the mountains,
along the familiar highway
that leads me forever home.
A row of prisms cast rainbows, for beauty,
refract the light, for brightness
and clear-seeing.

Towards sunset lies the illumined path,
following footsteps I trod before,
called ever forward
by the unceasing song of the sea,
siren, lover, clarion call,
to fly my spirit home.
I heft my kit bag full of memories,
tuck in a soupcon of wonder,
and a song to merry me along,
towards my nest at the edge of the world.

North is an inner compass, a knowing that,
whatever the direction I am headed,
however long or short the journey,
I am my own
True North.

This poem arrived in 2015, when I lived at the farm. It was created thanks to an exercise by Elizabeth, to turn in all the directions, make notes on what I saw and turn it into a poem. Thanks, Elizabeth! Sharing it with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

I Count My Wealth in Trees

Photographer unknown
No copyright infringement intended

I count my wealth in old growth trees,
trails meandering along the forest floor,
in cloud-draped slopes and rounded hills
and in shorebirds that swoop and soar,
in watching sunsets paint the sky,
in peaceful walks along the shore,
and, when I walk in my door,
in rooms where my spirit finds succor,
when my cup is full
and can hold not one drop

For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Money. Of which I have none, but likely am happier than the millionaires in their mansions at the beach. Smiles.