Monday, December 31, 2018

White Wolf


I met a white wolf-dog
with blue eyes
at the beach today.
He let me pat him and tell him
how beautiful he is.

He took a cookie
gently from me.
"He has a kind heart,"
his person said,
and, yes, I could see
that he had a kind heart,
as do all animals
who have not been abused
and made fearful
by humans.

What a gift it is
when an animal gives you
his heart,
his trust,
his paw.

We should never
take it for granted.

I met a white wolf-dog
with blue eyes
on the beach today.
He took a little of my heart
with him
when he walked away.



Thursday, December 27, 2018

Small Child



Small child,
in your world-weary stare,
a thousand ancient lives have passed,
no dawn breaking 
on the horizon.

You walked so far,
thirsty, hungry,
footsore.
Your Papa told you
when you reached us,
life would get better.
There would be food, a bed,
and more.

Though you walked
with all your heart
and all your hope,
trusting your Papa 
would keep you safe,
your small body
could take no more.
You found your relief
in heaven,
not on our shore
and, because of that,
your father's tears
will never cease.

Fly, little bird,
fly free.
Find a more peaceful sky
in which 
to be.


Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, age seven, died on December 15, in custody of U.S. Border Patrol, after a long journey from Guatemala, where she and her father were fleeing violence and poverty, in hopes of finding a better life. US government sources blame the victims, rather than those following inhumane orders, for this tragic death.

No child of seven should have lived the pain reflected in Jakelin's weary, hopeless eyes. And now there is also Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, age eight, who also died in the custody of custom officials. (How do they sleep at night?)

I don't know how much more of this heartless regime I can take. When will people take to the streets and demand that it ends? I am hoping the Women's March on January 17 will have impact. Spokeswomen for the march say they are marching for this little girl, and for Felipe. They are marching for a saner world for children to grow up in.

There is so much that needs saving. Pick what matters most to you and write to your elected officials. It does have impact. March if you are able to.

Another help for Mother Earth: plant food and trees.



This Poem is an Elf, a Grandma and a Cup of Tea



This poem is a conclave of elves
This poem is a fairy tale,
told to a small child by her grandmother
This poem is a cup of my Grandma's tea

This poem is chock full of elves
clustered under a speckled toadstool in the forest.
They are hiding from a small girl-child,
peeping out from under the toadstool's rim
with eyes that winkle and shine.
This poem is a conclave of elves.

This poem is a small girl sitting in front of the fire
listening to stories, on long, quiet winter afternoons.
"Watch the blue fairies, dancing in the flames,"
her grandma says, and she looks,
and sees the fairies.
This story has no beginning, and no end.

This poem is a song sung by druids
in the springs and groves of a woodland dell,
as violet shadows lengthen at close of day.
This poem has standing stones in it, and ghosts,
myth and blarney from County Cork,
laced with a spoon of golden honey
in a shamrock teacup of amber verbena,
a cup of my grandmother's tea.

This poem is a conclave of elves,
winkling and shining in stories of long ago.
This poem is a fairy tale told to a small child
by a Grandmother who knew
small children need mothering.
This poem is a cup of my Grandma's tea,
in a time whose memory shines more brightly than today


* Celtic and Welsh meanings for the word druid are seers, and sorcerers. Poets may be numbered among this group. Smiles. They played an important part in ancient pagan Celtic society according to Wikipedia.

This poem, written in 2015, is (mostly) patterned after Hannah Gosselin's wonderful Boomerang Poem form, introduced at Real Toads in 2014. One of my favourite forms.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

SAMHAIN

collage created by Steve Sullivan, the Unknown Gnome

They say the dead are among us,
we just can't see them.
On Samhain,
when the veils between the worlds
are thin,
are your paws padding softly beside me,
as they did for so long?

I keep waiting,
for the weight of your snout
on the side of my bed,
to wake me
each morning,
as it did the morning after you died,
then never again.

Perhaps you are 
just the hint
of a cold breeze on my cheek,
an ache, some tears,
a sigh.

Where have you gone,
my big, noisy boy,
when I can no longer feel you,
other than a missing
that goes on forever,
in my heart?


It is a bit late for a poem about samhain (halfway between halloween and solstice). But I am reading about dogs right now, which makes me miss Pup even more. Today I felt like sharing this poem from  2016 with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Old Maid



In the sunporch at the back of Grandma's cottage, we spent many happy hours: listening to thunderstorms, chatting, playing Old Maid. Grandma would stick one of the cards up above the others, tempting me to take it. The trick was, sometimes it would be the Old Maid sticking up, and you'd think, no, it can't be the Old Maid, too obvious. So you'd take it, and Grandma would chortle with glee. Another time, she'd stick a card up, and you wouldn't take it, remembering the last time. A torturous decision. This time it would be an innocent card, and the one you chose, just to the left of it, would be the Old Maid. Cackles. When I was a Grandma, I tried the same tricks, but my grandkids were smarter and less gullible  than I was as a child, so they soon figured it out; my tricks didn't work for long. Self-fulfilling prophecy, as a child and again as a Grandma, I was - and am - always the Old Maid.


Smiles. A fun memory from childhood for  Magaly's prompt at Real Toads: to write a prose poem.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Song You Sang When You Were Young

This was taken days before his death.
He already knew he was leaving.
This photo haunts me.


You had a song you sang
when you were young;
who you were
you already knew,
long before the laughing buffoons
who tormented you
had a clue.

You were my friend,
always waiting for me
at the corner of Richter and Elliott
in the snow.
We’d crunch across the field
to the lighted school,
where you would play my champion
and I would play the fool.

I lost you for a time;
recall your gaze at me,
so wondering and sad,
as you left my house that day,
my ignorant ex,
beard all a-bristle,
obviously mad,
your eyes speaking
what you were much too kind
to say.

I found you years later,
when I was free,
so glad to finally be
that friend to you
that you’d always been
to me.

But you were tired, by then:
gay-bashed, dismissed
by the system
as a being of little worth,
definitively, by your own hand,
you left this earth.
Your note to me said
you hoped I'd understand.
You were glad I found you,
and your love was true,
but you couldn’t take
how hard life was
just trying to be you.

You had a song you sang
when you were young.
When it stopped, I lost you
for the second time;
the rest of your beautiful song
will forever be unsung.




Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A SONG FOR SOLSTICE



With all of the things you have learned
from your long journeying,
with all of your heartache
that taught you to love and to cry,
and with all of your dreaming
that helped you to live,
with that same loving heart and merry laugh
that has brought you to the ocean's shore,

come out at dusk and celebrate 
the full cold moon
at the place where the tide 
kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.

Yesterday morning's dawn
approached as pink and fresh 
as a young maiden
singing the new day in.
Tonight shows itself 
as a wise old woman
with knowing smile,
tapping her cane and hobbling.
But she still remembers 
her dancing feet,
she remembers,
and, in her heart,
she is still dancing
across the beloved landscape
with joy.

You grew your soul
all green with wilderness
and wild with wolf-breath,
in a forest of great and ancient
tree beings
breathing peace.
You owe them
your every breath,
each one their gift
to us.
The journey has been astonishing,
magical; 
it has brought you
here,
to the edge
of the sea.

And now you are looking at
those far, snow-capped mountains.
The echo of the heron's call
and wild wolfsong at midnight
will keep you here a while.
The tree trunks you hug
breathe their smiles at you;
they whisper,
"we waited for you, friend,
for all these many years."

The sea sings your soul-song,
the only song you ever knew.
It sang you out of the desert
and over the mountain pass
to the wild shores
of Clayoquot Sound.
It has carried you so far,
and it is singing, still.

Come out at dusk
to meet me
on the shortest day,
in the place where
 the tide 
kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.

Let earth and sky
inform your grateful heart
that, finally and forever,
you are Home.


A poem that came to me in a rush, as I contemplated this year's winter Solstice on December 21st, the actual moment being 2:23 p.m. Pacific time. There will be a Full Cold Moon that night, and the next, as we enter winter's dark, restful time.

Tuesday, December 11, 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?

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
(perhaps in vain) 
we dream, 
we dream,
we dream 
of peace.



I reworked a poem from 2017 for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: Peace on Earth. Which feels far away in these troubled times. We need to elect a world of grandmothers and pacifists, who will use intelligence, earth wisdom and diplomacy to govern, rather than greed, and "might" and "right". Sigh. I referenced the old tune in my closing lines. We dream indeed.

Also sharing with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Memories Elusive


there came a time
when memories flew
like leaves upon the wind
falling upon her quiet hours

~she plucked them, one by one ~

as over time they slowed, fading, almost gone,
she reaching for the last few
(ephemeral, drifting, elusive)
until they fell no more.


I tried my first puente for Marian's prompt at Real Toads - the middle line being a bridging thought for the two stanzas. Marian's example puente at Toads is spectacular! Ouch. I hope this poem is not prophetic. But my Grandma lived to be almost a hundred, with memories intact. We live in hope (not to live to a hundred, but to keep the memories.)




Thursday, December 6, 2018

HOMECOMING



The film is grainy. It is Christmas, 1950, and, one by one, the beloved faces come out the door at 364 Christleton, my Grandma’s house. Smiling into the camera, our grandparents, beaming with their children around them, come from afar, my favourite uncle, his wife and daughter; my mom and dad; my mom’s younger sister, with her piquant smile, tip-toeing down the stairs. My younger uncle with his shock of wheat-coloured hair, and his wife, only she left alive, now as curled and frail as an autumn leaf. They were so beautiful, impossibly sophisticated, I thought then, with their then-considered-cool cigarettes, and their laughing chatter. My aunt would take out a cigarette and tap it on the package, my courtly uncle swooping across the room to gallantly light it. “Time to go, Mother Bear?” he’d ask, as the evening lengthened, and she would smile, theirs the love story that fed my dreams, until it all fell apart and his eyes took on the hurt look of one betrayed. 

On our last Christmas with our mother, (though we didn’t know that then), we played this film of her glory years, and she cried and cried, for all those missing faces, all that was gone. And now I am almost the age that she was then, and more faces are missing. But I remember, I remember, the small cottage on Christleton Avenue, when I was young, and all those shining, smiling, beautiful faces, coming out the door, one by one. All but my last frail aunt now gathered Home.

Aunts and uncles smile
Christmases of bygone years
Tears for dear ones gone


for my prompt at Real Toads: Homecoming. What are the places that gather you in, that say "Home" to you? Is there someone of whom you can say "I loved you more"? Also shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Where (Hu)Man is Not



I found a place on the planet
where wildlife is safe and flourishing,
where trees and vegetation have taken over,
where there is peace
for forests and wild animals.
There, happiness and harmony abide.

Its name is
Chernobyl.



for Susan's  prompt at Midweek Motif: to write a poem with a surprise in it. The animals of Chernobyl are benefitting from the nuclear accident. Their lives have improved. This says a lot about the heavy footprint humans have on the planet. When you remove us from an area, it flourishes.