Friday, August 16, 2019

Using Our Words



I was fourteen when poems started pouring through me. An English teacher encouraged me, and submitted some work for me. The one critical comment that came back was "I hope you arent going to be the kind of poet who glories in being obscure." I never forgot it.

That comment may be why I have so rarely bothered submitting my work. I think sometimes critics think they must always be critical. I get far more gratification from sharing my work online and am grateful for those who take the time to read it.

I was taught that feedback should always be respectful and constructive. Words have the power to uplift, or drag someone down. I keep in mind that a person is putting his heart out there, along with his words. I can almost always find something positive to say. If i read something that disturbs me, i simply scroll away without comment.

I keep in mind that someone who uses words harshly is likely coming from a place of inner pain. If  directed at me, i try using kindness in that instance, and find a point i can empathize with in what they say. I like living in a world that is kind. It pains me that there is so much unhappy rhetoric going on these days in the media. It drags our spirits down. Out in the big world, toxic rhetoric is having its hey-day.

In our community, i value that comments are usually supportive and affirmative. We have own little world in here. We can keep it a kind one.

For Magaly's interactive Moonlight Musings.


At the End, Only Earth and Sky



We are born in a whoosh of water;
gasp in our first breath, then we cry:
water, essential, from our very first day.

Through the Sacred Medicine Wheel
I journeyed,
dipped my toes in a magical sea,
soul thrumming with the song of the waves.
My sign, my element, my spirit's home:
Mother Ocean.

Above, the sky, the vast expanse,
curving over all -
the great blue bowl of ether.
Underfoot, the earth, brown and humble
and mothering.

I bow to you, Sky, I sing with you, Wind,
I dance in the rain, laughing,
the rush of raindrops on my face
cleansing my spirit,
washing all negative energy away.

When I am clean,
when the Great Bowl Above grows dark,
I creep homeward,
settle beside the fire,
remember the winking stars,
the wheeling seabirds,
the many rivers and beaches
I have loved,
all the beauty gracing 
this span of time
that is still mine.

In memory, 
my grandmother's long, white finger
points at the glass of water
on her bedside table
as she lay dying.
"The dead always ask for water,"
she had told me, and it is true.
Water: a single tear rolling down her cheek
as we said goodbye.

To the earth I bow, in gratitude,
in homecoming.
It waits to receive me, in turn,
when that final moment comes,
when I will become one
with All That Is.

First, there is water,
at the end
only earth and sky.


I re-worked a poem from 2015 for my prompt at Real Toads: Messages From Water.

And sharing with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dream Makers

Book Wall - La Catrina

Dream makers, dream breakers,
It is almost a revolution.
In this city of bones,
there is a darkness more than night.
Wild horses  race the wind; angels take flight.
It is rough country for the dark child.

But I dream after the darkness,
along the edge of America,
silent honor will finally
raise its head.
We will reclaim the country
that used to be us.

Fighting back against the
dark wind of hateful rhetoric,
we will rise and shine. Our kindness
will transform the landscape
as we take
the long road home
to the centre of
our collective consciousness,
(consciences?),
and become the society
we are meant to be.

For Margaret's cool prompt at Real Toads: using ten book titles in a poem.

It is amazing that one person's hate speech has unleashed so much darkness. It has crossed the border into Canada; racist and violent incidents are occurring that never did before in such numbers. I pray for change in 2020. Someone strong enough to turn this tide of inhumanity and intolerance around.

Wow. Now I am watching Joni Mitchell in Both Sides Now. She is singing:

We are stardust.
We are golden
And we've got to
Find our way
Back to the garden."

Yes. We do. We want to. So we can.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Does Anyone Remember Uncle Chichimus?



"Where's the stick?" my sister asks her pup
in a high, squeaky voice,
and I am transported back in time
to when she was six years old,
with long, blonde ringlets,
and we watched Hollyhock
(of the high-pitched voice)
and Uncle Chichimus
on tv after school.

It was a gentler time.
There weren't many channels.
There were no remotes.
There were regulations
to make sure tv shows
didn't offend peoples' sensibilities,
or corrupt the children.

I picture my grandmother's horrified face
if she watched television now.
Now the nightly news offends,
and the leaders of the world
are corrupt and mad.

Zoey brings the stick
up from the river.
"Good girl," says Hollyhock.

We go home.
We don't turn on
the news.

For Sumana's Midweek Motif: televised.

I remember the family watching Father Knows Best on Sunday nights, followed by Ed Sullivan. Sigh. I wonder how today's children hang onto hope, with all they are bombarded with in the media. I hope they do. There is still so much beauty around. But Hollyhock and Uncle Chichimus wouldnt get the ratings any more.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Last Star of the Morning




Traveler walks like a moving tree,
like a wind-whisper, singing,
like the breath of dawn.

Traveler is a part 
of the landscape;
she carries with her
a corner of the sky.

Traveler rises with the morning sun.
She is always walking towards
the next sunset.

There is the last star of morning
on her shoulder.
She wears the first star
of evening in her hair.

The moon is her mistress,
a songbird flies from branch
to branch beside her,
and a wolf-shadow
companions
her every step.



An old one from 2011, re-posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find many beautiful offerings every Sunday morning! Come join us!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Begin Again


My great-grandson a dozen years ago,
with my sister's love-bug, Lukey


This poem
woke up this morning
to a new day.

It looked around
and saw much
to foster despair.
But we are alive
at this moment in time,
so this poem decided
to live today
the best it knows how,
while there is a today
in which to live.

This poem
is grateful
that we get another chance
every morning
to begin
again.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Shine




When you shine,
you light up
the space around you
the way a sunflower,
turning its face to the sun,
makes us happy
as we pass by.

There are dark clouds.
There is turmoil.
There is pain enough
for three planets
on this beautiful
blue-green orb.

But your smile
and your good heart -
your hand reaching out 
to help spread kindness
all around -
makes a difference; it
brightens up your little corner
of the world.

If you shine,
everybody's going to shine.


for Marian's prompt at Real Toads: Queen Lizzo's song "If I'm shining everybody gonna shine."


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Safety


The news is distressing.
Wildlife is dying,
the poles are melting,
bears are being shot as they flee,
refugees find no welcome
at their last resort,
mass shootings are reported as
"the latest one",
and there is no safety
anywhere.

The safest place I ever knew
was my grandma's little cottage
on Christleton Avenue,
where peace was so profound
I could hear the clock
on the kitchen windowsill
ticking and tocking
in every corner of the house.

I learned peace
at my grandmother's knee
and created it for myself
and my children
in every home I ever lived in.

I feel it now
when I walk down
the apartment hallway
and turn the key in the lock:
my small rooms, my sanctuary,
place of peace and safety
in this mad, mad world.


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Safety




Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Going, going, gone



Where is safety
when the Arctic is melting
and Siberia is burning,
when the Pacific Island nations are under water,
and governments are deaf to mounting crises?

Starving polar bears and displaced black bears
wander into villages and are killed.
Whales grow thinner and die; 
they lose their young.

And humans driven from their homes
by things they cannot help
are met with no welcome anywhere.

For now, safety lives in 
our hearts and our homes,
but when will the waters rise for us?
When will the food run out?
Will we care then,
when our homes are washed away,
and crisis comes to our own village?

We are sadly lacking world leaders
strong enough to put planet before profit.
Women, guardians of life, 
would make the tough choices,
if we we were given the chance.

Patriarchy and capitalism have 
plundered the earth.
The poles are wavering under 
the burden of their melted ice.
Where is safety when Siberia is burning
and the polar ice caps are melting?

Gone, with the old ways of 
caretaking the earth, and each other........
gone like the hot lick of wind off burning tundra,
gone like the whales,
the bears and all the dispossessed,

           going, 
               going, 
                   gone.

**********************

Sorry, kids.

I have always been stubbornly optimistic and hopeful. I used to be irritatingly so. But I have a strong sense of justice and,  truly, as I am watching all that is happening - and all that is NOT happening - I am very discouraged. My words and my hope are drying up. I am grateful for the beauty surrounding me; we must appreciate what we have while we have it. But I am very nervous about what is happening up north. 

The Arctic is melting at an unprecedented rate, which will be hastened by the burning forests of Siberia. Those in power now are not equipped to handle a response to all this, especially once worse crisis hits. They aren't even faintly interested; it's business as usual (substitute "greed and corrupt power").

My last faint bit of hope is for the 2020 election. But it is faint. The 2016 election was manipulated; of course the next one will be too. He can apparently get away with anything. 

Well. This is depressing. But it is what poured out with the word "safety". None to be had anywhere - especially for hungry bears and displaced South Americans. 

A mama bear and her two malnourished cubs were unable to access their usual forest route, as humans had blocked it off. They wandered into a neighbourhood in Coquitlam last week. They were not acting aggressively. They were FLEEING wildlife people, trying to find their forest, when they were shot dead. Wildlife officials said the bears were "not cooperating" - should they have stood still for their execution?

Locals who were yelling "Don't shoot the bears!" were ARRESTED and their video of the shooting confiscated. (Bravo to them for speaking up.) EIGHT bears have been killed in Coquitlam in July. 

I have such a big problem with the killing of displaced wildlife. It is not their fault they have no habitat. We are too many.


for Susan's Midweek Motif at Poets United: Safety. With my apologies for all that has gone so wrong on this beautiful, suffering planet. Not sure who I am apologizing too? God? Mother Earth? Wildlife? Immigrants seeking safe harbour? All of the above.




SONG OF RIVERS


Sandy McRuer photo 


Sing to me with Raven's gobble-cry,
with krak! of heron, hoot of sleepy owl.
Sing with the current slipping fast away,
the traveler's path, high heart  and wolfish howl.

Bear walks into the river, palms a salmon,
sits in the water, eats from his mighty paw.
Eagle, fierce of eye, in topmost tree,
waits for the leavings, as I watch in awe.

Such is nature as she's meant to be:
a cyclical return: salmon through bear
and back to nurture earth.
Sing me misty riverbank, and green,
a wealth of beauty ours 'tween death and birth.

Sing me a song of rivers flowing to the sea,
wolf howls at midnight under the full moon.
Sing its song of homecoming to me,
for, like the river, I'll be returning soon.



I found this in drafts, written in 2016. I can read it two ways: in 2016, I was still waiting to return to Tofino. Checked that one off my bucket list! Also, at my age, there is the natural returning of bodies to the earth to contemplate. The photo is of the foot of the river at Stamp Falls, where bears often come, as it is on the salmon migratory route. I went there often when I lived in Port Alberni, and sometimes saw bears and eagles there.

Sharing with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.


Friday, August 2, 2019

Stitches Made by Fairy Fingers



When I walk into the forest, the big old tree trunks lean their ears towards me, listening. I am singing the Forest Song……song of cedar, draped with Old Man’s Beard, so fine and soft-spun, it looks like small wing├ęd fairy folk may have stitched it onto the trees.



Perhaps they are peeping out at us, now, from under some mushrooms.





Who decorated the rock with green lace? Who planted the seeds that grew the flaming flowers sprouting on the rock-face?




Moss and seagrass are soft and sweet. Brother eagle, once he has woven his nest of twigs, will gather some to line his nest, so his chicks will have soft beds.




Magical beings live in the forest. Some we see; some hide themselves away. When all Two-Leggeds have gone home at the end of day, and the forest is returned to them, the creatures all come out. Wolf and bear pad softly along the forest trails.

This is the time of fairy-folk, who tiptoe about stitching moss and old man’s beard onto tall branches. Perhaps it is they who lay soft green along the rocks, on which to spread their fine china for fairy repasts under the light of the moon.

Brother Eagle was busy all day building his nest. He is tired now. But Sister Owl keeps watch from a fat, wide branch, her yellow eyes like lamps through the darkness, ready to alert the forest folk should unwelcome guests arrive.

When I visit, next day, the fairy dishes have long since been cleared away, and all of the creatures have hidden themselves, except for Brother Eagle, still working tirelessly at his nest. Strong and wide, it will last for generations of young eagles, who will take that mighty leap from its edge, springtime after springtime, as long as there is earth and water,  sky and tree.

************

313 words for Magaly's Telling Tales Pantry of Prose prompt at 
Poets United:  Stitches. 

I didn't have a photo of old man's beard handy, but it looks JUST like an old man's beard, thin and scraggly, draped among the branches throughout the forest, like angel hair on a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES


Emily Carr's Mountain Forest


I open my window to the music of the spheres:
call of mourning dove, hoot of owl,
trees standing tall down all the years,
creek trickling over rocks, sings her morning song:
"we are all one here; we all belong."

I open my door to the beauty near at hand.
Trees are the wisdom-keepers
of truth we don't understand.
The mountains teach patience.
The river teaches joy.
The ley lines map a direction
we'd be wise to employ.

I open my soul to the expansiveness of sky,
deep mystery of the heavens,
planets swirling by,
moon and stars and clouds
each in its perfect place.
As are we, no matter what we face.

It is all here ~
everything we need, for wonder ~
starry skies above and we down under,
like candles, catching the flame and flaring,
like hearts, catching the light and sharing,
warm, like the sun coming out,
after rain.
Hopeful, like the morning comes,
again and yet again.


for my prompt at Real Toads: the Art of Emily Carr.

Sky Watching

Combers Beach


Wild Woman has walked around
her whole life,
head tipped back and
grinning at the sky.

She is in love with blue,
lover of clouds and birds.
The changing canvas
holds her captive;
it keeps her Looking Up.

Friends, there is a
Sky-Show going on
this very minute!
Look out, look up,
and cast your grateful eye:
endless wonder awaits
when you fall in love
with Sky.


for Magaly's prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: not-so-old-fashioned hobbies. Sky-watching is mine.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Dance Lightly on the Earth



Dance lightly on the earth,
my friends, dance lightly,
for everywhere we place our foot
small universes are unfolding.

We tread like giants
through a microscopic world,
wipe out small insect armies
with our boot.

After we pass, the reconstructions starts:
blades of grass try to straighten
bent and broken bodies;
surviving ants  commence
the tedious gathering of sand.

The small ones meet
to survey the dissarray.
"What was that?"
"It must have been a Giant.
Did you feel the ground tremble
as he passed?"

Our footsteps cause small tsunamis
in the forest.
Let's dance lightly,
eyes open to the small lives
lived along the pathways
where we place our feet.



Saturday, July 27, 2019

All Hearts Head Home at Eventide




The trees are radiant, amber,
in the brilliant glow of eventide,
time for all earth's creatures to head home.

Horses clip-clop to the barn,
the dog sits by his bowl.
All hearts start heading home at eventide.

The round, womanly mountains
along the harbour turn deep rose
as all the little boats chug in to shore.

Late afternoon is a golden time,
earth blazing beauty before the dark
as if the light will never come again.

The crickets sing an overture.
The stars wait in the wings.
We hold our breath, before night's curtains part.

Life hangs suspended 'twixt a shadow and a dream.
We gather our loved ones closer while we can.
All hearts start heading home at eventide.





for Kim's prompt at Real Toads: to write a pastoral poem after the fashion of Jane Kenyon's "Let Evening Come." 

Friday, July 26, 2019

My Heart is a Fiddlehead Fern




My heart is a wild fiddlehead fern,
unraveling its stem slowly as I raise my face 
to the sun.

My veins are sap rising,
sending nourishment to my leafy arms
waving at the sky.

My feet are planted deeply
in Mother Earth,
loving the warm dark underworld,
so rich with life and nourishment,
so sustaining,
that encourages my unfolding.

My heart is a wild fiddlehead fern,
that needs an intact forest
to survive.


We think that we are apart from nature, when in truth, we are just another of nature's creatures, neither less nor more important. We are systems, intricately designed, by a Master Engineer, to give us - each human, each worm, each fiddlehead fern - exactly what we need to survive, as long as we understand our interconnection with all things. And even when we don't,  Mother Earth is so generous to her creatures.

One from 2014, this summer's day. Sharing with  the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find fine reading every Sunday morning. Do join us!   



Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Landscape Longing for Repose



I like for you to be still;
mindless chatter
makes my head hurt.
I prefer to listen to bees,
and the small sound the hummers make
when they dive-bomb the nasturtiums.

I like for you to be still.
At the shore, there are wave-songs,
joyously singing melodies
I need to hear.
They say, if you are quiet, and listen,
you can hear ants singing by rubbing
their back legs together.
I have been listening ever since
for their song.

In the forest, there is a symphony
of leafsong and summer breeze,
the timpani of  light raindrops on salal.
But you have to be silent
to hear the sweet sounds
of nature at her work.
One must still one's heart
to notice the sky
casting a benign, bemused glance
upon we earthlings,
as we scurry about like demented ants
on a landscape longing for repose.




for Sanaa's prompt at Real Toads: to take the title of Neruda's poem, "I Like For You to be Still" as our inspiration. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sufi Dancing in My Head


Small hummers
buzz around the feeder
like small Sufi dancers,
twirling
on Wild Woman's deck.

Wild Woman watches,
enchanted.
She has vertigo,
so, inside her woozy cranium,
she joins them
in their ecstatic whirling.
Her heart  swirls up and up.
Wild Woman is
Sufi dancing in her head.


The most positive spin on vertigo I can manage. LOL. One looks for the plusses. I have always marveled at Sufi dancers. Now I can imagine how they feel, with all that beautiful twirling.

for Sumana's cool prompt at Midweek Motif: Dance. Even hobbling, when John Lennon is on the cd player, Wild Woman can still sometimes manage a lick or two across her cozy room.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mr Trudeau, will your children bathe tonight?


ESPECIALLY in Attawapiskat,
where they have had polluted, 
undrinkable water for years.

***

As our elected officials go home
after work tonight,
from the halls of power in Ottawa,
as their children bathe before bed,
may they spare a thought
to our fellow citizens in the north,
who have no clean water to drink,
no clean water in which 
to bathe their babies.

What we in larger centres 
would not put up with
for a week,
our  neighbours to the north
have lived with for years.

The water itself
is ashamed of this.
It is the carrier of life and health,
and does not recognize itself
in these murky depths.

***



A state of emergency has been declared in Attawapiskat. Levels of contaminants  in the village's water system (carcinogenic over long usage) have increased.

Young Water Protector Autumn Peltier recently traveled to this northern community, where they have had a boil water advisory for YEARS. This was heightened to a Do Not Drink advisory. Nothing has been done to address the problem of undrinkable water.  

And now the population of just under two thousand have been told they may not even BATHE or wash their vegetables in the water. There are TWO taps in the entire village where people, including elders, must go to carry buckets of filtered water back to their home. 

This is clearly unacceptable. Autumn said, quite rightly, "I was called to action as Chief Water Commissioner to come and visit Attawapiskat, a northern community that is in a clean water crisis. What I heard and experienced is very sad.....Why is it that my people in indigenous communities have to continue to live in third world conditions?"

Good question, Autumn. Mr. Trudeau? Any answers?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

When Women Had Wings



Far back, in the time
when women had wings,
my foremothers flew.
They sat in council, governing,
around the communal fire.
Their eyes flashed; their utterances
were wise, and respected.
In those times, the waters ran clear,
and the land was bountiful.

In the crooning of the wind,
I hear the names this life has given me:
Walks Far Woman,
Woman Who Talks to Trees,
In Love With the Sea Woman, and
Daughter of the Sky.

Part of me has not yet
fully landed in this place.
My DNA still remembers 
we come from particles of stars.
Our collective memory recalls those times,
when women had wings,
and our foremothers flew,
when living with the land
is what we knew.


A poem from 2014. I was reminded of it while reading If Women Rose Up Rooted by Sharon Blackie. Here is a quote:

"If women remember that once upon a time we sang with the tongues of seals and flew with the wings of swans, that we forged our own paths through the dark forest while creating a community of its many inhabitants, then we will rise up rooted, like trees.........then women might indeed save, not only ourselves, but the world."

Time for women to rise up. Time for the walls of misguided patriarchy to crumble. For the sake of the children and all earthlings.

Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Willow Weep



"I think of lovers as trees, 
growing to and from one another, 
searching for some light."
       - Warsan Shire, 
         The Unbearable Weight of Staying


You leaned your willowy trunk
towards me; soft veiny leaves
brushing my face tentatively.
I was braced for flight.
I leaned away, afraid of blight.

My inner trunk was born
to age alone, weathered and strong.

But I watched, all those years,
the other trees dancing,
flinging their leafy arms about with joy,
loving, singing, exchanging soft sighs.
I always wondered why

I never knew
how to so easily connect, to trust,
(as lovers must),
or how to stick and stay.

I wondered why I never learned
how to love that way.


for Toni's cool prompt at Real Toads: to take  one of the quotes offered and springboard a poem. And of course the answer lies in childhood, when love hurts that much.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Eau de Dawg





I love Eau de Dawg,
on wriggling puppy armful ~
Breathe in all the love





This is my sister's dog Zoey, who loves to climb up on any available lap, when her people sit down. The second photo was taken in the forest trails of Port Alberni, that run all through town.

for Sanaa's Midweek Motif prompt: Perfume



Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer Morning in Tofino



In this late summer of my life,
I am drawn back to other summers
......one summer a child in pony tail and pedal pushers,
eyes full of dreams,
biking through the countryside,
(meadowlarks calling from the pasture;
scent of snapdragon and sweet pea,
lilac and japonica in
my grandmother's garden)

......one summer a teen full of romantic wonderings,
(back then, it was always summer)
Connie Francis and I singing Where the Boys Are
the record player spinning dream on dream
(scent of peony and apple blossom
will forever take me back,
lake-scent and whisperings
engraved on my heart)

.......the years I was a young mom,
sharing with my children
the joys of summer at the lake
(ripples lapping the shore,
ice cream cones and weeping willow,
long hot lazy afternoons
I somehow thought
would never end).....

My first summer in Tofino....
liberation! (the call of the waves,
the song of the sea,
the joy of being where
I was meant to be).

On this July morning,
remembering
all the summers of my life,
I can hear the seabird's cry
(that set me on my pilgrim's path
those many years ago),
so grateful it has brought me here
again beside the shore
(another summer in Tofino -
I could not ask for more.)




Sharing this with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday morning. Hope you join us!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

BIRD WEATHER



She blew in on the Northerly,
and perched like a raven
in the corner of his heart.
With his blackbird soul,
his wings folded up across his chest
for protection,
he tried to shoo her off.
But the way she stayed
spoke to him,
and he dared to try again.

There were storms.
There are always storms.
But then the weather would clear.
The sunny days would lull them
for a time.

He was dark and craggy,
as beautiful and weathered
as an old mountain,
feet in the clay, head in the clouds,
his heart a wide expanse of yearning
for high skies,
though his wings could not remember
how to fly.
  
She was ephemeral as 
early morning mist,
along the mountain's shoulders.
The nature of vapour is 
tentative;
it has a tendency
to slip away.

There was heartbreak.
There is always heartbreak,
two souls too frightened to trust
what they had found.
She flew out
on the Westerly,
headed for the sea.

In old age,
she remembers
how the doves cooed at dawn,
a glimpse of blue sky over his shoulder
on the rooftop
on summer afternoons.

The weather of love
is so changeable.
It requires more faith
than injured hearts can give.


for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Weather. This is a new poem, re-worked from an old one. Right now, after a very long dry winter and spring, with our rainforest drying up, we are finally getting some rain, to our great relief.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Gaia's Dream




Gaia dreams
the walls of patriarchy are crumbling.
Under midnight stars,
at the 11th hour on Planet Earth,
we contemplate
what new thing may emerge
from the ruins.

Wise goddesses are waiting
in the wings,
ready to forge a path
through the bracken
based on the Old Ways:
ways of life, not death.

The Black Snake will dry up
and fade away.
Green life and all animals
will flourish.

Mother Earth will breathe
clean air
once again.

We need those wise goddesses. Sharing this with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

In Fading Dream


Can a poem ease
the ache in my heart,
as so many animals and people
are suffering and dying?

Can a poem give hope
at the end of the newscast from hell,
when it feels like
a habitable future on earth
is being lost?

Can a poem lead us forward
into an uncertain tomorrow,
or give comfort to ease
all the dying, the dying, the dying,
thepainthepainthepain?

Yet I can't stop writing words
to chart this journey
that has left the rails of all reason
and spun off into Impossible,
in faint hope that enough minds
will become illuminated,
awakened, inspired
for Change.

The leaders chase money
as whales full of plastic
wash up on beaches,
polar bears who are just bones in skin
collapse on melted landscapes,
sled dogs pull sleighs on water instead of ice,
and fossil-fuel-mad billionaires
fill their pockets
with all our tomorrows.

All we have left is today
and whatever words
of hope or comfort
- or despair -
we can find to say,
in fading dream
that somehow humankind
will quickly
find its way.


Sigh.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Away From Home, Remembering...



When I lived away from home, inland in the valley, missing the home of my spirit on the coast, I reflected often on the many sights I had gloried in there.

There were also the sounds of home in that beautiful place, that echoed within me always: rain pelting against the windshield  through the mountain passes, the swish-swish-swish of the windshield wipers: going home, going home! Enya on the car stereo, wind lashing the tall, gnarled pines at the highway’s edge, the sudden shock of a rock flung upward – crack! – and you slowed right down, heart beating fast. The joy of heading home – Home! – the very word a triumphant smile inside. Loving every inch of the highway that took me there.

It’s the sound of waves coming in like jet planes at South Beach in winter storm, walking a deserted shore, a gull flying by at shoulder-height, feeling like I was in an outtake of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the film that began my odyssey to the sea so many years ago. It’s the piercing shriek of an eagle’s cry, the raucous keening of the gulls massing on the sandbar at Combers, facing the sea, the signal a storm was coming; the bossy caw of the town crows, begging for scraps on the common. It’s the locals dressed as crows, cawing “happy solstice” to a crow-loving friend, on their knees around her, cawing upwards, her laughing face lit by candle glow. It’s the scold of a stellar’s jay on the rough-planked deck, Mozart wafting through the open cabin window. It’s the midnight storm lashing the cabin walls, waves in full fury against the dunes out front, me snug in bed and listening.

Those years away, home was within,  the sound of my beloved waves, forever advancing and retreating in my heart.





313 words for Telling Tales with Magaly at Poets United on Sunday: Away From Home


The Search For Home



My whole life has been a search for home. As a teen, refugee from violence and alcoholism in my childhood home, I gazed at perfect little cottages with white picket fences on my way to school. My longing for Normal Life was so great, the sight of milk bottles on the porches brought me to tears.

As an unhappily married young woman, I wore off the wheels of several baby buggies, pushing my children through long autumn afternoons, looking at houses I passed, dreaming of a home of my own that held happiness inside its walls. One especially unhappy night, walking across the city, I saw, in one window, a young woman reading, looking up with a smile as a young man brought her a cup of tea. A dream, a promise, of a perfection that never was to be mine.

I had three homes, and lost three, in my life.  I had to build my home inside myself, and carry it along, as a sand dollar creates its home from the sand and grit around it and carries it within.

In the second half of my life, my home has been a place, not a dwelling. Tofino has been the home of my spirit, in years when I lived here and years when I didn’t. Now, when I am away from home, my heart lifts, knowing it is waiting for me on return. When the bus points its nose up and over the mountains, with joy my eyes bless every tree and hill and cloud, all the way home.

How fortunate I am to live in the one place on the planet that is home to me. With such gratitude my eyes drink their fill of the beauty, the sights and sounds so dear to me, my whispered “thank you” a constant refrain -  thankfulness for Home, found, lost, and found again.


Inspired by the prompt at Telling Tales with Magaly: a Pantry of Prose.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

In Times Like These




A two year old girl
sitting on a bench 
chatting with her grandma
is killed by a loose brick
falling from eight stories up,
and landing on her head.

Not enough tears in the world
for times like these.

A native man stops
by a dead mama bear 

at the side of the road,
to lay tobacco to assist 

her spirit journey,
and finds two small cubs 

in the bushes,
waiting for their mama 

to wake up.
One has a length of tire rubber,
tossed by some careless human,
coiled around his neck, 

caught on a branch;
he struggles then goes limp.


The man revives him, 

mouth-to-mouth.
Wildlife Recovery takes 

the small cubs in,
but this one doesn’t make it.
On the news, the remaining baby
stands on tiptoe,
peering through the bars,
wondering where 

       his brother,
            his mama,
                 his wilderness 

have gone.

Not enough tears in the world
for times like these.

In my daughter’s yard,
a mama deer with a broken leg
and one small fawn
has taken shelter.
Likely she was hit 

by some fast fool zooming along 
the winding country road.
Wildlife Rescue isn’t returning 
calls for help;
mama hurts, 

the fawn grows hungry.

Not enough tears in the world,
and so I pen one more poem
for all small creatures,
bearing witness, with heartache,
to say I see, I care,
about how difficult it is for mothers
to keep their babies safe
in times like these.








For Sanaa’s prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: A Poem to Weather Uncertain Times. I am also thinking of the children at the southern borders, on concrete floors, as distressed as this small bear at what has happened to their worlds.

There is a news video about the small bears, if you click on the link. Tears are the only appropriate response to watching the evening news any more. We all need to slow down and become conscious of our fellow creatures.

I am reading Once More We Saw Stars, a memoir by Jayson Greene, about the death of his small daughter, hit by a falling brick. A heartbreaking read, but with hope by the end.

An excerpt: "I understand....Greta would be literally everywhere. Her love and presence would blanket me. She would be flowers, bees, sky, roots, dirt, frogs, water. And so would I.........I become Greta, and Greta becomes me. The two of us are soil cupped in the palms of the world."


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sanctuary

photo: Sergiy Gaschak


Thirty years after
the humans left this place,
thriving wildlife have reclaimed
the site as sanctuary,
a green and verdant forest
covering the land,
now one of the rare places
on the planet
where wild creatures
live undisturbed.

How sad,
that it takes a nuclear event
to provide safe haven
for wild creatures,
that it takes our absence
to make their lives
more possible.

After cataclysm,
after the ocean
covers coastal shores,
after flood, wildfire,
drought and famine,
after climate refugees
have walked a thousand miles
and fallen
off the edge of the world,

it gives me comfort
to imagine
- slowly, in barely perceptible 
increments of time -
greenness unfolding
across the land once more,
wolf and bear and deer
creeping back,
finding no trace of us,
making their way,
hesitant yet unhindered,
as in the earliest days 
of our collective memory -
the garden unfolding
all its beauty
under friendly 
benign skies
once more.

credit: Valeriy Yurko


for Bjorn's prompt at Real Toads: to imagine the world after a nuclear event. My thoughts went to Chernobyl. I remember I was afraid, back then, that a nuclear explosion would trigger other reactors in a chain reaction. Instead, it is rather unsettling to know that, thirty years later, because humans left the area, it is now thriving as a wildlife sanctuary, one place on the planet where wild creatures get to live undisturbed.

An article at Blue Dot Magazine states, "Humans, it seems, are worse than a nuclear disaster. A long-term study of animal populations around Chernobyl has found wildlife to be flourishing in the absence of human activity. A team of scientists surveyed the human exclusion zone surrounding the site, observing large animals like deer and elk to be in abundance despite lingering radiation."