Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sky Woman's People

In the long ago,
when the world was young,
Sky Woman fell to earth,
landing on the back of a turtle,
clutching seeds and dreams.

Her (and our) instructions:
to use her gifts for good.

The animals helped her
to make a world.
Plants made food
from seeds and light and water,
and gave it all away
that all might live.

The hole in the sky
through which Sky Woman fell
is still sending beams of light,
bathing we wayward humans,
in an effort to awaken
our remembering.

The light is urging us
to transform this world
back to its beginnings,
when plants, animals and sky
breathed us into the world,
and everything was one.

We are being asked
to remember:
we are all
Sky Woman's people.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: Light. And shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.  This poem was inspired by legends of the indigenous people, handed down in oral tradition. I especially love the legend of Skywoman, arriving on Turtle Island.

Monday, May 20, 2019


When all of life is threatened,
and barbarians are strutting through
the halls of power,
when our future survival
hangs by a thread,
it is said that is when
the Shambhala warriors 
will arrive.

They are bodhisattvas,
beings of peace.
You may not recognize them -
(or you might: 
check out Joe Kennedy III,
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,
Emma Gonzalez and Greta Thunberg).

Armed with weapons
of compassion and insight,
courage and integrity,
they will dismantle 
the ways of death,
and lead us on a new path,
for the time has come
for a great Turning.

When you feel this earth grief 
we carry
is too much to bear, 
take heart.
It is because you care
that you are alive 
at just this moment,
to assist the transformation
from the patriarchal 
to the divine feminine.
Women are rising up everywhere.
They are planting trees and gardens,
cleaning streams and beaches,
standing guard to protect 
the sacred waters.
They are protecting life,
gathering together
to oppose the ways of war.

Women are wise in the ways
of growing things: 
food, animals, children.
We reject the ways of death.
Women understand that all things 
are connected.
We are each a strand in
the web of life.

Mother Earth is speaking to us, now,
with all of her voices. 
Let us hear her,
add our voices to hers, 
love this world
back together again.

A poem from 2017 I feel like sharing today, when the news is so bad it is hard to hold onto hope, or to think the warriors will hasten fast enough. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019


On the last night
at the end of the world,
as the ocean obliterated
the entire coastline, 
east and west,
she raised a glass of House red
in homage
to all
we might have been.

for Magaly's prompt at Real Toads: to use irony in a poem based on one or all of the New Yorker cartoons. I picked the first one but really, it could have been all three.

Friday, May 17, 2019


[An excerpt from the book Deep Creek, Finding Hope in the High Country, by Pam Houston]

How do I feel hope on a dying planet, and if there is no hope to be found, how do I live in its absence? In what state of being? Respect? Tenderness? Unmitigated love? The rich and sometimes deeply clarifying dreamscape of vast inconsolable grief?

….Even now, evidence of the earth’s ability to heal herself is all around us, a daily astonishment……This book has been an effort to write my way to understanding of how to be alive in the meantime, in the final days, if not of the earth, then at least of the earth as I’ve known her. Because it  has only been in knowing her that I’ve come to know myself.

…..I want to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief without having to diminish one to accommodate the other. I want to be honest with myself about our condition, but also to love the damaged world and do what I can to help it thrive.

……..I want to sit vigil with the earth……I want to write unironic odes to her beauty, which is still potent, if not completely intact. The language of wilderness is the most beautiful language we have and it is our job tossing it, until and even after it is gone, no matter how much it hurts………

….the earth doesn’t know how not to be beautiful.

-Pam Houston


The author has written my feelings exactly, loving earth’s beauty with all of my being, at the same time being fully aware of how she is struggling, along with all of her systems and creatures, to survive our wanton plundering of her bounty, leaving her wild creatures homeless, starving and dying.

The pain is unbearable, and just as strong as my love for and appreciation of her beauty – beauty enough to break my heart, now that I can no longer live in the erroneous belief that her bounty is infinite.

I do know that she can heal and that, one day, there will be far fewer of us, and then, finally, she will. I hope the creatures come back a-plenty, and that future humans will have learned how to share this earth with all of the wild, and with each other. As it was intended to be. As it has always been with the indigenous people of the earth.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Harvesting Hope

I planted green bulbs
that turned purple,
week by week.
They taught me
we often find
much more
than we seek.

I planted children
who turned into wizards
and  shapeshifters,
flying free.
They were changelings, 
but who changed the most,
back then,
was me.

I planted my footsteps
on a path leading Away,
my heart on a quest
for the place that would
make me

I planted a broken heart
by the seaside,
in the dune's soft slope.
All my life,
I have planted sorrow
and harvested hope.

for Toni's prompt at The Wednesday Muse: Garden Spot. Also sharing with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday.

After reading Shay's amazing poem: Portrait , which has the lines "she planted" repeated, the last two lines of this poem popped into my head, and I went from there, with a nod of thanks to Shay. I love how one poem can spark another - the wonder of online poetry.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Best Picnic Ever

My grandkids and their friend ~ 
Happy days at the beach when they were young

“Life’s no picnic!”
I heard all through my childhood.
“What do you want? Jam on it?”
(asked with a smile and laughing eyes).

The older generation,
born of the Depression,
tried to keep our expectations low.

Imagine my surprise
when life turned out
to be the best picnic ever,
full of apple orchards,
waterfalls and rivers,
green leafy paths 
that I walked down,
head tipped back
and grinning at the sky.

All I have ever needed
was a packed lunch,
a camera, and a winding trail.
No bee stings on my picnics,
no ants or sand in the sandwiches.
Dogs. Hopefully always dogs.
Children digging in the sand
with Tomorrow in their eyes.
A picnic that snuck into Real Life
and stole my heart away.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Walking the Grandmother Path

My Grandma, Florence "Floss" Marr

My Mother, Renee Marr Baker

All the way back,
all the mothers and grandmothers
in my family had strong backs:
for bearing children
in tents and covered wagons,
for pushing back raw wilderness
to make a home,
for digging in unyielding soil
to feed their children,
some of whom survived.

Some of them were healers.
Some of them were Celtic crones,
who spoke with ghosts.
One of them fled the potato famine
and found herself in the deep freeze
of a prairie winter.
One of them rode across the prairie
on horseback
in hobbled skirts.
She caught
my grandfather's eye.

A long line of grandmothers
walked the grandmother path
before she
who walked here
before me.

In my past are warrior women,
mystics and dreamweavers,
witches and nuns,
women sitting in Council
and governing.

Somewhere back there,
once women's spirits flew.
Somewhere back there
our souls clawed their way
out of bondage
and raised awakened eyes 
to the sky.

Now I walk
the grandmother path
in memory of the long line 
of strong women
who walked here before me,
and in honour of the long line 
of strong women
who will walk here after me,
in a passage of time that is timeless,
in a circle of love that is endless:
grandmother after grandmother,
footsteps walking in footsteps,
heart upon heart.

Wherever you come from,
a long line of strong women
survived the impossible
so that you might live.

Never forget,
"you come from the love
of thousands."

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Gift for a Gift

On my deck,
pretty blooms bring me
smiles all day:
bleeding hearts wave in the wind,
a fat bee bumbles in the tulips,
hummers drink from purple petunias.
Pansies smile.

In one pot that last week 
looked like it held just dirt,
tiny swiss chard are poking 
their valiant heads above the soil
and having a look around:
a celebration
of Becoming.

I tend them carefully,
breathe gratitude on them,
every morning, 
along with drinks of water.
They stand tall,
towards the sun,
in response and pleasure.

A gift for a gift.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Gifts

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Bird Forever On His Hand

He sat in the sunny greenhouse,
surrounded by blooms.
A September morning,
frost in the air,
finches flying about.
Then one flew down,
alighting on his hand.

Time slowed;
it hung, suspended.
I feel it, still.
I hear again
the trickle of the fountain,
see him, 
all wrapped in sunlight,
turning his dark eyes to me,
to share the beauty
of that one moment in time.

Forever and forever,
I still see him:
his slow smile,
his eyes meeting mine,
that glance across the room:
my love,
turning his gaze on me,
a small bird 
forever on his hand.

for The Sunday Muse.   Shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Birds always take me back to Yesterday.

Saturday, May 4, 2019


They say, “It’s easy.” (Not.) They say, "I’ll walk you through it”, but my eyes glaze over. They say “Anyone can do it.” Not me. Behind the screen, in the bowels of technology, where Mr Linky lives, is Dangerville, for me. It does not compute. I am a person dragged kicking and screaming into the land of technology. I used an Underwood manual typewriter for 30 years until my boss insisted I learn computers. I bless him, now.

But, still, there are limits. Every week, I hunt someone down to insert the linky at the Pantry. They may be abroad, or in the midst of crisis, but Mr Linky must go in, every weekend. Staff members who know how to Linky may never quit. My Fear of Mr Linky creates difficulties for my teammates. Mea culpa. But, thanks for putting up with me.

I am phobic about all things technical. I live in mortal fear of accidentally clicking the wrong thing, and the Blue Screen of Death appearing.  I have seen it a time or two. I have PTSD from a traumatic experience with Tech Help, exacerbated by the intervention of a very angry brother-in-law.

They say “Face Your Fear.” They say, “Find the thing you fear the most and Do That.” But – umm –  I am averse to engaging in activities that will increase my stress to Fight or Flight levels. I hope to reach that Final Screen, if my teammates will be so kind, without ever having to venture into the Land of Mr Linky.

258 words for Magaly’s prose prompt at Telling Tales With Magaly, at Poets United this Sunday: Phobias

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Morning Graced by Doves

This morning
two mourning doves lit
on my porch railing,
where my tulips are shyly
poking up their heads,
enchanting me, 
my small and makeshift garden,
that I check first thing
when I get out of bed.

The dove's soft cries
have followed me 
through the decades,
taking me back to long-gone days
with my lost love.
With all the gains and losses,
I count my blessings,
to still wake to mornings
that are graced by doves.

I have used the closing lines in an earlier poem in 2016. Borrowed it for this morning's ordinary moment, for my prompt at Real Toads: 

to describe this moment, the joys and comforts we so often take for granted. At my age, I take NOTHING for granted, as each day, at my age, is pure gift. Especially here, in my heart's home. Come share your ordinary joys with us at Toads. You had yesterday to rest up after April, LOL.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Branches Hung With Stars

So small, I am, below,
so vast the arch of midnight black
curved ribs of light enfolding me
like a tall umbrella,
or the drooping branches
of the tallest  tree,
hung with stars
instead of blossoms
just for me.

What lies in the spaces
between stars?
What dances among the
interplanetary beams
of the northern lights?
Light catchers swirl
like ecstatic Sufi dancers
across the sky.
We watched them together
at two a.m., once,
you and I.

Celestial Beings
wave their mile-long arms,
tossing falling stars
from side to side,
that glimmer brilliantly
and then go out,
leaving mystery behind,
and memories of time gone by
lie gently on my mind.

Everything Is One

In the Old Ways, men and animals
spoke together,
lived connected and interdependent,
according to the teaching:
Everything Is One.

It is true,
what happens to one,
happens to us all.
Witness: floods, forest fires,
melting icebergs, warming seas,
species dying,
Mother Earth crying out
her distress.

Once, we lived
rooted like trees,
holding hands across the forest floor.

Now, the forests are falling;
the sky grows ever hotter.
People and wildlife
are on the move.
Cougars are falling from trees,
bears hiding their eyes
from the destruction 
of their world.

We are learning the hard way:
Everything Is One.
What happens to one,
will happen to us all.

I could write of its wonders, for there are millions. But its main teaching is the interconnectedness of all things, which certain people in power, in the US AND Canada, would do well to understand.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Braid the cattles' horns with daisies
now the winter's finally passed.
The pretty maidens all come lilting
one by one across the grass.
flowers in their hair, and singing,
dresses glimmering soft and sweet,
and they dance around the maypole,
tripping softly on light feet.

The Beltane fire is burning,
casting embers on the lawn.
Make your wish, set your intention
before the spring has come and gone.

Gather 'round the fire, my sisters.
Lift your pretty skirts up high.
One great leap, your curls a-flying,
as the lads all pine and sigh.

You're a mix of strong emotions,
half-demure, yet mostly wild.
Ride your wild-horse heart with caution,
half-woman, still mostly child.

Dance around the pretty maypole.
One by one, you claim your power.
From girl to woman you are changing,
like the springtime claims its hour.

from 2016, Beltane in the northern hemisphere, my Irish roots are stirring. Shared with Real Toads on the Tuesday Platform.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Then, It Was Always Summer

House with trees and clothesline - Walter Silver Photographs

Take me back to summer days
when I and the world were young, 
my grandma hosing the garden down
against the summer heat,
laundry on the line before 8 a.m.,
honeysuckle and sweet pea 
on the morning air,
those blue-sky days of summer,
when joy was everywhere.

Take me back to counry roads
and apple orchards,
bullrushes, weeping willow,
lake-scent and whisperings,
engraved on my heart.
Life hung, suspended,
waiting dreamily
for Real Life to start.

Back then, 
it was always summer;
my dreams were
young and bright.
The future lay 
shining ahead,
touched with a golden light,
and it seemed possible,
back then,
that fairy tales 
would turn out right.

for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads: Photographic Images. And shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Disclaimer: it was a rude shock to discover real life, as opposed to the fairy tale. Yet, eventually, after many bumps and bruises, it did turn out all right. Just not the way I had expected. Smiles.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Moon Jellies in the Sky

Umbrella Street in Izmir, Turkey

Soft and silky, undulating overhead
~ coloured moon jellies in the sky.

for  Toni's  cool prompt at Real Toads: to write a two line poem with an unexpected image, after the style of Ezra Pound, whom I cant even attempt to emulate, as I have the mother of all headaches.  But this image sprang to mind.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Just Before Dawn

The dawn is peeping a red and ribald eye
over the mountain.
No one is awake.
The morning birds do not yet sing.
The sleepy valley is still nestled
in the arms of night.

But out in the meadow,
in the mist rising up from the icy fields,
a young doe is dancing lightly
on her tiny hooves.
An elven chorus, murmurous,
is chanting in the veld,
and the skybirds awaken, 
all a-flutter.
In a feathered heap,
they tumble out of the trees.

To witness this magic,
you must arise
just before dawn,
and disguise yourself
as a shrub.

from 2014. Sharing this with the Poetry Pantry at  Poets United  this Sunday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Bodhisattvas of the Morning

Sherry Marr photo

Chris Lowther photo

Chris Lowther photo

Chris Lowther photo

Chris Lowther photo

Row upon row 
of Bodhisattvas,
they stand -
green, peaceful warriors,
kind, gentle beings,
habitat for birds
and wild creatures -
patiently absorbing our carbon,
breathing out healing oxygen
and peace.
Walking the trails,
we are transported
to a world of silent well-being.
Holding hands under the forest floor,
they send each other messages
of hope and support.
They tell the others
we have arrived.
They stand, listening,
watching us with benevolent smiles,
spreading their arms protectively
to shelter us.
We enter their world of green
and emerge transformed.

And in return,
they ask only
that we let them live.

For my prompt Wednesday at Real Toads: Natural Wonders, to write about a natural wonder that amazes us. I am fortunate to live within walking distance of these beauties.  Nature's design constantly blows me away. Especially how trees breathe out what we breathe in, a necessary symbiosis.

I am also astounded by how far mankind has disconnected from the natural world. We are reaping the results of that disconnection now. The forests are cut down and the planet is heating up.

This was also shared with Poets United. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Blossoms and Ears

The almond branches creep
across the page,
each blossom slowly opening,
as the artist moves his brush. 
In this moment his tortured spirit
is in temporary hush!
The blossoms open 
as he moves his brush.

Some hearts are born for torment,
and I see
a tree hung with sliced off ears
and twisted hearts.
He saw beauty
but it brought him
nought but pain.
The blossoms open
as he moves his brush
again and yet again.

for Sumana's prompt for Midweek Motif at Poets  United: Almond Blossoms by Vincent Van Gogh: an Ekphrastic Poem.

Monday, April 22, 2019

For Shay

I fought beak and claw
through a grey and shuttered landscape
to find the Land of Poets
and enter in.

I found many poets
happily penning poems there
in the Garden of Golden Words.
The first time I read Shay,
she had someone
toss a dead squirrel 
through the open window 
of a passing pickup.
I sat up and took notice.

Shay showed me how far and wide
and sky-roofed a poem could be.
She said, Take a situation, 
or a character,
and ask "what if...?"

In the Land of Poets,
hers is the rare voice
that speaks
in a class by itself.
No one writes like Shay.

So this one's for you, my friend,
just to say
thank you for 
your wonderful poems
that light up all my days.

for Shay at Real Toads, with thanks, as she leaves the Garden. (But we know where to find you!) Since I read that first poem in 2010, I have not missed a single one. Thankfully, Shay will still be writing, and around, which is a huge relief.

The Trees of Clayoquot Sound

You breathe out
I breathe in
and I am struck with wonder.
You are so kind,
so generous.

In your majestic presence
I feel deep peace.
You are the Bodhisattvas
of my morning,
the lungs of the planet.
My own lungs
rise and fall with yours.
You cool us with deep shade
when the sun would scorch.
You help make rain
when the land would otherwise
be parched.
Skybirds and small creatures
find rest in your branches,
singing their gratitude.

How is it so few understand
this simple truth?
We need you.

I put my body on the line
to protect you,
yet year after year,
more and more 
and more of you
are gone.

This weekend was the 35th anniversary of the Tla-o-qui-aht people declaring Meares Island a Tribal Park,  saving it from being clearcut. I am fortunate to live within walking distance of these beauties. They are my cathedrals.

But not far from here, the last of these forests are still being logged, which is unthinkably short-sighted.  I am  astounded by how far mankind has disconnected from the natural world. We are reaping the results of that disconnection now, with rising temperatures, floods and wildfires.

Sunday, April 21, 2019


First, you ate the fruit off my branches.
I happily gave you bark to make your baskets.
Then, you wanted more, 
hacking off limb after limb,
scattering birds’ nests
and squirrel families.

Starting at my top,
through the years,
you cut me lower and lower,
to feed your voracious fires.

Now, there remains a stump,
which I offer you generously:
Sit, take your rest.
I am sorry I no longer provide you with oxygen.
Breathing is something you forgot about
when you cut me and my sisters down.

For  Kim’s  prompt at Real Toads: tree mythology. I remembered the book called The Giving Tree that my kids used to read, where the tree offered itself to the human’s increasing demands. At the end, it offered rest upon its stump. I live in an old growth rainforest, with trees a thousand years old and older. They are not protected by more than lip service. In Port Renfrew, not far from here, an old growth forest is on the chopping block as we speak. This is madness on a heating up planet.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Little Pool of Grace

Wild Woman's pet raven is looking at her
through her pince-nez.
Sp(b)eaking in her gravelly voice.
she croaks,
"My dear tired friend,
do try to stop
pushing the river.
to the water's flow,
and soon you may find yourself
in a little pool of grace."

A poem from 2015. I followed the raven's advice, trusted, and did find myself floating in a pool of grace. Smiles. She is smart like that, my raven.

To be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Do come join us!

Friday, April 19, 2019


Clayoquot Sound

Looking at my row of books,
my small, gathered treasures,
I wonder when the tsunami will come
and wash it all away.

The whales, the wolves, 
the birds, the bears, 
all know it’s coming.

Shall I send the things
I most want saved away?
Or dare I hope that all of this
dear landscape that I love
will stay?

For Kerry’s prompt at Real Toads: to write a poem in twelve lines or less about the topic that sparks one’s muse the most. Climate crisis is never far from my thoughts and, thus, my poems.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In Prose

Clean white blank and empty page,
so many words to sift and gauge.
Let’s pluck some out; it’s all the rage.
A Story makes us each a sage.

A tale that needs a thousand words,
that has to be three hundred -
my mind goes blank; I rue the loss
of all the words I’ve plundered.

Oh Difficulty, woe on woe,
this story has no where to go.
And, Worse, my words still want to rhyme
because I do it all the time.

But this prompt has me in its throes.
I stretch my mind with all it knows.
It’s possible my story blows
in prose, in prose, in prose, in prose.

Some silliness for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Writing Prose