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 benevolence,
spreading their arms protectively
to shelter us, shade us, keep us cool.
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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Poetry as Activism, or How One's Heart Bleeds Out on Paper

Powerful image from the post by Wepna Loneagle
at Grandmothers Circle the Earth
No copyright infringement intended

Do you know
(or turn your head away
in denial from the fact)
that the planet is burning?
Just this side of the apocalypse,
can our words and our voices
help  create change?
Or are we simply chronicling
the demise of a civilization
that did not learn
how to be civil?

This never started out to be
an uplifting poem.

We wake up
(in every sense) each morning
with a broken heart.
We decide: turn on the news
or live with yesterday's ache?

What can a poem do, you ask?
It allows my heart to bleed tears
on paper,
so the top of my head doesn’t blow off
in the grief
of watching so much of 
all that I love
disappear in the flames.

I need to believe
our hearts, our thoughts, our words
have power.
They can touch other hearts.
They can change minds.
I need to have hope,
against all mounting evidence
to the contrary,
we can still
save our lives.

Not a cheery poem. For Anmol's great prompt at Real Toads: to write a poem in the style of Ferlinghetti with the title "Poetry As - " As Ferlinghetti was a poet after my own heart, who used his art as activism, this poem popped out rather easily.

Monday, April 15, 2019


Gentle as a dove's coo,
soft as bunny ears,
drops from heaven
touch the thirsty earth -
heaven's tears,
from which
seeds and buds and flowers

Brave little daffodils,
sweet snowdrops,
crocuses and tulips,
sakura and cheerful forsythia,
announce the wonders
of another spring.

for Toni's prompt at The Sunday Muse: the Japanese words for rain. I chose Shun Rin: spring rain, as it is what we are experiencing here right now, after a very long time without rain. The trees and plants are gladdened.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Bus of Dreams

Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C.

He drove his bus of dreams
all over town.
Poems formed.
He took the corners slow
and wrote them down.

Sometimes a child became a poem
and made him smile.
He dreamed,
though he was driving
all the while.

He drove his bus of dreams
all over town.
Poems formed.
He took the corners slow
and wrote them down.

for  Margaret's prompt at Real Toads: to write a poem based on city life. Somehow a bus driver poet got loose in this poem. He is a quiet sort; his poems will make no waves. Smiles.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Roses By Plum Bridge

The Buddha land where once
we dreamed our dreams
by the light of the candles
is abandoned now.
The dreamers have all gone.
A crumbling wall reveals
dead leaves scattered across the floor
where once we ate, and laughed
and believed in 
a beautiful tomorrow.

War has touched the village
which is now full of ghosts and whispers.
But three roses still bloom 
by Plum Bridge,
in memory of those days
that will live in memory
until my last breath.

I wrote this poem in 2015, after reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Fragrant Palm Leaves, his memories of a golden time spent in community at Phuong Boi in Vietnam in the 1960's, before war caused him to flee, and live forever in exile from the place he so loved. He now lives in Plum Village, in France.

shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is good reading every Sunday morning.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A Blackbird Heart

A thousand miles the distance
between your mountains
and my sea,
and I wonder, now and then,
if you still remember me.

Dark blackbird heart,  
you longed for,
yet were fearful of the skies,
but, oh, you were so beautiful,
and how you graced
my eyes.

The dove took flight,
the day I left
and sadly walked away,
because you could not find the words
that would have made me stay.

She sat upon the highest branch.
I heard her gentle coo.
Through all these years
my heart has kept on
circling back to you.

I said I'd love you always,
that my heart belonged to you.
You'll never know,
through all these years,
the words I spoke were true.

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads : to write about loving someone who doesn't know you love them. I am not sure if this man, who could not commit to one woman with so many others out there, (he told me this), remembers me among the many. But he was the only man I ever truly loved. When I told him I was leaving, he opened the door of the dove's cage, and out she flew.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The News From My Bed

Eileen Floody photo

It is three a.m.
News on my tablet is grim.
Around us, old growth is being felled
left and right.
We try hard to save it.
We are losing the fight.

Two old beauties by the hospital
will die this week.
Bureaucracy thanks me for my concern,
but this is "necessary".
So are the trees,
but who's counting? (We are.)
The one-block wall of Old Ones, majestic,
across from the Bake Shop
is on the chopping block.
There is a clearcut at the heli-pad
and a moonscape on Gibson.
"Progress," they say. "Development."

Climate is losing the fight.
We had no rain
(in the rainforest) all winter.
Hot sun in February. In March.
Two wildfires already on the Island.

The chainsaws whirr,
thirsty for sap.
The forest weeps
and trembles.

The news from my bed
is all bad.
In the morning,
I will get up and put on the tv
for more bad news,
madness and greed and corruption
on every side,
in a world-wide climate crisis.
I think of the planet heating up,
(how will we breathe with the trees all gone?)
I think of species starving and dying,
of my great-grandkids who will
inherit this mess,
of a tsunami that will come and wipe
this place I love away.

To keep rising and smiling
and caring and trying is hard.
But it's all I've got.

For Izy's  prompt at Real Toads: The News From My Bed - I woke up at three a.m., and this is what happened.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Big Glass Ball

Wild Woman has been being seduced

by a big glass ball.
Its call wended its way down First Street.
I could hear it in the hall,
calling seductively:
“Come……come and get me.
I have been waiting for you
for decades.”

It’s true. In 1989, on my List of Wishes,
was a glass ball. One morning the universe
delivered one to the foot of  my dunes,
after a storm.
Something urged me to go out and look,
but I was drinking my tea,
and waited.

Later, in the CoOp, my neighbour gloated,  
“I picked up a glass ball this morning,
right up against your dune.
It was a big one.”

So close. 

One more time I didn’t listen
to my inner Wild Woman.

Imagine me yesterday, when I saw
a big glass ball at the Tree House in town.
Usually they are hundreds of dollars
so I admired and walked away.
My monthly budget allows for
just the basics, more basic
as the month unfolds.
I don’t let myself be tempted
by unnecessary purchases,
however alluring.

“It is $85, said Chris.
Wait! What?
I can realize a dream for $85?

I didn’t get it then. I had to Think.
It is GST month, so I have
my stipend for low income
existence in a high-income economy.
Did Wild Woman give in to desire?
To extravagance?
To one more small dream come true?

You betcha, baby.

I am insanely happy! LOL!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Waking from the Dream

Clayoquot Sound

Understand that this is a dream*:
arch of glorious sky,
dotted with perfect storybook clouds,
the blue, blue hills, hazy, just before sunset,
seascapes and sunrises of molten gold,
forests and savannas and cities
dotted with so many beautiful creatures
of every kind,
walking and flying and living and loving
There is much love, and kindness,
and warm, brave hearts,
reaching out to comfort the bereft,
all a dream, a wonderful dream,
full of beauty enough to break your heart -
the earthly garden, as it was
meant to be.

There is also the nightmare,
running alongside,
that humans have put in its place,
from which we are trying,
with every fibre of our soul,
to awaken.

* The first line of this poem is taken from the title of Alan Ginsberg's poem: "Understand That This Is a Dream"

for the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Behind Lace Curtains, Eyes

Kelowna in the 60's
Don Collier photo

Behind lace curtains, Eyes lurked everywhere,
noting my passage, reporting to my Grandma
that I was seen laughing too loudly in the street,
or, worse, Riding in Cars With Boys.

Whatever will the neighbours think?
I was admonished, lectured, advised,
all for naught. 
I still cackle too loudly in the street,
though I should have heeded the advice 
about Riding in Cars With Boys -
it came to no good end,
but did, thankfully, come to an end.

The passage of angst for every teen
needs soft smiles, approving eyes,
and space to Just Be.
And what the neighbours think,
thankfully, isn't worth a damn.

for Marian's prompt at Real Toads: Etiquette. In small town Kelowna, in the 60's, it was still like the 50's. The town reacted with alarm when the first hippies arrived at City Park - they were immediately escorted firmly out. LOL. I escaped to the city and became blessedly invisible as soon as I got out of high school.

The Owl is the Doorway Into the Unknown

West Coast owl

Two weeks after my mother’s death in 1994, I was driving past the forest on my way to her small farm. I was thinking of her, of all the words we did not say, the misperceptions, misunderstandings, subjects we could not talk about. In our lifetime, it had always been that way. At her death, I had released it all, so she could pass in peace. I knew her spirit would then better understand my heart.

Suddenly, a brown owl appeared, flying  in front of me from left to right, so close I could see every feather. Her head was turned my way, looking in at me, our eyes locked together. Time slowed, as if suspended. I was still driving, yet not-driving, as she looked deeply into my eyes, flying ever so slowly across the windshield, then off into the forest, green and wild. I believed an oracle had been, and that she carried my love to my mother in the spirit nation. I felt as if a message had been delivered and received. 

I can see her still, so close, every feather outlined, her eyes speaking,  a magical being from the otherworld. I can still feel the power and portent of her glance.


This prose piece is for Telling Tales With Magaly at Poets United: write a story of 313 words or less and employ magic realism. I used 204.

The above incident is true, but I magic-ed it up just a little. Time DID slow, she flew past extremely slowly, her eyes and mine locked together. (Somehow the car stayed on the road.) The rest of the magic is that I believed she took my message of love to my mother in the spirit world. I wrote about this in 1999, in my poem "The Owl is the Doorway into the Unknown". The title is from a quote by Nikki Scully, from The Golden Cauldron.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

On the Way to California


On the way to California,
we set the rabbits free
in Stanley Park.
They joined the other rabbits, 
and began to run about
in joyous circles,
tasting their first freedom,
out of the cage at last. 

“Look, Jeff! They’re dancing!”
I smiled at my young son.
His round blue eyes, stricken,
looked back –
look at me still –
a single tear rolling down his cheek.

A mother’s heart
takes a lashing
with every memory.

I broke my young son's heart
on the way to California,
and was too young
and unevolved,
back then,
to understand.

for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: a poem inspired by the art work of Jason Limberg, the StarGazing Rabbit.

Friday, April 5, 2019

How Many Years?

The Elaho - Jon Merk photo

How many years in love with the earth
are left to me?
I wonder, foolishly,
knowing there is only 
this one day, 
and then, 
another and another.
I unwrap them, one by one,
each quite unlike
every other.

When I was young and gay,
I often threw 
my treasurehouse 
Now I am old,
wrinkled, hobbling, slowed.
My needs are simple,
day to day.
I cackle, content
that all my seeds
are sowed. 

My bones are shining;
they were honed in fire and pain,
polished by smoothing hands,
soothed in gentle rain,
and the wild is a calling,
running through my veins.

These eyes have seen 
sunrises and sunsets 
beautiful enough 
to break your heart: 
the wonder of the earth,
the folly of man, 
in  a most uneasy plan.

In solitary mornings,
the song in my heart
spills forth into words,
that I send out
like little singing birds.
My poems are
that I leave behind 
so my children 
one day can find
my ever-grateful heart, 
when I have gone on
to whatever beauties await
we cosmic travellers
in the great beyond.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Scars To Your Beautiful

You were born perfect;
hair, eyes, round cheeks, smiles:
Beautiful, just the way you are.

Looking back, down all the years,
I see the many you's:
Girl on a tree stump.
Girl at the shore.
Girl loving her brothers.
Girl keeper of dreams.
Girl with a Mohawk.
Girl with tattoos.
Girl with hair colour
changing every week.

Each one
perfectly you.

You were saying:
I am a never to be repeated event
in the history of the universe.
You will never see one like me again.

(Sweet girl,
we already knew.)

And now you are a mother
raising rainbow children
with happy  eyes.
You have built your  house
strong, with cozy walls.
You filled it with dreams
and the echo of your grandma's cackle.
Its windows gleam golden
in the setting sun.

You left the roof open,
because nothing can contain
that bright spirit
that needs the whole sky
to fly in.

For Aria, who at age two named me Grandma-by-the-Whales

for my prompt on Thursday at Real Toads: Scars To Your Beautiful

Words Like Teacups II

When I was young, my pen
suddenly took on a life of its own,
like Mickey Mouse's mop in Fantastia,
spilling words down the page
that told me: within lived Someone
who knew more than I did.
I listened to her through the years.

Sometimes  I put words down like teacups,
absent-mindedly, after the tea has cooled.

Sometimes, a poem travels like songlines,
leading me home to the wild.

There are times when the words perch
on the edge of my consciousness,
like birds on a branch,
easily startled,
poised to fly away.

And sometimes Wild Woman stirs
in her inner cave, uttering truths
that startle me into consciousness.
Humbly, I write them down,
emerging from the poem
awakened, and

A re-write of a poem written in 2018, for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Writing Poetry. 

Monday, April 1, 2019


Tonquin Beach

April is
a sunny day, warm as summer,
at the beach:
patting dogs,
watching the water,
talking about saving trees
and What We Can Do
with friends.....

and a small grey whale,
in the water close to us:
"A whale! A whale!"
the cry goes up.

A gift, a gift,
I whisper.
All of it,
a gift.

for Real Toads on the first day of Poetry Month