Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Abandoning Hope, Yet Dreaming Still

We have never felt 
so far from peace,
yet, somewhere up ahead,
perhaps on the other side
of cataclysm, calamity
and immense suffering,
I dream of a new world,
shining and green,
dotted with buffalo, and trees,
and peaceful folk
who have learned how to live
with respect for the land 
and its creatures.

In those times,
whales will no longer starve.
The living waters will 
run clean once more,
and wolves and bears will
once again have forests
in which to live.

It is sad to abandon
my long-held hope
that humanity would awaken
from the nightmare
willingly, and in time.

I resign myself that it seems 
we will only awaken
in response to the direst of events.
We stayed asleep too long.

We are alive in the times
the ancestors spoke of.
I wait for the Shambhala warriors
to stride through the halls of power
with clear eyes, their weapons only
compassion and insight,
to lead us in 
a kinder, better way.

Some day, I dream,
there will be
the thousand years of peace
we have been promised.
Not in my time, and not in yours,
but I hold that vision in my heart, 
to comfort me through these times
when it seems
the whole wide world
has finally gone mad.

For Susan’s prompt at Midweek Motif: Peace. I have written so many poems about peace. This year, with things this bad, resignation has replaced my lifelong hope.  Yet I believe in the prophesies of the First Nations ancestors. It seems, now, given the right-wing, corporate-funded "leadership" in many countries, that we will not make the conscious shift we need in time, but only after passing through terrible times of unthinkable hardship, in response to cataclysmic events. But Mother Earth will heal. One day she will begin again.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Rose-Lipp'd Maidens, Lightfoot Lads*

LaVergne Marr, WWII

Tall, gallant,
he treated his wife
like a princess.
She would take a cigarette
out of the package,
tap it,
and he'd swoop
across the room
to light it.

When it was time to leave:
"Ready to go, Mama Bear?"
he'd smile.
No woman was ever
loved so well.

Twelve, freckled, awkward,
I adored him,
and dreamed of a gallant knight
of my own,
who never did appear.

He never talked about the war,
but his spirit, sensitive, 
and attuned
to higher things,

In his last years, 
his wife's love
over the disappointments
life inevitably brings.
His eyes took on
a melancholy cast.
His heart, I imagine,
did the same.

He died, still relatively young,
and suddenly,
of a blood clot.
His wife heard his body
hit the floor,
and he was already gone.

My Grandma, strong and stoic,
buried her husband and her oldest child
that year.

He had a poet's heart.
He wrote home from the war
about landing in Sicily,
walking through the vineyards,
grapes hanging on the vines:
"Dusty, but that can be washed off......."


For  Kim's prompt at Real Toads: to paint a portrait in a poem.

*from Housman's With Rue my Heart is Laden.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Summer's End

The film is grainy,
the one that shows me
and my small sister
walking along tall rows of corn,
then sitting, her in front of me,
bareback on the big old horse.
My dad is smiling,
mopping his brow,
in the Okanagan heat,
my mother, in white shorts
and sleeveless white blouse,
is forever, now, hoeing
along the rows,
helping the water trickle
across the thirsty roots.

My father died that summer,
suddenly, of heart and summer heat.
The last Christmas of
my mother's life,
we watched the film again,
and she cried and cried
for those lost glory days
among the corn,
and all that would be lost
by summer's end.

for Marian's prompt at Real Toads: Summer's End. The John Prine video showing a child among the cornstalks reminded me of a long ago corn patch and a definitive summer when I was just fourteen. Also sharing with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, fine reading every Sunday morning.


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.

One from 2018 today, shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads, because I am missing a white wolf friend in Port Alberni.

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.

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.