Wednesday, July 31, 2019


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,
on Wild Woman's deck.

Wild Woman watches,
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 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) 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,
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


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 
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,

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.


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, 

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."