Saturday, September 28, 2019

Traveler Sits By the Well

Traveler's arms
have tenderly cradled
babies and lovers,
have nurtured life,
have comforted
and have set free,
holding close,
then letting go.

Life is
a long series
of releasing:
those one loves,
those one cannot keep.
Hopes and dreams
slowly fall away,
transmute into
something else:
this life,
the daily
small miracles
that surround us.

At the end
of this journey,
she will  say goodbye
even to this:
all that has been,
for good or ill,
all the heartbreak,
all the cackling laughter,
all the hard and satisfying work,
all the holding on,
the letting go,
the gains and losses,
farewell to
the forests
and the deep blue skies,
to the mountains
and the moon,
to sunrises and sunsets
beautiful enough
to break your heart.
All will be gone.
No, she
will be gone,
no more turning
and turning.

But, till then,
sits by the well
and drinks deeply.
She drinks
her fill.

This poem from 2011 seemed appropriate today, with the announcement in the Poetry Pantry that - also incomprehensibly - Mary and I are retiring from Poets United at the end of October. It is hard to believe, even for me. I will still be around, online,  linking and writing and visiting you all. But I also will be walking wild beaches, visiting all the places I love, here in this wonderland I live in. Joining protests. Saving trees. PLANTING trees. 

I am grateful for each and every friend who has come my way through poetry. You are the ones who know me best of all, because you have read the deepest parts of my heart. Travel happily, my friends. Love is the open door.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Coyotes at Last Mountain Lake

I heard the coyotes howling
as evening fell
at Last Mountain Lake,
and I thought of you,
my old wolf-pal,
and how you would tip 
your nose up to the moon
and howl mournfully
for all the wild places you loved
that we had lost.

Then you'd come to me and rest
your forehead against my knee,
wearily, for comfort.
We loved and lost so much together,
old pal of mine.
But, always, we had each other.

And now I am alone.
My nose tilted up
towards the moon,
an inner howl
expressed in secret tears.
Still missing walking
our wild beaches
with you.

I have shared this poem from 2015 before. When I wrote it, I was living inland, missing the wild waves.  Felt like posting it again today for some reason.  I am so grateful to have had that amazing being in my life for fourteen years. Grateful for the adventures and blessings I have had in my life. And for the gift of being here again, at the shore, just Being with the sea and the sky.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Season of Gathering Honey

It is the season of gathering honey:
thick and golden, sunlight in a jar,
to  brighten grey winter
toast-scented mornings.

Most of us are worker bees,
rising tired and early,
moving through the day
like well-trained dogs
who once dreamed
of being lions.

We grasp our small pleasures:
times of rest, plates of food,
an amber stream of sweetness
poured into our tea
and on top of our toast.

We sip the industry of
a thousand small striped
buzzing workers,
who move from flower to hive
in perfect fulfillment
of their purpose
in being alive.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Bee / Honey

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sea Wolves at Morning

Lean and hungry,
but happy in your habitat,
you trot the beach
with breakfast on your mind.

Catch a fat salmon!
Take it back to your babies.
Enjoy the perfection of sun 
and sand and sea.

Tomorrow's quest 
is a whole day
You remind me that
what we have
is Now,
all blue-sky-ed
and shining.

The coastal sea wolves live on land and in water - they swim for salmon, and between islands. They are shy, but also curious. They are very lovely. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019


The wolves came to me in the twilight,
hungry and sad, looking at me with
questions in their eyes. I could not
meet their gaze.

So many heartbreaks, all over the world -
the wild ones and I
feel them all.

It is not enough any more
to walk in the forest
or along the shore,
to breathe in the beauty and peace,
for my tattered heart and its grief
find some relief.

For the wild ones, each day is a struggle
to find habitat and food,
to keep their young alive.

How do I carry the weight of the world
when the leaders don’t care
if we survive?

I am watching the planet I love
slowly melting into the sea.
Children march for their future
not yet begun.
The tycoons grin
as they stuff their wallets
with air stolen from
the lungs of the young.

The wolves came to me in the twilight.
“Give us some hope,” they said,
but I had none to share.
My pen, my heart, my hope
all fall silent
in this spiritual poverty
(of which I am aware.)

I can hear trees weeping
in the forest,
the wind wailing laments
at the shore.
I will carry this pain
with me
till I can carry it
no more.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


From every corner
of Grandma’s small cottage,
I could hear it –
the old metal clock,
ticking and tocking
on the kitchen windowsill.

Grandma’s house was that peaceful.

My four year old heart drank in
the safety and serenity,
the way a parched sunflower
gratefully receives
summer rain.

Grandma’s house
showed me, child of
drinking and violence,
that  another life
was possible.

I followed that blueprint
for the rest of my life.

Looking back,
I remember the sound
of that old metal clock,
ticking and tocking,
singing its small, brave song
of peace.

For my prompt Friday at Real Toads: Grandma’s Kitchen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

If You Are Vigilant, This Poem Will Depress You

For all of my vigilance,
my awareness, absorbing of facts,
understanding of all
that has been set in place,
to now play itself out
with desperate results
for all living beings....

Even though the information
has now hit mainstream news....

Nothing is changing fast enough
and I am exhausted
from carrying the weight
of all that I know
to no good effect.

Water is still polluted,
governments are corrupt
and do not serve the people,
corporations do not have to
clean up their mess,
and poor people pay
so the rich can stay rich.

Those who speak truth are reviled,
and those who should be reviled
are excused

and this poem is as depressing
as the morning news.
Feel free to not read it.

LOL. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But I truly am exhausted by it all. Yet the sun is out, it is a beautiful day and today I will walk in the forest. Great blessings.

For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Vigilance.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Dance of Death

There is barely time
to make it to the bunker.
I hesitate, before closing the hatch,
for one last look at the sky.

Everywhere, in these last days,
they have been doing the dance of death,
their smiles grimaces of denial.
The Third World rose,
as the Third World knows,
the warnings too dire
to be believed.
We watched in horror,
the madcap gaiety of the rich, macabre,
as the planet burned and seethed.

They say the earth will tilt
on its axis,
and topple some species off.
The ocean is swallowing the coast,
roaring through the mountain pass.
Mother Nature will  soon  be
free of us at last.

What few are left straggle
with burning feet and hooves
through an apocalyptic landscape.
All the prophecies were truths.

We lost our minds for a time
and forgot what we once knew:
You cant eat, drink or breathe money.
We have Eternity to rue.

One last look, for remembering.
I have supplies for not one year.
I have no way to fend them off
if the angry hordes come near.

for Izy's prompt at Real Toads: the Fallout Shelter. Oy.

Sunday, September 15, 2019


When the angel of death
arrives at my bedside,
like the ferryman coming
around the bend of the river,
plying his oar with determination,
pulling alongside
and beckoning me in...

When I gaze at him,
my bed the shore,
wondering how to make
my earth-bound body
traverse the space between us
without falling...

I think I will trust that
the air will support me,
entering that bright darkness,
interested in discovering
what comes next.

Yes, I think I will trust.

My life has been a voyage
of wonder and amazement.
I have made this journey,
head tipped back,
and grinning at the sky.
Trees have danced for me,
dogs and babies smiled,
my heart brimming
with the dazzle
of this beautiful world,
who performed her best
sunrises and sunsets for me,
draping the mountains
with breathtaking mist,
always whispering
"watch this!" and then,
"watch this!"

I have long loved
the stories of people
who rose - and rise -
from their heartbreaking situations
with hearts like lions,
walking forth into Whatever Comes
with full hearts, with dignity,
with pride.
No surrender.

Yet when that dark angel
comes for me,
I think I will surrender.
I will ride that bed-boat
out into the cosmos,
transfixed by all the stars,
wrapped in clouds of transformation,
soaring through the heavens,
breath held in awe -
Beautiful Sky-World.

The river of
 amazement will carry me
as it carried me through this life,
to my next destination,
where I hope I will find loveliness
like that of this world,
where I will meet lost loved ones,
and furry tails will thump in welcome.

At the end, I will say that,
all of my life,
I have loved most this earth
and its beauty.
In trust, I will step into
the ferryman's boat,
ready to see what lies
on that farther shore.

from 2017..........well, I think I will trust. I may flail and moan! We'll see. I'll report back!

Sharing with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Come join us!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Only You

Even a poor maiden can gaze at
a shining knight.
You walked in the door,
smile gleaming in candleglow;
my heart stopped
for a moment,
and then began again,
forever altered.

Not then, but later,
you gazed back,
and we knew joy.
But we were human,
full of fear and history/herstory.
We lost our way.

Yet, looking back,
I remember summer days,
the beauty of your gaze,
the fullness of my heart;
the love we shared was true.

The song we sang, unfinished,
reverberates through the years.
It was too short,
but how sweet it was
the while we sang.

Only you, in my long life,
stirred such feelings,
so I have been long alone.
However, all must be endured,
for those brief, shining moments,
when even this poor maiden
dared gaze at a shining knight,
and he gazed back
               gazed back
                   gazed back.

For Sanaa's Wild Friday at Poets United: to use the incomplete ending of Sappho's poem and create our own poem.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Star Travelers

Moon Dog 1973

Look up, young traveler,
at the starry heavens -
you with the stars and planets in your eyes,
and the whole sky dreaming in your face.
Let your eyes dance joyously
among the stars,
hung there for you by Sky Woman,
who spins her golden moon
and whirls her starry cape
for your delight.

Keep your gaze ever upward,
for we are all star travelers here,
arriving bewitched,
bemused with mystery,
beloved of the universe.
Sometimes, as earth travelers,
we forget, yet find ourselves
yearning ever homeward
toward the nighttime skies.
There are flight maps there,
among the ley lines,
to be decoded by all 
stardust voyagers
who - eyes transfixed by
earth's limited horizons -
have yet to discover
we have the gift of
transcendental sight.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Looking at Stars. This poem was inspired by the theme of one of my older poems. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A Message from the Wolves

Last night
two wolves
visited me in a dream.
They were suspended,
in a sleeping state.
They were dying,
and knew they were dying.
I was being with them, 
loving them,
but it wasn't enough.

"Is there anything more
I can do for you?"
I asked.
"Tell people,"
came their reply,
"and feed us."

I awoke.
It was four a.m.
I am telling the people:
the wild creatures need us.
We must topple
corporations and corrupt governments,
and reclaim our world.
May our every vote 
and choice
and action
reflect our love
of Mother Earth
and the wild beings
who need us
to speak for them
and save their lives.

"Feed us" I take to be wild creatures' wish for humans to stop all the killing and ravaging, to begin to nurture and protect the earth and its beings, so they can find safe places in which to live. I have to admit, my hope, once insurmountable, has declined, with the events of the last two years, when it seems darkness has the upper hand all over the world. But there are more of us than them, if together we rise. And there is power in our vote. Let us use it well.

Sharing with my friends at the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday. Come join us!

Sunday, September 8, 2019


First Street - CoOp on the right

RV’s are everywhere,
all summer,
lumbering  along our narrow streets
like huge carnivores,
in search of elusive parking spots
in which to graze.
At the two four corner stops
tourists cluster, indecisive,
trying to decide which corner to visit.
Drivers wait, some patiently, some not,
for them to choose.
Folks are everywhere in August.
CoOp cashiers are polite, efficient,
but their eyes are glazed.

Finally, September comes.
Smiling faces come up the hill 
to the CoOp,
gather on the corner 
by the Post Office,
catch up on the news; 
observe the weather,
the slight touch of coolness
as the season slowly turns.

“I’m so glad it’s fall,”
I say to the clerk as I buy my wine.
Oh, I KNOW!” she replies fervently,
and we share a smile.
We wait all summer for its end,
when the town returns to us
once more
and our local life
begins again.
The familiar buildings
invite us in.
We linger over produce,
make of our small purchases 
a social thing.

Our pace slows;
we can see each other now.
We smile as we pass.
“Beautiful day!”
“Oh, it is!”

Fourth Street dock

Down the hill on Fourth Street,
(we have four side streets 
and two main,
in our downtown core)
the water shines in late-summer sun.
Clouds wisp along Wah-nah-juss;
small aluminum boats putt-putt
across the harbour.

Totem carved by carver Joe David
and gifted to the town

The village is ours again;
we embrace the fog, 
the promise of coolness,
ready our rain gear,
anticipate the wildness 
of winter waves.

Tuff City basks and smiles
in the warmth of sweet September.
Its young people bicycle gayly
along the common path,
surfboards attached to the sides
of their bikes.
Seniors gather at
the Botanical Gardens for tea.
The shorebirds flock along the beach
on their way south.

And I am grateful
for it all:
each little thing.
Its beauty fills my heart;
it is the song I sing.

Too Many Kisses

"Too many kisses,"
he said.
"How soon you forget
the time alone,"
I replied.

But he was in love with beginnings,
while I needed far horizons.

"Too many kisses,"
he  grumbled.
And soon there were
no kisses at all.

for Carrie's prompt at The Sunday Muse

Friday, September 6, 2019


I awake in the deep dark
of the night to see
a huge round full-faced moon
staring in at me
as if it had zoomed close
with my eyes closed,
I catching it unawares
before it rose.

There she sat,
perched in the bowl
of my old tree,
like an over-sized Christmas ornament
thus adorning just for me
the starkly bare
and brittle branches and,
much more,
allowing me to see its beauty
than I ever have

I stare back:
eternal purveyor
of myth and mystery,
as if it holds the secret
of whatever is to be
and has ventured thus
to urge me forth
from out my purple bed,
to find a path
where all my dreams
can be
much better fed.

This radiant so-close moon
and I agree:
surrender to no man,
and yet in giving
I'm most free.
This silvery ambassador
is urging me
to give all that I can -
Mandarin Midnight Moon
that sailed here
last night
from Japan.

A poem from 2002. I woke in the night to see the moon so close, it looked like she was hanging in my big tree, as if she had zoomed I came more awake, she drifted back a ways. Smiles.

Sharing this oldie with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United this Sunday. Come join us!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

In Search of the Snow Leopard

Between the covers of a book,
cozy in the soft blankets of my purple bed,
I have followed the snowy footprints
of the snow leopard.
I have walked the mountain paths of Tibet
for ten years, searching for my husband,
to find he died, left for vultures
as a sky burial.

I have had my feet bound in ancient China,
have fallen in love in Burma
with a man whose fate was marked.
I have survived the bitter cold of the Gulag,
and heard the lions roar in the Kalahari.

I have galloped across the American plains
on horseback, sat around the campfire
in the evening, covered wagons
circled around us for protection,
the night so dark and wild.

So many places
I have been.

Once a week since age five,
I have carried home an armload of books,
keys to other places, other lives,
read through every evening of my life.
In their pages, I have travelled far
while staying in one place.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Literacy

A movie I love about literacy is the true story told in The First Grader, about an 84 year old Mau Mau man in Africa who insisted he be allowed to attend school and learn to read. It shows his life in flashbacks, a life amazing and difficult. He did learn to read, and became the teacher's assistant.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Drinking Tea :Celebrating the Ordinary

Dipping the tea bag
into boiling water,
I am transported across the sea
to terraced hillsides
near the Himalayas
where, for centuries,
people have tilled the land,
tended the plants, and
harvested, sending tea leaves
on long sea voyages
that brought their pungent flavour
from Tibet
to my waiting cup.

Sipping, I contemplate
their lives: rising in chilly mornings,
drinking butter tea,
labouring in hot afternoon fields,
to make their small livelihoods.
A moment spent in the Himalayas,
whose great peaks call my name:
mystical land, home of the gods,
so different from the noisy,
soul-less West.

For this moment, I am simply
Drinking Tea,
thinking of people in bamboo hats
bent over in green  fields,
plucking spicy leaves,
their endless and heroic labour
bringing their aromatic tea,
and this peaceful, grateful moment,
to me.

Much of my happiness comes from the ordinary "small" moments, which are actually the stuff of life. I am so grateful for it all: tea, trees, sky, changing cloudscapes, dogs with happy eyes and wagging tails. Found this in drafts and thought i would post it. Am heading home today after a lovely family gathering at the farm. It is sweet to know my little place, and the last of my summer flowers, are waiting for me. With beautiful September ahead, and then the glorious winter beaches. Yay!

Inspired by Natalie Goldberg, who celebrates the ordinary so well.

Wild Woman Fairy Tale

Wild Woman once was a damsel
who mistakenly thought
she was in distress,
with no prince to scale the castle walls 
or slay a dragon for her.

She thought Heathcliff was
the most romantic figure ever:
the moors, the angst, the ghosts
clawing at the window.
"Sign me up," she prayed,
heart beating pitter-pat.

She waited hopefully for a time,
till eventually a Questionable Suitor
stumbled across the doorstep,  
and rang the castle bell. 
She surveyed this drooping, surly creature, 
leaning against the doorjamb,
picking his nails,
with some dismay. 
But he was the only one who came
so, with a mental shrug, she let him in.
Maybe he was Heathcliff,
disguised as a Slightly Irritable Ingrate?

She set to work.
She had to machete a way 
through the thicket of thorns
to clear a path for him.
She had to challenge the fiery dragon,
while the Prince hid, quaking,
pretending he was busy
Attending to Business
with his six-pack.
Then he accused her of
“trying to wear the pants.”

Pretty soon she grew weary 
of hunting wild beasts for two,
tired of dragging them back to the fire 
to skin and roast,
tired of serving the meal
and cleaning up 
all the blood and gore.
Bad-tempered men no longer
seemed romantic; they were
curmudgeons who resisted
available happiness.
She could play them a love song;
but they would never hum along.
Let's leave them to their dark, angsty moors.

I Can’t Get No
Appreciation”, she hummed,
a crooked eyebrow lifting
as she saw a portal opening
in her mind.

She banished Prince Cedric
to the Land of Men,
became a vegan,
fortified her turret
with a stack of good books,
surveying her new life with pleasure.
With her two black guard-wolves,
she roasted some marshmallows 
in the fire to celebrate,
then retreated to the tower
to survey her own
Perfectly Peaceable Kingdom.

313 words for my prompt at Real Toads: moors, castle ruins, the faint tinkle of a piano...........tell me a tale in poetry or prose, in 313 words or less!