Monday, December 30, 2019

What We Save Saves Us

Save a tree -
she will help you breathe
until your last gasp.

Save the salmon
that feed the whales, the wolves, 
the bears, the eagles,
the forest.

Save the ozone,
which keeps us from 
frying to a crisp.

Save the habitat of
the wild creatures
who share this planetary home
with us.

Save the children,
they are the architects 
of the future.

Save the soul of North America
from the evils of capitalistic greed,
from racism, division and hatred.
Make it kind again.

Cast your vote for better times.
Use your voice, your platform, 
your energy, your life
to effect change.

With every life we save,
we save our own.

for PLAY IT AGAIN - the last prompt at Toads.  I chose one of my favourite prompts from Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman: what we save saves us. We dont have to look far for things to save these days.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


Small bird, 
you are protected now.
But once outside the egg,
you will find the world
is very big.
Do not worry.
You need not hold up the sky
with your wings.
Your world is this branch,
these leaves, these blossoms.
Your flight path has been set for you
by the ancestors, and is written
in the stars.

You will hear a lot of terrifying noise.
There may be explosions, flames and floods.
Remember this song I sing to you.
Carry it in your heart,
along with my wishes for a world
safe enough
in which to
set you free.

The mother zebra finch sings to her chick in its egg. Scientists have observed that this song, sung only to the egg, prepares the chick for life outside the egg. The chicks are born smaller, thus better able to withstand warming temperatures. It amazes me that creatures are smart enough to begin adapting to climate change while humans remain stubbornly oblivious.

for my last Wordy Wild Woman prompt Friday at Real  Toads: Staying Strong in a Time of Climate Crisis.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


The wild things have gathered in council,
a council for all beings,
to confer about the state of things on the land.

Ms Mountain Goat speaks first.
Those who tromp in heavy boots
through our forest
talk about their rights: human rights,
the right to own what can never be owned,
the rights of the multinationals
to rape and pillage and pay nothing back,
the right to work, the right to hold money
as their God,
as if they are the only ones who have rights.
What about non-human rights?

The animals all nod and murmur.
Mr Bear moves to the center of the circle.
What about our rights? he asks pleasantly,
dipping his paw into a honeypot, then licking.
I have a harder time each winter
finding a quiet spot to rest.
The Mrs has a terrible time
keeping the youngsters safe
Everywhere are the big machines,
the grappleyarders, destroying our habitat,
and the metal creatures on rubber feet
that kill so many - human and non-human alike -
on the highways.

Yes! non-human rights!
how do we make them hear us?
All of the animals are animated, and chattering.

This is when the Standing People,
the Talking Trees, who have been listening,
finally speak:
Our numbers are diminishing and,
along with us, our tree wisdom,
and the ecosystems which help all to live.
The oceans are filling with their garbage.
The air is filling with their polluted smoke.
The earth is warming from
their addiction to fossil fuel.
They do not realize - though it is clear to see -
that they will choke to death, or drown,
alongside the rest of us.

The critters exchange glances.
Tall Tree has spoken truth.

Who will take this message to their leaders?
asks Rabbit.

It will be a child, for only a child has eyes
clear enough to see, replies Tree.

Ha. Methinks Greta is the one they were speaking of. A poem from 2014, as this year winds to a close and we consider the plight of our non-human companions on this planet, who are suffering in all corners of the world because of our out-of-control appetites. I fear it wont be until more humans are suffering globally (as many millions already are) - until we in the First World begin to suffer from the climate crisis - before our kind will wake up to the absolute imperative of living with the natural world as we were intended to, in the ways that worked for thousands of years until this last devastating one or two hundred.

Hoping for opened eyes and minds among world leaders in 2020 - a faint hope, at this point. But until changes are legislated, humans and corporations will not comply. We need to insist the leaders replace the dollar signs in their eyes with the goal of planetary survival.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

White, for Remembering

I looked into the eye of an old brown horse
who had lived many seasons.
We shared a Knowing.
I whispered to her,
"It will be all right."
She and I both knew
Death was drawing near.

I looked into the eye of a bright-hearted foal,
born in his mother's  old age,
so my sister became his mother
for too brief a time.
Mare and foal are buried together in the pasture,
along with all the dogs we ever loved:
a Cemetery of Heartbreak
my sister and I cannot speak about.

I see white cloud-horses in the sky
and dream perhaps our loved beasts
are galloping in freedom

In winter, the ground is
covered in white.
White, for remembering
all we have lost.
White, to pretty up the dirt
that covers the bodies
of those we have loved so much.
White, the cold touch of loss
that breaks our ruby-red hearts
and stitches them back together with tears.

We miss our dear ones most in winter.
Our hearts feel the frost
of all we have lost;
we can hardly bear to remember
the astonishing richness
of all that - for a time -
was ours.

for Carrie at The Sunday Muse

Friday, December 20, 2019


We thought we would change the world,
we, the dreamers, the singers,
the all-you-need-is-love believers.
Then they shot all our heroes;
the world took a dark turning.
The Man had money as his only goal,
was always the deceiver.
We dreamers went undercover
and tended to our souls.

And now we are turning again,
dark forces ascendant,
but lighter spirits striving.
In its death-to-life throes,
the very earth is writhing,
trying to throw off all
that is making it so ill.
Time is short, my friends,
but we are dreaming, still.

I have spent my whole life dreaming
of the world that's meant to be:
social and climate justice, enough
for every you and every me.

I am weary from dreaming,
but my "Imagine Peace" banner
stays unfurled,
in case my belief is the final prayer
of hope, heaven-hurled,
that will topple us into a better tomorrow,
and a kinder, gentler world.

for Marian at Real Toads: Imagine

Always hoping that the collective transformation of consciousness will happen before the apocalypse - have had to adjust my dreams just a tad since 1970.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Old Crone, Singing


The old year hobbles to a close
like a wrinkled, wise old crone
with a pocketful of secrets.

When the new year dawns,
as fresh and pink as a young maiden,
the crone will hand her those secrets
and point a gnarled finger
down the Path of Tomorrow.

Her head is heavy with remembering,
her ears full of the cries of wild creatures,
singing songs of lost habitat,
and floods, and fire.

But wait! Through the forest comes a message
from a young dreamer who sees with eyes of truth:
"Change is coming,
whether you like it or not."
(Yes, whether by legislation or cataclysm,
Change will come.
And the young, brave-hearted, are rising.)

The old year passes wearily into the new,
which straightens its shoulders
in readiness to face
whatever comes.

Trees and waves and shore
eternally sing their songs of beauty,
of hope, of Tomorrow.
The Crone of 2019 feels her heart lift
in response. She takes up her drum
and begins to sing.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Year's End.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

No More Toads, No More Princes

Every time you opened your mouth,
a hairy toad popped out.
You tried to make them pretty
but a toad's a toad, without a doubt.

You could line up all the toads
between Port and Whiskey Creek,
and they wouldn't even cover
all the lies you made me eat.

You had all the rehearsed words,
said the same to all the girls,
were horrified when we compared,
after you gave us each a whirl.

You were the last nail in the coffin
when that Farce au Deux was done.
You made me appreciate
the peacefulness of being one.

For Marian, at Toads. The line about a mouth opening and stones falling out made me think of my Last Bad Dating Experience. In his case, toads seemed more appropriate. I will never kiss another. Lol.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Thirteen Ways to Celebrate Kerry

1. I saw the name Skylover, and clicked.
("She loves the sky like I do.")

2. I saw: Followers: 4 and clicked again. Now 5.
Soon to be legion.
Soon to be Head Toad in the pond of exuberant ribbets.
We joined in happy song.

3. I grew in awe at your gift.
I still feel awe.
You risk. You aspire. You leap.
But oh, how high you fly on the trapeze. No nets

4. We admire the trajectory
of your flight
from our lily pads.

5. You have stretched our wings,
helped us to take a spin or two
around the pond.

6. You picked us up when we fell off
our lilypads.

7. You dried us off and told us
to try again.

8. I thank you for all you have given.

9. I celebrate you for all that you are.

10. Your vision for Toads was unique in the blogosphere
and has been utterly fulfilled.

11. Your many fans applaud you,
clap, clap, clap.

12. I will keep on reading your poems,
admiring your flight, remembering
our time together.

13. Because of you
We flew. We flew. We flew.

for Magaly's prompt at Real Toads:  celebrating Kerry's poems. What a glorious idea! The line in red is Kerry's - we were to choose a line and insert it, as is, in our poem.


With all of the things you have learned
from your long journeying,
with all of your heartache
that taught you to love and to cry,
and with all of your dreaming
that helped you to live,
with that same loving heart and merry laugh
that has brought you to the ocean's shore,
come out at dusk and celebrate
the full cold moon
at the place where the tide
kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.

Yesterday morning's dawn
approached as pink and fresh
as a young maiden
singing the new day in.
Tonight shows itself
as a wise old woman with knowing smile,
tapping her cane and hobbling.
But she still remembers her dancing feet,
she remembers,
and, in her heart, she is still dancing
across the beloved landscape
with joy.

You grew your soul
all green with wilderness
and wild with wolf-breath,
in a forest of great and ancient tree beings
breathing peace.
You owe them your every breath, 
each one their gift to us.

The journey has been astonishing, magical;
it has brought you here,
to the edge of the sea.
And now you are looking at
those far, snow-capped mountains.
The echo of the heron's call
and wild wolfsong at midnight
will keep you here a while.

The tree trunks you hug
breathe their smiles at you; they whisper,
"we waited for you, friend,
for all these many years."

The sea sings your soul-song,
the only song you ever knew.
It sang you out of the desert
and over the mountain pass
to the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound.
It has carried you so far,
and it is singing, still.

Come out at dusk to meet me
on the shortest day, in the place where
the tide  kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.
Let earth and sky
inform your grateful heart
that, finally and forever,
you are Home.

I read this poem last night to a packed house at the botanical gardens, all lit up for Christmas. Tofino really loves poetry! Sharing it this weekend with the Pantry of Poetry and Prose at Poets United. Wishing you all full moons, happy Solstice and lovely holidays, whatever tradition you honour.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Forever Gone

That moment,
when I felt your snout on the edge of my bed -
the way you woke me every morning
of our lives together -
was the moment you went into the flames
and up into the sky,
into the spirit world -
forever gone.

You had stopped by,
in flight,
to say goodbye.

That moment loosed
a river of tears
- it does so now -
for all we had been together
and all I now had lost.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motiff: A Moment

Monday, December 9, 2019


The ice is melting under my paws.
You have made my homeland a place of hunger and death.


The wildfires are burning the forests.
As we flee, we hear the cries of burning koalas.


Can we sit in prayerful silence
contemplating the destruction of our living world?


How many times can a heart break open?
In my dreams, wild wolves are seeking a safe place to hide.


Mama Bear and three cubs flee the policeman
but they cannot run fast enough to outrun his gun.


From the southern border, can you hear
the distressed cries of children calling  for their mothers?


Some depressing landai for Sanaa's prompt at Real Toads: the landay. 9 syllables in the first line, 13 in the second, this is a form usually sung by Afghan woman. They can include topics of grief, death, women's oppression - and sometimes are ribald, provoking women's laughter. I love how women find ways to release, if only temporarily,  the yoke of oppression through poetry, song and laughter. I chose North American topics, because oppression, of people and species and natural systems, is everywhere.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

meditation on blue

blue, the colour of hope:
blue skies, my whole life spent, head
tipped back, grinning at the sky.
blue velvet, the music of my youth,
soundtrack to all those broken dreams,
and my midnight blue velvet dress;
(wherever did I wear it?)
blue mood, eased by nature's beauty
and the love of a beautiful dog.
blue horizon, Tomorrow on the other side
Eternity in its scope.
blue, the colour of melancholy,
sadness for what is gone, and
gratitude for how much still remains.

I look at life with blue eyes,
a world of blue skies and sunny days.
Like the song, I walk on
the sunny side of the street,
a smile for all I meet.
I am in love with blue-green rivers
and the sea. Bluejays sing
my mornings in. In December,
I seek  blue shadows in the snow,
note dark winterblue in the sky,
colour in indigo  my memories of
all  I have let go.

for Rajani's Poetry Tuesday: Blue

Friday, December 6, 2019

Above the Wilding Shore

Pacifico ~ The Pacific Ocean
Kerry O'Connor

I flew above the wilding shore
though my lungs could breathe no more.
A ride upon a phantom wind;
my journey ends as it begins.

The keeper of the light appears.
He is as real as all my fears.
He grabs me, gasping, all a-flutter
and fries me up with lots of butter.

Pharos ~ The Lighthouse
Kerry O'Connor

LOL. Sorry, couldn't help myself. For Kerry  at Toads - 53, not 55, but I dont want to change the rhythm.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

With Spirit Sore

A lambent shine on the horizon lifts my eyes.
Stripped of  illusion, I walk the wilding shore.
With spirit sore, my eyes still scan the skies 
under which we humans should be so much more.

Stripped of  illusion, I walk the wilding shore.
With all we know, we should be worlds away
from the misery of today; be so much more
than the sorry state of hungry power in play.

With all we know, we should be worlds away
from indecision; call leaders to intervene
in the sorry state of greed and power in play.
Hope in tomorrow still gives our hearts their sheen.

From indecision, we call leaders to intervene.
With spirits sore, our eyes still scan the skies.
Hope in tomorrow still gives our hearts their sheen.
A lambent shine on the horizon lifts our eyes.

Words used: horizon, lambent, intervene, stripped, illusion, indecision.

I wrote this pantoum as an exercise, using Kerry's word list to describe the conflicted feelings I have walking this beautiful landscape, knowing the environmental devastation happening everywhere, also knowing a tsunami could come at any moment and wash this coastline away. And yet we have to hold onto hope somehow, against all the mounting evidence that we have been much too slow to awaken.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Blue Jays, at Dawn

The blue jays come to my deck at dawn.
 Each morning I draw back the sliding door, 
crumble the bread.
Every morning is the same
but the blue jays and I
are all imperceptibly changing,
one day of living closer
to our transformation,
one more day of gratitude
for our long, blessed unfolding
and all of its gifts.
One more day,
before, suddenly, 
we're gone.

What has changed me most
in my long life?
My friends,
who had the hard task of teaching me
that there was someone inside me
worthy of love.
They shone the sunshine of their smiles on me
and repeated, until I believed:
leave the heartbreak of yesterday behind.
The time for sorrow has ended. 
Come play with us
in the garden of delight.

They taught me:
"The moment of change is the only poem."*

*Adrienne Rich

Ah, my friends, the winds of change are blowing as my two dear friends, Susan and Sumana, soon take leave of Poets United, where we have played so happily these many years. Thank you is not words enough for all you have given, and all you have come to mean to me. Come join me in the garden of delight and we shall continue our poetic journeys, which unfold the pathway we are walking with every new poem.

for the Midweek  prompt: Changes

Sunday, December 1, 2019


One tired woman
sitting at the front of a bus

One small girl
sitting in front of Parliament

One man with a dream
One girl with a book
and a veil and a voice

Can spark a tidal wave
of change.

for the Pantry of Poetry and Prose at Poets United.