Friday, January 31, 2020

Wolf Sky

Under a wolf sky
the darkling forest breathes.
The shaman walks the medicine way,
leaving no footprints.
The nightbird shrieks
an eerie welcome;
 there be restless spirits here.

Beware cold, nipping fog fingers,
trying to steal some living warmth
for itself.

Hasten; our guide's cloak
is already swirling
with the swiftness
of his being gone.

55 for Joy at Verse Escape

Thursday, January 30, 2020


Wickaninnish Beach Sun Dog
(the driftwood looks like a wolf to me)

When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the sacred prophecy is at hand,
as the Children of the Rainbow
begin to walk across the land.

Hush, now, and listen;
the Grandmothers are speaking:

"Like a new-born, wobbly foal,
you're trying to find your skittery legs,
in a time of great change
as land and waters re-arrange.
You'll feel the wobble in the earth,
turmoil in the land and sea.
As our Mother Earth gives birth,
we'll learn a balanced way to be."

The people of the Rainbow
were born seeing with new eyes.
May those ready to awaken
hear our Mother's painful cries.

"Getting More must now give way
to sharing All with All.
We must return to the Old Ways,
let polluted systems fall.
There will be turmoil in the turning.
Trust those with kindness in their eyes.
They are cool water to ease the burning.
They are the Messengers, so wise."

Mother Earth, I feel you quickening
as the new world is a-borning,
like a shape-shifter, transforming,
response to evolution's dawning.
"In the time of whirling rainbows,
dance your prayers under the sky.
Hear the song of Brother Wolf,
fate of the wild world in his cry.

"Sing songs of love and peace.
Watch for a rainbow 'round the sun.
When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the Fifth World of Peace will have begun.

A'ho. Now we have spoken."

Thank you, Grandmothers,
for this hope and trust.
We will help the people change,
because change we must.
We will sing with the wolves
our song of tomorrow,
work to heal the planet's people
and the earth its sorrow.

*To the Navajo and the Hopi, the Prophecy of the Whirling Rainbow speaks of Ancestors who will return in white bodies, but who are Red on the inside. They will learn to walk the Earth Mother in balance again. The generation following the Flower Children are prophesied to be the ones who will see the dawning of the Fifth World of Peace.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Lone Wolf

I heard your lonely howls all winter.
Then you swam across the water
into Town,
finding yourself confused
along the city streets.

They stalked you.
Of course, they stalked you.
But because we loved you,
they dared not take your life.

Instead, they drugged you,
took you away
to an unknown forest
outside your territory.

They do not understand wolves,
and do not care to learn.

When I heard the news,
I knew this was your death knell.
You are now old, and are at risk,
in new territory,
of attack by the local pack,
who will view you as a threat.

One more death on their hands,
those human hands that carry
so much guilt that
no amount of washing
will ever get them clean.

Takaya, with tears I know
we will hear your howls
no more.

For seven years Takaya lived alone on a small island across from Victoria. People could hear him howling all this winter. It is mating time. They think that is what brought him into Victoria, where he was trailed until he could be tranquilized. They dared not kill him, as he is known and loved in the city. But he faces almost certain death being taken to new territory. How can wildlife workers not understand the most basic information about the animals they are supposed to be protecting?

One more struggling animal for Earthweal  Sigh.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Wild Heaven

The Tla-o-qui-aht say
that in their culture,
living as they do with
the natural world,
there is no wild;
the only word they have
for wilderness
is Home.

Wild Woman likes everything wild:
wolves, straggly hair, wildflowers,
tall grasses, forests, winter waves.
Wild heaven.

This surprised me when it came to 44.

For  Kim's Wild Monday at dVerse

Sunday, January 26, 2020

This Poem is a Baby Kangaroo

This poem is a terrified baby kangaroo
running into the arms of its rescuer.
This poem is a crying koala
plucked burning from a wall of flame.
This poem is a country on fire
where  a billion wild creatures have died.

This poem is an inferno, fleeing creatures,
deadly thirst and heat, dried up rivers,
and not enough water in the world 
to put out the flames.

This poem is kangaroos 
trapped and impaled on fences
as the flames lick closer. 
It is the burnt carcass of a kangaroo 
caught upright against the wire fence 
that stopped his escape. 
It is his hundred mates behind him,
burnt to death where they fell.

This poem is the terrified cries 
and laments of a billion wild ones, 
running,  with nowhere to go,
desperate, circling, trapped, 
as their whole world burns.

This poem is a climate crisis 
with only one way out,
and leaders all pointing smugly 
in the other direction.

This poem is a wild woman's grief 
with frustration embedded.
It is doing my small bit, 
while the big offenders
carry on with business as usual.

This poem is hope with nowhere to land.
This poem is a planet on fire,
with no one to put out the flames.

It is the animals that always break my heart. People have voices and resources, and the focus is always on saving the humans, as if we are the only ones that matter (which is how humans have lived on this earth the last few hundred years.) This one orphaned joey breaks my heart. My mind can barely wrap itself around a BILLION creatures, each in pain, trying to flee and dying.

I am watching the global response and alarm at the coronavirus with twenty victims, and how much news time and governmental action there is in response to the crisis. Yet climate change affects billions and is getting worse, with still no detectable response from the biggest offenders, governments and corporate criminals. 

I have always been so hopeful. It is hard to be losing hope.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wild Woman Herstory

Living in the desert,
I opened a little door 
in my mind
behind which lived the sea.

Living without love,
I knocked on that little door.
It opened and, inside,
Wild Woman taught me 
how to love
the whole world.

Living without joy,
a Big Door came along.
Wild Woman told me:
Walk through, or learn 
to live without a dream.

I couldn't live without a dream,
so I made a mighty leap
and the rest is 
Wild Woman herstory.

for Carrie at The Sunday Muse

To Restore the Soul of the Earth to Wholeness

The wild is the soul of the earth.
Mother Earth speaks to us
through whale and wolf and tree.
She sings to us in rainfall
on parched earth,
in windsong through the branches
of tall cedar,
in birdsong on 
a golden autumn morning.

She speaks to those of us
who are listening.
We weep together
over those who are not.

Visit an old tree.
Place your hands on her trunk
and listen.
She will tell you her story.
Under the ground,
her roots reach out to
all the others.
They hold hands,
quaking in fear
as the grappleyarders come.

We are a voracious species.
We devour our own home.

If you listen to the song of the river,
it will tell you
that the earth is struggling.
In drought, it dries up,
fish flapping limply in stagnant pools,
unable to make their way.
When the voice of the river falls silent,
when the wildfires burn,
when Mother Earth heaves and tosses in storm,
when bears swim for miles
in a warming, polluted sea,
it is long past time
to awaken:
to plant trees,
to clear the streams and clean the ocean,
to legislate reduced emissions and carbon tax,
to turn off fossil fuel and turn on clean energy.

Time to cool the earth
with loving hands.
Time to restore the soul of the earth
to wholeness.

A poem from 2017, when I had more hope than I have today. Yet we must hold onto hope. Let's plant what trees we can.

Monday, January 20, 2020


We stand in support
of the Wet'suwet'en people,
land defenders, protecting
the living waters
running through their
unceded traditional territory.

Water is life!

The peaceful protectors
will be taken away to jail;
the armed defenders
of corporate criminals
wield all the power
with the complicit government.

Water is life!
falls on their deaf ears.
Dollar signs shine
in their eyes.

The water, wild and pristine,
makes its winter passage,
caught between its protectors
and those whose god is money.

Water is life!
we cry.
A feather is held up:
we come in peace.

A peaceful warrior waits
for the moment
the barricade is breached
and armed men swarm
the people of the living waters.

Water is life!
Our duty - since time immemorial -

has been to protect it.

The world is upside down,
when the oil and gas of death
is more important than
the water we need for life,
when the money gods rule
and the only water around
is the land and its people
weeping in protest.

In Načiks  (Tofino) we are standing by for a solidarity response in support of the Wet'suwet'en people, should they be forcibly removed from their unceded traditional territories some time this week. Militarized police are being mobilized. Hereditary chiefs have been given notice to clear the road into their territory. The RCMP have set up an exclusion zone, an occupied blockade preventing media from access, also stopping supplies, food and medication from reaching the people.

In this strange age we live in, the protectors of the land are viewed as criminals, while the criminal corporations and complicit governments who are destroying our future hold the power. History - if we survive long enough to  have a history - will tell a different story.

Standing Rock has come to B.C. as Coastal GasLink is determined to push  a 670 km natural gas pipeline through the territory and across the fresh water sources of the Wet'suwet'en people. The proposed project will run across the province to the B.C. Coast, and then be tankered down the coastline. The hereditary chiefs are in opposition; they served the company with an eviction notice from their unceded traditional territories. Many B.C. residents oppose the pipeline, standing with the Wet'suwet'en people, in a time of climate crisis, when fossil fuels should be left in the ground, and clean energy systems developed. The threat of leaks and spills is not "if" but "when".

Premier John Horgan says "The project will go through." RCMP are authorized to use lethal force if necessary. The Chiefs are seeking help from the UN, which earlier in 2019 declared the rights of aboriginal people to their lands and territories.

Supportive Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith people, commented, "We have to change, to ensure that our young people have a future. That's what the land defenders mean when they say we need to protect the land and the water. Globally, there has to be an awakening now."

B.C. Green Party leader Adam Olsen visited the hereditary chiefs this past weekend. He said change can't happen until federal and provincial decision-makers sit down with the hereditary chiefs. B.C. Premier John Horgan has declined to meet with them. "The rule of law will prevail," he said.

Prime Minister Trudeau (nicknamed Crudeau by the environmentally aware), by not recognizing UN-recognized rights of Aboriginal people to their lands and territories, is in violation of conventions he signed at the United Nations.

As always, when it comes to corporate money, all other rights and concerns are set aside. Yet government leaders continue to talk about Canada's important relationship with First Nations. The forked tongues of the LongKnives have not changed much; colonialism remains alive and strong in Canada.

Stay tuned.

for Brendan at Earthweal: Water

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Flying Free

can you hear
that tinkling on the wind......?
        like the furtive below-deck rattle of chains
        on slave ships of the past

I planted a spirit tree
near the bayou,
where ghost-wails and lamentations
moan every full moon:

         mothers crying for their babies
         children sold for dollar bills
         grandmothers, weeping for them all

In the clink-clink-clink
of late summer afternoons,
hear determined spoons digging tunnels
out of captivity,

        the echoing lament of souls
        longing for freedom

In the fiery blaze of four p.m.
when the light turns the colour of fried butter
look closely; see souls emerging
from all the shining bottles

       to the muted clink-clink-clink
       watch the rise of age-old spirits
       finally flying free

for Shay at The Sunday Muse

Old southern legend tells of bottle trees, where evil spirits were said to get trapped in the bottles, keeping them away from the houses; they were destroyed by the morning sun.  When the wind blows, and a sound emerges from the botles, it was said to be the moans of the evil spirits.

African slaves began hanging bottles in trees in the American south in the 17th century. They usually chose crepe-myrtle trees, significant to them through Bible references, representing escape from slavery and freedom.

As I protest captivity,  I took poetic license and had good spirits freeing themselves from the bottles, rather than being trapped.

Friday, January 17, 2020


A windigo wind
blows across the land,
warning us that we have been taking
more than we need,
and putting nothing back.
It is telling us we need to go back
to the Old Times,
when man and nature lived in harmony,
and no action was taken
without consideration for 
the seventh generation.

A big black wolf is wandering
through my dreams and through my heart,
wolf spirit,
Windigo of the wolf clan,
howling a lament at the destruction
of his habitat,
the starvation of his young,
the extinction
of his tribe.

I am swimming a wide river,
farther than I have the strength to go,
when, under me,
lifts the body of a great turtle,
who supports me to
the farther shore.

I am lost at sea in a thick fog
and cannot find home
when a pod of killer whales,
sensing my distress telepathically,
encircles my boat and guides me to shore,
to my own dock,
then glides silently into the night
and away.

Nature tries to help us.
Creatures show us the way.
But in our noise and clamor,
in the tumult of our souls,
we cannot hear them.

The forest is deep and dark,
and there are spirits here.
I look, and look again,
and all the trees are rearranged.
Shapeshifters, shadows,
flit from tree to tree, 
and a mournful Windigo wind
sings through the branches.

Owl, Oracle, Guardian,
protect me as I go.

One from 2013, for Brendan at Earthweal

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


On the anniversary of his death - January 15, 2011

I feel it coming, this poem
I will birth
on the nine year anniversary
of your passing from this earth.
So close to tears, I realize, of course, it is you.
Just how much, how long, I'd miss you,
back then I never knew.
Like a burrowing owl,
you have lodged in my heart,
a prickle-burr that hurts,
from which I do not want to part.
You live there, night and day,
in a corner labeled Grief.
From the missing and the being-gone
there is no relief.

Ghost voices whispering on the wind,
and wolf howls in my dreams,
you look right into my sad heart;
your wolf-eyes gleam.

The barn owl says to light the lamp
on the windowsill for you.
But how will you find me in this place
that was never home to you?

I'm homeless in the universe, alone, without you
and I fear you're out there somewhere,
feeling homeless too.
Lead me back, wolf-spirit,
to the land we loved together.
I will walk there again
as we did in any weather.

When I can hear the rhythm of
the turning of the tides,
my spirit may still find a home
once more, where peace abides.
Maybe your ghost shadow
will accompany the hours
as I walk forever beaches that,
for a time, were hours.

*** *** ***

I went to bed and slept, and then they came:
four beautiful, white, snowy wolves
who already knew my name.
The first came close -
oh, the beauty of her face!
pushed a friendly nose towards me,
as I stood still, accepting,
but respectful of her space.
We were at the beach, the wolves and I.
A visitation from the spirit-world
of the not-alive,
and from deep within my spirit,
which needs both wolves and ocean waves
to thrive,
because it has never been enough
simply to survive.

The barn owl called sleepily
in the early light to wake me.
Four white wolves live within me now,
never to forsake me.

And you?
big, black, laughing, hilarious
creature of the dawn?
You're in my heart
forever now.
You are never
fully gone.

Hard to believe it has been nine years and I still miss him so much. I accept this is a permanent condition. We were soulmates. When I wrote this the first time, I was living at my sister's where Pup never visited. I wondered how he would find me. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Blue-Sky Eyes

I looked at life
with blue-sky eyes
for most of my many years,
with hope and trust
and dreamy sighs,
watered well with tears.

But now my gaze
is singed with brown,
like the forests that I love.
Burning creatures, burning towns,
sky fiery red above.

Like kangaroo and koala,
I don't know which way to turn.
My heart can't take the pain
of watching
as the wild world burns.

for the Sunday Muse : I am heartened that people are heroically helping the animals, and dropping carrots and sweet potatoes down to them. I just don't know what to do with this much grief at what is happening, to the animals, the people, and the land.

In Remembrance of Lost Species

The Wolverine

Under the brilliant gaze of the Wolf Moon
last night, I heard them singing:
ghostsongs of departed creatures,
species forever gone
 - because of us -
with our rapacious demand for More,
invading and destroying their habitat,
eliminating their food sources,
taking, without respect,
without giving back
so that future generations might live.

Now the price comes due;
wildfires rage, floods cover the land,
volcanoes roar, earthquakes buckle.
Mother Earth gave generously,
but we abused the gift.
Now our mother will teach
her wayward children
lessons learned the hard way.

I stand on my balcony and listen for
the silenced song of the Eskimo curlew.
Almost, I hear the ghostly echoing hooves
of the vanished Dawson caribou,
see the darting shadow
of the Vancouver Island wolverine,
the tippy-toe of the black-footed ferret,
flitting among the trees
of the spirit-world,
where small universes of
bird and bug and plant
die out
- forever gone -
with every old-growth giant felled.

Farewell to the Greater Prairie Chicken,
to the small Karner blue butterfly.
Goodbye, goodbye,
to the dragonlake whitefish,
to the pygmy horned lizard,
to the Pacific gophersnake
and the western pond turtle.

Once, you were our respected
brothers and sisters. We lived with you
in harmony, with respect, but
then we lost our way.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.
I remember you.
I remember you.
Mea culpa.

4 BILLION species have gone extinct. 771 species are at risk, including 531 animals. And of course the staggering BILLION non-human lives lost in the Australian wildfires have been all I can think about this week. I am heartened that humans are dropping carrots down for the kangaroos that remain. But we need to start acting pro-actively, rather than responding to crisis. People who bemoaned the cost of switching to clean energy will be paying a much higher price fighting forces bigger than we can muster.

In Canada, on the brink of extinction are: the tiny marbeled murrelet, and the mighty orca, both of whose food sources have been decimated by commercial fishing. Also endangered are the caribou, the polar bear, the wild salmon (food for orcas), the spotted owl, and many more.

We must demand our legislators ACT to try to save what is left, or, at least, slow down this massive rush to extinction. Or we will soon be added to the endangered list. Sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to scream.

for Brendan at earthweal.


Saturday, January 11, 2020


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.

Some of you have read this a while back, written for my last prompt at Toads: Staying Strong in a Time of Climate Crisis. Sharing it this weekend at 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Train 2020, Coming Down the Track

I hear the train coming down the track, whistle blowing: Train 2020. Train 2019 has been sidelined to the trainyard; it will not run again. I feel: sadness for the year gone, and for what is happening now all across the planet; fear, of the unknown track ahead and what it might bring; gratitude for the many blessings that crossed my path last year; sorrow for animals burned alive; anxiety for the climte crisis. Because I am a human, I require hope. I need to believe we can rise to meet the challenge of saving at least some of this planet that I love. Because I know all that I know, I fear we are too late.

I step onto the train, no choice. Train 2020 is the train I am destined to catch. Where it will take me, take us, is a question mark. But there is joy in the journey, because we are alive, now, and because earth is beautiful, and we have those we love in our lives. We have so much worth saving and fighting for.

January moon
obscured by clouds, still I know
you will shine again.

for Bjorn at dverse: Beginning (Again), a haibun

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Skybird's Song II

by Lauren Withrow

A wild haired Crone appeared to me
when I was very small.
"You are Sky Woman" she said
"Sky holds you in its thrall."

She said she'd send birds to guide me
when my path grew long,
Birds to sing me forward,
when all my hope was gone.

Birds to hop from branch to branch
throughout the forest deep.
Birds to lift my broken wings
and help me make that leap.

Birds to sing my tattered soul
a Skybird's song.
Birds sang their sweet songs to me
my whole life long.

inspired by the illustraion at the Sunday Muse.


by Lauren Withrow

A small bird sang to me
when I was just a child.
She named me Skybird and, from her,
I learned to love the wild.

She taught me how to understand
the meaning of her song.
She sent other birds to guide me
after she was gone.

All my life, these visitors
have sung my mornings in.
When sad, it often was their song
that helped me to begin.

I've listened to these small messengers
my whole life long.
At the end, she promised me
I'll hear a skybird's song.

Friday, January 3, 2020

This Poem is a Weeping Wild Woman

This poem is a weeping wild woman who hears
the cries of Mother Earth and her creatures.
This poem is melting ice, starving polar bears,
burning forests, warming seas, warring armies.
This poem searches earth and sky, looking for hope
for a suffering planet.

This poem is a wild woman who hears
the call of Raven, howl of wolf,
wails of distress from every corner of the world.
What is she to do, with all of this knowing,
when the cries of the suffering
       are not being heard
          are not being heard
             are not being heard?
How many times can her beating heart break
against the certain knowledge that
the planet she loves is burning itself up?

This poem is watching the poles melt,
the polar bears grow thin and weak,
sitting on melting ice floes with their young,
wandering into villages in search of food,
looking at us, in need of help
       that does not come.
This poem hears the warning that is not being heeded:
as mad leaders and corporate greed responds:
"Money rules."
This poem sadly reflects:
No jobs, no money, no life, on a dead planet.
This poem cannot contain its grief,
so sometimes it spills over.

This poem does not want to end
without offering a note of hope.
It finds it in the beauty of sky and landscape,
in the shine in children's eyes
- those children who need and deserve a future -
and in Mother Earth's steadfastness,
as she follows her endless cycle of rebirth,
giving and giving, season after season,
      in spite of us.
This poem says:
Money rules, but the spirit liberates,
and lives in hope that we can evolve
from our destructive, warring ways,
and return all creatures to the Garden.

This poem is a weeping wild woman
in need of hope.
This poem is all that is melting 
and dying and burning, 
in need of our help. (Not much time.)
This poem is a prayer of vanishing faith,
living in a wasteland of distress,
that refuses to give up,
because she loves this earth so well.

Well. Not an uplifting poem. It is a hard week, given the wildfires in Australia and the 450 MILLION wild creatures that have perished. I am sharing this with Brendan's open link at Earthweal. I have another to share on Monday for his prompt: Wildfires. Sigh. Sadly, there is no end of material to inspire our responses. Thank you, Brendan, for giving us a space to share our feelings about the crisis we are in, that too many world leaders REFUSE to address.

This poem used Hannah Gosselin's Boomerang Metaphor Poem format, one of my favourites.

When I look around me at all the beauty, I simply can't believe that humankind will allow all of this to be destroyed. I hope a million Wild Women will run for office everywhere and turn this sinking ship around. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would get my vote in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Auld Lang Syne

The canary in its cage
has fallen off its perch and died,
along with 450 million birds and animals
as Australia burns.

People huddle on the shore,
stranded by the flames;
firefighters work like ants
to battle the apocalypse
swallowing the world.

Last night was moonless.
As I mourned the million creatures
in solitude,
the party went on as usual:
fireworks amidst the embers,
hope, midst the despair,
fiddles playing Auld Lang Syne
while our whole world

for Kerry's Skylover Word List. I used canary, cage, moonless, solitude.

I will share this at Earthweal on Monday for Brendan's prompt: Wildfires