Wednesday, September 30, 2020

She Has Always Had Horses


Painting by Salvadore Dali

She had horses who lived in her dreams.
When she was little, she would gallop
around and around the back field,
long hair streaming out behind her,
galloping to the rhythm
of the hoofbeats in her heart.
She was trying to be a horse, and 
we smiled as we watched her 
- da-dum, da-dum, da-dum -
head nodding, mane flying.

When she got big, she had horses:
a brown crabby mare who lived in the country
while she worked in town, then, later,
an Arabian, a Grande Dame of horses,
finally a horse in her back yard,
who lived 33 years, and ruled the small farm, 
bossing all the horses who came later.

This mare gave birth to a tiny foal,
his arrival an unexpected miracle. 
This foal was her child,
she who had never had children.
Because its mother would not nurse him,
she hand-fed him. He was her heart horse,
all of her joy and, when he died too young,
all of her heartbreak.
She did not stop crying for a month.
She still can't speak his name.

Some things you never get over.
Some things you can't speak about,
because the pain goes too deep.

She has always had horses.
What this means is knowing,
when you love an animal,
that after some years of joy, 
there will be heartbreak.

Her farm has a burial ground
where lie all of the cats and dogs and horses, 
her foal, his mother, and a sweet red filly
who also died too young.
Their spirits are content,
because they are still at home.
The horses she has today,
circle the burial ground on their track.
In wet weather one area moves
and puffs up, then deflates,
as if the ghost horses are galloping
underground in their dreams.
Sometimes the live ones above-ground 
kick up their heels and toss their manes,
bringing us joy as we watch
through the farmhouse window.

The horses have calm hearts
and wise eyes. They look into our souls;
they know who is kind, who is not.
They bring their big soft noses
over the fence-rail and whuff
in our faces. Their gentle, seeking lips
nuzzle our hands, looking for treats.
If they find none, they nibble our clothing,
or the top of the fence, and sigh.
They daydream about carrots and apples,
and sweet, young grass.

They love their small barn, their round track,
and their people, staring towards the window,
where their humans live,
waiting for their next meal of hay.

She has always had horses,
who visited her in dreams
until they came to her in life:
each one with its own story,
each one a heart in search of love,
soft voices, gentle hands, sweet hay
and safe stall.
She has horses, and loves them,
and so she gives them
all of that, and all of her heart,
and more.

Inspired by Joy Harjo's She Had Some Horses (an amazing poem), and Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner.

Monday, September 28, 2020

We Are Ocean


We are not just one drop - we are Ocean.
We have come here to unleash our souls
into the wind, and soar the mountains.
Be vast.
When they try to stuff you into corners,
step out into the scary middle of things
and be heard. 

What if you knew the blueprint of your soul,
the task the universe sent you here to accomplish?
Would you rise to the challenge,
or say "it's too much" and retreat?

We may never know all we are meant to do here,
but here's how I've come to understand it:
we are meant to be of service to each other,
meant to give, out of the fullness of our hearts,
meant to sing, with joy; bathe in the beauty
of midnight skies full of stars,
lope happily along sandy beaches.
We are meant to be vast,
release our souls into the ether,
breathe with dolphins, attune to 
the heartbeat of the Earth Mother,
sing with wolves and whales.

We are meant to speak with sparrows,
those secrets small beings know,
who understand they are part of
the Great Mystery,
part of the All That Is and, thus,
have hearts as large as lions.

Inspired by "You Are Oceanic" by Tapiwa Mugabe and Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner. The italicized lines are the poet's. And shared at earthweal where Brendan has us contemplate Michaelmas: St Michael, the patron saint of ocean-farers. Coincidentally I just penned an ocean poem before visiting earthweal. A call to arms for these times when we need to play large if we are to effect any change at all.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Potholes or Portals


A wise indigenous woman looked out of her screen at me and told me there is either a pothole or a portal before us. If we choose portal, and go through,  carrying our lightmaker tools with us, we can begin to heal and rebuild what has been lost. We can walk into the unknown without fear or resistance, feel better within ourselves, and bring forth all our inner resources to put good things out into the world. I hear this wisdom. It is hard to hold onto it when we are surrounded by so much corrupt power, divisive rhetoric, gaslighting, and the president of our nearest neighbour who is himself a hoax. But still, I have always been a dreamer, which is why our present situation drags me down. Somewhere a few hopeful lines drifted through my head this morning and I thought I would share them with you.

Poetry falters
in this dark night
that's lasting
far too long.

Yet it's especially in
this dismal plight
that the heart most needs
its song.

We need our songs, our drums, our dances and our dreams. Go well, fellow dreamers.

I am off through the mountains this morning to the farm, where I will have some much-needed Animal Therapy. We will go over some potholes for sure, as the rains have come. But that mountain route is also a portal - magical with its mist and clouds playing on the mountainsides, roaring rivers, waterfalls pouring down the cliffs. This planet is so beautiful. My heart will sing its beauty all the way through the mountain pass, and will emerge transformed by the glory of wild nature.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Two Strong Women

 A confluence of two events smote my heart this week. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, after hanging on so valiantly, and the hypocritical rush of republicans to appoint one of their right wing judges in her place mere DAYS before the election, when they would not allow Barak Obama to appoint one ten MONTHS before election, shows the two sets of rules that apply in the US now, for reds and blues, with reds calling the shots, with corruption so blatant they dont even try to hide it.

Then I watched a film about Helen Reddy's life, and her songs took me back, with tears, to the rise of the women's movement in the 70's, and my own rise of consciousness along with it. Her songs launched me out of an oppressive and impossible marriage and into a life of my own, at last, though it took me some years to find my sea-legs.

I was in tears at film clips, in the film, of the women's movement. Oh, the dreams we had, the power we felt in women rising. The contrast between those days and now, when the repubs are doing all they can to roll us back fifty years to a time more comfortable for old white men, is just horrifying. It is like watching democracy, the Constitution, any hope of social justice, dying a painful death under the knee of the patriarchy. Again.

And the Equal Rights Amendment has STILL not been passed.

All I can do is hope that enough women, African-Americans, Latinos, refugees, marginalized people and young people will VOTE - somehow finding their way to do so through the maze of voter suppression and outright vote tampering.

I have read a great deal, over the decades, about the Third Reich, and a lot of this is feeling very familiar. Vote the emperor out. Let's return to government by the people for the people, with people who swear to serve their constituents, not themselves. It has never been more important. I scoff now at ever having thought George Bush was a bad president. trump has taken that to a whole other level. Unbelievable that it is happening in the home of the brave and the land of the free. It wont be free and brave for long if he gets back in.

A Flock of Magpies

It feels like murder, some days. Most days,
as we watch our youthful dreams 
of changing the world turn into
our worst nightmare.
Their magpie grins and their dead eyes,
ghoul-like, grin from the tv screen;
they are drunk on corrupt power,
on how much they get away with.
They need not be furtive; they are blatant.
Apparently there is no governmental body
any more who can stop them.

I believed, all these years,
in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I believed North American rights and freedoms
were guaranteed; they could never be toppled.
I believed we all felt the same.
See how quickly fascism takes hold.
See how many rush to drink the Kool-Aid,

A flock of magpies, chattering,
create distraction upon distraction,
while behind the scenes,
they gut all of our protections
and services.

Magpies recognize themselves
in the mirror, but this lot doesn't.
I doubt they could look in the mirror
without wondering what they have become.

A murder of magpies, they call it.
What is being murdered is the Constitution
and who will save it? Integrity
has left the building. The other side of the aisle
is flapping their wings in distress.
But are they strong enough
to topple an empire, so suddenly erected
on domestic soil?

America breaks my heart some days. Most days.
I don't break down in public, (so far),
but my heart carries such an ache.
I worry what is yet to come,
each month worse than the one before,
each outrage more wicked,
until complete silence envelops me,
and I withdraw, resigned.
There is no one to save us, only ourselves,
marching to the voting booth,
voting as if our lives depend on it.
Because, quite literally, they do.

Inspired by "Magpies Recognize Themselves in the Mirror" by Kelli Russell Agodon, for Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner

We Will Be the Change


"A nation is not defeated until the hearts
of its women are on the ground."
A Cheyenne saying

Aho, Wise Grandmother says,
it is time for women
to raise our voices:
in song, in council, in power, in truth,
to speak for social and
environmental justice
for all the living.

Huff, puff, says the big bad prez,
we are going back 50 years
to the Good Old Days,
and women may not speak.
We are not, in fact,
entirely convinced you are people.

Aho, you are foolish.
We have dealt with men like you before,
and better.
We have grandchildren,
and we need to leave them
a world that is alive.
You will find us a formidable force,
for we are half the earth;
we hold up half the sky.
In strength, we bear
your sons and daughters.
Our life's purpose is
to keep them safe.
Our hearts are strong,
and no where near to
being on the ground.

You can drive us
away from the river
and the forest we are protecting.
You can lock us up.
More of us will follow,
for water is life,
and trees are our breath.
We do not respect
your ways of death.

Your addiction to oil
is polluting sacred waters.
Your addiction to money
is melting the polar icecaps
and burning the western coastline.
Your willful ignorance
is imperiling the planet.
We refuse. We resist.
Our wolfish hearts rise up.
We march for
our grandchildren's grandchildren,
and for yours.

We are the womyn of Life,  
of Breath, of Memory, of Tomorrow.
In sisterhood, in motherhood,
in our time as wise crones,
we sing the Earth Mother's song.
Our hearts are weary
but our minds are wise.

We speak for the voiceless,
for the refugees,
for the wild, for the animals,
for the air, the soil,
the ocean, the rivers, the lakes
and for all creatures.
This gives us strength.
We will not be moved,
or silenced, or overcome,
and our hearts are
no where near to
being on the ground.

for the prompt at earthweal. Brendan asks us where we turn for mentors in these times. I turn to my Inner Wild Woman, alive in every woman, especially fierce in wise crones.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020



for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

She held on as long as she could,
trying to preserve justice
from corrupt power
that does not love its country.

This time, the knee
is solidly on the neck
of democracy,
which is gasping
for release.

I see her, as she was here:
small as a winged bird,
but mighty -
strong in grace, with an integrity
that could not be swayed.

Now I see her, straightening,
tall as an Aztec  warrior,
ascending, rising,
radiant, shining,
a being of light
in the spirit world.

She showed us what true power
looks like.
The corrupt ones
will never know
such grace.

As expected, the repubs are rushing to appoint one of theirs to the Supreme Court vacancy with mere days left before the election. When Barak Obama had ten months left in his Presidency, they would not allow him to appoint one in an election year. Their hypocracy is staggering - and blatant. They care only for power, money, and  themselves. I so admire Ms. Ginsburg for her impeccable integrity, and her long service.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Recipe Has Always Included Sorrow

Image: Brooke Shaden

To live in this world you must develop
a rubber-soled (souled?) heart.
It leads you forward into the fire,
seeking love to fulfil you,
till you lose all reason,
then lose love itself,
and learn the lesson:
we are the architects of our souls.

To live in this world,
you must learn,  many times,
that all that you hold most dear
will be lost, no matter how tightly
you grasp it. In fact, the more tightly
you hold on, the more certainly
the day will come when it is
wrenched from you, or simply
turns its back and walks away.
So you learn to surrender,
learn to just be with what is, Now,
be ready, when the time comes,
to be grateful for the gift,
to open your curled fingers
and let what you most loved in the world
fly away.

This lesson will be repeated until
you learn to keep your touch light
on the dear ones around you,
to recognize at the going in
that there will be a coming out,
which is probably why the old
are so gentle and nostalgic,
so close to trembling tears,
and why our eyes are so wise
and knowing and sad.

(What has saved me is:
I kept my heart evergreen,
remembering that each cell, particle,
tree, rock, each being in the world,
is connected to every other,
and to me.)

To live in this world, you must develop
a high hopeful heart, a merry laugh,
(and, as you age, a cackle).
You must always keep in mind,
(your Inner Wise Woman riding
on your left shoulder and
whispering in your ear,)
that the recipe for love, my friends,
has always included sorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Ten Years Gone


This collage was created for me by  Steve,
The Unknown Gnome,
now sadly no longer with us.

I feel it coming, this poem
I will birth
on the ten 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 ours.

*** *** ***

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 almost ten 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 his spirit would find me. It is not the anniversary of his death today, but I felt the need to share it with the fine folk at Earthweal. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020



Big picture:
wildfires, climate crisis, floods,
melting ice, tornadoes, hurricanes,
extinctions, covid pandemic, social injustice,
and leaders in whom it is impossible
to place one's trust.
Big picture breeds: sadness, pain,
outrage, and the understanding
that we either change or die.

Small picture:
the beauty of the natural world,
all around me; my heart lifting
at everything my eyes fall upon -
forest, hills, beach and sandy shore:
life in my soul's home,
such a blessing.
I have my modest shelter,
I have food, I have peace.
I have gratitude for the many gifts
given and received.
Especially the gift of being alive
- alive! -
this day, on Planet Earth.

Trying to write a poem that doesn't have the word apocalypse in it, for a change. Smiles.

So Many Ways to Say Goodbye


Smoke from wildfires covering Clayoquot Sound
Christine Lowther photo

There are so many ways to say goodbye,
to the dreams of youth, to the hope
which fades, gradually, over decades
of waiting for humans to understand
we need to do more than bemoan
the climate crisis: we need to act.

There are so many ways to say goodbye:
to burning forests, to suffering wildlife,
to houses, and whole towns of houses,
turned to ash and rubble,
to life as we knew it before covid,
when we took ordinary days
for granted, as if there would  
always be more.

Today I only know how to
put out morning seed for the birds,
stir creamer into my coffee,
scroll with my TV remote
trying to find what good news I can.

I don't know how to prepare my goodbyes,
when life has become a long list of farewells:
to loved ones, to a beloved wolf,
to small homes I cherished, then lost,
to all the landscapes I have passed through,
forever changed by seven decades
of expanding populations with our
voracious wants and needs.

I skirt the sad edges of
preparing to say goodbye to hope,
that quality that has led me sunnily through my life,
now we are running out of time for 
meaningful change to happen,
hope: that quality that is so hard to hold onto,
now, yet impossible to live without.

This chapter is all about surrender,
holding close with open hands
all that I must let go.
Memory is joy and grief intertwined,
gifts given and received,
the tallying up, the gratitude,
the worry and the pain
of a planet in crisis,
that we did not leave better
than we found it.

There are so many ways to say goodbye.

Inspired by "Transitions" by Tammi J. Truax, frm Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner. The italicized lines are hers.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Under Rage-Red Skies, This is Still Turtle Island


facebook image
no copyright infringement intended

Underneath the raging wildfires,
the rage-red skies of this apocalyptic moment,
under the lashing and battering of hurricanes,
under the floods, the overflowing riverbanks,
the melting tundra, under the assault of Big Industry
ravaging the earth for profit,
this is still Turtle Island,
her mother’s heart beating
for her many children.

Mother Earth still faithfully parades her seasons,
one after another, following the ancient rhythms
and cycles, even though we have forgotten how
to attune ourselves to her beat.

Generously she grows what she can on depleted,
flyaway soil, stoically she tries to hold
too much carbon, when we fell the forests
which are her lungs. When she can no longer
hold it, the skies dim, the temperatures rise,
the melting, the floods, the Armageddon fires
prophesied in ancient times

From the spirit world, our ancestors watch
with sorrowing eyes as the wild ones
flee flames high as mountains.
From the spirit world come laments
on a windigo wind at the plundering
of forest and prairie and river wild,
for oil, for greed, for the economy.
But there are no jobs on a dead planet,
no food on parched earth,
no fresh water, when the oil runs into
the last of our lakes and rivers.

I can hear the wild ones’ cries
as they seek safety they cannot find.
They know it is the Two-Leggeds
who have made this world
what it is. It is only the Two-Leggeds
who can save us.
This frightens them (and me)
more than anything.

 for my prompt at earthweal: Considering the Beyond-Human Realm

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Small Fox of the Apocalypse

I was born in hope
in the middle of the apocalypse.
I was gifted a feather,
that I might keep my eyes on the sky,
and my dreams evergreen.

But my mother is worried;
we smell smoke. We fear
the roaring flames are
coming near.

My mother has told me
our fate depends on the Two-Leggeds.
She also said it is the Two-Leggeds
who have made Mother Earth so ill.

I hold my Talking Feather. I ask to speak
at the Council of All Beings.
Owl and Wolf and Bear fall quiet.
They nod their heads at me.

"Can we trust that the Two-Leggeds
who have caused so much death
are the same ones who will save us all?"

This is the question of small foxes
in the apocalypse. This time of terror
teaches even baby foxes
how to grieve.

Sigh. For Carrie at The Sunday Muse

With all of the human cost of the wildfires, in death and loss, my thoughts are with the wild ones, trying to outrun the flames. And with the fur companions that humans left behind, waiting for their return, who perished in the flames. Leaving an animal behind is something I will never understand.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Life In the Apocalypse

Ray Chavez / The Mercury News / Getty Images 

The sky is blood-red orange,
alien and terrifying, as if
we have landed on Mars.
North of the raging inferno,
in southern B.C., we breathe in smoke,
watch in disbelief as
the entire West Coast of the United States
is swallowed by the voracious flames.
The coffee cools in my cup,
my heart holds a vast silence
as I watch the planet I love burning up.
This is how a heart goes numb
in order to withstand the apocalypse.

The orange man moves his lips,
saying nothing, with the compassion
of a vampire; it's Democrat states burning.
This is where politics has arrived:
it is an ugly place to be, governmental denial
of the climate crisis
as the whole world burns.

But, in the burning counties,
there are citizens helping citizens.
There are men running into the flames to fight them,
as everyone else runs away.
This is heroism in the apocalypse.

I have trouble finding the words;
the devastation is too vast.
Armageddon has come, as we knew it would.
Perhaps we hoped we'd slip away in time,
but here it is, in our faces:
the great Earth Mother is dying.
We have waited too long.
Oregon is preparing for
a "mass fatality incident".
We cannot imagine how large
the death toll will be.
Plus all the hidden deaths, never recorded,
of millions of creatures, large and small, 
lost in a world of fire, becoming ash.
My mind can't grasp the enormity; I drink my coffee,
as the end of the world is recorded,
in living (dying?) colour, on my tv screen.
This is survival in the apocalypse.

The news shows a photo of 13-year-old Wyatt Toftie,
who died in flames in a car with his dog in his lap.
And now the tears come, for this
is the face of the apocalypse; this is its grief:
a small terrified boy and his dog
dying the most horrible death one can imagine.
This is heartbreak in the apocalypse.

The story doesn't end here.
We will be watching these flames a while,
counting the toll, in human death,
in burned-out towns, as the wild ones
flee in terror - or are caught by the flames -
and the domestic animals left behind
by their humans, waiting for their return,
are consumed by the endless hunger
of this fiery holocaust.
(Leaving an animal behind is something
I will never understand.)

This is where we are now.
Perhaps we have crossed the point
of no return.
But the story doesn't end here.
All of this is being recorded.
This is life in the crosshairs
of the apocalypse.

for earthweal's open link. Sigh.

After "Surviving the Apocalypse" by Nina Evans, and Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner

Friday, September 11, 2020



Armageddon on the brink
Wild ones flee the flames

I know the human suffering is great. The news reported half a million people displaced by the fires at present, and dozens of people are unaccounted for, so many climate refugees now homeless.

But humans have resources, and the ability to climb into vehicles and outrun the flames. My heart aches for the wild ones, those fleeing in terror, and those dying horribly in the flames (including many domestic animals left behind, something I will never understand.)  I hope when those who survive wander into towns, that they will not be shot, that people put buckets of water out for them. Two months of fire season left. Meanwhile, Australia's fire season lies ahead. It feels like we just recovered from the trauma of its last fire season.

It seems the apocalypse is here. Armageddon. At least on the western seaboard. Governments talk about how they "can't afford" a Green New Deal. In truth, we can't afford not to have one. The cost of cleaning up after these crises is far higher than the cost of preventing them, that should have  begun forty years ago. 

Talent, Oregon

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Life in the Apocalypse


The jays chatter on my balcony,
squawking over seed, as if this life will go on forever,
and the seed will always be there.
This is hope in the apocalypse.

I walk into the forest: coolness, peace,
sunlight slanting through the branches,
everything green, green, green:
leafy breath and human sigh.
This is survival in the apocalypse.

At the CoOp, all our eyes meet above our masks;
we nod; our eyes smile. We do not speak,
our words too muffled. But there is not one person
without a mask. This is solidarity, this is a community
caring for each other,  in the apocalypse.

The sandy beach stretches ahead
as it always has; the waves surge to and fro,
they ebb and flow, in their eternal dance.
This is my moment out of time,
my walking meditation, like Thay in Plum Village:
with this step, I breathe in,
with this step, I breathe out.
This is trust and refusal of fear
in the apocalypse.

Inspired by the amazing poem "Surviving the Apocalypse", written by 15 year old Nina Evans, a prompt for Wild Writing by Laurie Wagner

Monday, September 7, 2020

My Lion


In the Serengeti of my heart,
in a high and craggy tree,
my lion sits, in splendrous pride,
waiting just for me.

His gaze is far.
He has lived there in my dreams
his whole life long.
But a  dream-lion  is patient;
he loves the beauty of my song.

"Lion, lion, lion,"
I sing, as the twilight
fades away,
and my lion smiles,
for now he waits
forever, less one day.

for Carrie, at the Muse

Sunday, September 6, 2020



After the 10,000th shooting,
we started saying "the latest shooting",
knowing there would be more.
In 2019, America passed 10,000,
with a total of 15,208.

In 2020, so far, the gun violence archive
lists 28,856. And counting.*
How is this even possible?

I become afraid to turn on the news,
yet can't resist. I need to know
what I can't bear to know:
that even after Sandy Hook, even after
all those little kids were shot,
the NRA  and the repub right
was so strong, no laws got passed.

So here we are: in disbelief,
alternately numb and outraged,
watching with tears on our faces,
or turning away, because we cannot bear
this place we have come to.

From Canada, I feel like I am watching
a country imploding.

The story doesn't end here.
All people of good hearts and conscience
are still here, ready to cast our votes
for social justice and a kinder world.

The dark hearts make a lot of noise.
But they don't make sense.
History rolls over us like a tide.
Next year the news may report
new leaders weaving poultices
over all our open wounds,
administering hope to those of us
hanging on, on the edge of despair. 
Next year we may all be singing
a relieved and more unified song.

If not, will Europe arrive
to liberate us from the fascists,
as America did on its shores  in 1944?
Stay tuned.
All of this is being recorded.

*according to the gun violence archive

Inspired by "After the 10,000th Shooting" by Tony Hoagland, and Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner. These times make every thinking person political. 

Friday, September 4, 2020



What does a Wild Woman do
when the news continues to astound,
when the very last old growth forests
on her Island - and in her village -
are being cut down,
when covid numbers are starting to climb
after six months of compliance
because people are "getting tired"?
(Oh. Boo-hoo.)

She sighs.
She pours a second glass of wine,
because one doesn't do it any more.
(Careful! She knows that is a very 
slippery slope. Don't worry.
Never more than two.
It's her mantra.)

She turns off the news.
She would like to write a poem
that inspires hope, lifts hearts.
But she is so freaking tired.

Forgive her. She is old.
She has lived several ages.
This one is Too Hard.
(The other ages didn't have trump.)

But she has always
Lived In Hope,
so that flame is still
stubbornly flickering.

What we have is today:
brilliant September sunshine,
(her favourite!),
with blue jays and sunflowers,
hope and grief all mixed together,
because this is where we're at.

One is grateful:
for another generation of
forest defenders following
in her footsteps
at the blockades,
for blue skies, and a sweet September sun,
for dogs with wagging tails
and smiling eyes.
For still being alive, on Planet Earth,
with its clouds, and soft sea breezes,
its sandy beaches stretching to Forever.
For the gift of 74 years
upon this most beautiful
- this struggling-to-survive-

What does a Wild Woman do?
She prays, she hopes, she dreams,
- she may cry a little -
she writes poems, and,
having done all she can realistically do,
goes off to bed and prays for a
Revolution of Human Consciousness
on the morrow.

for earthweal's open link. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020



I was you, once, in the Summer of '93,
tom-toms thrumming softly around the campfire
in the pre-dawn darkness.
We gathered on the road before the big rigs
rolled in, with their blinding lights,
intimidating, loggers' angry eyes
staring down at us, as we stood fast

- no paseron! -

The man read the injunction;
some of us moved to the side;
some sat in place, arms linked,
determined. Police hauled them off
by their arms and legs, as we cried,
applauded, called out our solidarity,
hearts bursting with passion,
standing for the trees, for the future,
for Mother Earth, her old growth disappearing
into capitalism's voracious maw:

cut 'em fast, while we still can -
eliminating their jobs along with
the old growth, raw logs
shipped out of country:
no sustainability, no value added industry.

We are apparently a suicidal species
and we do not learn.

We fought all summer.
900 arrests, some incarcerations,
but what worked was blocking that road
long enough that they gave up
and went somewhere else.
Clayoquot Sound saved (for then,
though we are losing forests
to over-development now in the same town
that fought so hard to save them.)

It is thirty years later. You gather
in the pre-dawn light at Fairy Creek,
some of the last of the old-growth
left on the Island.

Just a few years left of logging jobs,
yet they plan to cut it all.

No jobs on a dead planet.
Worth More Standing,
as the climate heats and spins
into crisis.
cut 'em fast while we still can.

I will tell you what I remember:
the intimidation, the fear, 
government in the pockets of corporations,
determined, against the will of the people
to keep the cash flow running
as the big old ancient ones vanish
from the earth forever
while the planet turns and burns.

It appears we are a suicidal species
and we don't learn.

I remember mostly my heart bursting,
during the most passionate hours and days
and weeks of my life,
standing for the trees, the trees!

Young defenders, I see you gather
on the road, and I remember. Hope stirs
as one more generation steps up
to speak truth to power,
to say "this is madness, disappearing
the lungs of the planet."

Stand strong. The trees thank you.
They know you are there. They feel the fear
of the chainsaws and grappleyarders parked
so ominously close. They quiver down to their roots.
But when they hear you gentle folk
singing and talking around the fire,
they hope, as I do, that you can save them,
the beautiful tree beings of Fairy Creek.
They will take you on a journey
through the most fulfilling hours
of your life.

Stand strong!

Fairy Creek is in the south-west area of Vancouver Island, near Port Renfrew. On the Island, there is very little old growth left. Fairy Creek has one of the last intact watersheds. So far, as the tree defenders stand on the road each morning, the trucks have turned around and left. The government is weirdly silent - plotting their tactics. Soon the blockade will be on the only road going in. We can expect aggression, then, and likely court injunctions and arrests will begin. I hope more and more people come, as they did in '93 - first a handful came, back then,  then a trickle, then hundreds, then thousands. Famous people came, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Starhawk, and others. Midnight Oil gave a concert in the trees. 900 were arrested and charged, some incarcerated. It is unbelievable it is thirty years later and people are still fighting to save old growth, the last of it, precious, necessary, vanishing, shipped off to be turned into toilet paper.

Really, I can hardly believe the wilful ignorance involved. One young warrior said, "Cutting these trees is a crime against humanity." It is. But the greater crime is against Mother Earth herself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Time to Change Everything

Fairy Creek blockade

"Change will be forced upon the logging industry soon enough, why not make the necessary changes now, and save the last of the irreplaceable wonder that is old-growth? "
Mandy Vaughn, Black Creek

Where I am, the salmon are disappearing.
Hungry wolves and bears and whales
face an uncertain winter.

Wildfires burn in the valleys,
and people stand at the blockades,
trying to save Fairy Creek,
one of the last old growth forests
on the Island - giant ancient beings,
the last of their kind, waiting
to be fed into capitalism's
voracious maw.

Human discord is everywhere.
"There is no peace
without social justice,"
the wise man said.
And social injustice is
We can't save the planet
and ourselves at the same time.
It is too much; we retreat
inside ourselves in defeat,
just when we most need
to unite.

We have "evolved" ourselves
right to the lip of the abyss.
It is a time to weep.
It is a time to sing.
It is  time to cast our votes,
time to change

For Brendan at earthweal, who asks for evolutionary songs. Mine is a dismal dirge, but it's all I've got this morning.