Wednesday, October 28, 2020



collage by The Unknown Gnome
who, sadly, is no longer with us

When voices whisper among the trees,
and shapeshifters flit in the misty forest,
capes swirling and twirling
their transformation,
when a soft-eyed doe looks up
from tall yellow grasses,
and quick brown rabbits dart
from their burrows,

when the veil between
this life and the next
grows thin,

my heart listens for the howl
of a lonely wolf,
who has wandered the hills
these many years
looking for home.

In those moments,
my heart howls, too,
in recognition of our wild spirits,
never fully at ease
in the world of men.

I light a candle before his image.
His brown eyes look at me;
concerned, watchful,
they peer into my soul.
How he made me laugh!
How we dreamed together
under the moon.

"Visit me," I ask,
but he cannot find his way.

His howl
a mournful echo
in my soul.

for earthweal, where we are contemplating Samhain,  the time when the veil between the earth and the spirit world grows thin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020



After an oil spill, the mist above the inlet
is filled with the spirits of all of the animals
who have died in the spill.

Orca-, eagle-, heron-spirits,
hover over the ocean. They rest in trees
along the shore.

They carry a message for the people
of the earth: Wake up. Wake up to
Mother Earth's cries.
Heal her wounds.

After the wildfires,
the smoldering, parched earth
releases the spirits of all the animals
immolated in the flames.

They remain near the black, dead land,
near the horses' bones, the smoldering hooves,
near the deer, and rabbits, and wolves,
near the lives they loved and lost.

They carry a message for the people
of the earth: Wake up. Wake up to
Mother Earth's cries.
Heal her wounds.

After flood waters recede,
and all of the bodies of drowned creatures
are bagged and carried away,
the spirits of that place
sit vigil near the watery graves,
praying we humans will awaken
to our mandate: to restore
Mother Earth to wholeness.

They carry a message for the people
of the earth: Wake up. Wake up to
Mother Earth's  cries, her distress.
Awaken to all you can be,
all you can do,
to heal the Earth Mother,
the only home
of All Our Relations.

The idea for this poem came from reading Into Great Silence : A Memoir of Discovery and Loss among Vanishing Orcas by Eva Saulitis. Eva spent twenty years among the orcas of Prince William Sound, both before and after the oil spill. The animals she grew to know like her family are now vanishing due to the after-effects of the oil spill, the intrusion of human development into their wild habitat, and the warming seas of climate change.

shared with earthweal where this week we are contemplating spirits. I think the spirits of the wild must hover around the scenes of devastation, in mourning. I hate to contemplate their terror, fleeing flames and floods, and enduring famine.


At midnight, under a full silver moon,
you can hear hoofbeats galloping
along the colonnade -
the wild ride of horses
who never arrive.

Their riders are now denizens
of the underworld,
seething with frustration,
brooding at how their lives were
so foolishly cut short
by a night of revelry,
that saw their wagon tipped
returning home
along that row of black poplars.

If you are faint of heart,
best not to venture
along that ghostly lane
when the moon is full.
Those who brave the dark
to hear the hoofbeats,
never do so again.

Ha, in Kelowna, there is a long driveway off Guisachan Road lined with tall poplars, leading to a small house. Near midnight, one night long ago, the daughter of the house heard hoofbeats galloping along the drive, but the expected horse and buggy did not arrive. The father and son, returning home after a night of drinking, had tipped their wagon and been killed. The local lore was if you went there at midnight of the full moon, you could hear the hoofbeats. Two local teens, when I lived there, decided this was hogwash, and parked there. Sure enough, they heard the hoofbeats and couldn't get out of there fast enough. They were so scared. I took poetic license with the closing, to make it even more ominous. Smiles.

As I am Irish, there are many ghost stories in our family history. I lived in a haunted building with a ghost who made her presence known for the year that we co-habited. We would hear footsteps overhead, go upstairs and no one was there. But once I felt her right behind me and a cold chill went up my spine.

for earthweal, where we are celebrating a week of the spirits and Samhain:  A Hallowed Moondance

Saturday, October 24, 2020



Bird Woman sits
in the mouth of the cave.
It is all jagged stumps
before her.
Vultures are perched
on the tops of the scrags
fixing her
with their beady eyes.

There are no nightingales
in her world.
It is all stark and bare,
and no soft notes sing.
But when Sister Wolf howls
in the deep dark
of a lonely midnight,
her heart rises in response
to her music.

Her head falls back.
From her throat comes a raw
and piercing cry.
She is keening;
for what is she keening?

What to do
with this feeling
of wanting beyond
brute survival?

She feels the prescience
of Something More
winging on the air,
but does not yet
have a name
for this longing.

One from 2010 to share with earthweal's open link. Bird Woman is getting faintly hopeful that maybe the US election will deliver us to more peaceful airwaves come 2021. We live in hope. I get teary listening to Obama speak - such an elegant man. I miss his intelligent leadership. Glad to hear him in Miami this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020



photo by Christine Lowther

Spirit in the stone,
you sing to me
of bygone centuries
and ancient mystery.
Once you sat with other Grandfathers in the fire
in times that were so close to life and death.
Water splashed on stone and in the vapors
Spirit-prayers rose upon the Old Ones' breath.
The sacred smoke carried the prayers higher -
words of trust in sustenance and seasons -
up to the Spirit-world on wings of fire,
full of a gratitude that did not ask for reasons.
You once ringed communal fires upon the common,
where families came to take hot coals away,
carried them home to light their own hearth-fires
for needed warmth to keep the dark at bay.
You have known the ocean's roar, ice floe, volcano.
You have been a temple in another land.
Water and fire and earth and ice have honed you
til now you come and fit into my hand.
You connect my heart with all that has a spirit:
all that lies upon the ground and all that flies,
the Standing People and the winged ones,
those breathing peace and those soaring the skies.
Your ancient presence speaks an untold story,
has witnessed centuries of joy and pain.
I place you back on earth in testimony
to all that passes, all that will remain.

I have loved rocks all my life, feeling their connection to thousands of years ago. In my poem, I refer to the big rocks used in First Nations sweat lodges, heated in the fire, then water poured on them to make steam. In history, too, there once was a communal fire, that villagers would carry hot coals from to light their own hearth fires. Sharing light and warmth. I love that. For a time, I found heart-shaped rocks everywhere. I think that was a time when I was most heart-centered. 

Here in Tofino, and all along the coastline, there are a lot of black rock cliffs and mounds. The amazing thing is how wildflowers, small bushes and even trees grow out of the rock. Tenacity. Hope.

Monday, October 19, 2020



Walking the beloved landscape with joy,
eyes caressing the familiar rounded hilltops,
the wind-sculpted krummholz,
my roots stretch down, below the sand,
across to the network of connection
beneath the forest floor.
Tapping into the secret underworld,
my soul listens for the whisper
of the Standing Peoples’ song.

It's a paradox - such pristine beauty,
one would never know the many horrors
going on around the world; the nightmare
of destruction humans have made
of this abundant garden.

I do not need to know what comes next
for, for me, what comes next is,
if the fates are kind,
another day like this:
blue-sky and wave-song,
grinning happy dogs running
into the waves, nosing my pocket
for treats. Everything all around me
is changing, but Mother Earth is
still growing, and I am still alive.

Time to trust that we will begin to heal
the planet’s many wounds,
that we will learn to live
as part of the wild, rather than
as the dominant species.
Time to listen within
to the ancient voice that Knows.
On a day like this, walking the beach,
the wisest part of my body
is dancing. *


Closing line inspired by Rosemerry Wahtolla Trommer’s last line in her poem “Above the Paradox Valley”: “the wisest part of your body is dancing.” The REAL paradox is that after writing this, and finally feeling some hope and trust in good days coming again,  a tsunami alert was issued after a big earthquake in Alaska. We don't know yet whether a tsunami will be triggered. I have packed a small go bag just in case. With luck, no tsunami. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 18, 2020



                            Little cat feet go


                            Here, kitty, kitty

For The Sunday Muse, because i am too tired to write a whole poem. Lol.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

You, the Seeker, My Lamp, the Moon


Little hummer,
irridescent rainbow in constant flight,
you whirred into the room at dusk,
thinking my lamp was the moon.
I swiftly clicked off the light,
to guide you to the window
where you beat frantically for a moment,
till you crouched in its corner,
terrified of the giant
whose hands were slowly lowering
to cup you gently.

You stilled, as I carried
your feathered lightness outside
and, when I opened my palms to set you free,
lay for a moment on your back,
surrendered to your fate.
Suddenly recognizing you had survived,
could once more see the sky,
in that same instant,
you were halfway 'cross the meadow.

Just so, do our hearts encounter
their similar terrors,
bring them down to size,
recognize the open door of freedom,
and, each in turn, take flight.

One from 2015. Just because. And shared with the open link at earthweal.

Monday, October 12, 2020

On Psychopaths and Energetic Shifts


photo by Deborah Steel

This road we are on
is at a crossroads:
it is time, my friends, to rip off
our polite masks of denial,
complacency, disguise
or inauthenticity,
time to step fully into our real selves.

Now is the time to open our hearts:
to each other, to Mother Earth,
and to all her non-human creatures.

Now is the time, if ever we will,
to learn how to live on this earth
with each other and All Our Relations.

I feel a karmic, energetic shift
happening across the land
as we, the vast majority, resist
and reject the hateful, divisive rhetoric
in which we have been stewing
for four years.

Everything is one, so when we put
good energy out there, it has an effect.
We are watching a sick regime toppling.
Its centre cannot hold,
for it is built on shifting sands
of lies, greed and self-serving loyalties
that will vanish in the bitter wind
of a new, true dawn.
Humankind is Moving On.

This morning Kim Jong Un showed himself
a better man than trump, shedding tears
as he apologized for faults in his leadership.
Beside a red communist leader,
the orange man looks like
the buffoon he is. The word Sorry 
will never cross his lips,
even for over 200,000 deaths
on his watch. Self-love means
never having to say he's sorry.

This road we are on
is the heart opening.

It is truth drowning out
all the toxic rhetoric.
It is a woman of strength and grace,
with no need of  a mask,
as authentic as they come,
in dignity, saying "I am Speaking."

This road we are on
is the dawn of a new day we have been 
awaiting for four long years,
when the pendulum will turn,
and reasoned words and inclusive speech
will return to the airwaves once again.

We live in hope. For earthweal, where Brendan has us contemplating Masks.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

When Feeling Homeless, Read This Poem

 Matthew Brodeur image

Fellow Traveler,
do you feel like you've been 
searching for home
for a lifetime?

Are you out there in the dark
storm-tossed and weary,
buffeted by winds,
with still such a long way 
to go?

Come home.
I'll put a candle on the sill
to light your way. 
There's a fire in the hearth
and a soup-pot slow-simmering.
Comfort and kind words await.
You need only arrive.

Come home, weary traveler,
to the only home
there ever is ~
home to yourself
once again.

A homecoming poem this Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, shared with The Sunday Muse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020



Image from Longwalker on facebook

On the wind, I hear the cries
of the ancestors, lamenting
the many deaths of All Our Relations:
bison and buffalo,
wolf brother, sister whale,
caribou and heartbeeste,
and the Great Auk,
vanishing from the land
the Old Ones knew,
into the spirit world
just beyond our view.

On the wind, ride the ghosts
of all the Disappeared,
so many, the ether is 
crowded with their souls,
like planet earth, 
stretched to her limits,
with too many of us to hold.

The Old Ones are sorrowing;
I can hear their ululations
on the breeze,
watching in pain as wild horses
with burning hooves flee
roaring flames; thirsty kangaroos
and koalas emerge from the holocaust.
The Ancestors' eyes hold a pain too deep for tears.
First the salmon begin to die out;
then brother bear starves slowly
till he is only skin and bone
where he falls that final time.
Mother Earth sends us her messages
in hundreds of dead birds
dropping from the sky,
no human taking the time
to stop and wonder why.

The Ancestors cannot comprehend
this earth-death that we have made:
children locked in cages at the border,
moaning "Papa!" and "Mamacita!"
as their hope fades day by day,
uncomforted, as a silent populace
turns their eyes away.

In the Old Ways, every creature
was cared for and respected:
whale and eagle, wolf and bear
were brothers and sisters 
of the human clan.
Children were cherished
as our future hope,
when we humans lived according 
to nature's plan.

The Age of Self has birthed a nightmare
for the non-human world,
who must view us 
as psychopathic monsters
living the ways of death,
non-nurturing of all the systems
that bring life,
chopping down the very trees
that give us breath.

The Old Ones are sorrowing;
I can hear their tears and ululations
as, one by one, all the wild things die.
On the wind, I hear their 
long song of farewell.
I hear the grief and heartbreak
in their cries, for all that is
swiftly vanishing from the land.
How we can do this
to our only home, I will never

In my part of the world, the rich salmon stocks are declining rapidly, due to contamination by fish farms and the Department of Fisheries' failure to act responsibly. Now on Vancouver Island, bears are starving visibly. No salmon to eat. The way nature works, the bear eats the salmon; his droppings in the woods nourish the forest. So salmon become forest creatures in the cycle of growth, now interrupted by man's mismanagement and greed. There is a recent photo of a bear who, where he finally succumbed, was literally only his skin and bones. Heartbreaking. And enraging. That things have gotten this visibly bad and STILL governments refuse to take steps - caring more about re-election and keeping corporations happy than the survival of the natural world we all depend on. I imagine the horror in the eyes of the First People, watching this desecration from the spirit world. I don't have to go far to imagine the terror of the animals, fleeing wildfires, or dying in the flames; or slowly starving to death on a depleted landscape which offers less habitat every year in which to hide from their  human predators.

Saturday, October 3, 2020


Image by Luisa Azvedo

Womyn of the earth,
we are rising, all over the world:
primal, wild,
womyn of the wind
and the ocean's roar,
womyn in sisterhood with trees,
clothed in moss green and salal,
mists and cloudlings in our hair
dotted with the last morning stars.
We are rooted, connected;
understanding all living things
are interdependent,
as we move through damaged forests,
planting trees and dreams and hope
for tomorrow's children,
and all non-human creatures.

Strong, sure-footed, eyes bright,
we are coming:
to plant trees,
to clean streams,
to rescue abused animals and children,
to heal their pain.

We make obeisance
to the morning sun,
salute the four directions,
proclaim, loud and strong,
the new day that is coming.
Out of the ashes of patriarchy,
we are rising:
to turn off the money-greed,
(for we know there is Enough for all);
to turn on the nurturing, the restoring,
the repairing, the healing, the cleansing.
Our inner fire will burn away
the dead-spirited and the dross,
transforming this earth to
healthy growth after so much loss.

It's a new day.

Mother Earth is crying out in relief
that the wild womyn
of the new dawn and the ancient cave
are on the march.
Everywhere She is rising,
planting seeds and hope.
Dew-blessed, singing, joyous,
billions strong,
we know this world can be
better than it is.
Mother Earth can be healed,
but not by corporate greed
and corrupt power.
We know peace can come,
through social justice,
not through war and killing.

We are coming,
we womyn who listen
to the moon, the tides
and the seasons,
we, to whom the earth speaks
of its ways and its reasons.
Wild Womyn all,
we dance on the earth,
claiming our power,
for this, and no other,
must be our most 
impassioned  and determined

Some positivity for earthweal. I wrote this in 2018, when things were somewhat less dire. But we go on, and we live in hope, because living without it is not an option.