Saturday, October 30, 2021

When Feeling Homeless, Read This Poem


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.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Witch's Song


Pass me the stir-spoon, Sister, quick!
This stew's getting a little thick.
Push down the devil's claw. Mix in some thyme.
The brew must be ready by dinner-time.

A pinch of this and a pinch of that,
and don't forget to spell the Cat.
Owl sits in the corner with beady eye.
Toss him a mouse as you go by.

While it is brewing we'll sip on some gin,
and call the witches-in-training in.
Thrice round the cauldron, add some eye of newt,
and mind how you circle, or you'll tread on my boot.

Toss in two warty toads and the leg of a frog.
Let's fly round the meadow, skinny-dip in the bog,
count all our warts, multiply by two,
and I will teach a new spell to you.

To draw love, catnip, valerian for sleep.
Drop a marigold bloom in your tea; let it steep.
Calamus root and the knuckle of a frog.
We'll sing in the kitchen and dance with the dog.

Come out, my pretties, to the meadow in the hollow.
Skinny witches first, and the fat ones follow.
We will chant incantations,
                   swoop around on our brooms,
and watch that black cloud cover the moon.

Snakes go hiss and flames they crackle.
Potions bubble and pop to the witches' cackle.
Dance, sisters, dance in the light of the moon.
Ready your brooms; we'll be flying soon.

An old one, written for Real Toads some years ago. Brendan asked for something Halloweeny at earthweal's open link.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

I Hope When It Happens


I hope when it happens
I will have finished all the books
I still want to write, will have shared
what I want to share.

I hope my people will read them,
and say, "We thought we knew her,
but there was a large part of her
we didn't know, and didn't understand -
that part of her that other poets knew,
because they read the words from her heart.

I wanted to make something pretty
of my life, but with the ups and downs,
the lumps and bumps, I made
something interesting instead.
I took those things and polished them up,
put them into my poems and books,
left out most of what was black and traumatic
and full of loss. Instead, I remembered
all I was given, how I was helped
and guided, and the people who loved me
till I was better able to love myself.

I hope when it happens,
there will be time to say
all the "I love yous",
look into the eyes of those
I am leaving, say "thank you"
and "Be happy. Laugh lots."

I hope when it happens,
that it will be peaceful,
a soft tide slipping gently
away from the shore.

Inspired by the poem "I Hope When It Happens" by Diane Seuss. The italicized lines are hers. A prompt from Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner.

Monday, October 25, 2021

I Look for You


When the veil grows thin
between your world and mine,
do you ever visit me? This is the time
when spirits walk among us.
I look for you.

At the witching hour, I listen
for your lonely howl, echoing 
down the mountain.

Sometimes I fancy your paws
still padding beside me,
as they did during your dying year,
I readying myself for heartbreak
that has never really eased.

I miss you, still.
I always will - you, my wild one,
my soulmate, my companion
in our love of wilderness.

When the veil grows thin,
I almost see you, ghostly,
flitting among the misty trees,
or galloping a wild shore, 
too far ahead for me to catch up.

But I will, one of these days,
join you in the ether. I picture
that joyous reunion.
I will wear pockets
stuffed with treats
just for you.

- for Pup

Pup leaping for a treat -
Dog of Joy

At earthweal we are contemplating Samhain, the time of year when spirits walk among us. The morning after Pup died, right when they would have been cremating him, I felt his snout on the edge of my bed, the way he woke me every morning - and that one last time.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Our Existential Plight


As if a spacewoman landed
to walk the streets of New York City,
scouting a sense of what kind of species
lives here, I watch the nightly news
like a scientific observer, gathering clues
of pathology run amok,
a crazed population suffering from
a shared delusion, an intense dis-illusion.

On Friday, eight poets gathered
at the edge of Tonquin forest,
to say thank you and farewell to the trees
that will be felled this week
to make way for housing: chopping down
the lungs of the planet
while the wildfires burn -
clearly evidence of a species gone
either mad or numb,
or incomparably dumb.

Yet there was hope in the beauty
of our poems of gratitude and grief.
It is hard to know what we know,
yet impossible to turn
our hearts away.
We write words we hope will sway
others to awaken, join our fight
to save what is left, attempt to alter
our existential plight.

for The Sunday Muse

Thursday, October 21, 2021

I Never Cried for My Father


My father, with my little sister

I never cried for my father.
When he died, the summer
I was fourteen, I felt sad
for my mother, whose heart
was broken. But I felt relief
that the drinking to blackout
and the violence had stopped.

I had closed him out,
that last year; we had
unfinished business, so
I was not much surprised
when I saw his ghost
smiling at me from behind
the lunch counter at Capri,
perhaps a smile to say
he had loved me
and wished me well.

He was a brilliant musician
who raged that those
with less talent passed him by.
He hated  rock and roll.

I never cried for my father
at his funeral. But I cry
for him now. He gifted me
music and humour and song
that has lasted my whole life long.
And I never said thank you
when he came to tell me

Monday, October 18, 2021

Salmon Are Forest Animals


Ha-Shilth-Sa News photo

"Salmon are forest animals,"
the Tla-o-qui-aht woman said.
"Wolves and bears eat them,
and their scat, dropped in the forest,
feeds nitrogen to the ancient trees."


She told us that there was a time,
long ago, when the humans
of her tribe were starving.
"The lowly skunk cabbage,
bitter-tasting, offered itself to be eaten,
so the People could live."

Everything is One,
the medicine man said,
as the children swirled in wolfskin,
wearing masks of eagle and bear,
weaving and circling
to the sound of the drum.

My heart rose up in response,
with love for all beings,
each living creature,
grateful for the miracle
of how we all
help each other live,
how Everything is One.

for Brendan at earthweal where we are contemplating Biodiversity. Tofino is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so I  live in an area where we are very aware of how everything in the environment impacts every other. Also, the Nuu chah nulth people of this land share stories of their teachings, how everything is connected, so what happens to one, happens to us all. The elders are telling us big (and severe) changes are coming which will impact us greatly. They don't say much, but their eyes are worried.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

White Bird in the Time of Cholera


I was a white bird
in the time of cholera,
under my disguise
a woman perched
between past and future,
no telling which way
the pendulum would fall.

A long beak, hooded, hidden eyes,
they cowered when I walked the aisles,
not knowing that, within,
I was weaker by far than they,
just waiting for my costume
to be stripped away.

I was a white bird, a hooded eye,
a long beak with a question in my heart,
and they cowered when I walked the aisles,
until I picked the one with whom
I'd practice my ghoulish wiles.

for Shay at The Sunday Muse



A 12 year voyage to the stars,
no expense spared for space flights,
but the cost of lowering emissions
and transitioning to clean energy
on earth is deemed too dear.

This is a very strange world,
gasping in accelerating heat,
flooded by accelerating storms,
burning up in wildfires,

yet they build a spaceship to the stars
while, on earth, climate refugees
find no food,
no shelter,
no safe place.

I saw Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds launch and couldnt help but wonder at the expense when, here on earth, governments deem addressing the climate crisis to be "too expensive." Sigh. It's a mad, mad world. Makes no sense.

Poems Hide


Poems hide
in the corners of clouds,
in the wisp of a dream,
under the bed in tubs
of old photographs.
Poems hide

in birdsong at daybreak,
in thick moss on old trees,
in a basket of fruit and the smile
of the one who receives it.
Poems hide

in laughing doggy eyes,
in a baby's smile,
in the stories of an old man
sitting on a bench,
as the world rushes by.
Poems hide

in the rush of a river in autumn,
in the red and orange leaves,
in the moment when the sky clears
after rain, and the world turns
green and blue again.

Poems hide.

Inspired by Wild Writing and the two words "Poems Hide". 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Small Sufi Dancers in Our Hearts

It is nearly one year since we were
forced to enter empty time .
The clock slowed; our days
drifted into each other
like floating logs at the edge of the sea,
but more gently, the hours sifting past
like large frigates, turning into days,
into weeks, the rhythm of our days
reduced to cups of tea and the occasional
making of meals, or To Do lists,
easily abandoned when a book
or a movie beckoned, because suddenly,
there was time, even for those of us
who are approaching its end.

We think back to all the small miracles
we rushed through
, not realizing
they were miracles, so soon over:
poetry readings, gathering together, 
taking trips, going to the theatre.
These days, we become more aware
of all the miracles that remain:
sunrise, sunset, cloud formations,
blue sky, the eternal waves breaking
upon the shore, its eternal roar,
and seabirds wheeling free
over shining waters.

Our hearts are so heavy with unshed tears,
yet with gratitude, too, for the joy and pain
of the journey made, the price we paid,
the times that will never come again.

We have slowed our pace, empty time
filling with memory, with the long,
glorious remembering, as we sit
by the window watching the sky change.
Just breathe, and listen.
Listen, and breathe.
The clock tick-tocks; the light
lifts and sifts and turns to dusk.
With quiet hearts, we drift,
we dream, we dream
a cosmic dancer, endlessly twirling,
a small Sufi, swirling,
in the inner chambers
of our hearts.

Inspired by The Cosmic Dancer by John O'Donahue. The italicized lines are his.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Alive in the Pandemic


Tonquin Sunset
by Christine Lowther

In the first year of covid,
our village was safe:
we were careful, compliant,
followed all the rules.
Not one case of covid.

Then they eased the restrictions.
The hordes came, from everywhere,
unmasked, bringing the world's germs.

Now our tiny village hospital
is stretched to the breaking point.
Our friends are getting sick,
some being flown out in planes
to larger centres.

We are more at risk now than
during the first year, when we
were so scared. But now, 
we are tired. We mask,
we wash our hands,
we hope we won't get sick.
But now we know:
at any given moment,
everything in life can change.

I take nothing for granted 
any more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Rising Like the Sun on Easter Morning

The other-world is as near
as closing your eyes.
We sat, that Easter morning,
at dawn, on the slopes
of Knox Mountain,
eyes shut, meditating on peace
for a world galloping off
in the wrong direction.

But the moment of Now
is always exactly right,
when we seek beauty and truth
and our hearts sit gratefully
in our chests.

Eyes wide shut, I lifted
off and up.  Looking down
on a planet blue and green,
I saw beams of light
shooting up - prayers
from other peaceful folk
across the globe.

On the far slopes, somewhere
above and behind, I heard
voices singing, angelic,
ghostly, because,
when we opened our eyes,
none of the others could hear.

A moment of rising,
like the morning sun,
clarity,  sweet and clear,
I open my eyes on a world
transformed and glistening,
that had never felt more dear.

for earthweal where we are contemplating enchantment. It is hard to hold onto enchantment during climate breakdown, yet what is life without beauty? Maybe now more than ever, humanity needs to fall in love with Mother Earth. Because what we love, we take care of. 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Language of Clouds


Looking at the sky, we long to learn
the language of clouds, of mountaintops.
Mother Sky, teach me
how to sing like small bird, like raven,
like Owl.
Quiet my heart, so I may listen
to the breath of Grandfather Cedar,
and learn to speak tree,
to speak river,
to speak wind.

Transform my soul
to make me worthy of
learning to sing
in whalesong.
Lead me along the shore,
to count the waves,
my heart singing
joyously and forever
the song of Ocean.

An old poem you may have read before, shared with earthweal's open link

Collateral Beauty


Collateral beauty is...
sitting in a crowd in the rain,
no one leaving, as our indigenous neighbours
tell us how it was for them when they were small,
and invite us to stand with them as allies
working towards a more just world.

Collateral beauty is...
when your heart is troubled,
so you go to the shore, and let
the waves, rolling in and out 
in their eternal song, wash through
your brain, your heart, your being,
till you are as calm as the lull
between waves, as strong as
the sand dollar, that creates its home
from the sand and grit around it,
and carries it within.

Collateral beauty is...
meeting the eyes and smiles
of a people who have suffered much,
who know that you see them.
It is sitting in a crowd of villagers
in orange t-shirts in the rain, on the
Day of Truth and Reconciliation,
and opening our ears and hearts
to hear the pain and truth from which
we do not turn away.

It is seeing all the dark and light of human history
- and herstory - and noting, woven through it,
all the golden strands of beauty put there
by humans delving deep and reaching out, 
and by Mother Earth, effusively painting the sky
for our delight, by learning to truly see
that everything is one. Even us. Even we.

I penned this for my prompt at earthweal: Collateral Beauty.  Defined in the movie of that name as the moments of awe and wonder when we feel our connection to everything.

On Canada's first national day of Truth and Reconciliation, where was our prime minister? NOT attending any event across Canada, not at Kamloops where over 200 unmarked graves of children were found on the grounds of a residential school, where he had been invited to participate. He was on the beach here in Tofino, enjoying family time with his family........eight minutes away from our own march and gathering on the village green to solemnly mark the significance of this day. It was a serious misstep on his part. His words that no relationship was more significant to Canada than that with indigenous people were smooth - he is famous for that - but were revealed as empty - no follow through. His pattern. 

I sat in the rain all that morning on the village green listening to the heartfelt stories of residential school survivors from the Christie school here outside Tofino. It later operated as a healing centre named Kakawis for First Nations families to deal with their pain. I was privileged to work in that place of healing for eight and a half years.

I was outraged by Trudeau's behaviour, on a day that should be spent as respectfully as November 11th. Can you imagine if he went on holiday then? There is no difference. He could have gone on holiday next day - or showed up at our gathering, at the very least.

Monday, October 4, 2021

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,
then 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.

for my prompt at earthweal, where we are contemplating moments of collateral beauty.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Back Then


Back then, when I was
what people call pretty,
I didn't know it, and
never felt "enough",
insecure, checking mirrors
constantly in hopes
of somehow arriving
somewhere where
I would magically be

I got over that, mid-life.
Make-up gone, mirrors
an after-thought,
what mattered then
was what was
inside my head and heart,
not what was on my face.

Oddly, men stopped coming by
just then. But by that time,
I was just fine
all by myself.

Plus: dogs!

for the Sunday Muse. LOL.