Thursday, December 30, 2021

DEAR 2021:


You tried our patience.
You scared us to death.
During a global pandemic,
you sent heat domes, wildfires
tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. 

We lost forests, highways,
crops, homes, whole towns.
Some people and so many animals died.

There are not enough tears
in the world for all of our pain.

And yet.....
this earth is so beautiful.
It takes my breath away.
As we see the new year in,
we are hopeful, happy,
ready to do it all

Shared with earthweal's open link.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Portal for Our Dreams


Beneath the epidermis, top-left quadrant,
I feel the pinch: where memory resides,
three-quarters (or five-sixths?) of a lifetime long.
How many years are left, to gaze on loveliness,
consort with dogs, pen my rhymes?
We always want more, when this moment
- now - so richly layered, is perfect
and Enough.

We let so much slip by, may only realize
how glorious it all is when mobility is gone,
and we're viewing life through a single window pane,
when our bed has become a portal
for our dreams. In our darkest midnights, still,
sometimes we fly.

My bones are bending to the earth
like a witching wand, a tuning fork,
attuning themselves to Mother Earth's low hum.
In those profligate years, we thought time endless,
spent it gloriously, foolishly,
those days when we felt forever young.

Now memory sings, now pinches,
Time woven through with snippets of wonder:
sea-fog wisping across small islands,
smell of sea salt and clumps of kelp,
a raven's throaty croak, an eagle's dive.

Such gratitude
that I am still

Monday, December 27, 2021



Things under the sky in the human world
may be going awry, but a glorious red sunrise
spread across the heavens
behind the barn this morning.
I opened my eyes  on wonder.

The clouds are heavy with predicted snow,
so we throw another log on the fire,
make another cup of tea
and count our blessings:
tall pines with woodpecker,
two bunnies chasing each other
across the yard, hills gleaming blue-white
through the kitchen window,
two soft-nosed horses in the pasture,
the dog playing with  her new Christmas squeaky,
warmth and food and long slow yuletide days.

Soon I will head home through the mountains
to the sea, to catch my breath once more
in unceasing wonderment at waves and sky,
forest and ever-changing tides.

Beauty abounds.
Every day, in every way,
it is all around.

For earthweal, where Brendan asks where we find peace and beauty. When we find it everywhere, we are fortunate indeed.

Thursday, December 23, 2021



Already, tomorrow is Christmas eve.
Yesterday, the grey sky barely lifted.
It grew dark at four o'clock.
We drove through the mountains in the rain,
into the misty valley,
Christmas lights winking in the gloom.

Even the horses were sheltering in their stalls,
but the juncos and hummingbirds were
as hungry as ever at the feeders,
enjoying their pre-Christmas meal.
We leave the tree lights on all day
to cheer us, remembering other years
when the whole family gathered,
noisy and laughing.
So much has happened since.

One year, happy with your gifts,
you said "I'm so happy, I'm sad."
You were always making us laugh.
Now you sit in a wheelchair
in a nursing home,
half of your body not working.
Sometimes, now, I make you laugh,
a startled laugh that lifts my heart,
because if we didnt laugh, we'd cry.

Somehow life goes on
through all the highs and  lows.
Somehow, this strangest of Christmases,
like all the others,
will come and then will go.

For my son Jeff, only 50 years old, who suffered a stroke last summer. It is good we can't see ahead to what can befall us in our lifetime.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021



Through the mountains,
cedar and spruce
are blanketed in deep snow,
like tall Christmas angels
clothed in white.

It is another Christmas,
my brother-in-law's black truck
making its faithful passage
between my home and the farm,
where a bright-eyed dog
and two whuffing horses
with soft noses await
my arrival.

There will be a fire
in the fireplace,
a real Christmas tree in
the new big window,
and the house's new footprint
lying over the house our mother
once lived in. I wander the house,
noting the changes with delight,
small dog at my heels hoping
for treats.

So many years have passed
since we first walked the original rooms
with our mother. How she loved
her first years there, baking bread,
feeding chickens, before her health
suddenly declined and she left us
way too soon.

All beauty will be lost
but even loss can be beautiful,
the poet said. And there is such beauty
in remebering all the lost loves,
the revered humans, the
loving-eyed animals who blessed
our lives, beauty in
the layers of memories
blanketing them, the way deep snow
wraps the winter trees
in shimmering radiance.

Inspired by "Upon Discovering My Entire Solution to the Attainment of Immortality Erased from the Blackboard Except for the Word 'Save" by Dobby Gibson. Italicized lines are hers.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Forever Entranced


I could write an elegy
for all we have lost,
and are still losing,
and yet,
I remember that night
the snow was so thick,
driving through the forest,
when I saw the trees
with awakened eyes,
luminous Presences,
leaning over the road,
radiant, watchful ,
in a way
I had never seen them

The earth is a lament,
these days,
for all we have lost,
and are still losing.
And yet, the sun is out
this morning,
the world is shining;
the beach will be beautiful
when I get there,
the sea-grass coated in frost,
surfers whooping in joy,
not deterred by the cold,
as they seek out
that elusive perfect wave.

It occurs to me
that one day,
it will be today
someone will be lamenting
as a golden time that's passed,
when I am no longer here
to hold the losses in my heart,
no longer here
to beam my grateful
 - heart-full -
bound here by the beauty
that keeps me so

for earthweal: SOLSTICE (Nadirs and Zeniths)



I enter the forest as one
stepping into a chapel,
tender footsteps, hushed voice.
My church is an old growth forest,
a congregation of trunks and wings
and paws,
where we Two-Leggeds must
remember we are guests. 

I catch my breath at pungent moss
and old man's beard draped
on branches, tip
back my head to venerate
tall spires, admire the way
the sun shines through
the canopy,
gilding salmonberry
and salal.

Jay and owl and raven,
form the choir, wind whooshing
through the boughs, the orchestra.
Earth is springy underfoot,
soft with pine needles.
In the forest
I am not my thinking brain;
I am my feeling heart.
Within such beauty,
I believe.

The forest is my church,
each rough and mottled trunk
a standing prayer. It breathes
its blessings on we who enter in.
The forest is my church,
trees my religion.

Here there is only
one way to walk:
with reverence.

Inspired by Reverence by Marianne Kunkel

Saturday, December 18, 2021


I have wisdom to impart,
she told me.
Her eyes were
But you have to be
of a hopeful nature
to receive it.

All I need
to complete my ensemble
is a watch fob,

he said,
strutting along Park Avenue,
truly the coolest cat

The shaman
walked out of a tree
and placed
a walking stick
on the ground
for me......
a walking stick -
for steadiness,
Hobbling On.


Well, these were a bit of fun. The last image might have something more to say, we'll see. For Shay at The Sunday Muse, with thanks for all the cool prompts.

Friday, December 17, 2021



We live in uncertain times.
Our practice must be surrender
to whatever comes next.

It might be a shaman with kind eyes
walking out of a tree
in a dream
to encourage my passage.

It might be the mournful howl
of a dying wolf, collapsing
on my front lawn, legs going rigid,
then still.

It might be his recovery
from near-death,
his tail coming back up,
and wagging,
his big, toothy smile.

Do I get on the bus to the farm
in this Omicron world
trusting I will be safe?
The animals
of flood and fire,
having known such
flight and terror,
show us how to
live today's reality,
then do it again

For how will we ever
find the sun we seek
when we keep surfing

Inspired by Shavasana by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. Shavasana is the corpse pose in yoga.

My neighbour's wolf dog, Kodiak, whom I love very much, nearly died last weekend from ingesting something toxic. He is only now returning to himself, which is a huge relief. 

Sharing with earthweal's open link

Thursday, December 16, 2021



I walk into the forest.
A shaman walks out of a tree
and hands a walking stick to me.

I smile.
Take up the stick and hobble on.

My friend is a dreamer
and she dreams these dreams - 
in the first she saw me walking
on the beach with a black puppy.
She asked: "Does this mean
anything to you?"

Oh, yes. It did.

I told my grandsons about this,
and they smiled. My big, black Pup,
love of my life, grew up
alongside them, 
one of the boys.
He found her
to send messages
to me.

She dreamed me now,
years later,
 walking unsteadily
in the forest. And yes, my footsteps
are more wobbly this year.
She saw the shaman walk out of a tree;
I am delighted by that, will never
 look at a tree the same way again -
always watching for that smiling shaman,
holding out a walking stick,
for steadiness,
for Walking On.

for Truedessa, dreamer of dreams

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

What Does the Silence Say?


What does the silence say,
in the early morning, just before dawn,
Christmas lights winking in the window,
and in the tall tree across the street?
What is it saying before you turn on the news
and are bombarded with tornadoes, hurricanes,
the rebuilding of roads and towns after flood?

Does it sit in your heart like a small canary,
trying to convince we miners that our world
is still safe? These past months have taught us,
if nothing else, that at any instant, the ground can 
sweep us away to another place
where we own only the clothes on our backs.

We have entered the country of no control,
 our roads and bridges and buildings flattened.
We climb out of our shattered houses
in shock. Crisis does not honour borders;
we are more vulnerable than we ever knew.
We are like all the other global climate refugees, now.

Once again, it is Christmas, once a time of excess,
in those old ignorant days when we thought
we could purchase some happiness for others.
Now one looks at each item, calculating:
how much wrap, how much plastic,
how much waste - more Things
we don't need. Our gifts grow small and useful,
or not at all. So sad that, after gathering things
all one's life, then downsizing, once, twice, three times,
and giving it all away: what a lot of energy
was spent in the gathering and the letting go.

The silence lives in me; I become the Observer,
a Listener to what it has to teach me,
watching the day unfold with whatever it brings:
sometimes a skiff of snow along the beach,
sometimes the breathtaking morning sky,
sometimes feathered beings, with wings.

Inspired by What the Silence Said by Marie Howe.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Searching for Hope in the Season of Expectation


I remember the smell of incense,
the swinging censer, the tinkle
of the bells, the feeling of holiness
and expectation at midnight mass.
That year my sister, age seven, 
played Mary in the school play,
her long blonde hair falling
down her back, as she fussed
over Baby Jesus, making sure
the blanket covered him.
I had an exciting secret: that year
I painted a room in the basement
and set it up as a playroom for her.

All was expectation and dreams,
back then. Now my pleasures
are quiet ones: the coloured lights,
the thought of traveling
through the mountains
to the farm, how my sister's dog
will get so excited at my return,
how I will visit the horses, in their stalls,
their breath making soft clouds
in the chilly air. Their soft noses will whuff
at me, searching for carrots.

Inside, a warm fire, the aromatic tree
with all the lights, giving the dog
her Christmas toys.
Once a time of anticipation,
it is now a quieter contemplation,
following the familiar rituals
in a topsy-turvy world.
Some of us watch talk shows
where the women are glittery,
talking about Christmas parties
and gifts as if nothing has changed.
The rest of us watch the news: tornadoes,
devastation, reporters shaking their heads:
"We've never seen anything like this before."

The earth, frozen and packed,
following her eternal cycles,
still holds the promise of
life and new growth: seeds
suspended, awaiting the
warmth of spring;
small fur beings huddled
in hidden caverns,
sleeping through the cold.
Mother Earth,  resting through
the dark winter, as the season
turns and turns, waiting for
humankind to awaken
from our long sleep.

at earthweal we are contemplating advent poems for earth.



You almost died today.
Through my window, I saw you
stagger, then collapse
onto the snowy ground.
When I came out the door,
you lifted your head to me
and howled your wolfy howl,
then lay still, eyes closed, legs rigid,
as I comforted you.

In my striped pajamas,
hair every which-way,
I wandered the oceanside mansions,
seeking the vet to help you.
He was kind.
On a Sunday morning,
fresh from his coffee,
he came.
He said you'll live.

But I'll never forget
watching you crumple to earth,
victim of human fragility and error,
lifting your head, to howl
your mournful howl.

I'll never forget
how you almost died

Kodiak is my neighbour's dog. He has had a hard life, has canine PTSD, but also the most joyous, loving heart, which I have watched blossom the year I've lived here, because I love him and he loves me. In a perfect world, he would be mine. But we all know this is not a perfect world. He comes to my door for a treat every morning.  I ruffle his fur and tell him what a good boy he is. As his owner leads him away, he looks back over his shoulder at me. It kills me, every time. Yesterday, he got into the neighbour's garbage: chicken bones, some clothlike material and, somehow, maybe off the counter, an ounce of pot. He was comatose all day, thankfully indoors, and not out in the snow. The vet came again, at 5 p.m., to give him an I.V.  By tomorrow, he hopefully will be more recovered. But watching him crumple onto the ground is an image seared into my head. One more wolf, who loves me, and whom I cannot save.

Sunday, December 12, 2021



When my heart has no words
when there is too much to pray for
and not enough hope
in the world
to right all the wrongs

When wildfires are burning
and a virus stalks our days
as the naysayers bray
"It's a hoax!"
I walk my speechless heart
into the forest
to try to find my way

Each tree
a living prayer
offering balm and breath
to the soul-weary
Each birdcall a note of hope
in the planetary song
humankind has
gotten wrong

When my heart has
only tears,
when there is too much to pray for
and not enough hope
to find my way,
I let the trees pray for me
Breathe their peacefulness
into my being
Listen to all
they have to say

Each tree
a living prayer,
each human adding either
dark or light
to our planetary plight

Saturday, December 11, 2021

A Pillow for My Head


Make of your lap
a pillow for my head.
When I am weary,
soothe me with a hand
on my brow,
gentle words, soft music
that lulls me into dreams.

When it is time for waking,
open the window 
so the small birds can sing me
into the morning.

And when the afternoon
has passed, and eventide
folds its sleepy purple
around us,
make of your lap
a pillow for my head.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Song of Praise


Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park

Let me write you a praise poem
about how, yesterday, Wah'nah'juss
was dusted with snow,
a sprinkling of talcum powder
along her womanly shoulders;
how I caught my breath in wonder.

Let me tell you about wonder,
how it has carried me through my life,
made me a blue sky lover,
a communer with ancient trees,
has propelled me along the wildest
shores, exulting. Let me tell you
how the wild world sings to me,
how I sing back in praise 
of her never-ending beauty.

I have not words enough to paint you
the way the mist drifts and changes
on hillside slopes; how the clouds
form along the ocean's horizon,
turning colours at dawn
and eventide - how this feels
in my heart, as I look upon
this beloved landscape with joy.

Let me tell you about joy.
It is a wild wolf puppy gamboling
along the beach, chasing a leaf.
It is a walk along the cliffs, when the waves
are huge and crashing over black rocks
to our awe-struck "Wow!"
It is returning home after too many years away,
a heart forever-after grateful to open my eyes
each morning and find myself still here
in the land of my dreams.

Let me tell you about dreams - how they led me
out of the desert and through the mountain pass
to the home of my spirit. How, not once, but twice,
the door to Clayoquot Sound opened and
invited me in. How
grateful, grateful, grateful, I.

Let me speak of gratitude, how it fills my heart,
how I whisper "thank you!" so many times a day:
thank you to the trees, to the ocean's roar,
to the sweet harbour, the hills,
the village dogs with their loopy grins.
"Thank you, Tofino,
for welcoming me in."

Inspired by Ellen Bass who writes what she calls "praise poems." There is so much to praise in my life here. 

Sharing at earthweal's open link.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Traveler On the Path

Traveler is nearing the end of her travels.
Her body carries the fatigue
of her long journey.
Her psyche rides atop it like
a horse with a willing spirit
but two lame knees.

In her knapsack of memories
lies her treasure: all the
loves, heartbreaks, lessons,
a thousand moments of
writhing embarrassment,
a hundred encounters with
those beings sent to guide her path.

An aging mentor lives
in her left temple.
It softly whispers "this is the way"
when the way might seem unclear.
Once she learned to listen,
her path grew easier.
Before that is a time called
Becoming, an apprenticeship
best viewed with compassion.

Traveler looks the long road back:
so many gifts, especially her love affair
with the beauty of this world.
Earth sings to her now
in the outgoing tide,
in the dimming moon at daybreak,
in the first evening star,
in that same true blue sky
that has kept her Looking Up
her whole life long.

Traveler seems to be singing back
her song of gratitude.
She is singing her 
Until-Next-Time song.

for earthweal where the challenge is: The Journey

One April years ago I wrote a series of Traveler poems. I didnt so much write them as take dictation. The words just came. I havent written a Traveler poem in some time, so I started tapping at the keys this morning and this is what came out. The closing lines surprised me a little. Smiles.

Two Traveling Poems


The Last Star of the Morning

Traveler walks like a moving tree,
like a wind-whisper, singing,
like the breath of dawn.
Traveler is a part of the landscape;
she carries with her
a corner of the sky.
Traveler rises with the morning sun.
She is always walking towards
the next sunset.

There is the last star of morning
on her shoulder.
She wears the first star of evening
in her hair.

The moon is her mistress,
a songbird flies from branch to branch
beside her, and a
wolf-shadow companions
her every step.


Dark and Light

Light and dark, the two sides
of the inner voyager:
striving always towards the light,
she still remembers
moments of weakness,
of darkness and despair,
times when she was so much less
than she should or could
have been.

At some point,
she lifts this dark companion
onto her back.
It weighs her down,
yet can't be left behind.
It holds messages and teachings
she must embody.
She must carry
the weight of this lifetime
until the end
of the journey.
Even so, with the added weight
of all of the failures,
the embarrassments,
the imperfections,
the shortcomings,
the stumbling,
the flailing, the falling,
and the rising again,
with all the stopping
and the starting out,
the wayfarer still arrives
at this leg of the journey,
more or less on time.

Ahead lies
the long unknown path
leading to the anteroom
of her final destination.

A little late,
a little the worse for wear,
but with an indomitable
and undefeated spirit,
she continues on,
knowing she gave it all she had,
can't do it over,
can't do it better,
did the best she could.


One April, I wrote a series of traveling poems. I didn't so much write them as take dictation. The words just came. The series of poems that month was, in itself, a journey. 

Earthweal is contemplating The Journey this week.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

With Awakened Eyes


You were
my guardian,
my soulmate,
my most hilarious companion,
my deepest joy,
and, when you died,
my everlasting sorrow.

What gifts a lifetime brings!
A wild wolf puppy,
who travelled the forest trail
to find me.

You were
all I needed for joy.
You are
all that I know
of heartbreak.

Because of you,
I see animals
with awakened eyes.
Because of you,
I can hear
the suffering
in their helpless cries.

for Shay at The Sunday Muse. I could never resist a photo prompt with a wolf in it. LOL. 

Right now, B.C. is digging out after three "atmospheric rivers" which flooded large areas of the province, destroying major highways and bridges, and flooding several towns where people were evacuated and lost their homes. The worst hit is a large agricultural area, where uncounted thousands of animals, domestic, agricultural and wild, drowned, the ones trapped in factory "farms" dying deaths of unimaginable terror. So while this poem started out to be about Pup, it is because of him that my heart breaks with every animal death, all these years since 2011. I didnt know I had so many tears in me. But animal lives are hard because of humans, so there is a lot of scope for grieving.

Friday, December 3, 2021

To the Drowned Cows of the Flood Plains


In the long, low sheds where you have
spent your lives in captivity,
side by side in stanchions,
 unable to move about,
no one wants to think about
your terror 
when the floodwaters came in.

But I go there; hear you bellowing,
hooves flailing as you try to flee, and can't,
see your desperate eyes as the water rises
up your body, then covers your nose,
watch you go still.
I think of the baby calves,
their panic.

So painful
to think of your last minutes.
So unnatural, your lives,
attached to machines,
or sent to slaughter,
fully aware you were being herded
to your death.

Your bloated bodies
will be revealed
when the waters recede.
If you can live and die it,
I can bear witness,
send our collective
sorrow, grief and guilt
across the flooded

You lived and died
because of us.
When will we listen
well enough to hear
your anguished cries?

Mission City Record
Some calves were rescued
by any means possible.

Saanich News
(Volunteers are drying off the calves.)

for earthweal's open link. I attempted a Verse Letter to the cattle drowned in the Sumass Prairie floods in B.C. in November 2021, along with untold thousands of other animal deaths, both domestic and wild.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

One More Day of Being


It is a misty first of December. The storm
has stopped, for now, and we catch our breath.
I gobble at a raven perched on a stop sign.
Where did she huddle, when the heavens opened?

Grey sky hanging low, grey harbour,
villagers all in rain gear, smiling hardily.
"Crazy weather!" we agree. "But nice today!"

At the clinic, a white woolly dog 
who knows me as the Treat Lady,
gives a sharp bark from behind the counter.
When I go into the office, he follows me
and refuses to leave till he gets his treat.
Village dogs make my day.

Back home, in my cozy rooms,
with my Christmas lights on,
I allow myself to settle in
to bad-weather lethargy,
though there is so much
I could or should be doing.

How long do any of us really have?
the poet asked, so I allow myself
one more day of enjoying being alive,
in my cute little place, among my wolves
and books and movies - one more day
of Being. The Doing will have to wait.

Inspired by Self-Compassion by James Crews at Wild Writing.