Friday, September 23, 2022
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
the guardians stand,
testament to the first people
of the land.
One can feel the energy
of times long gone,
and, when the wind is blowing,
one can sometimes hear
Thursday, September 15, 2022
as born to freedom as any bird. And I
to be that free?
and bang upon its cage.
wise and tall
and, woe to the status quo, I began
to understand it all.
in that moment I emerged
Monday, September 12, 2022
your other-worldly beauty
sparked our dreams,
drew explorers to you -
the romantic Far North -
sled dogs joyously yip-yip-yipping
across the miles,
sled riders wrapped in layers of fur
against the glacial cold.
lived a hard life, yet a happy one,
the only life they knew;
the snow, crystalline beauty,
the hard-packed, treacherous ice,
icebergs standing tall against the sky,
their blue mysterious caverns
glowing under the moon.
Blue, mysterious caverns,
and crevasses where one false step
could end your life.
known best by those who
made their lives upon your snowy breast:
polar bears, caribou, seals,
the Arctic fox, and wolves,
a sad procession, now, of endangered
and dying, because we are too many,
and our appetites more fierce.
our carbon-tainted fingers
warming seas gobbling your icy shores,
spongy taiga, melting tundra,
turning soggy underfoot,
revealing skeletons buried for
a thousand years.
is now crumbling into the sea
and melting underfoot,
sleds replaced by skidoos
roaring fast to outrun the melt,
and boat tours urge Come see the ice
going going gone.
Making money from devastation
is what our economy thrives upon.
(Those of us with hearts
will never buy the con.)
I see you on the edge
of your small floe,
spying your dinner too far
across the way,
and yet the hunger is still there,
as the pounds melt away,
so you stagger weakly into town,
confused, wondering where
the life you knew
has vanished to.
the oceans rise.
We sorrow at being the cause
of your demise.
Saturday, September 10, 2022
and my grandmother's garden:
scenting the air
a shiver of mixed
whatever comes next.
What came next deserved every shiver
until she moved on.
then pounces back into
the radiant green,
if I stopped right there
my quiet heart at peace.
to those who ask.
Inspired by List of Things to Say Instead of I'm Fine by Marlin M. Jenkins.
Thursday, September 8, 2022
A person wants to stand in a happy place
in a poem*.
Confined to bed and wheelchair, age fifty,
felled by stroke, he says it is inconceivable
to have such happiness as was in the poem I shared,
and yet I do – because of sky and trees and birds
and the endless waves, with their forever in and out.
And because my legs, while painful, still hold me up.
His situation lends perspective to minor complaints.
I tell him how I admire that he has kept
his sense of humour, and the adaptation he has made
to such a hard situation. He says the nurses laugh
a lot, and are kind.
A person wants to stand in a happy place
in a poem*,
the poet said, filling her poems with trees and birds
and her ability to see the small wonders, the same
ones that keep me, I explain, in a state of awe
and gratitude as I make my bumbling way
through this world.
*Italicized lines by Mary Oliver in her poem Singapore.
Monday, September 5, 2022
for Brendan at earthweal: An Atmospheric River Roars At Us
Friday, September 2, 2022
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Give thanks for a cancelled appointment, so you can stay in cozily all day. Make a leisurely cup of coffee and try the new coffee creamer which is unexpectedly delicious.
Admire the sunflowers, a note of cheer against grey sky, a heart-lift every time you see them. Sunflowers turn their faces to the sun. Turn the vase to face the window, so they don't hurt their necks.
Write a poem, because nothing much else will be accomplished today.
If you have the ingredients, make a pot of soup. If you don't, put vegetables on the shopping list and try again tomorrow.
Call someone who is lonely, who has been waiting for your call. Hang up, grateful you still have your mobility, no matter how limited. In houses all across the world are stories of people struggling, loving, grieving, suffering, surviving. Consider yourself lucky to have the life you have. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude for it all.
Watch two movies, back to back. The day is all yours.
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Cricket, the white senior dog,
listening to my poems
about aging gratefully.
like she was adjudicating
and slightly weary.
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
all of my love upon.
they were gone.
for Shay's word list, where we are contemplating the wonderful work of Jackson Frank, a sure way to awaken those old-time blues.
Friday, August 26, 2022
A composite of my photos put together
by Steve, whom we knew as The Unknown Gnome,
since gone on to the spirit world.
(Note Pup in right lower corner.)
one is always There,
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Inspired by the line from Joy Sullivan's poem Wood Frog that is italicized.
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
They came in support of the warriors
Monday, August 22, 2022
Friday, August 19, 2022
In your next letter, would you let me know
if the A&W is still open at Shops Capri?
Someone would pick me up in a 1955 Chevvy
that smelled of leather, talcum powder,
and whatever guys put on their duck tails
back then. First, we'd drive up one side
of Bernard Avenue, through City Park, then
back the other side, seeing and being seen.
Then we'd pull in to the A&W, and girls
on roller skates would come out, take our order,
attach a tray to the side window, and bring us
our hamburgers and shakes. Boys used to marvel
at how small I was, yet how much food
I put away. They didn't know I went hungry
When you write, tell me if you remember
the days when we wrote letters back and forth
all the time, fat envelopes stuffed with
page upon page of our daily doings,
the substance of our lives. How I wish
I had some of those letters now.
Back then, stamps cost just pennies and
letters arrived the next day. Then automation
took over. The cost of a stamp is now a dollar ten,
and letters take over a week to go a hundred miles.
They call it progress.
Do you remember what a big deal it was
when the "floating bridge" replaced the ferries,
and how a tired doctor, driving home across the lake,
didn't see the span was up, and plunged into the lake?
Do you remember how, on soft summer evenings,
the streets were scented with roses, sweet pea,
pinks, wisteria and lilac? How full of romantic
dreams I was back then, waiting for my life
to begin, when all would magically come right
after so much painful confusion. Do you
remember the letters I wrote you later,
dismayed with what happened instead,
but had to live it anyway with as much humour
as I could muster?
When you write, tell me what you remember
of those sweet sad, funny times, as we look back
with wise grey heads, laugh lines and hearts
full of secret tears, reflecting on how little
we knew back then, and grateful that
we made it through not too badly, after all,
* Inspired by Mary's poem with the same title, which can be read here.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
gasp in our first breath, then we cry:
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Send loving messages to friends still alive to
let them know you remember those golden days
in the sun when you, and they, and the world
were young. Play the music that was the sound track
of your life back then; remember wailing away
all afternoon with Connie Francis and Brenda Lee,
dreaming of the love story that was waiting for you
up ahead, how it would turn your life from painful
to happy. Don't spend too much time thinking about
what happened instead.
cold from the fridge. Watch an eagle fly over,
in the cloudless blue, as the fog slowly rolls in,
knowing it will swallow the beach
where hundreds of tourists are fitting
a year's worth of fun into three too-short days.
Write the Village Council asking them to save
what's left of our local forest, threatened by
that onerous word: Development, a monster
with an insatiable appetite who can't be stopped.
that shine so, now, in reverie.
Sunday, August 14, 2022
A wolf in Chernobyl
An article at Blue Dot Magazine in 2016 stated, "Humans, it seems, are worse than a nuclear disaster. A long-term study of animal populations around Chernobyl has found wildlife to be flourishing in the absence of human activity. A team of scientists surveyed the human exclusion zone surrounding the site, observing large animals like deer and elk to be in abundance despite lingering radiation."
Saturday, August 13, 2022
and that I should have taught you,
but when it comes to
leaping off treetops,
that can only be decided
by the courage of
too tired for long flights.
I am happy to sit
on a mossy limb
and watch the young ones
I listen closely,
and so far
they have not yet
called my name.
Friday, August 12, 2022
Monday, August 8, 2022
on the edge of storm
above my head
like the sky was about to fall.
just how vulnerable to danger
how much they're in need
as on so many summer afternoons
of my childhood,
once I was safe inside.
particular smell in the air,
listen for its roll and clap,
thunder takes me back
to summer afternoons
with my Grandma,
listening to the sky
sing in rumbling voice,
in that small cottage
that offered me
the only safety that,
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Friday, August 5, 2022
When you tell a story, be sure to include
the little things: the way you walked past wisteria
the other day, and had to stop and bury your face
in the blooms, such a heavenly scent, and how
it made you remember the pinks and sweet peas
in your grandmother's garden. And you wonder
why none of the nurseries carry pinks any more,
when it is the only plant you want.
Remember to describe how the harbour looked,
that misty morning, with fog and cloud wisping
on Wah'nah'juss, how you had climbed the trail,
and turned, and been flooded with awe and joy
at how beautiful it was, and how happy you were here,
small boats chugging busily across the bay
from Opitsaht, and how you watch
in case a pod of orcas come by, as they do
now and then, and you are so rarely in the right place
when it happens. But you remember the grey afternoon
when a family of greys were at the rubbing beach
off Tlaakasiis, and an eagle landed just feet away
to eat some fishy thing he found onshore.
Our days are made up of such moments,
and they colour our lives with green and sea
and sky. Wherever we are, it isnt the big things:
the promotion, the man you loved so much
who came and went, the things you bought
(and disposed of). It's the memory of grandchildren
giggling wildly in the back seat as their brother's
ice cream fell off its cone and dribbled down his shirt,
and you were driving down the highway
and couldnt help, so all you could do was laugh
and shake your head, helplessly, at the joy of it;
it's the way Pup would sit, his stare focused
on the grandsons, eating hot dogs around the fire
down by the creek, and the way those gigantic
old oak trees curved their branches over us
in protection. It's the way I looked up at the stars
those late nights, walking old dogs along the road,
the way the lights shone so warm and cozy
inside my little trailer, and how I knew
that I was Home.
I do miss that trailer. I loved it there.