Monday, February 28, 2022

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken

It is a gift to see with a wild heart -
this planet of blue and green,
so beautiful, so bountiful -
vision wide and all-
until we narrow the scope
to human war and folly,
to all the suffering we heap
upon ourselves and other creatures,
to the damage we cause
to Mother Earth and the
beyond-human realm.
How do we keep our fractured hearts
from breaking?

(how can this be happening again?
I feel I've lived too long.)

I walk among the Ancient Ones,
breathe in the scent of cedar and salal,
part the ferns to see skunk cabbage
thrusting upward, salmonberry blooms
so pink and sweet. I count the waves,
measuring my breathing to their ebb
and flow. I stitch up the cracks and fissures
in my heart with poems, ease the ache 
of harsh words coming at me
with cups of tea and the comfort
of time passing. Springtime
is blossoming again in spite of us,
showering blossoms even as
bombs fall and families flee in terror.

(how can this be happening again?
I feel I've lived too long.)

They say wild hearts can't be broken,
yet mine has shattered and been healed
a thousand times. It stretches now,
like rubber, to accommodate
more pain, as unwelcome
in my exhausted old age
as it ever was, yet here it is

The gold of wisdom and experience
fills in the cracks, the ache,
like kintsugi does old pottery.
But even hearts of gold
can break.

for my prompt at earthweal: Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. But there are times when it feels like they can.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

When the Walls are Weeping Tears


The walls are weeping tears
and then bombs.

This is where I came in.
How can this
be happening

Yet somewhere, in the forest,
salmonberry are blooming
so pink and sweet,
and a wolf paces softly
down to the water
to lap a drink.

I have seen too much
that was never in my dreams.
My heart is weary
from holding all the pain.

And yet
in spite of us,
out front,
the cherry tree is budding,
and soon it will be covered
in white blossoms
once again.

for Carrie at the 200th Sunday Muse. Congratulations to all Musers! I'm retired, and I live on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in Canada where the scenery is pretty spectacular. It informs many of my poems. I have been blogging since 2010, and love this forum for sharing poems which otherwise would be languishing in a drawer somewhere. Smiles. I am very grateful for The Muse - such a fine group of people (and poets), who reciprocate comments, not always found elsewhere in the 'sphere. Stay strong, poets. Times are hard.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Like An Old Tree Bending to the Earth


Fellow traveller,
you have journeyed far.

Let your peaceful heart create
a spaciousness around you.
Let no one trespass
with all their noise and clamour.

Through the years, you learned
this self-protection. 
you grew both strong and weathered,
like an old tree bending to the earth
under the weight of what it cost you
to survive in the midst of so many
clamourous hearts.

You have the gift of listening, of seeing,
of tending a peaceful heart.
At sunrise, greet the day with joy.
At sunset, put it all away again.
Tomorrow, say thank you for the gift
of one more chance
to get it right.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Taking Inventory

Russian protesters: No war!

Has anyone counted the stars, the constellations,
the black holes? How many countries are we?
How many will we be after invasion?
How many thousands of Russians now stand
in the streets, risking arrest to say "no war" -
war waged against their neighbours and
family members just miles away?
How many Ukraine citizens are now
bearing arms to defend their country?
(What kind of world have we made
when citizens have to fight their own wars
out of other nations' fear a madman
will start nuclear war?)

In my village, we are counting the trees
that come down, and the ones that are left.
We count the number of residents in need of housing,
so much greater than the number of residences
available to house them. How many homeless
in a world-class tourist destination?
No use counting waves. I just measure my breath
to their ebb and their flow, till everything
quiets and slows, and allows me to carry
the weight in my head of a daughter not well
and a country invaded, people on the screen
crying, distraught, the pets they bring with them,
the many more left behind, alone in terror;
and the old people, too frail to leave their buildings,
so they sit and count bombs falling,
hoping their building will be spared.

How hard we try to make sense of the world,
take inventory, try to fit everything 
into its proper place. Too many things just
don't fit any more. They say God knows
every sparrow's fall. She must be busy now,
counting and counting the hairs upon terrified heads,
as the world approaches the lip
of unthinkable spiralling madness.

Inspired by The God of Numbers by Denusha Lameris of Wild Writing
Shared with earthweal's open link

Monday, February 21, 2022

I Ask the Unlistening Ear


quote by Margaret Millar

I ask the Unlistening Ear of world leaders:
can you hear the cries of the wild ones
who have lost their forest homes?
or the humans, now climate refugees,
on the move after war, and famine,
floods and wildfire?
Did your heart ache when you saw
kangaroos and koalas with burning skin,
running to we humans for help?
Do you understand that
the beyond-human realm
has feelings too?

I live midway between
despair and hope,
between a cackle and a howl.
My heart paces falling forests,
swims with the whales
in warming, rising and
polluted seas.

Five years left to lower emissions,
they say, yet nothing changes.

Leaders set ten year goals
in a five year crisis,
so someone else can deal
with this thorny problem.

(Slow down all the clocks.
Speed up our evolution,
transform our environmental consciousness.)

She asked me where I see myself
in ten years. I live by rising seas,
in an old growth forest that is being clearcut,
with summer heat domes and the threat
of wildfire in a rainforest.

In ten years I will most certainly
be underground. My grave, it seems,
will be floating underwater.
I will be one with the sea at last.
I will be One with Everything.

For today my sad refrain is
Nothing changes.
Nothing changes.
Nothing changes.

for Ingrid at earthweal: The Global Assembly, our concerns about the climate crisis, and how we are impacted where we live. 

Impacting life in B.C.:

*Only 1% left of old growth in B.C., and it is still being clearcut. Locally, trees are coming down for housing because we are too many. Provincially, it is coming down for corporate greed, aided and abetted by talk and log politicians.

*I live on a coastline, with the threat of tsunamis, and rising sea levels.

*In summer, we now experience heat domes and the threat of wildfire - in a rainforest! The climate has changed drastically in the last 30 years.

*B.C. already has climate refugees from several towns laid waste first, by wildfires and then flooding.

*Climate refugees are struggling to survive across the globe.

And nothing changes. Nothing changes. Nothing changes.

Friday, February 18, 2022



Wild Woman's heart lives
halfway between a cackle and a howl,
waiting for the moon to rise,
for the owl in the wildwood
to murmur a chook-chook-chook to the chicks
nestled beneath her feathery wing,
listening for the wolves to sing
as the darkling sky winks its million stars
across the mountains and back again.

The waves are singing their siren song,
somewhere too far, out where
the wilds things are.
My heart, remembering,
is waiting, too, like the moon awaits
its moment to rise,
like the owlet perches on the edge of its nest,
summoning the courage to fly,
like the shore anticipates the lip of the wave
advancing, retreating, and returning once more.

Wild Woman's heart lives
somewhere between a cackle and a howl,
displaced, too far
from where the wild things are.

I wrote this in 2015, when I was missing the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound. And now I am here. Yay! When you don't give up, even the most impossible dreams can sometimes come true. Mine came true, not once, but twice. It was my dream to live here in 1989. I made a mighty leap, based solely on trust, and lived here for ten ecstatic years. Illness forced me to sell my trailer and move away. I was homesick for seventeen years. Longing to return, I focused my belief that the universe might grant me this final gift: to live where my soul belongs. And, after a time, it did. I remain forever grateful.

shared with earthweal's open link

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Things I Have Loved


The sky, ever-changing in colour and mood,
in sun, in starshine, in midnight moons.
The river wild, remembering my old
wolf-dog's eyes looking helplessly at me
as the current caught him,
and he started drifting away,
me getting ready to
plunge in after him, till an outcropping 
caught him, returning him to me.
For I have loved him best
in this world.

I have loved mornings, the certain smell
at the farm that takes me back to
summer mornings as a child; and that
golden time in late afternoon, when 
the light changes and turns the trees
to amber; and that smell - petrichor -
just before the first drops of rain,
and once more I am back in childhood,
listening to a thunderstorm
in the back room
with my Grandma.

Sunrises and sunsets, which I miss 
in my elder years, because I am always
still tired, when I wake up, and
too tired at day's end.
But I remember, I remember, skies
that looked like the floor of heaven,
me sitting on a log, wondering
if the one I loved loved me.
He didn't, but my wolf-dog did;
he showed me how love was
meant to be done.

I love the tiny purple crocuses 
out on the lawn, brave forerunners,
as spring tiptoes in,
just waiting to spread her skirts
of white blossoms across 
the two old cherry trees
in the yard. I love
sitting out front in the sun, and rocking.
I love the big window through which
I watch the world walking by
with its children and dogs and canes.
I love when they wave and I wave back.

I love that on Valentine's Day
I woke up to discover that
someone unknown had taped small hearts
all across  the front windows - love,
to make a stranger smile.
I love the narcissus and tiny pink rosebuds
on my desk, bringing spring right to me,
with months of wonder yet ahead.

I love ancient old growth: thick weathered
trunks and old man's beard, moss and lichen,
and feeling in the forest like I once did
long ago at morning mass:
silent, peaceful,
I love long sandy shores stretching
to forever, and the way my wolf dog and I 
walked them, wildly, joyously;
never again
would I feel so whole, so free,
after he was gone from me.

Inspired by "Things I Didn't Know I Loved" by Nazim Hikmet

Monday, February 14, 2022

In the Singing Hut


In the singing hut, she mutters
incantations, rhymed and metered
to the beat of the drum.

Wolf lifts his muzzle and howls
a mournful howl, for the wild dark
is falling. The world of men
has wrought its horrors;
wild hearts have withdrawn
to the caves of consciousness:
it is too mad out there.

Green boughs make their beds.
A fire crackles; shadows dance
upon the walls. The healing
from the chaos and the clamour
lies within the wild heart
that stays fast in love
with the green world of the ancients,
that remains attuned to the whispers
of the Standing People,
the wisdom of Wild Dark Mind
that lived ten thousand years ago,
still echoing faintly in the spirits
of those who listen for its call.

for earthweal: The Wild Dark

Sunday, February 13, 2022

What I Didn't Do Today


Here's to everything undone today:
the memoir untouched
the pantry not tidied
the floor unwashed
the bathroom not cleaned

Here's everything I did instead:
I turned off the news
sat outside in the sun as spring
tiptoed into the yard
smiled at
tiny crocuses stretching 
fragile new blooms
walked the beach
patted a puppy
and fed her a treat
picked up some dressing
at the CoOp
for the salad I will eat
this afternoon
listened to some tunes
that took me back
to when the earth and I
were young
counted my blessings
in certainty that

This is Enough.

Wild Writing inspired by "Ode" by Zoe Higgins. The italicized lines are hers.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Not Writing an Anthology


We're not writing anthologies here,
we're living our memoir.
It's Wednesday. The recycling
gets picked up today. 

Also on my To Do list:
keep track of my blood pressure,
which is too high. (No wonder:
have you watched the news lately?)
And write. Every morning.
This writing-thing I do is my medicine;
it helps me bear the truth (and bear witness
to the truth) of this slipping-down life.

Last night, lying awake, I contemplated
the anarchists in the "freedom convoy",
the rise of fascism across the globe,
Russia lining up its militia
on the Ukraine border,
cruelty - to animals and people -
so pervasive I wonder what kind of
species we have become,
and whether maybe the climate crisis
will help solve the problem of us
for all other living things.

Re-set the clock, I beg
The Unhearing Ear. Take us back
to when life seemed simpler, kinder,
(perhaps because I was too busy 
raising kids to watch the news.)

This poem is my medicine.
It helps me to bear the truth
of this slipping-down life.
Meanwhile, it's Wednesday,
and my blue box of recyclables
is sitting on the curb. 

Wild Writing inspired by "We're Not Writing Anthologies Here" by Maya Stein. Shared with earthweal's open link.

Monday, February 7, 2022

How To Make Them Stay


Christine Lowther photos

My wild mind clawed its way out of the desert,
across the mountains to the western sea,
plunged itself into old growth forest,
saturated my heart with starfish and eagles
and herons and grinning joyous beach dogs,
plunged into the surf, discovered - breathlessly -
bioluminescence, fell in love with mountain,
sea and sky. This place was the entire answer
to my soul's question: why?

My wild spirit first had to flee abuse,
oppression, patriarchy, everything 
that set itself to limit the expansion of my soul.
I found my wild heart's home in the green places,
with the wild ones. There is a certain landscape
that called to me, wherein I finally
grew whole.

Green fire! I find it among the ancient trees,
fierce love, as I try to save those who are left.
A wolf howl in my heart that grieves
all that is passing away; a faint hope, 
flickering, that I can find a way
to make them stay.

for earthweal: Wild Mind. Today I walked through Tonquin forest, half of it laid waste, the heavy equipment roaring so loud, past their depradations through the rest of the forest, where there is peace and calm still, and a diminished habitat for the wild creatures. Tofino Natural Heritage is doing all we can to save what is left. There is a petition which has reached over a thousand, not bad for a small community of 2000. You can sign, if you wish, in favour of saving What Is Left at:

Saturday, February 5, 2022

A Can-Do Woman


I was once a Can-Do woman:
chopped my own firewood,
straddled the peaked roof to put
the rain cap back on the chimney,
washed the tar drips
off the side of the trailer
every spring, and in between
worked three jobs at a time
to make ends
almost meet.

Home from work,
I raised my child,
fed and walked the dogs,
and, in my spare moments,
wandered through paradise,
gob-smacked at the beauty 
of the sun rising and falling
at the edge of the sea.

I did it all.
While it left me
Terminally Tired,
I don't regret a single thing.
It was the price I paid
to live my dream,
and a person just can't live
without a dream.

Friday, February 4, 2022


Entering the forest,
there's a feeling of connection,
of being welcomed in
to a green and peaceful world
where everyone is kin.

Tall cedar,
spruce and hemlock,
candelabra snags,
hollow root-beds
for small critters
and mossy, rocky crags,
are homes for the wild ones
- squirrels and owls,
wolf and bear -
there is a kinship
in the forest
all we trees and beings

Fern and salal,
and old man's beard,
mushrooms beside my boot,
fiddleheads and swamp lanterns,
sedge, salal and root;
- nurse logs thriving
with new growth
and ever-thrusting life -
in the forest,
all is hushed
and absent of all strife,

and I, who am the go-between,
from this other-world
to mine,
would like to polish up
the green,
and make the whole world shine,
spread this blissful peace
to you,
in just the perfect rhyme
that will save
these ancient trees
that are
as old and rare
as time.

This forest
will soon be gone;
the town creeps closer
every day.
I hear
their silent plea,
whispered, so sweet, to me.
I walk its trails
with guilty sorrow,
turn my eyes away.
Mea culpa, mea culpa
that I've
no power to let them

A poem from last spring. Some of this beauty has already been turned into bare scraped earth in the nearby Tonquin Forest. Some of us are working hard to try to save the remaining forest.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Give Me This One Small Moment of Joy


Ottawa Citizen photo

Truckers at the border are protesting,
demanding "freedom from tyranny"
otherwise known as health mandates
designed to keep us safe.
They carry upside down Canadian flags,
Nazi and white supremacist flags
and dance on the grave of the unknown soldier,
hang placards and upside down flags on 
the Terry Fox statue, talk about their freedoms
while trampling on and preventing
their fellow citizens from exercising ours.

The west is facing off against Russia
and soon we might have more to worry about
than whether we like masks and vaccinations
and health mandates or not. 

Don't even get me started on the climate crisis
and what extreme events we will live through
this year.

But this morning, it is still peace-time.
My village is moving through its usual routine.
The Parks people are adding topsoil
to community gardens, plying their rakes 
and hoes and shovels with enthusiasm.
Light is coming earlier and staying later,
and a new puppy with blue eyes
took a treat from my fingers 
with great interest, one small new being
slowly discovering a whole big world 
of interesting smells and sensations.
(May he be safe. May his so vulnerable
and precious life be blessed.)

Give me just these small moments of joy
and I will make it through the distressing news,
deplorable human behaviour, and 
the resulting state of the world
that we are, together and individually,
co-creating. (May we be safe. May our
and Mother Earth's so vulnerable
and precious lives be blessed.)

Sigh. I never thought I would see Nazi, confederate or white supremacist flags in the streets of Canada; never thought our polite society would become so horribly uncivil. The police force sent aggressive militarized police in to terrorize the peaceful protesters at Fairy Creek - crushed their cars, hurt them, teargassed them, arrested them painfully. Yet police seem afraid to arrest people or tow semis that are blocking the roads and highways, harrassing shopkeepers who were forced to shut down their businesses and malls, thus inhibiting the civil rights of others. 

Ironically, even were Canada to remove the requirement for vaccination passports at the Canada/USA border, the US requires them anyway. So it is  a moot point they are making. 90% of truckers are vaccinated, so though numbers involved in the protest look large, it is a small percentage of Canadians. Of those, there is a group of extremists, racists and white supremacists, some carrying guns, who have infiltrated and encouraged the protests through false information online.  The trump cult is alive and well in North America, I am sad to say.

The movement is deplored by the trucking association and the majority of truckers, many of whom are prevented by the convoy from doing their jobs.

I am discouraged at the way humanity is developing. But thanks to puppies, green things poking out of the ground, increased daylight and the glorious sky-scape that keeps me Looking Up, I am weathering the disintegration of society and the accelerating deterioration of the climate as best as one can on the edge of what looks very much like anarchy, and the cliff edge of a coming apocalypse. Stay safe, fellow humans. 

Inspired by the poem "Give Me This" by Ada Limon

Tuesday, February 1, 2022



Gaia dreams
the walls of patriarchy are crumbling.
Under midnight stars,
at the 11th hour on Planet Earth,
we contemplate what new thing
may emerge from the ruins
of human conquest.

Wise goddesses are waiting
in the wings, ready to forge a trail
through the bracken
back to the Old Ways:
ways of life, not death.

They beckon we people of Green Fire
to follow them and learn their ways.

As we earthlings awaken
and walk the path
of transformation and restoration,
the Black Snake will dry up
and fade away.
Green life and all animals
will flourish.

Mother Earth and all her creatures
will breathe clean air
once again.

For when Gaia dreams,
she always dreams
in green.