Thursday, March 31, 2022
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
a fat letter back full of their
Inspired by "The Letter, 1968" by Marie Howe, printed recently in the New Yorker. The italicized lines are hers.
Monday, March 28, 2022
all of your family is gone,
hauled away on the back of logging trucks,
to places far away.
We are saddened by your lonely stand.
We play you a bittersweet song
to let you know
the last one standing,
the missing what is gone,
the feel of phantom limbs,
the ghost tree spirits
on the land.
Sunday, March 27, 2022
Blog for peace in the Ukraine?
We are all visitors here.
where I am living.
- the tender-footed dance -
Saturday, March 26, 2022
It needs a gentler song.
It needs a cup of tea
and six or seven sweet words.
I need to put some hope
on my desk by the window,
turn its face towards the sun.
Wild Writing inspired by "A Good Story" and "The Last Thing" by Ada Limon. The italicized words are hers. For Carrie at The Sunday Muse.
Friday, March 25, 2022
Spring rain is playing timpani on salal
along the fence. It taps the skylight
with insistent fingers, looking for
a way in, as I listen to its ancient melody.
Across the street, the Japanese cherry and forsythia
have donned their frothy spring dresses.
Their time to shine goes by so fast,
like weeks, like years, like life,
here and gone before we tie up
all the ends. (Some ends don't ever
want to tie. We leave them lie.)
On Rhodo Hill, deep magenta and purple blooms
look like the ball gowns of antebellum debutantes
swishing downhill on their way to a soiree.
Spring rain, gentle, to nourish and not break
the buds so close to opening. Let my heart
stay tender, when the world lets me down
and everything feels wrong.
Let me listen to the rain's one note
and hear a beginner's song.
Inspired by "Rain, New Year's Eve" by Maggie Smith. The italicized lines are hers.
that does not include the words
war, chemical and biological weapons.
I need to un-hear the phrase:
nuclear war is a possibility.
to live together on this planet.
We know peace cannot be waged
by bombing towns and civilians
which has already seen
too much suffering.
New life is growing everywhere.
We fall in love with hope.
But the whole while,
we are grieving.
Thursday, March 24, 2022
if everything is starting to feel like a long goodbye,
Wild Writing inspired by "If You Find Yourself" by Rudy Francisco. The italicized lines are his.
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
I'm looking for a new vocabulary, words
that newly express what my eyes are
now too old to see: this world so full
of pain, and wonder, of war, and the love
that sends humans into danger to rescue others.
I need a language that does not contain
words for nuclear war, or chemical or
biological weapons. Maybe what I am
seeking is another planet, or this one,
back one thousand years, when people
still knew how to live upon the land,
recognized that earth feeds us,
helps us breathe, that when we take,
we must put back.
My heart is full of paradox: the horror
of the nightly news, springtime with its
opening blossoms, a daughter's anger,
my own mortality, and a need to find
what hope and peace I can
while I'm still here. My heart
understands the mix.
Suddenly I'm noticing everything:
as if it is a film unfolding before me,
and I do not know the end, only
that it is drawing nearer, so I must
treasure every cloud and tree and bird,
every dog, every kind word, and
protect my tender, devastated heart
that shrivels under the pain
we humans inflict upon each other,
in all of our unknowing.
I need new words, to express
what my tired heart is now
too old to be feeling: this world,
so wrought with devastation,
this world, so wrought with joy.
Inspired by "For When People Ask" by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. The italicized lines are hers.
Monday, March 21, 2022
In deep woods, the trees await us.
"Announce your presence; they know
you are here," the young Tla-o-qui-aht woman
tells us. She says the lowly yellow skunk cabbage
once saved her people, in a time of famine.
"They offered themselves to us to eat,
so we would not starve," she said.
"We all spoke the same language, back then,
animals, trees and people. Even the slug
is an important part of the whole. We take care
to respect its territory."
Now, when I walk in the forest, I can feel
the trees listening; they bend towards me.
I tell them I am here without words,
for they can feel my peaceful energy.
The moss, the ferns, the raven, the craggy spires
of the dead candelabra tree, the wind,
the mushrooms, and the burrowing owl
are all here, all aware of me,
knowing I come in peace. I wonder
how they feel when the men with
the chainsaws come. Then, I am sure,
they tremble in fear, clutch hands
with each other under the soil,
hold roots across the forest floor
so the big trees come wrenching out
of the ground like the wisdom teeth
of the planet, sap glistening like tears,
the entire forest sorrowing, sorrowing
at the grievous loss, sad because
man has forgotten that trees
are our lifeblood, has forgotten
the wild is our home.
We have forgotten to acknowledge
the wordless being of others
in which we are never alone.
Teach me to speak tree, I ask
the forest spirits. Teach me
to speak sky, to speak wind,
and the language of clouds.
With my new wild words,
I will protect you from the ones
who do not understand, and so
remain strangers, even after
all this time, upon the land.
for Brendan at earthweal: The Language of the Wild. The italicized words are from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Friday, March 18, 2022
Take My Paw Rescue
I will write for
the gutted buildings,
I will not look away.
Inspired by War by Samantha Reynolds. The italicized lines are hers. Sharing at earthweal's open link.
Monday, March 14, 2022
full of soft blankets, books,
and warming cups of tea.
I move from desk to loveseat
to bed, in endless cycle.
There is such comfort
in these small rooms
where no bombs fall.
outside in the sun and watch
my neighbour's wolf-dog
leap and smile.
He noses my pocket for treats;
he makes me laugh.
His world is only Now:
he is fortunate to not understand
the daily news.
He understands sadness though,
so he comes to me, lays his heavy head
upon my knee.
He says with his attentive gaze,
My home is sanctuary
It has always been,
my lifelong quest
a search for peace.
I draw home around me the way
a sand dollar creates its domicile
from the sand and grit nearby
and carries it within.
We are wise, now, and we know.
we are grieving.
tilting his crooked lance
at all the pretty ladies.
I needed a river, to skate away on.
LOL. A bit of snark for Shay's word list. This was the last bad actor in MY movie, 22 years ago. The final nail in the coffin, so to speak. The italicized words are from Joni Mitchell's famous song River. The bold words are from Shay's list.
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Inspired by Tomorrow Is a Place by Sanna Wani. Italicized lines are hers.
Friday, March 11, 2022
I don't know how to talk about war: the 11 year old boy who walked 700 miles alone, the sobbing children and elders, the women being bombed while giving birth. (Is there anyone more helpless than that?)
I only know two things: no one "wins" a war like this and, the only thing for certain is it will get worse.
What I hold onto are the heroes: Daveede, who started Care Bridge, who believes in radical empathy and taking active anti-war action, who is renting large b and b's and filling them with people
or Szubi Senior, rescuing handicapped dogs from the abandoned shelter in Kyiv
or medical staff trying to save lives in bombed out buildings and basements for, even in the midst of war, everyone still hopes to live.
I don't know how to talk about war, or how to hold this much suffering in my heart. Thoughts and prayers are not enough when a madman holds the world hostage and a small but mighty people fight desperately to save their homeland from the darkness of an evil empire.
Today the skies are grey and that feels fitting.
Today the world waits for what comes next.
The title and italicized lines are from Laurie Wagner's "I Don't Know How to Talk About War at Wild Writing.
Thursday, March 10, 2022
at South Chestermans
and all mine.
like so many other mornings
the rounded hills surrounding my village
so sweet to the eye;
wind-surfing the sky.
I pretend that war
are all not holding our breath
for fear of
what comes next.
I pretend that
on the other side of the world
are not being gunned down
in the streets as they
run for their lives,
being buried in mass graves
because all the mortuaries
all that is going on
The white dog with black markings
on my shoulder,
a moment of love and trust
so precious it fills my sad heart
with comfort. With him, I move
gratefully into dog consciousness
is all there is.
I try to believe
is only a nightmare
I am so annoyed. I posted my first version of this poem, which was better, and then blogger, when I deleted an unfinished version, deleted my posted poem instead. Sigh. I remembered what I could from the first poem, but am not happy about the substitution. It was inspired by the words "In the morning, I pretend", from Laurie Wagner at Wild Writing.
sharing with earthweal's open link.
I don't know how to write about war,
or, more accurately, about having hope
for humankind in the midst of war,
until I see the kind helpers, coming
from everywhere, hands stretched out,
to help, to heal, to hug, to hand out
hot drinks and food (the small boy
smiling as he is handed a bag of fries).
I don't know how to write about war,
young women in labour being carried out
of a bombed maternity hospital - surely
the most helpless and vulnerable situation
one can imagine. (What kind of reptilian
consciousness does it take to bomb
civilians, schools, hospitals,
apartment buildings? What kind
of soldier is cold-hearted enough
to gun down families in the street -
mothers, fathers, carrying babies
and dogs, helping frail elderly on walkers,
as they run - or hobble - for their lives?)
I don't know how to write about war
when we safe countries sit back
on our soft couches sipping tea,
watching the massacre of a people,
out of fear of the monster's wrath?
He is already monstering.
This will only get worse.
Eventually we will be drawn in,
whether we want it or not.
How many Ukrainians will be left?
I don't know how to write about war,
but if you are brave enough to live it,
I will be brave enough to bear witness,
to pen my grief and horror into a poem,
to fly it on its wings to your side
in hopes it brings you comfort to know
that, on the other side of the world,
we are thinking of you,
crying for you, praying for you,
and for this war
that only one madman wants
to soon be over.
I have heard reports that some of the Russian soldiers have said they don't want this war but if they turn their tanks around and go back they will be imprisoned. (More likely shot.) Were I in their shoes, I would choose becoming a prisoner of war, where they will be treated more kindly than in their own country, where people who even use the word "war" can be imprisoned for fifteen years.
Monday, March 7, 2022
in your shoes,
would I survive?
Or would I fall
by the side of the road,
in a heap of
fear and sorrow
and let the bombs find me?
in your shoes,
could I ever muster the courage
you show, unarmed,
pushing back Russian tanks
with your bare hands?
You have no choice
but to be heroes.
In my heart,
I am walking with you,
helping you bear your pain.
In my heart,
I am carrying your bundles
that this is happening
the piano man plays with passion
for the refugees arriving, heartbroken
and desperate, at the Poland-Ukraine border,
clutching their babies and their bags.
through music," music which carries
our humanity and our hope.
playing for the German officer in the rubble,
reaching a hardened heart with the magic
of his fingers on the keys.
I think of the orchestra playing as
the Titanic was sinking.
for a moment, broken hearts remember
that life holds beauty, too,
not only terror, and that, with courage,
life will begin again.
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Prayer used to be in Latin, on my knees,
a penitent at early mass, censor swinging,
incense wafting, the feeling of holiness
so close, so close, mea culpa, mea culpa,
or in the choir loft, singing the Magnificat,
heart soaring, voices ringing through the church,
prayer set to music and the rustle
of angel wings.
Then years of no prayer, only surviving,
when "Help!" was sometimes all
that I could manage. After that came kindness,
trying to do some good in the world,
prayer in action, feeling distant from
whatever God there is, just doing
the best I could. (I think God could
see me, trying.)
In my old age, a great weariness,
as I watch what humankind has wrought
on this planet and each other.
How to pray? And will it help
when a madman rains bombs down
on innocents and threatens to blow up
the world? "Please," I say.
Just "please," because way too much is wrong
for ordinary prayer to heal, and God
must shake her head watching the madness
going on below, when "please"
and "help" are now the only prayers
inspired by the poem "Prayer" by Jacqueline Berger, of Wild Writing.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
and the planet.