Thursday, March 31, 2022

My Lion


In the Serengeti of my heart,
in a high and craggy tree,
my lion sits, in splend'rous pride,
waiting just for me.

His gaze is far.
He has lived there in my dreams
his whole life long.
But a  dream-lion  is patient;
he loves the beauty of my song.

"Lion, lion, lion,"
I sing, as the twilight
fades away,
and my lion smiles,
for now he waits
forever, less one day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022



I remember when  a stamp cost two cents,
and the letter my mother wrote to me in Vancouver
arrived next day in Kelowna.
Now mailing a letter costs a dollar-five,
and takes most of a week to travel
an hour and a half away, now that
mechanization has "improved" things
so that it has to be driven down-Island first, 
and get sorted to turn around
and come back up.

I remember all the years as a young mother,
typing fat missives to my mom and my friends,
how we'd send them off, packed with our daily doings,
and, in a week or two, would receive
a fat letter back full of their
last two weeks. We knew how to wait then.
It was what life was, much of it.

My kids went to sleep and woke up
to the sound of me typing those letters,
so important was it to share all the life
we were living.

Email just isnt the same. It is immediate,
but transitory. Mundane, not special.
I once saved letters;
no one saves emails. They are informal,
everyday. No one pretends emails
can ever reach literary heights as,
sometimes, our letters did.
No one prints books of the emails
of well-known writers.

I remember when a stamp cost two cents.
They cost a dollar-five now. No one
writes letters any more. And email
just isn't the same.

Inspired by "The Letter, 1968" by Marie Howe, printed recently in the New Yorker. The italicized lines are hers.

Monday, March 28, 2022

A Song for Big Lonely Doug


Big Lonely Doug,
all of your family is gone,
hauled away on the back of logging trucks,
to places far away.

Mea culpa.
We are saddened by your lonely stand.
We play you a bittersweet song
to let you know
we understand

the grief of being
the last one standing,
the missing what is gone,
the feel of phantom limbs,
the ghost tree spirits
on the land.

Big Lonely Doug, a Douglas fir, stands at the edge of a clearcut near Port Renfrew, on the southern west coast of Vancouver Island. It is near the glorious Avatar Grove, which is as magical as the forest in the film of the same name. It is also near Fairy Creek, thus is endangered in every direction.

This second tree is Eik, a famous 800 year old tree in the village of Tofino. Poet Christine Lowther rallied the villagers to protect it when it was in danger of being cut because it was leaning over an area where a developer wanted to build condos. Two young people spent 28 days on a platform high in the tree, to protect it while efforts were made to save its life.

The village raised $100,000 to brace Eik, a monumental sum for a small population on the edge. But Eik still stands triumphantly at the side of the road leading into the village centre, welcoming residents and weary travellers.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

When Mother Earth Asks Me a Question


A Gathering In Remembrance of Lost Species

Each morning asks me the question:
how will you help me heal today?
Sign a petition? Send a letter to District Council?
Premier? Prime Minister? Marking it “Urgent”?
Plant a tree? Rescue a dog?
Write about the climate crisis?
Blog for peace in the Ukraine?

Meanwhile, there is a cup of tea
and contemplation of my peaceful rooms,
before I turn on the news and absorb
the day’s anxieties: war, bombing,
people and animals terrorized, a madman
with fingers itchy for nuclear buttons
- power run amok.

Then I walk out into the morning:
tend my tulips, admire the Japanese cherry,
all in pink. Say hi to the neighbour’s dog,
whose grin warms my heart, walk into
the rainforest and commune
with the nature spirits,
go to the shore and whisper a “thank you”
to the All-That-Is for such beauty,
and that I am still here.

My eyes lovingly follow the rounded tops
of the mountains circling the village,
chart the eagle’s flight; my voice returns
the raven’s throaty croak.

We are all visitors here.

The frogs are singing on
the Connector Trail, so
spring is in full voice.

We love where we are
and what we love we protect
and try to save.

War is still waging; there is
heartbreaking suffering.
Nothing is as it was in the world,
yet everything is as it was right here
where I am living.

How we live with that duality
is the new tightrope walk
- the tender-footed dance -
that we are learning.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

In Search of Sunflowers


Artistic Image by Morysetta

Some days are harder than others.
The heart grows tired of carrying its weight.
It needs a gentler song.

These are the last three things that happened:
I watered the kale sprouts on the windowsill
and turned them towards the light.
The spring rain tapped on the skylight;
I watched the droplets sliding down.
You didn't call.

I love stories about overcoming:
light over darkness, transcendence
over circumstance.
But now,
all I want is a story about kindness:
helpers rising up to care for refugees,
brave folk going into danger to rescue
abandoned animals, sunflowers
sprouting up everywhere online,
the symbol of bravery and never
giving up.

My heart is faltering.
It needs a cup of tea
and six or seven sweet words.
I need to put some hope
into a poem,
find a sunflower to put
on my desk by the window,
turn its face towards the sun.

I can't help it. I'll never get over making
everything such a big deal.

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

Harvesting Hope


I planted green bulbs
that turned purple,
week by week.
They taught me
we often find
much more
than we seek.

I planted children
who turned into wizards
and shapeshifters,
flying free.
They were changelings,
but who changed the most,
back then,
was me.

I planted my footsteps
on a path leading Away,
my heart on a quest
for the place that would
make me

I planted a broken heart
by the seaside,
in the dune's soft slope.
All my life,
I have planted sorrow
and harvested hope.

Rain, Just After Solstice


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.


I need to find a new language
that does not include the words
war, chemical and biological weapons.
I need to un-hear the phrase:
nuclear war is a possibility.

We need to find a better, kinder way
to live together on this planet.
We know peace cannot be waged
by bombing towns and civilians
into oblivion.

I need a soft bandage for my heart,
which has already seen
too much suffering.

Spring is here.
New life is growing everywhere.
We fall in love with hope.
But the whole while,
we are grieving.

Joining Mimi Lenox's Blog4Peace Ukraine. Find the links to other poems and peace globes for peace there on March 26 and 27. You can find peace bloggers on facebook too. Look for Blog4Peace Ukraine.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Like Tired Stars


If you find yourself , tea growing cold in your mug,
staring at the tv in horror at the news North Korea
has performed a nuclear "test", in the middle of
Russia pounding Ukraine into ground covered
in tears and blood, and rubble.
Maybe you feel like climbing back into bed,
and returning to yesterday. You are not alone.
I am doing the exact same thing.

Perhaps the tulips look even more beautiful
- and transitory - this morning, like our lives,
like our loves, everyone saying goodbye
from the moment we say hello: a seventeen
year old's tears for his dead mother,
as he sits in a bunker, covered in braces
and bandages, victim of war
before he has even grown whiskers.

My old heart is tired from all it has seen
and endured: all of the feelings, the drama, 
the losses, the striving, the struggle to survive.
I can't abandon hope, though the news is so dire.
We turn our minds and hearts towards beauty
and peace, as madmen play with nuclear buttons
and the fate of the world.

If you find yourself unable to take it all in,
find yourself staying safe in your peaceful rooms
(while you still have them), find yourself tired
beyond all imagining, with a weariness so profound
your head feels wrapped in steel bands,
if everything is starting to feel like a long goodbye,
maybe I am somewhere [feeling] the exact same thing.
Maybe we're like two stars that are tired of the sky.

Wild Writing inspired by "If You Find Yourself" by Rudy Francisco. The italicized lines are his.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022



My granddog, Chloe. R.I.P.
I am feeling like her this morning.

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

Wild Language


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

I Didn't Want to Write This Poem


Image from facebook,
Take My Paw Rescue

I didn't want to write this poem
about bombs falling, people fleeing
in terror, covered with blood.
I wanted to write about
the five purple tulips abloom
on my table, about patting the wolf-dog,
and the way he so gleefully took
the special treat from my hand
and pranced away. 

I didn't want to write about
the world's sorrow and outrage
as we watch a small country
being bombed into oblivion,
while the power-mad man
holds a rally to convince his followers
of his might, to tell them that
they had better believe.

I wanted to write as I once did,
about the promise of early morning
breaking across my springtime sky,
about gratitude, about hope,
about peace.

But I turned on the news, and
I won't look away. I will write
for all of them: all of the people
helping the wounded out of the rubble,
the doctors and nurses trying to save lives
while bombs are falling on their heads,
for the ones trying to get food and water
to the starving,  the ones rescuing desperate
animals with terrified eyes, for the pregnant
women covered in blood, carried out
of the bombed maternity shelter where
they were trying to give birth. 
I will write for
the shell-shocked, the suddenly homeless,
the traumatized, the terrified, the helpless,
the dead bodies lying on the side of the road,
the gutted buildings,
 the displaced leaving their homeland
not knowing where they will go.

I will not look away.

I didn't want to write this poem.
But I turned on the news, and so
there was nothing else left
to say.

Inspired by War by Samantha Reynolds. The italicized lines are hers. Sharing at earthweal's open link

Monday, March 14, 2022

We Fall In Love With Hope


The world moves without us, so I tend
to my potted tulips, plant kale seeds, feel excited
when the sprouts pop up.

My home is an extension of my body:
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.

My heart aches, so I sit
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,
"I'm here."

The world moves without us, but we are moving, too,
through yet another war, more human suffering,
We don't know where we are headed,
and yet we do, for we have seen all this before.
My home is sanctuary
and relief.
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.

There is a tenderness to growing older.
We fall in love with morning skies, and babies,
dogs and young lovers. We fall in love with hope.
The whole while, we are grieving.
We are wise, now, and we know.
We know what tomorrow will bring.

Spring is here.
New life is growing everywhere.
We fall in love with hope.
But the whole while,
we are grieving.

Inspired by "Tomorrow Is a Place" by Sanna Wani. Italicized lines are hers. For Brendan's challenge at earthweal: Sanctuary. 

My home - wherever it is - has always been my sanctuary,  small, cozy rooms where I am fortunate to live in blessed peace. I have started over with nothing more than once - most notably when one home was lost to fire and the insurance didnt pay.  My heart aches for the Ukrainian refugees. So much heartache that should not even be happening.

Butterscotch Pudding


He plied me with honeyed words
and butterscotch pudding.
The pudding had lumps;
that should have been a clue.
But I wanted to believe,
so I swallowed it all.

The words were too polished,
like a script he was reading,
a bumbling actor
in his own bad movie,
tilting his crooked lance
at all the pretty ladies.

Soon it was classic:
he was "confused".
He "needed time."
He "had to follow his truth"
(to two other ladies' doors.)

I needed a river, to skate away on.

On the radio, every sad songstress
was singing my song. My heart
was a swirling Wurlitzer of pain,
disbelief (that I had been fooled),
then righteous anger.

I wiped the stardust out of my eyes.
I clicked my ruby slippers.
I was gone.

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

We Fall In Love With Hope (The whole while, we are grieving)


The world moves without us, so I tend
to my potted tulips, plant kale seeds, feel excited
when the sprouts pop up.
My heart aches, so I walk on the beach, smile at 
the ecstatic, grinning dogs, whose world is only joy
in this moment, because they are fortunate enough
to not understand the news. They understand
my sadness, though, so they move close to me,
sitting on my log; they rest their heavy heads
on my knee, breathe comfort at me,
say with their silent gaze I am here.

The world moves without us, but we are moving, too,
through yet another war, more human madness,
more destruction. We don't know where we are headed,
and yet we do, for we have seen all this before.

There is a tenderness to growing older.
We fall in love with morning skies, and babies,
dogs and young lovers. We fall in love with hope.
The whole while, we are grieving. We are wise, now,
and we know. We know what tomorrow will bring.

We fall in love with hope.
But the whole while, we are grieving.

Inspired by Tomorrow Is a Place by Sanna Wani. Italicized lines are hers.



Along the Medicine Way I journeyed,
dipped my toes in a magical sea,
laughed with the wind, danced in the rain,
and my soul was returned to me.

I bow to the sky, I run with the wind,
the raindrops cleanse my thirsting heart.
Water gives all creatures life,
is sacred from the very start.

The great bowl of the sky above,
the earth below, so brown and fair,
humble and mothering, offer gifts
to humans, all so unaware.

Wheeling seabirds, laughing waves,
are luminous under a midnight moon.
I chart my path where there is no path,
knowing I'll head homeward soon.

We are born in water. At the end,
to the dying, water is our last friend.
I lived in love with the ocean's roar.
My heart could not have asked for more.

for Carrie at The Sunday Muse

Friday, March 11, 2022



Szubi Senior
rescuing handicapped dogs in Kyiv

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

In the Morning, I Pretend


South Chestermans
Elisabeth Smith photo

In the morning, I pretend that it is
any ordinary spring morning: four tulip buds
coming up in the plant pot on the yellow-checkered
tabletop outside; blue sky with wispy clouds,
and the long stretch of beach
at South Chestermans
empty of people,
and all mine.

In the morning, I pretend that this
beauty I am in steeped in is
like so many other mornings
I remember:
the rounded hills surrounding my village
so sweet to the eye;
two eagles drifting on the thermals,
wind-surfing the sky.
I pretend that war
is not waging, that we
are all not holding our breath
for fear of
what comes next.

I pretend that
on the other side of the world
families carrying
their babies and dogs
are not being gunned down
in the streets as they
run for their lives,
that people are not
being buried in mass graves
because all the mortuaries
are full.

For this morning, I pretend
all that is going on
is this walk on the beach.
The white dog with black markings
who follows me
because I have treats is shy at first
but, after a treat or two, climbs up
on the log where I am sitting 
and rests his big soft head
on my shoulder,
his face beside my face,
a moment of love and trust
so precious it fills my sad heart
with comfort. With him, I move
gratefully into dog consciousness
and pretend that
this moment of Now
is all there is.
I try to believe
that love is greater than fear;
that light always wins out over darkness;
that this terrible war
is only a nightmare
from which we will
soon awaken.

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


CNN screen shot
from the bombing of a maternity hospital

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

When You Love a Wild Thing


When you love a wild thing,
you're rekindling your kinship
with the wild.

Every cell in your body remembers
when you once lived free upon the land,
when you followed the Old Ways
we once used to understand.

Part of you remembers
when you hunted the deer,
and part remembers when you were
the deer being hunted.
Both sides know fear.

The part of you that
catches your breath
while your heart quickens,
when that old grey whale
turns her ancient eye on you,
is the part that recognizes,
but can't put words to,
the message in her mournful song
about this planetary home
where we all try to belong.

I gave my heart to a wolf-pup,
his eyes intelligent and true.
He loved me more
than anyone I ever knew.

He remained wild,
but left both wilderness and sea.
In order to be with me
he relinquished
being free.

And when it came
his time to leave,
he tried so hard to stay.
Since he's been gone,
it's like the wilderness itself
has gone away.

Now when I walk,
yes, I'm looking at the sky.
I'm listening
at each midnight moon
for his lonely cry.

I walk the length
of his favorite river
with tears that we're apart.
But I'm glad
I loved a wild thing
because he fortified
my heart.

for Brendan at earthweal: Animal Poetry. I am not sure if this meets the challenge, but Pup's heart and mine were so attuned. I have never been closer to another living being.



Photo by Jonah Reenders

If I were to walk a mile
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?

If I were to walk a mile
in your shoes,
could I ever muster the courage
you show, unarmed,
pushing back Russian tanks
with your bare hands?

The bombs rain down.
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
in disbelief
that this is happening

Piano Man


In darkness, at the edge of the Apocalypse,
the piano man plays with passion
for the refugees arriving, heartbroken
and desperate, at the Poland-Ukraine border,
clutching their babies and their bags.
He drove 5000 miles to play for them.

"Peace starts right here," he said. "Peace
through music," music which carries
our humanity and our hope.

I think of the piano man in The Pianist,
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.

In the faces around the piano,
for a moment, broken hearts remember
that life holds beauty, too,
not only terror, and that, with courage,
life will begin again.

Davide Martello is a German pianist of Italian descent, who travels around to conflict zones, bringing some hope and beauty to people suffering the effects of war. The best of humanity shining forth to remind us it is there, even as others are displaying the worst side of human nature.

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
I know.

inspired by the poem "Prayer" by Jacqueline Berger, of Wild Writing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Nothing Wants to Suffer


The Ukraine
photo by Dmitri Muravsky

"Nothing wants to suffer."
- Linda Hogan

Nothing wants to suffer, not the pussywillow
snipped off its bush and carried away to be put
in a vase; not the slug, squished underfoot,
its slime trail flattened on the pavement;
not the octopus, trapped
in a tidepool too small, writhing,
pulling its arms in convulsively, waiting
to be rescued by the incoming tide, its eyes
peering out at us peering in: afraid, afraid,
of being poked, interfered with, not knowing
what we tall monstrous creatures might do,
no way to escape, no where to hide,
displaced from its dark safe depths,
a sudden refugee.

Nothing wants to suffer, not the mother,
hurt by an angry daughter's behaviour,
nor the daughter, hurt by her own anger.

We know this, though we forget.

Nothing wants to suffer. Not the Ukranians,
being bombed, fighting for their right to exist;
not the Russian protesters, risking prison
to tell their government they don't want this war;
not the rest of us, holding our breath, hoping
a madman won't hit the button that starts
(and swiftly ends) a nuclear war
and the planet.

Nothing wants to suffer, and yet we do,
through what we do to one another,
to Mother Earth, to the beyond-human realm,
to the forest, the ocean, the very sky above.

We know this, though we forget.
We forget.

Inspired by the words of Linda Hogan, quoted above, and by the title of the poem, "Nothing Wants to Suffer", written by Danusha Lameris. The italicized words are theirs.

I will share this with earthweal's open link on Friday.