Monday, June 27, 2022

The White Lions of Timbavati


The white lions of Timbavati
are wandering through my dreams,
beautiful ones who came here from the stars.
We are too disconnected to understand,
but the shaman says their fate is linked with ours.
Sent by the Sun God in the long ago,
they saved us once from perishing. In return,
we have hunted them to extinction to repay
their gift - so far have humans lost our way.

So beautiful, the white lions from the stars,
white lions with lessons in their eyes of blue,
come to give us a message that is true:
all other lives matter as much as ours.

Lion, lion, lion
of my heart,
your blue eyes watch us as 
we bumble to and fro.
You come from ancient starfire,
with insight we're not wise enough
to know.

The shaman says our fate is linked with theirs.
White lions are few, and when the last one dies
he says the sun will fall down from the skies,
too late then, all our hopes and dreams
and prayers.

Lion, lion, lion
of my heart,
your blue eyes watch us as 
we bumble to and fro.
You come from ancient starfire,
with insight we're not wise enough
to know.

The white lions of Timbavati 
are wandering through my dreams,
lit silvery-white, bathed in
dark night's moonbeams.
White lions came from stars,
sent by the Sun.
We are too blind to see
our destinies
are one.

There are only thirteen white lions left in the wild, and 100 in captivity, bred for the abhorrent "canned hunting" and lion petting industries. The White Lion Global Trust, founded by Linda Tucker, is desperately trying to save white lions, rescuing them from such places and providing sanctuary for the ones in their care. Shaman Credo Mutwa taught Linda that white lions are believed to have come to earth from the stars. By offering themselves to humans to eat during a time of famine, they saved mankind from perishing. In return, man has hunted them to the very edge of extinction. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Speaking of Horses


My sister has always had horses:  a brown Arabian
with a black mane, who gave her a foal she loved
and lost too soon. One marks the moment
a heart breaks:
there was a before, of perfect happiness, then
an after, when there was nothing to be done
but keep moving forward
in grief.
He flew through our lives like a comet,
blazing out. I have a memory of his tall ears 
as he poked his head up over the top
of his stall in the morning, how he loved
playing with his ball. His Arabian mom
lived long; she was a grand old dame,
wise, with definite opinions made clear
in her facial expressions: appalled, disbelieving,
when the new red filly arrived on the scene.
How she put her body between two bickering
younger horses, and gave a great bellow.
"Enough!" she roared,
and they never bickered again.

The red filly also died tragically young:
laminitis, which seizes the legs till a horse
can no longer walk, my sister and her husband
sobbing as they buried her,
so beautiful, so young,
in the pasture.

Speaking of horses: their sweetness, their
deep-seeing eyes, their soft, seeking noses,
nibbling at your pockets and fingers
 looking for cookies,
the privilege of their trust  -
no one tells you how many times your heart 
will break, as they come in and out
of our lives.

For my sister, who has always had horses, and whose heart is large enough to withstand the heartbreak and give them the very best possible lives while they are with her.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022



Sitting in a hot tub with my daughter
on Chestermans Beach on New Year's Eve,
tall cedars swaying in the wind, the waves
rolling endlessly in - this was happiness,
a moment in time, in our busy lives,
on this beach we both loved so well.

Later, I sat by myself on a log, by 
a small crackling fire, watching
seabirds, the light playing on the water
in refracted rays of silver, clouds
like shapeshifters, the long quiet day
winding down.

Maybe it's not going to happen, my return
to this place I love, I thought, and I have to
be all right with that. 

She drove me home to the farm, dropped me off.
I unpacked, settling back into my nest. Then
the phone rang, and it was a landlord,
offering me an apartment in Tofino,
as rare an occasion as winning the lottery,
and even better.

I had to let go of the dream, for it to be
offered this third and final time. And
there was never any question that, were
it to happen, my answer would be
anything but Yes!!!

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Commons


It is Solstice tomorrow. In days of olde,
serfs would meet on the commons
to gather coals from the communal flame
to light their own hearth fires.

Here, there is the Village Green,
where Tofitians gather for live music,
poetry and artisans' markets. Once,
a man handed out headphones 
and young folk danced, gyrating
and bobbing to music
we watchers could not hear.

On reserve, the People remember best
how to gather, how to uphold each other,
how to drum and raise their hands in support,
to honour one another, and to offer comfort
in hard times.

For many, their Commons is
The Mall, where zombie faces
move from store to store, accumulating
bags of plastic things they do not need,
lulled by the Muzak into an altered state,
mesmermized as they buy and buy
to fill the hole left when they disconnected
from earth and sea and sky.

To live freely in an encroaching world,
one must live in the Now, as creatures do,
grateful for shelter and food,
for ground under our feet
that is not sliding, rivers
that are not sweeping us away.

"At least, for now, life is calm," we say,
counting our blessings.
The At Least theory does well in times
like these, when chaos, division
and war rage on elsewhere. Yet we are wise 
enough to know our turn will come
one day.
What happens to one,
happens to us all,
the wise ones say.

With beauty of earth and sky and sea,
one almost can believe
this planet will survive
the losses we now grieve. 

for earthweal: A Modern Commons

Saturday, June 18, 2022



My father with my little sister,
the summer he died

I never cried for my father.
When he died, the summer
I turned fourteen, I felt sad
for my mother, whose heart
was broken. But I felt relief
that the drinking to blackout
and the violence had stopped.

I had closed him out,
that last year; we had
unfinished business, so
I was not much surprised
when I saw his ghost
smiling at me from behind
the lunch counter at Capri,
a few weeks later,
perhaps a smile to say
he had loved me
and wished me well.

He was a brilliant musician
who raged that those
with less talent passed him by.
He hated rock and roll.

I never cried for my father
at his funeral. But I cry
for him now. He gifted me
music and humour and song
that has lasted my whole life long.
And I never said thank you
when he came to tell me

Sharing this with The Sunday Muse.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Hope for the Poet's Pen

Valeria Ferraro images

This is for the people fighting for their lives
and their freedoms in Ukraine, and for those
watching death and destruction on their tv screen
with tears rolling down their cheeks.
May the bombs stop raining down.

This is for the starving wolves and whales and bears,
whose habitat has been replaced with ours, because
we feel more important; and this is for old growth
forests, being clearcut, humankind too unaware
to realize that we will breathe less and less
until there is no breath left, once the lungs
of our planet are all gone.

And this is for those who turn off the news because
"it's just too much," and they'd rather
not be  uncomfortable.

This is for those suffering from racism, hatred,
being "Other-ed", when we all have human hearts,
and dreams, and simply want to live.
And love who we love. 

And this is for those who step up and speak out
when there is a wrong to right, and for those who run
towards danger to help others, when the rest of us
hang back or turn away. This is for democracy. 
May we never have to live under its opposite.

This is for the young woman and her dog
who went out for a walk yesterday morning
along the creek turned to a raging river, and,
when one of them fell in and the other tried
to save it, they both got swept away.
This is for those who don't realize that,
in any second, all we know and have and love
can disappear just that fast.

This is for the knowledge that we bear
of all that is so wrong, for the pain we carry
in our hearts for all the suffering we impose
on each other and the world's other creatures.
This is for hope that somehow, against all odds,
some of us can turn this around, slow the pace
of planetary collapse, and of the melting poles,
protect the last of the trees, assist the starving animals,
make room in our lives, and on the earth,
for every other being.

This is for the spark of humanity in every human breast,
that it be kindled and catch flame, and spread,
a wildfire of the spirit, across the land.

This is for hope, because a poet's pen
can't sing its song of peace
without it.

Inspired by Shake the Dust by Anis Mojgani

Sharing with earthweal's open link.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022



In the world of my childhood, they said, instead,
"Lord willing and the creek don't rise," with
wry smiles and a shrug that suggested
the water was already rising. It was inevitable.

My grandma pinned laundry on the line,
her eldest son just home from the war
with no visible wounds, but deafened,
and with a look in his eyes that said he had
seen things he would never want us to know,
so he would never tell.

I sang for him once and he got up and left the room,
moved, my grandma said, by my hopefulness
in a life where dreams were all the hope I had.

We are still hoping: that the war will end
before Ukraine is entirely rubble; that governments
will finally legislate gun control; that mass shootings
will end; that, globally, we will slow
the climate crisis enough to give us
time to change.

But hope is a fragile thing that wavers
in the light of all we know. Coastlines and riverbanks
are flooding; the poles are melting; whales
are swimming through a warming, toxic sea.

Yet "Insha'Allah," we chant, the war will end;
the world will continue on in a better way;
there will be a livable planet left for
our great-grandchildren. 


Inspired by Insha'Allah by Danusha Lameris at Wild Writing

Monday, June 13, 2022

For My Feathered Friends


Doves eating scattered seed
at the farm

While all the trilling birdsong , throat by throat,
sings the morning into waking, note by note,
bold robin red and mourning dove doth coo,
and I will share their skysong here with you.

In meadow fair and forest glen of green,
the songs of many can be heard, not seen.
Within the trees, the hidden wild birds live,
us grateful, for the melodies they give.

A scientist came to the living woods one day
to see what sounds the loggers took away,
set out his recorder, before and aft.
The loggers thought him daft; they laughed
and laughed.

Before the felling of the greenly trees,
enough song was heard to bring him to his knees.
But, sadly, truck after truck, day after day,
with the trees, all birdsong, too,
had flown away.

The feathered flocks, the doves and jays, are gone.
Where birdsong swelled, a silence now lives on.
How can we fit? Our actions don't belong.
How can we live, if we lose all the song?

How to bring back all we love so much, and soon,
when we are the ones so wholly out of tune?
Bring back, bring back, those stands of ancient pine.
Bring back the songs, those feathered friends
of mine.

In the Ted Talk, Voices of the Natural World by Bernie Krause, Bernie explains that "Every wild habitat produces its own unique soundscape," an ecology impacted by human activity and global warming. He recorded the amount of birdsong, before and after a logging company did selective logging, (not even clearcutting!) The logging company had promised no damage to the environment.

Bernie recorded a high level of birdsong before the cut, and nearly no birdsong at all even fifteen years after the logging had occurred. The recording caught a lonely woodpecker, and not much else. That is just one small meadow. Think of what is happening globally.

This chills me, that greed is running so insanely rampant, while endangering the survival of all species - including our own. We are a strange breed, the only ones who destroy our own habitat, (along with that of every other creature.)

For my prompt at earthweal: Earth's Wild Music - still continuing in spite of us, though diminished and, in places, drowned out by bombs.

Friday, June 10, 2022



What are these walls and floors
where nothing grows?
What are these fences wrapped around us
keeping us from each other,
one on one,
when my Mama wants
to teach me how to run?

My Mama tells me stories of the savannah:
grasslands, where all my cousins run and play,
tall trees to nibble on,
an open sky...
Why are we not there, too?
I wonder why.

I love my Mama, and I love the sky,
but I need trees and grasses,
freedom I have never seen,
no fences, lots of grass,
and when I dream,
in my wooden stall
at night,
my dreams are green.

An older poem from the point of view of a baby giraffe in a zoo that I was reminded of by my prompt at earthweal: Dreaming In Green

Monday, June 6, 2022

meditation on green


the colour of life, of growth,
tall, spindly pine
draped in old man's beard
a thousand fern fronds
under whose umbrella
twin blooms
small as a baby's tears
peek pertly
jagged stump
covered in soft thick moss
framed by tall cedars
among whose lofty branches
songbirds flit
their trill echoing
across the sleepy forest
winding trails
through the silence
paths springy, living
where we walk
heads thrown back
- alive!-
one with the ferns the fronds the trees
their height that teaches us to strive
the sky
a compass for
all our flighty dreams
clouds drifting by
one breath two breaths
leafy breath
and human sigh
ringing through
the silent canopy
piercing me through
with each piercing
I'm made new
forest floor alive
under our
live feet
step so lightly
don't crush the mosses!
fairies drinking dewdrops
from the white bell-shaped blossoms
frogs in the skunk cabbage
yellow jonquils
line the deadened pond
the forest holds its breath
and waits
it waits
'til we are gone

for my prompt at earthweal: Dreaming In Green

Sunday, June 5, 2022



In the tide pool, small creatures lurk: sea urchins,
anemone, starfish: green, purple, orange.
They are squishy, clinging to the rocks
tenaciously; they will never let go.

Mussels click with their thousand voices:
so much life existing everywhere, unaware
of the climate crisis,
going about the daily business of living
as we once did, as if it will continue

Off the dock, just under the surface, jellyfish
slowly oscillate, looking like small parachutes,
or soft, undulating moons.
I gaze and gaze.

I will never be done with looking,
heart open, grateful.
The wonders are as many
and as varied as the mind can hold:
the way the clouds dance along the mountains,
fog lifting as you paddle through the early morning,
islands emerging from the mist, the eagle's call,
a heron picky-toeing along the mudflats.

The world is my temple, beauty
from beginning to end,
and full of wonder.

I stand beside the sea,
arms out, hands cupped,
offering gratitude and praise,
as if receiving blessings
in return, or, perhaps, waiting
for a small, sweet bird to land.

Inspired by "Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does it End" by Mary Oliver. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Tonquin Guardian


photo by Christine Lowther

Forests are peopled with trees.
From baby sprouts to wise old
Grandfather Cedar,
all are in a state of either
Becoming or Enduring.
Much like us.

Listen to the song of this old tree,
and he will teach you
how to live.

He will whisper to you
of roots and tree-tops,
earth and sky,
and of your inter-connectedness
to All That Is.
He will tell you the secret
of how to live with
the natural world,
with respect, nurturing life,
doing no harm.
Giving back.
Like a tree.

When the West Wind croons
through his branches
and the riversong joins in,
listen to their song, and remember:
We are air.
We are water.
We are trees.

An older poem for earthweal's open link.