Saturday, December 30, 2023


My sister's farm, my home away from home

It's December.
Tree lights, a crackling fire,
gifts - the dog opening her own
with much ripping of paper -
the table filled with holiday food

while, on the other side of the world,
people are living the hell of dropping bombs,
no safe place, no food, no water,
no way to live.

In this lifetime, I travelled
to the far edge of grief
and arrived at
Peace and Gratitude,
always tinged with sorrow, now,
for all human and non-human beings
who suffer at the hands
of war-like leaders.

It's December.
I wrap its soft days around me
like a blanket. Surely 2024
will bring something better
than what we are living now
on Planet Earth.

We must have learned,
when people are starving and desperate,
to send food? To stop the bombs
and recognize that everyone needs
a place on the planet
to live?

The days drift past,
one, two, three.
Dawn will break softly, here,
on a new year's hope
for better days.

Faint hope, indeed. I am glad to say goodbye to 2023 and hope for better things in 2024 for all global citizens, including those non-human beings who have no voice.

Friday, December 29, 2023



Expansive Mother Sky,
in all your greys and blues,
your hazy winter hues,
you hold my heart
the way the rugged maple
holds the twiggy nest
in which sits a wee brown bird,
serene, and softly singing.

Small bird,
with your sweetness
you are
the bodhisattva
of my morning.
you awaken me
to the plight of all beings.

who own only feathers,
are far happier
than we.

Teach us your song.


A thank you to Brendan for his work at earthweal and Desperate Poets.  Shared with the last open link.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Breathing Peace


Breathe in the cacophony
of the quarrelsome talking heads
breathe out the birdsong
of a thousand singing forests.

Breathe in the gazillion dollar contracts
for weapons of war while armloads of terrified babies
and their mothers cry out desperately
for a safe place to live; breathe out a billion
wildflowers on a majestic mountainside
along with food and shelter for all the living.

(May all be well; may all be exceedingly well.)

Breathe in bombs, destruction, refugee camps
filled with displaced civilians; breathe in  young soldiers
with eyes made hollow by what they have seen.
Breathe out a prayer of peace that will float
across the world, entering the neocortexes
of the militants, rendering them transformed
from fighters to friends of humanity
who cannot kill again. 

Breathe in earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
flooding, fracking, and melting glaciers at the poles.
Breathe out restoration, balance, healing,
reduced emissions, cooling of land and sea,
survival for sea life and coastal communities.
Breathe out armies of people restoring
and cleaning Mother Earth, planting trees
everywhere, inviting the wild ones home.

Breathe in the toxic rhetoric of today;
breathe out a flock of sandpipers, moving
as one at the edge of the sea - the way
we can move together, if we  have
intelligence and will. Breathe out stars
and bioluminescence, silver paths upon the water,
and a moon, serenely smiling upon
a land of gentle dreamers.

Breathe in walls and division; breathe out
harmony and unity: no "us", no "them" -
just people of the earth, Beloved Community,
longing for a brighter tomorrow.
Breathe in war, famine, despair, displacement;
breathe out prayers from morning till night
for a suffering world. Pray for consciousness,
evolution, transformation, social and
environmental justice. Believe, as the earth turns
towards the light and our hearts turn toward
the hope of spring,  that we can be
so much better than we are.

(May all be well; may all be exceedingly well.)

For Susan's prompt at What's Going On...Peace,  an idea whose time has come. 

After the Buddhist practice of breathing in the negative, and transforming its energy by breathing out the positive.

Call2Change image

Image by Jody Bergsma

Wednesday, December 20, 2023


This time of year,
during the long, dark days,
when the sky hangs so close
like a dark blanket,

we string lights to counter
the gloom, stoke the fire,
wrap ourselves in fleece,
sip hot drinks.

We are not so much celebrating
the season,
as in happier years, as we are,
like snowbound bushes,
fallow fields,
small leaping foxes,
or perhaps a sleepy hedgehog
poking an inquisitive nose
out of his burrow,

dreaming of,
reaching for the light.


Tuesday, December 19, 2023


If I had not been brave,
If I had silenced the dream in my heart,
stayed safe in my soul-deadening job,
forgotten it is possible
to fly,
I would never had gathered my wings
and made that leap
over the mountains
into joy.

I would have forever lived,
trying to silence
my story calling me
out of the desert of the heart
into Wild Woman territory.

Inspired by Maya Stein's wonderful poem "If I Did Not Tear It All Down, Empty My Heart, Rebirth Myself". 



I gift you a morning sunrise,
in winter,
new-minted with promise,
a fresh day, and, soon,
a new year unfolding.

I gift you hours with loved ones,
sharing songs, and stories, and laughter,
and tears, in the remembering
of those things we have lost.

I gift you sunshine and birdsong,
and a winter hummingbird,
magical and unexpected,
at the feeder,
blue Jays and scarlet cardinals,
and a horse in the field,
huffing small clouds of breath
into the cold air.

For your lonesome heart,
I send you an old dog's smile,
patient, devoted,
and always there.

For your tomorrows,
I send you a small fairy
sprinkled with moondust,
and a wand,
to bid you safe passage.
I send you
the certain knowledge that
you have a place in this world
that is distinctly yours, where you
are treasured and needed.

I send you the new year,
breaking across the morning sky,
in hopes the world
will stop the ways of war
and find the pathway
to peace.

for Sumana's prompt at What's Going On  on Wednesday: Happy New Year! A wish for each of you, as we approach 2024 with trepidatious feet.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Never Could I Have Imagined

Never in a million years could I ever have imagined:

that what we once spent to buy a house people now pay to buy a car

that you would ever need a million dollars to buy a house

that three stalks of celery - stalks, not bunches - would ever cost $2.99, and a cauliflower $7.99

that people in the country that fought the Nazis would ever walk around wearing Nazi insignia and talking about killing Jewish people

that civilians in Gaza, so many of them children, would ever be bombed so mercilessly

that hatred and division would be everywhere, making it hard to remember that most people are basically good and kind (yet thankfully, everywhere, they are)

that fascists would increase in numbers strong enough to topple democracy, and are trying to

that conspiracy theories and misinformation rule the internet and so many misinformed people believe it

that dictators around the world are increasing in power

that the climate crisis would accelerate, yet be ignored because the "economy" depends on oil and gas and North America is addicted to capitalism

that the cost of capitalism is coming due, faster than we expected

that the poles are melting, and no one is panicking

that people are in denial that, at any moment, everything we take for granted can be gone: in war, in floods, in hurricanes, in rising sea levels, in wildfires, in extreme weather events

that, within my lifetime, in under 50 years, wildlife populations have declined by 69% *

that leaders now make decisions based on re-election, rather than serving the public and protecting the environment

that a racist, angry narcissist, with  90-plus criminal charges against him, who incited an insurrection against the Capitol when he lost the presidency, would be allowed to run for re-election

that we are facing catastrophic climate crisis and hardly any leaders are doing more than pay lip service to lowering emissions "by 2050" when they needed to start lowering them 40 years ago

that governments know this information and still put the Economy God first

* The Guardian 

Shared with the fine folks at Desperate Poets open link.

Thursday, December 14, 2023



I step into the forest -
hallowed ground.
Silence enfolds me,
a mossy blanket of belonging.
I sit at the foot
of this old tree.
Venerable Ancient One,
breathe your peace on me.

The path of silence
calls me
into a world of green.
When I am still,
among the trees,
I feel
I'm wholly seen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Winter Blue


the "big blue hills"
of my childhood
taking me back to early mornings
on the way to school,
how the air was so cold
it froze the hair in my nostrils,
how my coat wasn't warm enough;
I can still remember
the sound my boots made
crunching through the snow.

midnight Mass when my little sister
was Mary in the nativity scene,
with her long blonde hair,
me singing in the choir,
full of hope and melancholy
that some sort of Christmas
would come to be.

grown-up kids scattered
across the land,
too far to come home
for Christmas any more.
Christmas magic dims
without small children
with wonder in their eyes.

my sister and I
watching the family video
(one last time?)
remembering how our mother wept
the last time we watched it with her -
gone, gone,
all those happy years.
for almost everyone in the video
has died.
We watch their laughing faces
coming out the door,
the film grainy, disappearing.
Soon they will appear
no more.

For Desperate Poets: Christmas Blues

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Listening With My Heart


I grow more silent with every year that passes.
I listen with my heart.
I have spoken so many heedless words,
and no one listens anyway,
for what we are all listening for
is truth
and one has to grow old
to learn to speak it.

The pains of life are sharper now
but easier to bear.
One brushes off the small hurts;
one tolerates the larger pain,
knowing, like every single thing,
that it will pass.

I'm simply burning old masks.
Nothing to hide, no energy
for anything but what is real,
and here, and now.
Let it all go,
all that angst and cacophony.
How can inner woes compete
with a world collapsing
into chaos?

All year round, the trees and birds instruct.
They must wonder at our inability
to hear.

Inspired by a wonderful poem by Mark Nepo, "Crossing Some Ocean In Myself". The italicized lines are his. A Wild Writing exercise.

A Marriage

The official marriage was doomed:
the mis-union of a 1950's chauvinist
who thought pregnant women should not appear 
in public, their job to do
all the work
of housecleaning and childcare
a soon-to-break-free spirit
who needed, for survival, to soar above
the chains that bound her 
and make a roof of
the sky.

The actual groom had fangs
and a toothy hilarious grin; black fur
from comical ears to tail-tip -
the freest, wildest being 
she would ever know.

They were a perfect match
and lived fourteen years together
along the river and the forest trails,
and cavorting merrily
at the edge of the sea.
No marriage of convenience, this;
they were soulmates,
who knew the joy
of being free.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Life Is an Old Movie


The Marrs
My mother is in the middle, back row

I remember
Christmas, 1959 - my grandmother's cottage,
the grainy home movie my sister
and I will watch
(for maybe the last time?)
this Christmas:
all the glamorous aunts and uncles
coming out the door, smiling
into the movie camera, 
our dad marching along the street
with his high school band -
a time that felt innocent, and hopeful,
our dreams all waiting up ahead.

I remember
my first ten years by the sea,
landing here with exultation,
my dream come true, joy
on a daily basis until
I had to leave. And the gratitude
years later, when the universe
gave me yet another miracle
and allowed me to return.

And now life is an old movie,
black and white, that rolls
behind my eyes: my relatives
forever glamorous, forever young,
the hard years still ahead,
the loss of them one by one
as they left the stage.

Will my sister and I cry
when we watch the film this year,
as our mother did the last time
we watched it with her?

I am aging gratefully in my small room
by the sea, my daily prayer
is "Thank You!" for all life
has gifted me.

For Mary's prompt on Wednesday at What's Going On: Reflection / Looking Back / Age. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023



I come to the keyboard with a blank stare
and an empty head. Gone, gone,
the days of connection, words traveling
from my head, down my arm, firing my pen,
coming faster than I could write.

I call on the Muse,
who stopped listening
some time back,
when I started harping on
the climate crisis,
boring everyone
and accomplishing nothing
other than relieving
my angst.

I come to the keyboard,
because what else is a poet to do,
after 62 years of tap tap tapping?
The engine coughs, sputters,
grudgingly catches fire.
Fingers find the keys.
On the white screen,
some words fall out.
Who is writing?
No matter,
I am grateful for the words.

The "process" of someone who has been
seriously fatigued by the act of living.

LOL. Best I can do, my friends. Apologies to all bards.

for Desperate Poets  where we are contemplating our creative process - not very creative for me these days, as I have become a mute observer at the sorry spectacle of this erratically spinning/warring world.

The Tongues of Falling Trees

Did you know
we tremble as the saws come near?
See our branches quiver at the sound
of the big trucks rolling in.
Only the sensitive among you
know our tender hearts. Only
the animals and birds hear
our silent screams.

We shiver as that cold energy
approaches, numb souls,
killing ecosystems without compunction,
disassociating themselves
from what they do for money.
Holding hands beneath the forest floor,
we send each other messages of farewell,
weeping sap-coloured tears
as the grappleyarders yank our sisters
out of the earth, as if they are pulling
the wisdom teeth of the planet
without novocaine.

As we who are left sway
in the sudden exposure
at the edge of a clearcut,
can you hear
our sighs, our keening sorrow,
watching hungry bears and wolves
cross the ravaged land in search
of a new place to hide
from the Two-Leggeds;
yet they are everywhere.

We wish we could pick up our skirts
like the wild ones
and tiptoe softly away.

Did you know
that as soon as you enter the forest,
we know you are here?
We turn our ears and our welcoming branches
to those of peaceful energy. We know
who comes in fellowship, in sisterhood.
We love those of you with gentle hearts
who walk softly and reverently here.
We feel your awe, gazing up at our tall spires.
Sometimes you place your hands on our trunks;
do you feel us tremble in response?

Please tell the others
what all the wild world knows:
we cool and protect you from the blazing sun.
Please protect us.
Let your poems be
the tongues of falling trees*.
Speak for us;
please help us live,
for what you save
will save you
in return.

inspired by the poem "The Trees Have No Tongues", penned by Vancouver Poet Laureate 

The closing line in her poem is "Let each poem be a falling tree's tongue," which I think is just brilliant.

Monday, December 4, 2023

What Life Does


This is what life does....
it takes your lumpy, earthy bunion of a life
and polishes it, for decades, until most of
the dross falls away and, slowly, the gem that's left
begins to shine.

It sends you seeking, when you're young.
You run all over trying to find Out There
what you can only find within. So then
it sends you back (and, trust me,
the inner journey is the hardest.)

This is what life does...
it brings you gifts, showers you
with blessings, allows serendipitous happenings
that you know you were helped to find.
And then it assigns you the work
of giving back.

Life takes you to the forest, and the shore,
and teaches you to cease all thought and simply listen
to the song of Mother Earth, in her many voices.
It is your Coming Home.

This is what life does...
it starts you off as a silly girl
who doesn't know a thing,
wallops you upside the head
as many times as it takes,
sends you through the Valley of Tears
then brings you out, laughing and astonished,
full of wonder, grateful to be alive,
on the other side.

Inspired by the wonderful poem Starfish by Eleanor Lerman. The italicized lines are hers.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Not Alone


Because of how dogs pull on their leashes
to come to me for a treat,
and look at me with happy eyes...

because of how people smile at me on the street
- so kindly! -
because I am old, and hobbling...

because the house across the street
put up their Christmas lights,
and I hung mine in response...

because of how the small children
from the daycare walk past my window
at eleven o'clock every morning...

because when I enter the forest,
the tree beings turn their faces towards me,
welcoming me in to their green
and mystical world,
to tranquility,
to sanctuary...

because of how I stand under a sky full of stars,
feeling my solitude, and,
at the same time,
my being one of eight billion humans
also looking up, pondering the mystery...

because the waves sing their eternal song,
whooshing in to shore, and then
receding, me feeling the reverberations
in my chest, as millions of souls
have stood before, seeking solace,
seeking peace, feeling the depth
and vibrancy of life
lived at the edge of the world...

I know I'm not alone.

Inspired by How We Are Not Alone by Maya Stein.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


What does a Wild Woman do
when the news continues to astound,
humans committing atrocities
on other humans, bombs dropping
all around,
all manner of suffering and trouble,
women and children starving
in the rubble?

We need a Kindness Revolution, she sighs,
pouring a second glass of wine,
because one doesn't do it any more.
(She knows that is a very
slippery slope. Don't worry.
She is wise.)

She turns off the news.
She would like to write a poem
that inspires hope, lifts hearts.
But she is so freaking tired.
She is old.
She has lived several ages,
truth be told,
but never one so toxic
and so cold.

It's the opposite of
 a Kindness Revolution.
But she has always
Lived In Hope,
so that stubborn flame is
flickering still.
Wild Woman believes
in evolution/revolution;
 always will.
(Give peace a chance.
War is over
if you want it.

Let's keep singing it

What we have is today:
brilliant November sunshine,
wild waves and Stellar jays,
hope and grief all mixed together,
because this is where we're at:
inclement weather.

Wild Woman is grateful:
for another generation rising -
(May they be brave!) - for dogs
with wagging tails and smiling eyes.
For Mother Earth, with her trees,
and clouds, her ever-changing skies,
struggling so valiantly to survive,
on which we're blessed
to still be here,
still dreaming,
still alive!

In all the discord,
what does a Wild Woman do?
She prays, she hopes, she dreams.
 Sometimes she cries.
She writes poems of peace
and struggles to be wise,
stretches her rubber soul
to hold both hope and sorrow,
goes to bed and
prays for a Revolution
of Human Consciousness
on the morrow.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Letting Go

I save my love for what stays:
what is close at hand - the ancient forest,
birdsong, the roar of the sea -

and dogs, looking at me with
their doggy smiles, eyes full of love
for the simplest thing: a pat,
a biscuit, some loving words. 

I let go of what wants to leave:
who turns away, becoming mist;
so many leavings along
one's path, no words of farewell,
just sudden absence; I bless them
with the gift of grace
as they go on their way.

I save my love for what stays.

The italicized lines are from the poem "I Save My Love" by Marjorie Saiser, of Wild Writing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Days That Will Not Come Again


Where there was something and suddenly isn't
- a beach, a forest, the song of the surf,
the crash of waves on shore,
sunset sinking below the horizon,
running through the wild world 
with a big black laughing dog -
absence becomes a presence
that fits into a corner of our hearts.
Heart walls expand to make room
for the memories, watered with tears,
that come, unbidden, at random moments.
There is an ache, a missing, that feels 
almost as strong as the presence did,
for we are remembering Joy
from a place of less-than-joy.
We are remembering love
from a place of loss-of-the-beloved.
We are remembering companionship
and feeling the pining of our solitary soul.

Where there was something and suddenly isn't
we have to work hard to
remember gratitude, recognize enough-ness,
look up at the sky and trail
the eagle's flight with our eyes,
seek out riversong or a place of salt and sea.
We somehow learn to make a space for sorrow
inside our aching chests,
and place our love and remembering there,
glad that we recognized joy
and fullness of soul when we had it,
though everything after has been muted,
tinted grey and sepia,
compared to those golden,
radiant, long-gone wild
wilderness days
that will never,
     will not ever
         come again.

The two italicized lines are from Naomi Shihab Nye's poem Burning the Old Year .

Sharing this at  What's Going On,  where Sumana's prompt on Wednesday is Memory / Remembering.



The small things I do to help the earth
feel so insignificant, compared to
what needs to be done - especially
when the worst corporate offenders
are doing nothing.

The poems I write - pleas sent out
into the universe (which hears them) -
do little good, when world leaders,
corporations, the offensively wealthy,
cling to capitalism, even at the price
of every other living being's survival.

And yet we keep on keeping on
because giving up is not an option,
even when
scientific voices grow more urgent,
because we love the earth, and
what we love we try to save.
And because what we save
saves us.

For  Rajani's climate series. 

A message I have written about before but it doesn't hurt to repeat it.

Monday, November 20, 2023



Chris Lowther photo

Wind whispers
through the canopy
like lake ripples
through the trees

Small leaves spiral
thick as raindrops,
pixies dancing
on the breeze

Sunlight consecrating trees -
almost I hear an organ sound:
I, pilgrim and acolyte,
the golden forest
hallowed ground

Birch bark like ancient manuscript
writ by a gnarled and pointy hand
tells tales of olden times long-gone,
bygone days upon the land

Once again, the breeze-song swells,
upon the wind a hymn of praise:
to these blessed simple days,
these days we have,
a hymn of praise.


Praise the amber sunlight in late afternoon,
burnishing the forest golden.
Praise the eagle,
swooping twice overhead.
When I called out to her, "Beautiful!"
she fluttered her wingtips at me
in response.

Praise the stately cherry trees out front,
who have shed their leaves,
going into their winter sleep,
who will burst forth
in white and tender blossoms
next spring.

Praise Brother Bear, his big paw
reaching into the river
in search of one last salmon
before his winter nap.
And praise Sister Wolf,
who is teaching her cubs
the forest trails
and how to find their hidden den.

Praise those who are caring for
the suffering, in impossible situations,
under a bomb-filled sky,
and praise those who are trying
to find a way to bring this horror
to a merciful end.
(May all killing stop. Praise be.)

Praise our peaceful day
on this side of the world,
with which we mend our tattered hearts,
so we can hold this aching world
and bear what is too heavy to lift,
because what we care about,
we try to save,
and what we save
saves us.

Praise what we can,
in this world so full of pain
and heartbreaking beauty.
May Mother Earth receive our love
and carry it on winds of change
across the sky
to silence and still
the guns and bombs,
the inhumanity
of war.


"In certain ways, writing is a form of prayer." Denise Levertov. The first poem came to me as I was walking a forest trail. I sped up, to get to my car and paper and pen before I forgot the words. The second is a praise poem, inspired by "Praise Song" by Barbara Crooker.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Heart Broken Open


How would we be to each other,
if we knew we are each one small piece
of the broken heart of the world?

This must be why we wake up aching,
why, when everything around us
is beautiful beyond reckoning,
our hearts still feel broken inside us,
because the world is hurting
and we are the ones who cause it,
and the only ones who can heal it.

Today I will stand at the edge of the sea,
next stop, Japan - such vastness.
I will count the oystercatchers on the rocks.
Maybe an eagle will perch so close
I can see its feathers, it regarding me
with its imperial eye, me humble,
passing gently so as not to disturb.

Why can we not pass this gently,
have this same regard,
for our fellow humans?
How would we be to each other,
if we knew that we each
are one small piece
of the broken heart of the world?

The idea of each of us being one small part of the broken heart of the world comes from Mark Nepo, who taught this concept at a writing workshop recently.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

This Morning, Out My Window


This morning,
out my window,
the sky is becoming its day face,
after the long, dark night.

Just so, looking up,
does my heart expand
and take a circle or two
above the trees:
joyous, expansive,
above all of the cacophony
of humans being less
than we should be to each other.

My heart, a wise old owl,
perched on a cedar bough;
a raven with its gobble-cry;
a heron, skinny matron,
purse clutched under her wing.

The heavy stones in my heart
called grief,
called war,
the human-caused suffering
of all beings,
the accelerating climate crisis,
(ignored, because we are distracted
by the bombing):
I lay them down in the River of Solitude,
then walk on to the sea:
take refuge in
the eternal waves
that will be here long after
you and me.

My wish: that the great sky above
cover the entire globe
with peace; where
no bombs fall,
and all who suffer
find the healing, help and hope
they need.

A big wish. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023



Me and Pup - the Dog of Joy
(He was jumping for a treat!)

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,
when once more I am back in childhood,
listening to a thunderstorm
in the back room of the cottage
on Christleton Avenue
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.

I love 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 summers,
sitting out front in the sun, and rocking,
watching the world walking by
with its children and dogs and canes.
I love when they wave and I wave back.
I love the big window through which
I watch the changing skies and seasons.
Sometimes an eagle swoops past,
sometimes a skinny heron
perches in a topmost tree.

I love that last Valentine's Day
I woke up to discover
someone unknown had taped small hearts
all across  the front windows - love,
to make a stranger smile.
I love the orange gerberas
on my desk, with their black eyes,
brightening this rainy day
as I ponder the winter ahead
with its indoor comforts.

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
for years; never again
would I feel so whole, so free,
after he was gone from me.

I love the beauty of the world,
the true, good hearts of animals, and
what is best in humanity,
when people bring their open hearts
to helping others
in times of trouble.
Times when we puny humans
reach deep within,
and connect with something deeper,
something bigger
than ourselves
that is called Love.

So much love keeps my heart
full to the brim
on any given day,
and I know that
I have been very lucky
in this life; I have been
gifted and blessed
in every single way.

For Mary's prompt at What's Going On? LOVE. What the world needs now. 

Between Here and There


This poem is a bridge between here and there,
between trouble and peace. I write to
find my way to what lies beneath:
the bigger story in which my small
human journey is contained.

I didn't mean to carry so much:
the heavy lift of helping others
carry their own burdens;
the weight of a world in freefall:
people at war with each other,
at war with the planet itself.
One grows old
before we learn to travel light.

My head wakes every morning
to, first, the weather, what kind of day
it is, indoors or walking weather.
Then the news rushes in, the horrors
that happened overnight while 
I was sleeping; the insane antics 
of people wanting to govern the world
who are unable to govern themselves.

My poems are an effort to sweep the path,
make a clear space in my thoughts, the better to
breathe in the peace of Mother Ocean,
walk in the greenly Sister Forest, eyes
following the flight of birds above,
in the clear air - the most fortunate of beings,
who do not know of war, who are content
with simply Being.

My teachers: waves, the wild ones, trees.
A simplicity that brings me to my knees.

A Wild Writing poem sparked by Mark Nepo's unpublished poem "At Gate 3, in August." The italicized lines are his.

How to Begin


Start with the dust on top of the bookshelves:
neglected for a time, one thing you can do
to make today better. Remember that you are
only one human. Forgive yourself for
not being able to fix a broken world.
But don't forget to add whatever light you can
to the living of your days and
what you offer to others. Wonder about
what a green and growing peaceful earth
would feel like. Know that, at least
in your one small yard, your silent rooms,
you can accomplish

A Wild Writing offering sparked by Catherine Abbey Hodges' poem "How to Begin."

Friday, November 10, 2023

Look For the Helpers


"Look for the helpers," a wise grandmother
once said. "In every disaster and calamity,
there they are, calm and kind,
hands reaching out,
doing what they can. No thought
of race or difference, just one human
being there for another."

Sometimes nothing can be done, when
disaster is beyond the scope of human
reckoning. But even then, hands and hearts
reach out, to soothe, to comfort, to hear
a whispered plea for a hand to hold.
All quiet healing is welcome.

In these times, heart heavy,
I walk soft-footed
on the earth.
I speak more gently.
I pray to deer and rabbit,
horse and dog,
to teach we humans
how to heal:
each other,
and a world in pain.

Inspired by Joseph Fasano's poem "The Healers". The italicized lines are his.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

DREAMING IN GREEN (G is for Giraffe)


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 
felt or seen,
no fences, lots of grass,
and so, when I dream,
in my wooden stall
at night,
my dreams are green.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the gold standard for assessing endangerment, has found that giraffes are “vulnerable,” meaning they face a “high risk” of extinction in the wild. And for some of the nine subspecies, this risk is imminent. As of 2020, there were at least 579 captive giraffe at 103 zoos throughout North America and more than 800 in European zoos. Their lives are lengthened slightly by incarceration, but I am pretty sure they would prefer to run free on the savannah.

for Rajani's climate crisis series.   All the wild ones are feeling the impact of accelerating climate change.

Walking in Earth Shoes

Warren Rudd photo

Walking in earth shoes, I do not have to
venture far to feel Mother Earth's unease:

breathing smoke from the wildfires
feeling the grass crackle underfoot
noting the parched soil under the thirsty trees

I perform a water ceremony under the wilted rhodo,
its leaves all pointed downward, reaching for
moisture no longer there. Drops from
the watering can fall on the thirsty roots
like tears. We have been on water restriction 
since early May. We are watching so much
shriveling and dying.

please hold on till the rains come, we whisper

but we can't promise rain will come.
It is still warm and sunny in November.
Along the forest trail, huge swathes
of ancient cedar are gone, tall wooden walls
of housing rising on their graves.
Along the roadway, stumps are shoved
back into what's left; some trees turned into
ten foot trunks, with token fringe,
topped and limbed to make way
for new hydro lines above.

They call it Progress, but why so savage?
The neighbouring trees, thin and exposed,
dusty and wondering if they come next -
I feel their pain.

But, still, there is so much beauty everywhere.
I marvel: blue skies, waves
surging endlessly in to shore, 
a new baby orca with its mama, passing by.

Hard to know that, under this same sky,

climate refugees are on the move;
and now civilians, caught in the latest war,
mourn their loved ones, sobbing and desperate,
on our tv screens. We have not learned
to live together peacefully on this earth,
seeing "Other" instead of "Us".
Why is that so hard, when we all have
beating hearts that love to live?

So hard to watch oblivious First World ways
continue as if all is well;
so much denial, and entitlement:
annoyance at traffic interruptions -
the "inconvenience" of
forests aflame, that closed the roads
and stopped our frantic rushing
to and fro. Denial that the cost 
of capitalism is coming due.

The planet turns and burns,
and countries bomb each other.
It is grievous to have a human heart
in a world at war, where
people have forgotten that
the natural world is dying, too.

I put my earth shoes on,
find a green space in which to feel
mixed gratitude (for all that is)
and grief (for all we've lost
and are so swiftly losing.)
Is there a green space big enough
for this much sorrow?
Stay tuned.
I'll put my Earth Shoes on,
and try again


for my prompt at What's Going On? Walking in Earth Shoes, which will post at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

I wrote this poem in summer when the fires were burning all over the province. Some are still burning, but the situation has impoved greatly. The fall rains  have just begun. I updated the poem to include this latest terrible war - so much suffering and death. My heart is having trouble holding all of it. Thank heaven for the forest and the beach! They save me. And they are asking us to save them in return.  Peace and light, my friends, our antidote in dark times.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Now and Then


Then, when you and I and the world
were young, the music was everything.
There they are, so young and alive,
riding the wave of their music
into the future. There we were,
back when we still dreamed of love,
before it hurt so much we gave it instead
to small children and dogs.

There are the ones still here: aging, grizzled,
with wise eyes, and here we are, aging too,
our memories reaching back to golden years
when music was the backdrop of our lives,
and all our dreams were sailing ships,
luring us from shore.