Monday, February 27, 2023

The Birds of Waaxp̓inč̓a

Late spring evening,
a thousand turnstones sing
across the harbour
on what we mamalthni*
call Neilsen Island.
as  Waaxp̓inč̓a,
island of the river otters.

The birds converse
in their ancient tongue.
The Nuu chah nulth say
there was a time
when human and animal
plant and tree
spoke to each other
in the same language.
It is we mamalthni
who have forgotten.
But the living land and water,
cedar and osprey,
orca, wolf and bear,
must carry this wisdom 
of interconnection
in cellular memory.

In counterpoint
to the moment’s rapture,
a boat motor roars;
a seaplane flies in, low:
we humans, being –
our cacophony and clamour,
our relentless encroachment
on the wild -
the thousand singing voices
fall suddenly silent.

*Mamalthni is the Nuu chah nulth word for white people

-shared with earthweal, where my prompt is: Soundscapes

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Mother Earth, Trying So Hard to Live


Is this shame I feel, when spring comes,
as faithful as ever, small green things poking up?
The familiar miracle, even though we've not been wise,

Mother Earth spreading a banquet of beauty
before our eyes. Yet we take more than our share
and fail to hear our fellow creatures'
tears and sighs.

At a rock cliff, down the street,
the other day, they were drilling it
into rocks, the big trucks
hauling it away.

What's left looks battered, trees on top
with roots exposed. They soon will blow down,
and be gone. And yet, when I go close,

even now, I see earth trying to heal itself:
small green fingers clutching at shattered rock.
Mother Earth, even in shock,
still trying so hard to live,

showering us with all we need, and healing
what she can, after we've taken more than she
can safely give. 

My chest grows tight;
I find it hard to breathe, in response
to half the forest coming down. The trees
are kind; they look at us with
questioning eyes,

asking how? and why? do we not hear
their anguished cries? There is a soft depression
under a cedar's bole; space for a fellow

creature to find shelter and grow whole.
I long to climb inside, pull a mossy blanket
over me. 

Sleep for a hundred years, and then awaken
in a world that has learned better
how to be.

for my prompt at earthweal: Soundscapes

Sunday, February 19, 2023



Oh, wild, untamed and glorious
coastal beaches of Clayoquot Sound,
you sang a siren song to me
for years before I journeyed here,
long before I ever saw
the perfection of your beauty.
Your ley lines drew me to you
as surely as a murrelet
is drawn to its nest,
a migrant whale to its feeding ground.

I arrived in love, my heart
rising to meet you like
a long-lost lover.
In wandering your forest trails
and along your sandy shores,
I live in loving, still.

In gratitude, my eyes caress
the curves and slopes 
of Wah'nah'juss; breathe in your misty,
fog-shrouded mornings; bless
soaring eagle, heron picky-toe-ing

along the mudflats, smile as small boats
chug across the harbour
on West Coast afternoons.

I stand in earth's cathedral: thousand year old 
Grandfather Cedar, Hanging Garden Tree,
so many ancient beings,
each one home to
a diversity of life,
each one a universe all its own.

I stood on the road to save you
in 1993; I will stand there
if they come for you again.
Those hours on the road
burned in my heart like fire;
passion, fierce,  like a mother bear's roar
protecting all she loves.

I have grown old, loving you,
and the loving has been sweet.
And sweet the mist
of seaspray on my face,
smell of seaweed and salal;
the delight of sand dollars in the sand,
the wonder of tidepools
full of starfish and anemone.
How my heart exults
as the waves, like white-maned horses,
gallop in to shore.

Love for your wild beauty never
stops singing inside me. I carry it
within, like a gleaming treasure, 
a song of love, reminding me
to breathe in the fullness
of this moment, now, 
for none of this is ours to keep.

We are all, always,
only passing through.

As the world turns burnished gold,
fading soft to starlight,
and its coloured remnants streak
across the evening sky,
I look to your mountaintops,
purpling at the edge of the sea.

I am bound here by your beauty;
held fast by the song of the sea,
uttering a constant prayer
of gratitude
for all you've gifted me.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Reluctant Hero


She was a reluctant hero,
emerging from the fog
of trauma into the light
of the new day
she would create

It is peculiar, looking back,
to see that, in times when
she had felt most alone,
connections were being made,
just the right turns were taken,
as if she had been
helped and guided
all the way along.

Like a river, life made its own way,
sometimes meandering
between the banks,
sometimes flooding over
to forge a new
and unexpected path.

She had never wanted to
have to be that strong,
yet, in the end, was grateful
that she was.
They say wild hearts can't be broken,
but I disagree. They break.
They just grow stronger
in the wounded places.

A rather predictable and uninspired response to Shay's word list. But I tried. Smiles.

Friday, February 17, 2023


I'm standing on the rim of the world,
at the far edge of far,
next stop Japan.

I am thinking of you.

The news is bad.
It is very bad.

But the view is beautiful
from here.

I send you
a small postcard
of hope
across the waves.

May it reach you
in time.
May it lift your heart.
May it remind you
of all
we are trying so hard
to save.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

End Times


They tell us to regret nothing, all those
sad and terrible times, when life was
so much harsher than your dreams,
and you spun in circles, trying to find
your way out.

They say those times got you to here,
made you the person you are today.
But how much pleasanter a journey,
if that unfolding had been kinder,
with less abuse. How hard would
it have been for life to gilt-edge
just a few of those encounters, left you
with some golden memories
among the pale and gaunt?

Never mind. Peace found you,
at mid-life, or, rather,
you carved away everything
that was not peace and claimed it
for yourself. You got here,
however bumpy the road.
The view is all forests
and ocean sunsets now, and the hours
tick past, the days saunter by,
as friends.

Monday, February 13, 2023

In My Garden


The nature spirits worked with me
in my garden. As I crawled up
and down the rows, weeding,
fat brown rabbit
hopping along beside me, nibbling,
I'd whisper "pretty, pretty!"
to encourage the tender shoots. 

That garden grew so lush, showering
fruit and vegetables of every kind:
platters of watermelon, canteloupe,
strawberries, grapes, to feed
my leggy, hungry children.

Squash and zuchinni, peas, beets
and carrots: up and down the rows
we went, collecting nature's bounty
for supper, in late afternoon.

Early mornings, I loved the slow
swish-swish-swish of the sprinkler,
its wide arc showering droplets
onto the thirsty plants below.

It wasn't Findhorn's Garden, but 
it came close. It seemed a miracle
that so much growth could come
of tiny seeds, and sun and water -
with the blessing of the nature spirits,
turning our world green.

for earthweal, where the challenge is to honour an element of the commons we live in. Brendan's essay, which mentions Findhorn, took me back to my gardening days, the years when I and my kids and the world were young.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

To Speak With Clouds


Mother Sky,
teach me to speak
the language of clouds.
My feet on earth,
my eyes on the sky,
my heart swooping and soaring
with Raven,
with Eagle, with Owl,
I am adrift in the beauty
of your forever blue.

I have walked through this lifetime,
head tipped back and
smiling at the sky,
enraptured by your puffy
storybook clouds,
your ever-changing colours,
your huge canvas,
which inspires all of
our dreaming.

Teach me to speak
as gently as clouds,
so my footprint on earth
will grow ever lighter,
like Wolf, like Deer,
like Heron.

After I learn
the soft-speak of Cloud,
may I next learn
how to speak Tree.

for earthweal's open link. An old one, as I am enjoying the clouds so much these days.

Friday, February 10, 2023



For too long, I was asleep.
I awoke at twenty-seven,
on a leafy autumn sidewalk
in the West End, liberated 
from my sham of a marriage
into a whole other season.

The jackals gathered,
sensing my vulnerability.
Was it a hallucination,
those next three years?
They had come to warn me,
but I was not whole enough
to understand.

I am far beyond them now.
The hyenas stopped circling
and howling long decades ago.
The phantoms from those days
no longer visit my dreams.

a big black wolf appears,
his eyes looking straight
into my soul. He smiles,
and I awaken, my heart
a vagabond until the day
we meet again.

for Shay's Word List.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023



This is what the living do:
we wake up each morning to the day,
grateful for the waking,
our beds a time capsule,
carrying us through years
of dreams and memories.

I closed my eyes, in bliss, at forty,
on the shores of Clayoquot Sound.
When I opened them this morning,
incomprehensibly, I am seventy-six,
- here, once again,
and still -
in my heart's home.
The greatest gift of all.

I put out seed for the morning sparrows,
watch them hopping, while I make
my cup of tea, because
this is what the living do; we have
our rituals, our small comforts,
our ways of coping, our day after day
of sameness, moving us inexorably
to an unknown day up ahead.
Meanwhile, we remember
to cherish these small blessings,
this glorious ordinary, more special
than we know.

I remember
to be grateful for the gifts.

Yesterday I carried my brown bag
of groceries home from the CoOp.
The sun was so warm; two smiling friends
walked towards me. We stopped,
a careful ten feet apart, and chatted,
because the virus is still here,
wary and mutated.
We talked about our hair, which is long
and needed cutting even before
the virus. We stood there,
laughing in the sun, hands poking at our heads,
glad to have seen and spoken with other humans
on this sunny warm morning
in Clayoquot Sound.

The waves were big yesterday; the surfers
were happy. I walked to the big log and sat,
watched the breakers come rolling in,
felt my heart expand with the prayer I recite
every time I am there: thank you, thank you,
thank you, for this: for the gift of living here,
twice given, for the beauty,
for the many gifts I have been given.

This is what the living do: we remember.
On this beach, I once walked for miles and years
with an exuberant, big black wolf.
And now I live alone.
I visit the sea. I am still living,
less exuberantly, but no less gratefully.
I remember him.
I remember it all.

for  Ingrid at dVerse where the topic is gifts. I have been given so many, all my life. I am aging ever so gratefully. I adapted this poem from one written earlier during covid. But some of us seniors are still having to be careful, as the mutations are still about, and we are vulnerable.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023



A small white plant burst forth 
this January, in the yard.
How did it sprout, the ground
so cold and hard?

My heart lifts at
the coming of the light,
lasting a little longer
night by night. 

Six small round candles
line our footsteps at the beach.
We walk between,
           all beauty within reach.          

Earth's promise is renewed
year after year,
Mother Earth, shining her
gift of
hope and beauty
crystal clear.


Each evening, now, there are
a few extra minutes before
the darkness dims our sight,
as the planet turns itself,
once more
towards the light.

My heart lifts to meet it,
caught in gratitude
and pain,
as the age-old miracle
unfolds itself again:

Mother Earth's winter tears,
watered the earth where
we will bring
the seeds to grow
another garden
during one more
beautiful spring.

A small offering for earthweal : Fertile and Pure: a Candlemas Harrow. The coming of the light lifts my heart every year. Each year I am blown away by the miracle of the earth coming to life again.