Monday, August 28, 2023

Summer's End


Kelowna in the 50's
Don Collier photo

I feel it first on early August mornings,
that hint of fall in the air.
The spiders begin to spin their webs
from tree to tree,
and look for ways
to come inside
and live with me.

Tourist traffic is falling off,
a huge relief.
They move so fast;
their summers are
too brief.

The wildfires rage;
we keep a watchful eye
in search of rain
from an ungiving sky.

The animals who survived 
the flames
are coming into the towns
the people fled.
So many homeless,
with and without fur.
We fooled ourselves
that this would not occur.

Yet on we go,
living our spendthrift ways,
as if we were not living out
apocalyptic days.

Sigh. My tired old theme, for Desperate Poets prompt: Summer's End.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Because It Is My Heart


  Wolf Woman collage 
 created by Ella of Ella's Edge

I selected what went in with great care:
wolf howls and a shaman
with wise kind eyes;
a big black wolf whose eyes
and memory
never leave me; hope and love
and trust in the divine,
waves rolling endlessly
onto sandy beaches,
and an old-growth forest,
breathing peace;
music and puppy paws, wagging tails
and doggy smiles,
lions and elephants, whalesong
and birds on the wing.
I packed them all in together,
leaving nothing out,
because it is everything I love,
and because it is my heart.

Packing the good stuff into my heart. A poem from 2016 to shre with Desperate Poets open link.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Of Poems and Feathers


The words came
soft as feathers
when I was fourteen.
My father had just died,
and out of nowhere,
the first poem was in my head.
I wrote it down.

I write because I must,
to feel I am honouring
the gift of words,
and to express my gratitude
for the wild world
around me;
the wild world
within me.

I smudge my house
with an eagle feather and sage
in an abalone shell.
I draw the sacred smoke to me:
over my head, my shoulders,
my self, to start the day
in a good way.

The first eagle feather
was gifted me.
One does not "get"
an eagle feather; 
one is gifted it when one is
deemed worthy,
my indigenous teachers have told me.
I was telling my friends this
as we walked the beach road,
when suddenly,
in my path, our eyes fell
on an eagle feather.

"I believe this is for me,"
I said, picking it up.
"I believe it is, too,"
one friend said, in awe.

One day I was distracted,
setting up my stereo.
Hearing crunching, I thought:
"How cute! Pup is eating
his pig ear!"
I turned around to find
he had eaten my eagle feather.

The universe gives;
the universe takes away.
And all, in the sacred world,
is beauty.

For Desperate Poets where the prompt is:  In the Footsteps of Our Feathers.


Kelowna wildfires photos

We start out whole,
losing pieces of ourselves
along the way,
and then reclaiming them.
That is the journey.
I am collecting the last few bits,
before I fly into the light.
I pick them up:
ah, there you are!
and add them to my pack.

When I return,
I will change my shape.
I will be cattails,
standing dry, bent and broken
at the edge of the dried-up pond.
I will be wolf-pup,
peering fearfully from my den,
knowing, to survive,
I must elude
Earth’s biggest enemy:
the predatory Two-Leggeds,
and they are

I fear
I will find a planet burning,
from Big Oil,
humans and animals
on the run.
I will be Tree,
gasping for air,
a sudden irradiation
as the orange tongues
lick greedily at my corpse.
I will be deer,
fleeing the flaming forests.

I will be mother orca, holding
my dead newborn calf
above the water
for seventeen days, grieving,
unable to let her go,
saying to the humans:

See! See what you have done!

I will be grief itself,
watching the world I love
burning itself up.

As I am now.
As I am now.

A depressing poem, written a few years ago. It is depressing, watching my country burning, as it has all summer across Canada, and across the North West Territories, where they had to evacuate remote communities by plane. My home town of Kelowna, where I was born and where I raised my children, is battling monstrous fires that jumped the wide lake and is burning on both sides. Each year, we are getting hotter. Governments flounder, responding to disasters. But we are still not lowering emissions. Sigh. We waited too long.

And this morning on the news, I see California had wildfires, a tropical storm that flooded everything and destroyed roads AND an earthquake, all at once. The mayor asks "what next?" We have barely wrapped our heads around the situation in Maui. Climate breakdown is accelerating. Tumultuous times ahead. How does one encompass the grief of watching the world burn?

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Winds of Change


We walked, people of all ages
and a dozen big goofy, happy dogs,
from the trailhead, across the tombolo
to Ts'ix-wat-sats,
just before sunset.

“Despair is an indulgence,”
Joanna quoted.
“Let’s set our minds towards hope.”

We walked, mindfully,
single file, and I pondered.
I have been discouraged.
What could I bring back
to the communal discussion
that was about hope?

It came to me, like the silver gleam
on the shimmering sea.
The shamans say
we are at a critical moment
in the evolution of the soul
of this planet.
As awareness of climate change
increases, we begin, of necessity,
to evolve.

This is, if we will it,
a transformative moment.
The people – we, ourselves -
can make the evolutionary leap
beyond those who are fixated on money.
It is within our power – our possibility –
to move with the winds of change,
creating other ways of being
with the earth
than the old, tired ways
of fossil fuels and death,
of rich billionaires, despairing others.
The soul of our planet is on the cusp
of a Great Awakening.

The bad news:
Nothing will ever be the same again.

The good news:
Nothing will ever be the same again.

To share with earthweal's open link. Caveat: this was written in 2018 when there was still hope of a shift. Right now, Kelowna, my home town, where my kids grew up, is aflame. The entire North West Territories is burning and people can only be evacuated by plane because it is so remote. Whole cities and smaller villages. Wildfires across Canada. Way past the tipping point, and the climate events are coming faster than we can process. How are we to make a switch in the middle of responding to such devastation? Governments are still not saying Thing One about the urgent need to lower emissions. We saw during covid, how the earth responded to less plane and car traffic. Capitalism does not know how to change and the oligarchs won't. It is not looking good, my friends.

Monday, August 14, 2023



Meteor shower at Chesterman Beach
Alex Taalman photo

On the nighttime beach
under the cascading Perseides -
a universe of stars above,
bioluminesence glittering on the sea
below -

I am small, the only watcher
under a glorious sky;
a lone wolf
on an empty shore
ever since your goodbye.

for Desperate Poets, where the prompt is: Lonely Town

Monday, August 7, 2023

Odd Little Things

It is distinctly odd to live in a rainforest
that is no longer a rainforest - the soil
is dry all the way down, drought spreading
across the province. And oddest of all
is watching them cut down the trees
that are left, as the rest burn down, while it gets
hotter and hotter and no one in charge
seems able or willing to connect those dots.

Is it hot enough yet?

In other odd news: a "snow apocalypse" in Germany,
a hailstorm in summer, snowploughs dispatched;
and floods in Halifax, three months worth of rain
in one day, homes flooded and roads washed away.

"Something's changed," say the scientists,
(who have been ignored for three decades).
"The water off all three Canadian coasts
has never been warmer."

Is it hot enough yet?

We are a strange species, so brilliant we've created
machines smarter than us; so dumb we elect
gangsters with no moral compass to lead
the most powerful country in the world
just because he wants a bigger reality show.
So much in denial we keep on keeping on
as if things are normal; so freaked out
we can barely believe this place
we have come to.

Somewhere they are cutting off shark fins
and throwing the bodies back in the water
because people like shark fin soup. Somewhere
they are building octopus "farms" so they can
serve them - live - as food. Somewhere
the ocean is coloured with the blood
of porpoises who scream as they die.

Maybe this is why we humans have finally
endangered even ourselves. Maybe this
is why.

I am reading "I Want a Better Catastrophe" by Andrew Boyd : "Navigating the Climate Crisis with Grief, Hope and Gallows Humor".  It is very well done, tells it like it is, tries to help the reader find a way forward as we watch the accelerating crisis and impotent world leaders too blinded by oil and money and power to do what most urgently needs to be done.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023


Today was a special day, when a totem was raised at Naa'Waya'Sum Gardens. This link will take you to the beautiful surroundings I am privileged to live in. This totem is a sister pole to the one raised in Opitsaht last year. Carver Joe Martin explained that the pole represents our responsibility to care for Mother Earth to the seventh generation.

Before the lift
Carver Joe Martin on the right with his daughter Gisele

Lifting the pole

Ropes to hold totem steady

Our Member of Parliament Gord Johns
with a big smile in the middle,
holding the rope to keep the totem steady
until the base is firmed and settled

Pounding dirt into the base to secure
the totem

Removing the ropes

The pole is up!

Beloved elder Levi Martin
who presided over the ceremony

Joe Martin explained the top of the pole is the sun; on the bottom is a bear. He said the bottom of poles are usually either wolf, bear or orca. The Martins are of the wolf clan, which made me perk up my ears, in love with wolves as I am. His daughter Gisele explained when bears swing their heads from side to side, what they are saying is "Which way are you going? Tell me and I will go the other way."

It was such a privilege to be on those beautiful grounds, watching this important pole raising. The Tla-o-qui-aht people are using the gardens as a way to educate people about their history, their customs, and to promote better understanding between settlers and the First People. I always feel so grateful to live here, on their territory. They have been guardians here for millennia.

It was a very special day.

AND of course, there must be a dog to make the day perfect!

The lovely Luna,
who smelled treats in my pocket at twenty yards,
and became my love slave