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.