Monday, January 29, 2024

It's Wednesday, and This Is What I Know


To be truly radical is to make
hope possible rather than despair
convincing. - Raymond Williams

Dropping bombs will never succeed
in de-escalation or peaceful resolution,
(how many deaths will they need
for what they call "victory" ?)
no matter how much the military industrial
complex spins its words.

Still, it is good to know,
all over the world people are
longing and working for peace.

Charting the acceleration of the climate crisis
year after year will not by itself lower emissions.
Denial may feel comfortable; but hard times
lie ahead and no one is immune.

I have to remember that
everywhere, activists are working hard
for Mother Earth.
We have the power and the means,
if we unite, to change the trajectory
on earth towards
social and environmental justice.

Capitalism is unsustainable,
its price too high to pay.
A few are obscenely rich, while all 
other beings struggle to survive.
The old system is collapsing.
A new one can be born.

Eventually, if we don't blow it up,
the land itself will teach us
how to live sustainably.
But, before that, everything
- everything -
will change.

When a large segment of the population
fanatically adheres to false information
and devotion to a deranged (alternate?) "reality" star,
democracy is at risk, and common sense,
critical thinking, ethics and integrity 
have left the building.

Surely, we won't go back down
that road again? I beg my American
neighbours: please vote well.

As the world turns, I have to wonder:
does humankind always have to learn
the hard way, even with all the information

If so, at least one day, 
I have to believe
we'll find a better way.

It's Wednesday, and this is what I know:
we need to show up 
for Mother Earth, and all her beings.
Sometimes even a poem
can be a voice for peace.
When we send compassion and light
out into the world, it transmits an energy
that might just reach someone
who really needs it.
The truth is, governments won't act
until we force them to.
We need to make our votes
and voices heard.

"They say money rules,"
my friend told me years ago,
with some chagrin,
"and it bothered me until I remembered
that  the spirit liberates."
He gave me a bumper sticker
with that phrase on it.
It rode my blue Toyota for years.
Live in hope, my friends.
It's Wednesday, and this
is what I know.

for my prompt at What's Going On? It's Wednesday and This Is What I Know. I like the quote up top - it is much harder to make hope possible rather than despair convincing in today's world. We can only try to keep moving towards a healthier and more peaceful earth. We have the knowledge and the power to make it happen. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Confluence of Quiet Hearts

There are many worlds:
a woman on a beach, who has lived
for seven decades; the dog who poked
his long snout into her pocket,
nosing for treats; the dog's guardian,
smiling as he walked him away;
an eagle, landing on the topmost scrag;
somewhere, far out, whales, 
making their journey north.

I have survived some things:
pain, loss, betrayal, abandonment,
fire, rejection, heartbreak,
a beloved's death.
Love, laughter, big magic,
gifts, gratitude.

Back then, we sang Blackbird
in the dead of night. How I loved
your blackbird heart.

This is a way of surviving:
we remember - the laughter, the hope,
the pain, the tears, the huge leaps
that changed our lives, the story,
like a river, flowing to the sea,
that caught us in its current
and buoyed us along.

There are many worlds:
this one is quiet, a heart in retreat,
turning from the chaos and crisis
of the world into this quiet room,
tapping out a message to whoever
will find it: drink in the beauty.
Hold onto peace.

Inspired by "Confluence of Rivers and Mouths" by Laren McClung. The italicized lines are hers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Willow Weep


It wasn't failure, all those things
that didn't work out. It was living:
stumbling, learning, starting again.

We didn't make it much more than a year,
but the love did: the memory of you above me,
on that hillside among the yellow flowers,
your dark eyes, blue sky behind you,
the picture perfect clouds.

You visited me in dreams after you died,
telling me you understood that when
I told you I would love you forever,
I told the truth, even though
we never spoke again
in person once we said goodbye.

In dreams, we were together again
and this time we knew it was love,
as we had been
too fear- and sorrow-filled to believe
all those years past, that long-ago summer
full of weeping willow and your dark eyes,
a love that danced forward, then stepped back,
two souls who had no idea how to trust
that anything could last, those songs
we left unsung, a time
when you, and the world, and love
and I were young.

Inspired by "Failing and Flying" by Jack Gilbert.


Puss N Boots from Shrek

I know about women and shoes,
but I seem to be missing that gene,
so any poem written by me
on that topic
has to be about not-shoes.

What I wear on my feet:
Crocs, for slipping on easily
to run in and out,
calf-high mud-boots
for heading to the barn
in rainy weather,
a battered pair of running shoes
with clunky laces, that have to be
wide enough for comfort
- rather like a flat-bottomed boat -
which I replace every few years,
give or take, when the soles wear out.

I have a daughter who wears
a fascinating array of footwear,
including combat boots for Kicking Ass,
cool strappy things for dressing up,
anything from platform heels
to fitness shoes, and all that lies between.
She did not get her sense of style
from me.

When we go out, beside her
tall, beautiful elegance,
I feel like the frizzy-haired
Witch Down the Lane,
in my baggy sweatshirt
and scruffy jeans.

Yesterday I met an old hippy
over in Coombs.
Our laughing eyes
recognized each other.
(It must be something about
the Frizzy Hair:) )

He told me
he was in Haight Ashbury
Back in the Day,
that he wore thigh-high
leather boots, with buckles,
in which he promenaded
like Puss 'N Boots himself.

Back in the Day, I wore polyester
and pushed a buggy
with three little kids in it
inside the strait jacket
of a conventional marriage.
I didn't fit,
with my big unwieldy
unconventional spirit,
that kept bumping up against
the edges and confines
I was kept in,
till the madwoman finally
burst out of her prison
and was no longer mad.

In those days, while I pushed my buggy
mile after desperate mile,
I watched, with awe and envy,
the benign, coolly-dressed and
totally FREE-spirited beings
wandering smilingly
up and down Fourth Avenue,
wondering how they learned
to be so free.

I just missed that freedom bus
by fifteen seconds,
pushing my buggy along
a parallel street just one block down.
When I broke free, I remember pushing
my giggling babies in that same buggy,
hippety-hopping down the hill,
all of us laughing,
heading us all
towards a happier life.

I made up for missing the 60's
later, in coffeehouses in the 80's,
and in the Land of 
Aging Hippies in Tofino
in the 90's.
My shoes were never magic,
but they lifted me out of the desert,
over the mountains to my new world
in Clayoquot Sound,
and that was magic enough
for me.

My spirit never tried
to stuff itself back
into that little box

The only magic shoes
that ever spoke to me were Dorothy's,
on that journey she made
away from and back to herself,
where she found she had always
had the power inside her,
her home within,
where she had started out.

This lifetime, my shoes
have walked me through
some of the most beautiful
landscapes in the world.
All I ever needed was a pair
that fit, that can carry me
into the wilderness I love.
A pair I kick off at the door
when I come home tired,
slide back into every time
I'm heading out.

How many more pairs
and pathways are there left me?
There's no knowing, but there's one thing
I know for sure: when music
from those years calls to my spirit,
I can still kick them off
and dance a lick or two
across my empty room.

Friday, January 19, 2024



Grey skies in Tuff City,
sky weeping
gentle rain...
some sweet tiny roses
on my desk
bring the promise
will come again.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Rainbow Bridge


They say the rainbow bridge
is where you are and that, one day,
when I cross over, you will
meet me there.

What a reunion that will be!
You used to stand upright
on your back legs
and try to hug me like a human
when I returned from being away.
Such joy!

There were times when it seemed
you were a human soul
in a wolf's body, the way
you looked at me, the way
you tried to talk, the way
you made me laugh.

Such a long time
you have been waiting
for me. I think of you there,
that celestial bridge,
all the doggy faces
waiting for their humans,
as you all waited so faithfully,
when you were alive,
for us to come home, 
open the door,
and come inside.

for Sumana's prompt at What's Going On? Bridges. The prompt posts Wednesday morning. We hope you join us.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Talking Feather


To be truly radical is to make hope possible
rather than despair convincing.
Raymond Williams
from This Crazy Time by Tzeporah Berman

This is a poet who struggles
to impart hope
while being all too aware that
we have passed the tipping point
and hard times lie ahead:
hotter temperatures, drought, wildfire,
hurricane-force storms, floods,
Siberian winters,
melting poles.

This is a poet who blogs for peace
while bombs fall everywhere
and fascism, hatred, and division
are on the rise.

This is a poet who sees democracy
on the brink of being lost, as
lies, misinformation and
worship of a demagogue
have turned a segment of the population
into unquestioning fanatics who
cannot be reasoned with. 
See the blank look in their eyes;
hear the feverish words.
Be afraid for the future.

This is a poet who used to be
so positive it was annoying,
who now has too much information
to impart false hope, whose voice
must stay authentic, even when
(especially when) the news is not good.

This is a poet who tries hard to believe
that, one way or another, humanity
can still get it together, leaders can
lead with courage and integrity
and the world can come together
to face the climate crisis, 
exercise diplomacy and social justice
instead of war -
but deep down knows the trajectory
is much more likely
to go the other way.

This is a poet who wants
to believe the best,
who fears the worst,
whose hope is that
Mother Earth
will somehow survive
and teach whoever 
is still here
how to live.

Sigh. When First Nations come together, the person holding the feather cannot be interrupted while speaking his truth. I felt the need of the feather this morning as I struggle with the world situation, finding it hard to find words of hope, much as I don't want to depress everyone. However, the noon news had some young people who recently spoke at a climate summit, who spoke very hopeful words about humans coming together to find positive solutions to all the challenges. And, as always, I stay grateful for my life and everything outside my window in this beautiful place on the planet.

Friday, January 12, 2024

When All Else Fails


T.J.Watt photo

At dVerse,  the very cool prompt is to take the first line from one poem of each month in 2023 (January to November) and create a new poem. I wrote mine as a "found" poem, as my lines are not always a single line, but rather a sentence on two lines. But all first lines. I have done this exercise before and am amazed how a theme emerges.

In the dark times, we light candles.
(She was a reluctant hero.)
Through gates of wisdom we,
most hopefully, step.
This is what the heart does: it hopes
that everything will be all right.

We are at the precipice in a world
spinning out of control.
I am a small inconsequential speck
in the vastness of the universe.

Walking in earth shoes, I do not
have to venture far to feel Mother Earth's unease.
It is distinctly odd to live in a rainforest
that is no longer a rainforest.

(After an oil spill, the mist is filled
with the spirits of all the animals
who have died.)

When all else fails, I go to the shore,
step onto the sand as if 
it is a new country.

(I save my love for what stays -
the ancient forest, birdsong,
the roar of the sea.)

As If the World Depends On It


Out my window: my small world,
sky, clouds, forest, beauty. Inside
my small rooms: peacefulness,
gratitude, comfort.

I turn on the bigger world with the morning news:
bombs, hatred, division, suffering.
Suffering I can't change or ease.

I can't change the world, the poet laments,
so I practice opening my heart, walking
down the street heart first.

As if the world depends on it, she means.
Because it really does.

I can do that, too: hello, beautiful brown-eyed
friendly dog, nosing my pocket for a treat.
Hello, small brave white plant, who came
from nowhere, suddenly blooming in my yard
in winter. Hello, forest trail, home of the wild ones
whose presence I feel hiding in your depths:
Hello, wild ones.

Hello, world, that wants we humans to wake up
and stop all the pain. Who needs us to dream
a better dream: of green abundance for all,
of no bombs falling, of people being fed,
of no animals suffering. Hello, world.

I am only one small voice, singing the song
of my people: Give Peace a Chance.
Respect Mother Earth. 
Love one another.

Because the world depends on it.
And so do we.

Inspired by the poem "Because" by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. The italicized lines are hers.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Being a Tree


Ask me how I learned to Be a Tree.
My children taught me
I needed to
thrust my roots down deep,
stand steady and firm, a  trunk
growing down
the middle of me. Yet
to keep my branches loose:
strong enough for leaning on, flexible
enough they did not break.

Ask me how I got so tired.
It is not just my challenging life
I lived. When you have children,
you live theirs right along with them,
lie awake at night, worrying,
help all you can.
Even the strongest trees
grow weary, and old,
and then become nurse logs
to support more life
when they die.

Ask me how I grew more silent
through the years:
they had to find their way
themselves. The young can't hear us,

Ask me what the trees have taught me:
to endure, to breathe peace,
to pray,
feet planted firmly on the earth,
arms reaching for the sky,
as year by year, my life
on Planet Earth
goes by.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Quiet


In old age, the quiet came
to live in my bones. It crept in
as softly as a cat padding across the floor,
and took possession of my heart.

I stopped talking, listened to the peace
of no words, no sounds, other than
the hum of the refrigerator
or the heat pump.

Observing the human herd,
I marvel at the need
people have to be
talking, talking, talking.
I sit on the sidelines and watch;
I have little to say that
I have not already said,
and no one listens anyway.
Words are not solving
the world's big problems,
clearly. Too many of them
are making things worse.

In old age, the quiet came
to live in my bones; it set up camp
in my heart.
It is peaceful here, so peaceful
I rarely venture out into
the cacophonous world.

Inspired by Ada Limon's poem The Quiet Machine.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024



National Mall protest 1967
photo by Bernie Boston

Images from those times
flicker across the screen:
evolution, liberation
we were making the world new.

The music of those days
sings through my wayfarer's soul,
takes me back with a lump in my throat,
and my heart gently weeps*
for those long-gone hopeful days.

We came so close.
We thought we'd change the world.
The elders scoffed at our message,
and our music, but our hearts
were true.

Flower children, daisies in gun barrels,
Peace and Love, smiling hippies,
bare feet on Fourth Avenue,
patchouli wafting out the open windows.

The music of my youth
sings through my wayfarer's soul,
takes me back, with a lump in my throat,
and my heart gently weeps*
for those long-gone hopeful days
when, day by day, I sang the song
that was mine alone to sing.

* After the song by the same title. For my prompt on Wednesday at What's Going On? The Music of our Youth.