Thursday, March 28, 2024


Meet Kali,
a captive baby octopus,
who spent her whole short life in a barrel
because the public aquarium
had no tank for her.

As she grew,
each time her captors took
the lid off the barrel,
she thrust herself
tentacles reaching up and out,
increasingly desperate
to be free of the barrel,
she, whose rightful home
was the deep blue sea.

Finally, staff adapted
a glass enclosure for her,
as best they could,
and watched her day of joy
as she explored
its every inch.

But they had failed to
tightly seal around a pipe
and octopuses are masters
at escape.

Next morning, they found her
dead on the floor,
a high price to pay
for one short day
of joy.

I just read Sy Montgomery's Soul of an Octopus, an Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. The author befriended ocopuses at a research aquarium, and also dove to see them in their natural habitat in the ocean. But the story of one baby octopus was distressing.

The book is a fascinating study of these intelligent creatures, but I grew more desperate as I read for her captors to get her out of that barrel. Animals suffer in captivity; it is their nature and birthright to be free, and whatever humans gain from learning about them in captivity isn't worth what it costs the animals. We should study them respectfully in the wild. Or leave them alone.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Traveler in Spring


After the dark winter,
Traveler's heart leaps
at tiny snowdrops and early daffodils
popping through the earth.

Her heart expands
like the buds on the ancient cherry trees,
slowly beginning to open.

Traveler smiles at daylight
arriving early in the eastern sky,
and days lengthening
into evening,
a little more each day.

The cycle is familiar, and dear -
and yet still feels like a miracle
every year.

This is Traveler's 76th spring,
the light creeping into her heart,
which feels as buoyant 
as the spring morning,
and shining out through her eyes
at such a beautiful world!

For my prompt at What's Going On - the Coming of the Light. Here in the western hemisphere, especially along the coast, winters are mild and spring comes early. The ocean where I live is a whale highway this time of year, as the gentle giants swim past on their way from Baja to the feeding grounds in the Arctic. Some of them stay here through the summer. The herring spawn occurred last week, turning the edge of the sea a beautiful turquoise. Wonders abound!

Monday, March 25, 2024

An Un-Fairy Tale


Saturday dawned uneasy,
as a mother orca,
hunting in a small bay,
got beached when the tide
ran out.

First Nations and villagers
rushed to help her,
pouring water on her,
hoping she would swim out
when the tide returned.

Her small calf swam
nearby, calling and calling,
her tail thrashing in response.
She fought hard.
Sadly, she died.

A First Nations man sang
to her spirit, in ceremony,
to thank and bless her,
for the wild ones are all relatives
to the People of the Land.

On Sunday an orca-shaped cloud
appeared in the sky,
a message from the spirit world,
to say she was transformed.

Her calf is still in the bay,
her haunting cries
being broadcast out to sea
in hopes her pod
will return for her.

Her cries for her lost mom
are breaking our hearts.
A reunion with her pod is
the best ending
to this story.
Any other outcome
would make this tale
too sad and sorry.

Photo by Amanda Provencal of Port Alberni

Let's combine our wills and manifest this baby out into deeper waters where her pod can find her. Because of the tides, and the narrow passage she has to navigate, there is only a 30 minute window when she could, if she knew how, swim through to open ocean where her pod can be found..........but she will not be able to manage this herself. People are watching and hoping but action needs to be taken. They are considering lifting her out on a sling with a helicopter which will be traumatic but likely the only way to save her. As she was orphaned on the 23rd and it is now the 30th, I think they should stop watching and take action. If she doesnt make it, I am not going to be okay about it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Song for Solstice

Granddog Chloe, now in the spirit world,
on the tombolo at Chesterman Beach

With all of the things you have learned
from your long journeying,
with all of your heartache
that taught you to love and to cry,
and with all of your dreaming
that helped you to live,
with that same loving heart and merry laugh
that has brought you to the ocean's shore,
come out at dusk and celebrate
the full cold moon
at the place where the tide
kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.

Yesterday morning's dawn
approached as pink and fresh
as a young maiden
singing the new day in.
Tonight shows itself
as a wise old woman with knowing smile,
tapping her cane and hobbling.
But she still remembers her dancing feet,
she remembers,
and, in her heart, she is still dancing
across the beloved landscape
with joy.

You grew your soul
all green with wilderness
and wild with wolf-breath,
in a forest of great and ancient tree beings
breathing peace.
You owe them your every breath,
each one their gift to us.

The journey has been astonishing, magical;
it has brought you here,
to the edge of the sea.
And now you are looking at
those far, snow-capped mountains.
The echo of the heron's call
and wild wolfsong at midnight
will keep you here a while.

The tree trunks you hug
breathe their smiles at you; they whisper,
"we waited for you, friend,
for all these many years."

The sea sings your soul-song,
the only song you ever knew.
It sang you out of the desert
and over the mountain pass
to the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound.
It has carried you so far,
and it is singing, still.

Come out at dusk to meet me
in the lengthening light,
 in the place where
the tide kisses the tombolo,
then runs away, laughing.
Let earth and sky
inform your grateful heart
that, finally and forever,
you are Home.

An older poem, in celebration of the Spring Equinox on March 19th.  The tombolo is a strip of sand connecting the shore with Frank Island, seen in the background. When the tide is high, this area is covered as waves from either side meet each other.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Three Lives


The tabby stalks
as stealthily as a leopard,
through the tall, winter-yellow grass,
her eyes glowing,
alert for the smallest movement.
She is dreaming of mice
and ready to pounce.

There is an old woman
sitting in thin late-winter sunlight,
watching the cat, thinking of 
a snow leopard in the Himalayas,
as elusive
as her long-vanished dreams.

There is a blue heron,
standing one-legged,
looking out at the western sea,
like its cousin, the flamingo,
in her more brilliant plumage,
the width of a continent 
and a warmer shore away.

Three lives in late winter,
anchored by one foot
on the ground,
with minds all

Smiles. Brain is tired today, some nonsense for  Shay's Word List.

Girl Power

If I were to write a heroine in action,
who would it be?

at gunpoint,
a girl with a book, saying bravely
"Here I am",
and staying who she was,
no matter what.

Or it would be Greta,
age fifteen,
a small girl on strike for climate,
who refused to stop,
igniting a movement
across the globe,
waking the adults up
from our long sleep.

[Jane and Flint,
the first chimp born at Gombe 
after her arrival]

Or, before them,
there was Jane,
whose love of animals
and dreams of Africa
took her to the chimps of Gombe,
so she could teach us that animals
have all the feelings and emotions
humans do - love and grief,
fear and pain, joy and sorrow -
and that they need us
to help them live.

for Susan's prompt at What's Going On:  Characters In Action, letting action reveal character. Three of my heroines, whose lives have made a difference. 

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Things We Carry On Our Journey


By now, our pack is heavy, with all we are carrying. We bend under the weight, but we cannot let any of it go, and remain a person with a human heart.

We carry earth-grief, for how we have treated the earth, and for how, in her distress, the earth is letting us know we need to change.

We carry broken hearts, for how inhumanely man lives with man: for wars, for bombs falling, for terrified people being displaced, injured, starved and killed.

We carry distress and compassion for the many non-human beings who are silently suffering, dying and growing extinct on our watch.

We carry outrage, our sense of justice unable to comprehend the outrageous behaviour of deranged "leaders", who would annihilate the world to prove they are the strongest. And those who enable and fanatically support them, against all reason.

We carry memories of earlier years when, in our innocence, the world felt like a safe place. We mourn for that lost time,  and that gentler, kinder earth.

We carry small joys - spring blossoms, the loving eyes of dogs, a cup of coffee imbibed sitting in the sun - for the two eagles drifting on the wind curents, circling overhead in early afternoon - for those deep delights and everyday gifts and comforts that remind us that, in the midst of global horrors, life is good, right here, right now, and we must never take it for granted, because, in a single instant, everything can change.

We carry gratitude - for the journey, for the many gifts, both given and received, for the spirit guides who helped us along the way; gratitude, for the beauty and generosity of the natural world, for those trying to heal and save it, for the gift of life - this day, sun-blessed and peaceful, this moment, my heart saying  a silent "Thank You" to Whoever is listening.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Wayward Hope


Cloud creatures swim across the sky
and creep across the topmost mountain peaks,
drowsy in the warming world.
It is peaceful up there.

Down below, there is a howling,
a frenzy of food-seeking, war-battered madness.
The animal world is vanishing;
the planet is heating up.
Does anybody care?
Corporations will not reduce their profits
or emissions;
world leaders are too busy waging war.

When will we hold a memorial for war
and promise there will never be another?
When will we collectively
face the fact
that we are in deep shit?

Human evolution is unfinished.
We are badly in need of a visionary.

My wayward hopes are withering
on the vine.

Through a Child's Eyes


How does a child process
bombs falling,
their family fleeing
through the rubble and gunfire,
no safe place,
no food,
their parents desperate
- or dying -
living outdoors in all weather,
ill, injured, starving,
no hope of help or rescue

while the whole world watches?

How does any human heart
process suffering
this deep?

for Sumana's prompt at What's Going On? : The Children

CNN reports  that 1.4 million people, twice the population of New York, are crammed into Rafah, (less than 25 square miles), where they fled for safety, but are now under fire. Children and women make up 70% (25,000) of the 30,000 killed since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. Civilians do not want this war. Children are starving and suffering intestinal diseases due to lack of sanitation and access to clean water. They are living without shelter, medical care or safety.  Contributing reasons and political responses aside, the sheer inhumanity of what is happening to ordinary civilians there - especially the children - weighs heavily on my heart. No one wins in war. 

Friday, March 8, 2024


I hear them calling me, the ancient trees,
and so I go, stepping into
a world of green,
feeling my heart slow,
knowing I am seen.
Here is beauty, here is peace.
Here is the state of simply Being
with the Standing People,
the land holders, 
who keep us all alive.

The wind whispers soft songs
in my ear. I hear the rustling
of small creatures in the bush.
Above, an eagle circles,
his flight like song -
a being who already knows
that he belongs.

Listen, the poet says.
Listen with your heart.
I hear the voiceless ones,
I hear the earth,
singing her song of growth
and of re-birth.

Then all thought falls away.
The peacefulness is all.
We breathe together.
May these trees
never fall.

What to Hold Onto


Lunabella, surveying her future

What do I hold onto,
when nothing is certain any more,
when the news is full of war, suffering,
displaced civilians, starving children, 
wildfires, floods, extreme weather events,
whole towns bombed into rubble,
or falling into the sea.

What do I hold onto,
when icebergs are melting,
coastal towns are flooding,
rainforests are not rainforests any more,
in drought half the year,
and the wild ones are endangered
and disappearing.

What do I hold onto
when we, ourselves, are endangered,
the climate crisis accelerating,
while world leaders are too focused on war
to pay attention.

What do I hold onto
when half a country prefers deranged leadership
to stability and experience, decency and moral values.
When democracy itself may be lost
and human rights we fought whole lifetimes for
are being stripped away.

I once lived serenely, expecting life to continue
much the same way, day after pleasant day, and,
for a time, it did. The change came with a shock
that turned my hopefulness into alarm, then
into disbelief that people with intelligence
could be making such an enormous investment
in a fool's folly.

What I hold onto, with all my heart:
that others feel as I do, who long for
a better world of social and environmental justice;
that Mother Nature is always there, with her
forest trails and seashore, her small creatures and
green growing things every spring; with her
struggle to survive in spite of all we do to her.
I believe in the blue sky, in the earth, in trees,
in the Bigger Story, beyond this horrible chapter
we are living - that one day, this, too, will pass,
at whatever cost to we who are living now,
and those who follow. That one day, humanity
will remember to be kind, respect our connection
to each other and to All That Is. That we will stop
the warring and the division, once we experience 
its full horrors (as we seem to be doing now),
and usher in a thousand years of peace
so humanity and the earth can heal.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

14 Reasons to Remain Silent


Journey and Lunabella
who are the reason one CANNOT remain silent,
because their future matters so much.

Because in all of the rhetoric that batters us daily,
no one is listening or trying to come to some agreement.

Because humanity has lost its way and may not find 
its way back until it is too late.

Because I have great-grandchildren who will live
that reality, and I won't be here to help them.

Because the horror of war and the toll in human
suffering is too overwhelming to find words for.

Because my heart, that once dreamed
the transformation of consciousness would
happen in time, has retreated to a state of
resignation and lost much of its ability to hope.

Because the only way I can find solace and to cope
with all that is so wrong is to walk in silence in
the forest, or in contemplation along the shore.

Because we poets bathe in words, yet often
live our outer lives in silent observation.

Because the climate crisis is accelerating
and everyone is so distracted by war
we don't realize there is a bigger war going on,
between nature and corporate greed, that
we won't survive unless we lower emissions

Because like the rest of humanity, we wait
for world leaders to inspire and lead us
and no one is shining that brightly.

Because we are in need of heroes and
the news is full of un-heroic speech
by those invested in attacking our rights
and freedoms.

Because my heart is breaking for this
so-divided world and nothing can change
unless we all come together.

Because fascism is rising across the globe,
even in places we never dreamed it would,
including the home of the brave and
the land of the free. (Just watch those
rights and freedoms disappearing.)

Because we can't change or reason with
fanatical and fundamentalist thinking, and
therein lies the problem.

Because humans tend to learn
the hard way.

A gloomy point of view but, alas, it's where we're at.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Pancake Man


Once you see him,
you can't un-see him

The word makes me think of
a certain orange man, a
(self)important anti-hero,
who has eaten too many pancakes
and appears to wear pancake
make-up on his mug.
From one to ten, in my books
he's a zero.

No idea why he sprang to mind.
Especially when I could have
written about a dog instead,
and the poem would have been kind.

Brains abandoned, morality quite gone,
rabid beliefs whose repercussions
will be felt for years,
he makes even pacifists think
of revolvers and switchblades
(and then shed guilty
pacifistic tears.)

I'd send him to France
if I thought there was a chance
that croissants would keep him there,
but France would look askance
at his unruly hair and send him back.
Life is increasingly unfair.

How to end this poem I do not know.
We do the best we can,
so on we go.

Some nonsense for Shay's Word List.  Can you believe you can google "trump pancake", and something pops up?

Eight Lessons in Training a Goshawk


photo credit: Chris Reilly

First, I had to become invisible,
so she could learn to accept me.
We sat the difficult, patient,
excruciating hours together,
her hooded, at times, for calmness,
my eyes averted,
until she could be with me unmasked,
without fear.

Next, I had to make her hunger,
so when I offered food
on my extended fist
she would come to me.
This was a dance that took some time
to choreograph.

I did not know,
until she laughed,
that goshawks were capable
of play.

We walked the hill to the field in dread,
her on my arm,
she because she was terrified,
I because I feared
she'd fly away.

The hardest thing to learn
was trusting
she'd return.

It took many fails a day
for a week,
her falling, hobbled,
to the ground,
angry and glaring,
and then we got it right -
she flew right to me.

In the brambles,
her first time loose,
caught by the bracken,
her yellow eyes
looked to me
for rescue. Trust.

I thought I was training her
to be a goshawk,
but she was teaching me
to unite my wild and human parts,
until my spirit rose
from its bed of grief
and flew.

for Mary's prompt at What's Going On: 15 Reasons

I loved Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird so much that I tried to echo his format, though likely I am no where near his style. The topic was inspired by having read a most wonderful book, H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, about her training a goshawk, while grieving her father's death.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

This Poem is a Tired Grandmother


This poem is a grandmother
whose soul has grown weary.
This poem has seen too many
children dying.
This poem is thirsty
for a song of hope.

This poem is a heart that once held
hope as wide and blue as the sky
and as deep as the sea.
This poem once believed
we were better than we currently are.
This poem once dreamed
we would figure out how to live
on this beautiful planet,
with each other and all the other creatures,
in time.
This poem is losing hope.
This poem is a grandmother
whose soul has grown weary.

This poem is a grandmother
who turns on the news
to find children dying, everywhere:
the children of Gaza, and Ukraine,
African children, starving children,
children shot in classrooms,
while adults cling to their guns
as an inalienable right.
(It is alien, all right.)
This grandma remembers a time
of childhood innocence and safety.
Where has it gone, and why?
This poem has seen too many
children dying.

This grandmother misses the time
when she could look up at the sky
and feel much was right with the world.
This grandmother misses leaders
who had the best interests of the country
at heart,
who had not sold their souls
to money and corporations,
who put serving the people
before political ambition
and partisanship,
men with clear eyes, and vision,
and an attitude of service,
who could speak in full sentences
and were not clearly deranged.
The dead-eyed and soulless are leading us
over the edge of the cliff, clutching money
to their hollow chests as they fall.
Children lecture us at the UN,
showing more wisdom and maturity
than their elders.
This grandmother needs inspiration,
needs to hear the voices
of women and grandmothers, rising.
She needs to see patriarchy fall.
She needs the transformation of consciousness
to happen soon,
while there is still an earth to save,
for "what we save, saves us".
This poem is desperately thirsty
for a song of hope.

This poem is waiting
for the grandmothers to rise
all over the world.

This is a poem from 2019, written loosely in Hannah Gosselin's Boomerang Metaphor form, which is one of my favourites. It spoke to me this morning. There are many more children dying now. I added in the children of Gaza and Ukraine.  It seems we don't learn that war never "wins" anything.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Tell Us a Story, Grandma

facebook image

Grandma lived frugally
in her five room wartime cottage,
which likely cost around $7,000.
Grandpa's Ford Fairlane was listed at $1900
in the 1950's.
Bread cost 12 cents,
a dozen eggs were 60 cents,
(equivalent to $6.40 today,
according to google.)
Beans were three cans for 25 cents.

She re-used everything, from butcher paper
to string, tucked into a top drawer.
She wasted nothing,
having raised five kids
through the Depression.
Minimum wage was 75 cents an hour.
And people lived on that.

When I was nineteen and a working girl,
I brought in five paper bags of groceries
in 1966, that cost 11 dollars.
We lived well on little.

This could be the story
of what capitalism and corporations
- and greed -
have done.

My Grandma told me stories
of family ghosts,
her eyes twinkling.
My eyes are sad.
What stories
can I tell my grandchildren
and great-grandchildren
about this world 
of war, distress and struggle
that we have made?