Friday, September 30, 2011

Perception is Reality

[image credit: surREAL_by_twistedhero-my favorite kind of art]

picture prompt from Real Toads : explore "surreal is the real" in a poem

Traveler looks out on a world of beauty:
blue skies, rain forests and ocean waves
live within her mind.

She passes a car wreck, and sees
the everyday heroes
assisting the victims, rushing to save their lives,
for life is precious.

She walks Third Avenue, the beat of the forlorn,
the ragged, the broken, the addicted,
the impoverished,
and sees how a  smile transforms the faces
of the hopeless,
the simple acknowledgement of shared humanity
rekindling their hopes for another day,
each life so precious.

When the news clamors of discord and unrest,
when the sound bytes of planetary suffering
and injustice assault her eyes and ears,
she turns it off, goes outside and
raises her eyes to the sky, to the clouds,
to the All That Is,
for she knows well, by now,
that the world of our perception
is the world of our reality,
and life is precious.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Red Road

[The Red Path copyright 1991 by Keith Powell, Grand Coulee, Washington]

for Poets United's Thursday Think Tank prompt: the color Red

Note: In this one, I seem to have tapped into my deep connection with First Nations people,
among whom I was privileged to work and serve for eight and a half years in Tofino,
and whose culture resonated within me so strongly I know I must have lived that life before.

Great Spirit,
may all Two-Leggeds
learn to walk the Red Road,
as do those of us
who have always lived
close to the land,
whose choices
are made with respect
unto the seventh generation,
who take only what we need
and preserve the rest,
so that others may also eat.

Great Spirit,
blow the winds of change
across the land,
sweep clean our hearts,
and let us approach the table
not to take
but to partake,
to share
in our common brotherhood
and sisterhood,
so we may see
we are all
much more the same
than we are "different".

Bless the Old Ones
whose eyes have seen
a hundred years
of betrayal, injustice 
and wrong-doing.
Lead them gently
into their last night.

May their eyelids close
with peace and love
surrounding them,
and may they open again
on vistas like the days of old,
buffalo roaming richly
across the grassy steppes,
spotted ponies galloping
across the land, 
wigwams dotted along
rushing rivers
where fish are plentiful.
May they be young braves
and maidens again,
vibrant and joyous.

The Red Road
is the path
of nurturing life,
of sustaining
and restoring the earth.
May all Two-Leggeds
recognize that what befalls
the tiniest link
in the chain of life
befalls us all.

The Red Road
has power and mystery
and connection:
we feel it when smoke
from the sagebrush
rises slowly to the teepee's roof
and circles there,
prayers rising on the Old Ones' breath.

When it is my good day to die,
may I follow that Red Road
to its destination,
and open my eyes
on a land of plenty,
where brown-eyed children laugh,
no one is ever hungry
and there isn't even a word
for war or discord.

May I open my eyes
on the world I so wanted
to live in here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wangari Maathai

It is with sadness that a friend of mine told me this morning that yesterday Dr. Wangari Maathai lost her brave battle with cancer. A wonderful woman has passed on, one who inspires by showing what one person who cares can accomplish, once they decide to focus on a problem.

Dr. Maathai , upon graduating from high school in Kenya,  completed her university education in the USA. When she returned to Kenya, she began working with women to improve their livelihoods by  increasing their access to such resources as firewood for their cooking fires, and clean water. This led her to advocate for better management of natural resources, for sustainability, and justice. She became an environmentalist, activist and champion of women's rights. (You can see why I admire her so much.)

In 1977, Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which  mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to plant 47 million trees, improving life for people in poverty, and restoring a degraded environment.

The doctor was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee praised "the holistic nature of her work", citing her "strong voice speaking for the best forces in Africa to promote peace and good living conditions."

Dr. Maathai has been quoted as saying, "We cannot tire and give up. We owe it to present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk."

To the good doctor, changing the world is as simple and basic as planting a tree. And now millions of them bloom in the land of her birth because of her.

[source: Wikipedia]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Landscape of the Old

[image from google]

for Hedgewitch's prompt at  dVerse :
to use repeated lines to underline the point of a poem.

     *****     *****     *****     *****

Nostalgia is the landscape of the old,
the populace of weathered hearts,
whose eyes easily tear,
whose distant looks remember
times of silver, times of gold;
nostalgia is the landscape of the old.

It's hard to live a life without regret:
with hard-won wisdom wishing
we could do it all again,
but better, smarter, wiser.
We know we cant, and yet,
it's hard to live a life without regret.

The old look back more often than ahead.
The road back longer,
rich in memory;
the road before one short,
with a finite point we dread.
The old look back more often than ahead.

Those golden times, they shine
with such a glow,
yet more often it's our failings,
all that then we did not know,
that we think of most, with rue. 
But even so,
those golden times, they shine with such a glow.

The winding road from birth to death is long.
We got here faster
than we ever dreamed,
and time is speeding up its pace,
rushing us, it seems.
The winding road from birth to death is long.

Remembering our lives down all the years,
keeps emotion stirred,
us on the brink of tears,
for all now gone, no more to ever be,
those shining, golden  lives
down all the shambling years.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Opening Heaven's Gate

[image from google]

for Eric

Blackbirds wheel across the sky.
My mind goes back to summer days
when doves cooed at daybreak, eagles flew,
and my whole heart belonged to you.

You sprang the gate and out dove flew.
No more we'd hear its gentle coo,
and years and miles have grown between
us, and all we might have been.

Never again those mornings sweet,
my heart turned your way with every beat.

and, as a pantoum:

Blackbirds wheel across the sky.

My mind goes back to summer days
when doves cooed at daybreak, eagles flew,
and my whole heart belonged to you.

My mind goes back to summer days.
You sprang  dove's gate and out it flew.
Though my whole heart belonged to you,
no more we'd hear its gentle coo.

You sprang dove's gate and out it flew,
and years and miles have grown between.
No more we heard its gentle coo,
nor found all that we might have been.

Years and miles have grown between.
Never again those mornings sweet,
Us, and all we might have been,
My heart turned your way with every beat.

Never again those mornings sweet,
When doves cooed at daybreak, eagles flew,
My heart turned your way with every beat.
Blackbirds wheel; I remember you.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wild Wolf of the Western Sea

[Joy at the beach - Pup jumping for a treat]

Your feet come galloping
through my dreams,
wild wolf of the sea
and the western wind.

Our souls rejoice
near the ocean's song,
where we explore,
where we belong.

In nightly visits
your wild eyes gleam,
your feet galloping
through my dreams.


and as a sort-of pantoum:

Your feet come galloping
through my dreams,
wild wolf of the sea
and the western wind.

Through my dreams
our souls rejoice,
in the westward wind,
near the ocean's song.

Our souls rejoice,
as we explore,
near the ocean's song,
where we belong.

As we explore,
in nightly dreams,
where we belong,
your wild eyes gleam.

In nightly visits,
wild wolf of the sea,
your feet come galloping
through my dreams.

Notes: Hmmmmm. I wrote this first version, then attempted to turn it into a pantoum, which it didn't want to do very easily. I will post both, and you can tell me which you prefer. I prefer the first version. I think my lines are too short here to be effective as a pantoum. Plus I had to fudge the last two lines to make it work.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another Pantoum

[image from google]

I woke at dawn and sprang from bed,
the day's delights spread all before,
went to the  threshold,  flung it wide
and found a moon outside my door.

The day's delights spread all before,
I asked had it been left behind,
that moon I found outside my door,
as night tiptoed across the fields.

I asked had it been left behind,
or stayed, a silvery offering,
when night tiptoed across the fields,
to grace my day with all life yields.

It stayed, a silvery offering,
bearer of dreams  outside my door,
to grace my day with all life yields.
I could not ask for beauty more.

Bearer of  dreams  outside my door,
when I went to the threshold, flung it wide,
I could not ask for beauty more,
when I woke at dawn and crossed the floor.

[Again some liberties, on the last line, to better satisfy the rhyming pattern. Totally illegal.]


The prompt at Real Toads is to use the word Allegro in a poem, to restrict the poem to eight lines, and to write it in one minute.

One minute.
One word.
But it takes me one minute
to de-fog my glasses,
and de-fogging my brain
is no longer possible.
Oops! Out of lines.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dear World

[image from istockphoto on Google]

[The prompt at Real Toads is to write an epistle style letter or missive to the world.]

Dear World,
did you know that
depression can be cured
by going on a road trip to Nanaimo,
eating Vietnamese food,
and, after, buying a $5.99 Vietnamese coffee maker,
so I wont have to wait a whole year for another cup?

Did you know that the happiness this event produced
had the salesclerk laughing,
that, just as the purchasing made my day,
my joy made the clerk's day too,

Did you know that
a new rice bowl
made me as happy
as a chinchilla fur coat
used to make movie stars,
and more cheaply?
(and with no suffering to animals?)

Did you know that
happiness is always
only an arm-length away,
as close by as a favorite cosy sweater,
a cup of tea,
a rock on the porch swing,
a visit with a big old slobbery dog,
or a laughing-eyed baby?

Did you know that
this afternoon, in the mall,
I watched a princess pass by?
She was in her stroller,
and giving the Princess wave,
arm/hand, arm/hand, as perfectly
as any princess ever did,
with a pleased knowledge in her eyes
that she was a true princess,
and beautiful,
and deserved to be adored,
and that that made me idiotically happy
and hopeful for the whole world?

Dear World,
did you know that,
after an afternoon away,
there is no better happiness
than Coming Home?

Dear World,
please open your eyes.
Happiness is all around,
all around.
Scoop it up, big heaping armfuls of it,
and scurry home with it clutched
to your chest.

A giant dose of
exponential happiness
is only one cup of coffee

Token Grove, 2020

At Token Grove,
the tour busses are pulled over
so the tourists can admire
the last of the ancient cedars.

The trees stand behind protective fences,
neatly, in rows, branches clasped to their chests,
their ferns and fronds and
old man's beard neatly combed,
posing prettily for the photographers.

A grandfather, his hand on
his grandson's shoulder,
says, reverently,
"Look, Johnny, these are trees!
When I was a boy, there were a lot of them."

"How many was 'a lot'?" asks young Johnny.
"More than this?"

"Yes, many more. They grew all over this island.
Not behind fences, whole hillsides and acres of them."

Young Johnny: "What's an 'acre'?"

"Well, er, land that it,
earth and grass and trees and growing things.
Land without concrete, without tall buildings,
without expressways, paved lots,
shopping monstrosities, er, malls.......
In those days, I could ride my bike
through the countryside
and see trees everywhere.
And we didn't have to wear these
oxygen tanks then,
because the trees gave us air."

"Wow," says Johnny, impressed.
"No oxygen tanks?
Grandpa, what happened?
And why do they call this Token Grove?"

"Big companies wanted to make big money
and they cut all the trees
and shipped them away,
as fast as they could.
Till the hillsides were bare
and began to slide down
the mountain slopes every rainy season."

"And that's why the mountains are little hills now?"

"Yup. And we call it Token Grove because
these are the only ones that were protected,
and the only ones left on this whole island.
They are rotting now, and soon will fall to the ground
with the winter wind."

"Grandpa, I wish it was like when you were a boy, for me."

"Me, too, Johnny. Me, too."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My First Pantoum

[image from]

What is this grief
that lives, so light, within?
I cannot find a reason,
yet my daylight has turned dim.

Grief lives, so light, within,
I barely sense its presence,
yet my daylight has turned dim.
All is not right, within.

I barely sense grief's presence
wisping through my down-turned heart.
All is not right within.
I have no wisdom to impart.

Wisping through my down-turned heart,
are memories without a name,
I, lacking wisdom to impart,
nor understanding what to blame.

Memories without a name
I cannot find through veil so thin,
nor understanding what to blame.
What is this grief, so light, within?

Notes: I have been very intrigued by the pantoum form I have seen on some of the poetry sites. Especially Kerry O'Connor's pantoums at Skylover, and Marian's at runaway sentence, whose pantoums have a marvellous flow. I like the rhythm and the repetition of the lines. Since I have been a bit subdued of late, and my muse uninspired, I decided to set myself the task of writing one this morning, to see what would happen. I did manage one, of sorts, though I took some liberties. It is far from inspired, but at least I have written something. I would love to find some really lovely lines and try again. It could happen!

On Poetry

[image from google]

A poem......
"wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled
and refreshed,
and less yourself
than part of everything.

"Poetry is a life-cherishing force.
For poems are not words, after all,
but fires for the cold,
ropes let down to the lost,
something as necessary as bread
in the pockets of the hungry."

Mary Oliver

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Ending

Kienan Hebert, age three

The last few days all of B.C. has been glued to the news, hoping against hope for the safe return of this little fellow, who was discovered missing early Wednesday morning from his home. It soon became evident that he had been abducted in the night by a prior sex offender, who has done jail time for sexual assault and attempted abduction.

The entire population of the little town of Sparwood, B.C. joined in the search, and an Amber alert was sent out. One report said Kienan's mother's cries could be heard across the search area: "Kienan, Mommy loves you."

Kienan's dad sent out an emotional plea to the abductor. "Please return him safely, and as secretly as you wish. Do what you have to do, but please bring him back." The little boy's father explained Kienan has limited verbal skills and couldnt tell the details that would incriminate the abductor - they just wanted their child back. "Do the right thing," the father pleaded.

We all expected the worst: given the history of the abductor, it seemed unlikely this story would have a happy ending.

But the father's plea must have been heard. Around 3 a.m. on Sunday, a 9-1-1 call tipped off the police that Kienan had been taken back to his home (which was empty during the investigation). Police found him sitting on the couch with his blanket, apparently unharmed.

Thankfully, this time, a happy ending. Apparently, even the most damaged of humans has a heart.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


for the Poets United Thursday Think Tank prompt: Windows

I remember
people falling from windows,
their fear of the flames
greater than
their fear of falling.

My mind suspended
in horror and disbelief,
eyes watching their fall.
Still watching,
in memoriam,

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Angels of 9/11

Mimi, over at Mimi Writes, has asked us to fly a peace globe in remembrance of 9/11 this Sunday. Mimi spearheads the annual Peace globe blogblast every November 4, participated in by peace-loving folks from all over the world. Each year it grows;  we are starting the countdown now for this year's blogblast.

I remember 9/11. My daughter called me up and asked if my tv was on : "The States has gone crazy. They're flying planes into buildings down there. I was bed-bound that month, after a car accident. I grabbed the remote, turned on the tv and watched in horror all that long terrible day.

With a sinking in my heart, I knew there would be a war. I had predicted war,  when Bush got elected, and now I knew it for sure. Between my horror and pain over what had happened, and my concern for what the response would be and whether it would escalate or detract from world peace, (I already knew the answer), it was a sickening feeling.

What struck me the most forcefully, of all the images we have seen over and over of that terrible day, were the young women dressed as angels, all in white, with wings, their calm smiling faces, their reassuring presence, as they walked among the people on the streets of New York, that day and the days that followed. A reassuring sight to lift the heart with hope, in the midst of despair and fear and hopelessness. To remind us that humans, while capable of terrible things, also are capable of transcending, elevating, choosing peace instead of more hate, more war, more oppression, more suffering. Capable of choosing light over darkness, in our response, when sometimes that is the only choice we have any control over.

I remember those angels, still.

[image by]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding the Shine

When sorrow comes,
the wise woman said,
let go of the pain,
let go of the guilt,
know that you did
all that you could,
that all is
as it should be,
because it cant be
and then the pain
in your heart
will be replaced by
"a light shining with love."

I am holding my heart
in gentle hands,
trying to rub off
the raw places,
polishing that
shine into
the domicile where you live.
I will carry it
to the river
where we
always walked
I will weep along
the path strewn 
with autumn leaves,
this first autumn
without you
by my side.

I will ask
the golden sun
to teach me
how to find
that shine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Random Thought

[John Wagner is Hallmark's creator of Maxine - image from google]

Wild Woman
concludes  "sagging boobs"
is actually a kind description.

She could
fling hers over her shoulder,
like a scarf.

Maybe she can
start a trend:

"Boobs are the
New Knees!"

[Spoof on "50 is the New 40!"]

Dear World

[image from NASA]

Dear World,

Have I told you,
I love you?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Wild Woman Boogie

[image from google,]

Wild Woman
watches the Cars movie
with two year old Sebastian.

The sound track
is songs from the 60's,
Back in the Day.

Wild Woman's Head
begins to bob,
then to head-bang.
She starts to boogie.

Sebastian cackles.

Wild Woman
hasnt felt this groovy
in a long time.

[image from google clipart]

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sad Ghost, Sad Dreamer

In dream,
your ghost-self
wandered all forlorn,
your spirit broken,
looking everywhere for me.

I placed my hand
on your head
the way I always did,
spoke gently,
tried to break your
your lostness,
uncertain, even,
that I was me.

It broke my heart
to see you
so bereaved and blue,
like you are missing me
as much as I am missing you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Winged Dryad

[Death of a Mermaid image from the internet
posted for Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Picture Prompt Friday
Reposted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry February 2, 2014] 

She bursts out of the sea
a winged dryad
in the foam,
her gown
all the colors
of the ocean
that's her home.
from her
seaweed-laden hair,
she rides waves
outlined in beauty
 by the luminescence

Her home is a cavern
below the coral reefs,
her bed a captain's cabin
in a ship that never sleeps.
She dines daintily with  whales,
plankton and krill from their baleen,
a shared feast of tiny edibles
 on leaves
of darkest green.

When lungs grow tight
that's when you'll see her,
looking like a wave,
her wings
faintly visible,
face beautiful
and grave.
She flings herself onto the rocks,
draws back
in sinuous dance,
under a silvery midnight sky,
her mournful song
 a time Before
that stopped too soon,
and she wont be back
until the next
full moon.

She sails away
 on a ghost ship
with an emerald-laden mast.
As the golden sunset
takes her in,
she slips into
the past.

A Celebration of Ghouls

[image from google -]

[My son Siddhartha sent me an email yesterday that had me laughing out loud. He is so hilarious - at the same time what he says holds so much truth, I pay attention. Here are some quotes. (He told me I can blog it.)]

Hi Mom,

Thanks for calling! It's always great to talk to a human being!

I'm thinking about applying for a job at  a huge CD store on Robson Street. I'm pretty sure they'd love to hire me, even though I'm becoming quite eccentric. According to "Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior", which you gave me for my birthday (I love it!), Outrageousness is (I think they say) one of the disciplines! It sure is enjoyable, anyway!

Did I tell you about my trip to the PNE? It was mostly great, especially at first, and then later, after I got my 'Twilight Ride Pass'. But I had some difficult spiritual revelations, too. Have you ever really listened to a large crowd? They sound like a pack of beasts! (Jesus must be appalled!) Also, I saw a little girl waving her hand on the Carousel, and I realised that she was acting like I would like to - very vibrant! But then I realised that if I acted that way, I would get killed! t

Then I came to the conclusion that there's no way to get through this life without experiencing agony!  It plunged me into a nightmare!  It seemed like I was surrounded by a pack of celebrating ghouls!  I'm still recovering from that one! 

But one positive thing: I refrained from smoking for five or six hours (at the PNE)! It felt really good! I really hope to quit soon!

In fact, I've thrown away I think three full packs recently. That feels great too! It's also teaching me that buying cigarettes is a total waste of money. Dear Mother, let me never buy another pack! If I do, I'll throw it away, too! Good-bye, cigarettes!

I'm also having trouble with the hard-heartedness of the world lately.

Oh, listen to this quote. It's a Native North American Proverb:

'Of all the trails that there are in this life,
There is only one that is worthwhile-
It is the trail of a true human being.'

Isn't that beautiful?  Did you know that the movie, 'Dances with Wolves' is based on a novel of the same name? I started to read it a long time ago, but I got scared by the description of the white men and sent it back to the library! I'll have to get it again! It must be wonderful!

You know, as I force myself to become more mindful of smoking, it is really starting to bother me. Before I threw away that first pack, I got really upset. But then, after I threw it away, I felt great. It's just that after you go a while without smoking, you run into a somewhat difficult situation. I don't think I get cravings, but a certain difficulty does arise. I think if I can get past that, I may be home free! My soul feels so clean after I quit! In fact, I'm going to have one more now, then throw the rest in the trash!

Wish me good fortune, Sweetie!

Siddhartha Marr.
PS- Why don't you call me 'Siddhartha' from now on? I love you!

[See kids? Isn't he the most hilarious, lovable creature ever?  I am so lucky to be his mom!]

Space Junk

[image courtesy of NASA]

I see  the NASA scientists have issued a warning about the growing amount of human-made debris circling our planet. They say it is an increasing threat to space activities. (Of course that is the human viewpoint: how it impacts humans - the same humans who made the mess in the first place.) My sympathies are with the planet itself, and the atmosphere.

It is "a growing environmental problem," says Nicholas Johnson, chief scientist and program manager for orbital debris at NASA, in Houston, Texas.

The source is National Geographic News at

As if it isn't bad enough that we have ravaged the planet,  created an even more alarming mass of floating junk in the ocean, and messed with the weather to the point where natural disasters are occuring all over the planet.

Humans and Stuff.


Thursday, September 1, 2011


posted for Poets United's Thursday Think Tank : sunflowers

Her round baby face
was my sunshine
when she was two.
She shone golden
as the sun
as up she grew.

But then came
years of tears
and betrayed heart
and betrayed trust,
as she sought love
the way true seekers
always must.

We both love sunflowers
for their brightness
and their shine,
and how they dare
to dream the heavens
as they climb.

There is no happy ending,
just our lives,
flowing through
the ups and downs
that oh so slowly
make us wise.

But her voice has
laughter in it,
these days,
when I call,
for she found
the  love
she had been
to trust it,
after all,
opening her heart
the way
a sunflower
gently lets
golden petal