Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wolf Howls in My Heart


In my dream last night,
we found each other.
You had been waiting for me
for so long.
We were happy to be together,
my hand roughed your neck fur,
you buried your forehead
against my knees,
as you always did,
to greet me.

You had been managing alone,
but were in need of care,
scruffy, with long fur 
matting between your paws.
I ached for the time
you had spent with no one 
to take care of you.

I woke up, I went about smiling,
one could say happy,
definitely grateful for
all of my blessings.

But I miss you, still,
and always.
I carry you within,
a big black wolf,
alongside my inner wolf woman,
and when I think about
how large is your absence,
in my heart 
we both give
a silent mournful howl.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Roof of the World

[image from]

On the roof of the world,
it is always winter.
The yak's breath steams 
beside the hut,
in the early dawn,
when I peek out. 
The children's cheeks are rosy with chill;
their brown eyes snap and sparkle
as they emerge from their fur sleeping robes
and creep close to the fire.

Butter tea is warming;
smoke rises into the thin air of the morning.
My husband comes through the flap in the doorway,
bringing in the cold, and the scent of snow.
"Snow leopard came through close by, 
last night," he says,
drawing near to the fire and waiting for his tea.

We sip and sup, sharing smiles,
and prayers.
Then the children go to collect firewood,
my husband goes about
his outdoor work,
and I have much to do.

But when my duties are done,
the hut tidy, noon meal warming,
I stand looking out
at the mighty peaks
where the gods make their home.

The sunbird's song pierces the stillness, then stops,
as if silenced, embarrassed 
at calling attention to himself.
Then there is only the sound of silence, of the sacred,
the flow of the river, the flapping of the prayer flags,
under the eye of heaven, a moment of perfect peace.

My gaze is on the mountains: no thoughts, no thoughts,
my one prayer, to pierce the pearl of wisdom
in my lifetime, one step, one breath at a time,
by my good works, 
                     my good heart,  
                           to wash my soul clean.

[image from google]

At Real Toads Hannah set us the most interesting challenge for Transforming Fridays :
to write about places that are cold and icy on the planet. She said if we chose to do so as a human, we must do it as a person who inhabits that landscape. The Himalayas always call to me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Captain: now released

Captain, the German Shepherd

Warning: Disturbing to animal lovers.

What's sixty or seventy pounds of pure love on paws?
Who loves you as completely and unconditionally  as your dog?
No matter what?

Who has no voice, yet speaks volumes about trust and devotion with every wag of his tail,
every doggy smile, every glance from his eyes?

Captain was two years old, living with a man currently under charges for "an unrelated domestic incident". The dog was found near death, beaten, stabbed, with brain and spinal injuries, in a dumpster in Kitsilano, in Vancouver recently. He was rescued and treated with everything animal medicine could offer, but he succumbed to his injuries the next day. There is an on-going investigation, before charges can be laid. Investigators removed a thick chain, a baseball bat and a Swiss army knife from the premises. 

A resident living  in the same apartment building as the dog and dog owner overheard the terrible sounds of what he later learned was the dog being savagely beaten. He is quoted as saying, "The sound of that beating will never leave my head."

What is the next sound you hear? My heart breaking. 

Captain, I am so sorry. 

Ella's prompt at the Thursday Think Tank today is: Sound. But this is too much of a downer to link. I always say if the animals can live such abuse, I can bear witness. But it is getting too disheartening, and happening too often these days. My heart is getting too full of unshed tears. It's heavy with pity for all the innocents.

Captain, I hope you are running free in sunny fields, with all the other dogs in Heaven. Look for a big black wolf. He'll show you all the best spots.

Saving the World

Yesterday was my day with Damian, which always provides me with a few stellar moments. Walking along the trail to the lake I was telling him that this spot used to be a party spot for locals, and to be careful as there was quite a bit of broken glass on the ground - which led to my search for "beach glass" to put in a container on my window ledge for the sun to shine through. I said "If I live long enough, I'll fill the jar up."

As we got to the spot, we began excitedly finding glass - mostly brown beer bottle glass, but the occasional green and some very rare and prized blue. We ended up with an unexpectedly good amount in our little bucket, and Damian said, "See? You will live long enough!"

It isnt beach glass, but it is colored glass - redneck-party-get-gooned-and-smash-everything glass. But it will do until the real thing comes along.

As the afternoon heated up, I retreated to sit in the shade of a bush. Damian called me over to see something and I said "I'm too tired and hot." He said, "Get over here! It's NAY-chur!!!!!" 

Cracked me right up - he had found teeny little plants under a rock, growing impossibly under and among the rocky surface.

There was much going back and forth with buckets of water and I noticed a plant that looked desperately in need of a drink. I suggested Damian pour a bucket on the roots. Told him how grateful the little bush must be for the unexpected drink. So then he  really got into it, and gave lots of little bushes drinks.

"I'm saving the world!" he crowed happily, as I thought to myself, yes, he definitely was, one small bush at a time. Kids are so great!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In 35 words or less.....

At Real Toads Mama Zen has challenged us to write about our world in 35 words. GREAT prompt, but also OMG! It takes me 35 words to sneeze on the page! This IS a challenge, therefore a very good one.

My world:
full of old people,
dogs and babies,
sunshine, blue sky,
Mother Earth and the sea.
It's a world
just the right size
for me. 

Whoa! It only took 25! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Imperfect Beauty

our days
 are measured out
in imperfect beauty.

we must pluck
the jeweled moments
from the littered landscape,
hold them up to the sun,
tilt them back and forth,
in awe,
for these moments
- right now -
are precious
beyond imagining,
and are all
we have.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Traveling Back

Florence and her Kentucky saddle horse, Monte

Ella's Sunday Mini-Challenge at Real Toads is to "time travel to another era" take an old photo and write its story, or whatever memory it evokes in you. My grandma, Florence Fitzsimmons Marr, lived to be two months short of 100 years old. She could remember living, as a girl,  where there were ruts in the road  where the covered wagons had passed by, when her father was working at laying the first railway tracks at the turn of the century.  She witnessed 100 years of history, from days of scarcity and frugality, through the bitter deprivation of the Depression, to the beginnings of the excesses and waste of modern times.

She gifted me with the scrapbook she kept for years, since the turn of the century, and it is a treasure trove of old faded photos of an earlier time. A time before cars, when my grandpa came courting on horseback. A time of simplicity and goodness, and strict mores.

My grandma was the first farm girl to own a horse that she rode for pleasure. She danced up a storm at the town dances, and the town girls gossiped about her when she caught the eye of the handsome new bank manager. She had come galloping into town, stopping her horse with a flourish in the middle of the street. "Who is that?" he asked, and the rest is history. The town girls wondered why he was courting a farm girl, instead of one of them.

Wilf and Monte

When  I knew her,
she was already "old".
In those days, fifty was old,
time for house-dresses and aprons
in the morning,
frocks in the afternoon,
of wash on the line first thing 
Monday morning,
to beat the neighbors',
a time of 
hats and white gloves,
talcum powder and White Shoulders perfume
for Church on Sunday morning,
and strict mores.
What people would think
mattered more than 
 a child's tender feelings.
It was the old ways,
which knew much about 
discipline and obedience,
but not a lot about psychology
and childrens' self-esteem.
It was well-intentioned,
but it left scars.

I loved her.
She was my safety,
my encourager,
my wise teacher,
my guide.
But when I turned fifty,
I realized
fifty was not old at all.
Back then,
fifty was afternoon tea
with the ladies,
elegant little sandwiches,
and dainty dishes of sweets.
Dreams were over,
belonging to the young.
Life was what it was,
well-ordered and comfortable,
the hard years
 all behind her.

Only now
do I reflect on her early years,
when the handsome young bank manager 
came calling
and she she scored a coup
over the town girls
that she still took pride in
at the end of her life.

I remember when
my Grandpa died,
and she remarked, sadly,
"I know what I've lost.
I picked a peach in the garden of love."

I remember the time
in her 90's,
music playing on the turntable,
 her doing a graceful sashay
across the floor of the nursing home,
smiling at me,
a moment when I saw 
straight into her soul,
and the young girl
she once had been.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Witch's Song

image from google

Pass me the stir-spoon, Sister, quick!
This stew's getting a little  thick.
Push down the devil's claw. Mix in some thyme.
The brew must be ready by dinner-time.

A pinch of this and a pinch of that,
and dont forget to spell the Cat.
Owl sits in the corner with beady eye.
Toss him a mouse as you go by.

While it is brewing we'll sip on some gin,
and call the witches-in-training in.
Thrice round the cauldron, add some eye of newt,
and mind how you circle, or you'll tread on my boot.

Toss in two warty toads and the leg of a frog.
Let's fly round the meadow, skinny-dip in the bog,
count all our warts, multiply by two,
and I will teach a new spell to you.

To draw love, catnip, valerian for sleep.
Drop a marigold bloom in your tea; let it steep.
Calamus root and the knuckle of a frog.
We'll sing in the kitchen and dance with the dog.

Come out, my pretties, to the meadow in the hollow.
Skinny witches first, and the fat ones follow.
We will chant incantations, swoop around on our brooms,
and watch that black cloud cover the moon.

Snakes go hiss and flames they crackle. 
Potions bubble and pop to the witches' cackle.
Toads gather at the pond in our friendly way,
Cause it's always fun on Fireblossom Friday!

Such a fun prompt today, kids, at Real Toads, where the Fireblossom Friday prompt is to write something about the devil, his minions, or witches. I think I had a bit too much fun with this and seem to have the witch's incantation rhythm down just a little too well. But dont be scared. I'm a kind witch!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


*info on artist below

Little girl on the flying horse,
big blue eyes under felt-brimmed hat,
freckled face and a dreamy smile:
she rides and rides and rides.

Big long strip of tickets to ride,
calliope trilling: another world,
nothing bad can happen,
it's time to forget,
just as long as she can ride.

Ride after ride,
on the same white horse:
galloping towards Tomorrow's dreams,
lost in a trance of bliss
and hope
for as long as she can ride.

Candy cotton
as a sweetener
to get off the horse
and leave the fair,
say goodbye and leave him there
till the next time she can ride.

Barkers call,
fried grease in the air, 
but they have to go;
they're leaving the fair,
child looking back
at the big white horse,
her happiest hours
those times
when she could ride.

*The Collage is by artist Fabiola D'Antuono,
whose etsy shop can be reached by
clicking on the link.

Ella's prompt for the Thursday Think Tank
this week at Poets United is: Carnival,
which jogged a few memories loose.
Thanks, kiddo, I needed that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Too tired for words

Kids, this has been a busy day.....week.....month....and were I asked to describe how I feel right this minute, I can't think of anything that says it better than this old gal does. 

Thank God for tomorrow. What a good idea God had, inventing Tomorrow, so one can start off fresh every single morning.

*This photo came to my inbox - source unknown. 

Song of the River

The Narrows, Stamp Falls

Song of the river wild,
Song of the rapids leaping
Through the chiseled rock-walled chasm
Green with weeping,
A plunging torrent
To the ocean seeping

Song of the sea-green foam
Song of the white froth dancing
Sun-dappled baby wave-tops prancing
In the sunshine, all my dreams

Song of the green rock wall,
A vessel for the river's journey,
Guiding the flow along the channel churning
To the ocean and as it's

Song of the tall green trees
Rootbound and stoic in the deep crevasses,
Rooted in bedrock holding up the mountain,
Sentinels for every year
that passes

Song of the laughing brook
Below the rapids green, swirling and babbling
Huge salmon leap,
Fall back in shallows dabbling,
Plunge forth to lunge again,
Leaping and scrabbling

Song of the river wild,
You sing my tattered soul a new song,
Bless the silver beauty of this new day,
Make me know the path I'm on
Is not wrong.

Song of the seasoned soul
That knows the underlying message
Of the river:
Flow with me,
Not against me as we journey;
Travel lightly,
Not a taker,
But a giver.

I am posting this from way back in my archives, because it is my favorite river poem, and I know I cant write it any newer or better. This is my photo of Stamp Falls, my favorite place in the Valley, as it is the wildest.

Linked to Poetry Jam, where Peggy's prompt is : Rivers of Life

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Littlest Angel

[image from google]

A sad story this morning, kids. When my friend came to pick up Sebastian last night, he told me his youngest son and his wife had just lost their baby. The wife was five and a half months pregnant when the doctors discovered it was horribly compromised, with heart, liver and kidney problems so severe the baby would not make it, and the pregnancy had to be terminated.

The young couple was devastated, of course and are total wrecks right now. It was a baby girl, their first child, and they already had a nursery all ready for her.

They got to hold the baby after it was "born", and someone took a photo of her in her parents' arms. And in the photo, there was a halo around its head.

That is the part of this sad story that really blew my mind. Instantly, I said, "A baby angel!" My friend, the grandpa, nodded. He said, "I dont believe that sort of stuff - but the halo was there, as clear as day."

It was God, letting the parents know their baby had  her wings, and was in Heaven.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Monk's Tale

Creative Commons

Ack! The Sunday challenge at Real Toads is A Monk's Tale, to be written as a Huitain, 10 syllable lines, eight lines long, with a rhyme scheme of ababbcbc. Yoiks. The result does not trip lightly on the tongue, but it did give me some good practice counting to ten.

A monk in tatt'red robes did sit and sigh,
fond of prayer, but grasp of Heaven slow.
The other monks his sadness did decry:
"Pray constantly! To Heaven you will go."
Falling to his knees, bright eyes aglow,
he spun his beads, fingers nimble, clever.
His fellow monks nodding and smiling so,
he promised them, "Now I will pray forever!"

(I know, there is an extra syllable in the last line, 
but I couldnt find a way to get the rhythm right otherwise.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Among the Tea Leaves

image from google

I read Nene's Reading Tea Leaves over at Life Whispers just now, and it took me back to having tea with my Grandma when I was a kid. Thanks, Nene, for the trip down Memory Lane!  

Grandma was proud of being Irish,
her mother coming to the Prairies
straight from County Cork. 
In the afternoons,
we'd have tea,
and then turn our cups 
upside down
in the pretty Baleek saucers.

"Turn your cup around three times,"
Grandma would intone portentously,
her eyes twinkling,
giving me that Grandma smile,
and we'd turn:
one, two, three.

Then we'd peer into the bottoms of our cups.
I was always looking
for Home,
for good luck,
and for Love.

What I got were
donkeys, women pushing wheelbarrows
and the occasional bird.
A bird was very lucky.

When I was a teen,
Grandma had the fortune-telling game
called Gong Hee Fot Choy.
You thought about your wish
as you shuffled the deck
and, the weird thing was,
it really worked.
The cards foretold it coming true,
and I suppose,
in the end,
it really did,
though never in the ways
I once had dreamed.
More like a combined nightmare/
comedy of errors,
but in the end I can say
home, good luck and love
each, in their time,
found me
and left me
all the richer
for passing through.


image from google 

Mary's Mixed Bag, at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads,  has set us the task of writing to the number Thirteen. Mary gave us lots of choices: to write about fears and beliefs around Friday the 13th,  writing a rondeau, (a poem with thirteen lines), or the age thirteen, either ourselves or our daughters at that age. Thirteen. I remember.

I turned thirteen
the summer my father died.
Twelve was awkward.
It was all arms and legs 
and skinned knees,
from always falling down.
A pony-tail skinned back, 
freckles, pedal pushers,
gawkiness that
annoyed my mother -
a desire to be seen,
with no clue how to 
make it worth looking.

Over that summer,
a transformation 
My father had died.
I was no longer
a child.

I learned how to
Do Hair,
sleeping at night on prickly rollers
with pincurled bangs:
(this was akin to the self-scourging
of the mystics, but with
only a sore scalp
in return.)

"You have to suffer to be beautiful,"
my mom always said,
I learned how to 
accent the positive
with a bit of makeup,
huge round blue eyes
in the time when I still had eyelashes
(ah, youth!)

When cousin Charlie came 
for my father's funeral,
I was sitting in Grandma's living room, 
reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,
a book that was a revelation to me,
discovering Francie and I
had similar fathers. 
Charlie stopped short
on the threshold:
"Is that Sherry?" he asked,

was standing on the steps
of the church
at the end of the funeral,
looking out at the traffic 
on Bernard and Richter,
everyone going about
their ordinary summer afternoon.
It was my mom looking at me
and saying,
"We have a long row to hoe,"
me feeling like
her protector.

We did.
We had a long row to hoe.
But looking back 
down all those shambling years,
I can still remember
- exactly -
what it felt like
to be

Be In Love, and Have No Fear

Kids, some of you may find this a little woo-woo, but I guess by now you know I'm pretty Out There. This is a beautifully loving and hopeful message from The Little Grandmother, Keisha Crowther, speaking about the transformation of consciousness that is happening right now on the planet. 

Keisha sees visions and receives teachings from the Ancestors, and has been directed to reassure us that all will be well. She explains the poles are shifting, massive amounts of energy are being transferred on the planet, and what may seem like destruction is actually the old horrible structure falling, and the new, higher consciousness moving in to replace it. This is why we are feeling the acceleration as energy speeds up. She says "Be in Love, and have no fear."

Well, whatever is happening on the planet, I am ready and willing to take any hope and comfort and reassurance that I can. My mind is wide enough to consider any possibilities. I will do my bit to spread the hopeful and the positive, as we are being called to do, and hope you take away some comfort from her message.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The First Poem

image from ipzircon at

Cave woman,
dressed in skins, and pelts,
comes out of her cave,
sits by the fire,
looks up at the stars.
In her heart is a wordless longing,
that she has not yet language for.

Beside her, 
her wolf-pup
lifts his muzzle to the sky
and howls mournfully
at the moon.

The human begins to thump
a steady beat
against her knee.
It grows in intensity and rhythm
until she, too,
tilts her head far back 
and makes sounds in her throat
that have no interpretation,
yet describe her longing

The first poem.


Gay, over at dVerse, has set a challenge for poets to write about poetry: what it means to us,  what makes it great, etc. This leaped out of my head, Wild Woman that I am :) Congrats to dVerse on its one year anniversary. I remember the excitement when you began. You run a GREAT site. Kudos!!!!

A Late Afternoon At the Lake

[Image of an oil painting, found on google. Artist unknown.]

Kids, last evening, Damian and I were at the lake. I was sitting blissed out in a deck chair while Damian happily tunneled and dug moats around his castle, humming away to himself. In front of me and over a bit was a fifty-ish woman with her golden lab. Of course, the first thing I had done when we arrived was make friends with the dog and say how great it was to see a dog in the water on a hot day.

As I sat watching, I became struck by the closeness of their bond. He was utterly devoted to his mistress, and she was very caring with him, patting him, smoothing the water from his muzzle. I thought "a woman alone", as I recognized the closeness of that bond, when one does not have a significant human Other.

After a bit, the dog lumbered, panting, over to me and we communed. He was such a lovely old soul. "How old?" I asked her, as it was obvious he was near the end of his life.

"Twelve," she replied.

"He's so devoted," I observed.

"Yes, completely," she said. And then she blew my doors off. "My husband died suddenly, three months ago. He wasn't ill, we had no warning. So Charley knows something large has happened. And do you hear that rasping in his breathing? He has cancer, both lungs."

In that moment, the peaceful woman, sitting contentedly by the lake with her dog, became a grieving woman, facing the imminent loss of the dog who was her main comfort.

"Life is so much about loss, isn't it?" I said gently.

"Too many losses," she replied.

Yes, too many losses. 

Every person has an incredible story. I keep discovering this. If you are a human, alive on this planet, you are making a heroic journey. Keep your hearts open, my friends. Observe the landscape you are traveling through. It is littered with stories more fantastic than Scheherazade's.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Message from the Little Grandmother

Keisha Crowther, the Little Grandmother

What the Seer sees
is the miracle 
and the inter-dependence 
of all life:
the rainbow in the dewdrop,
the blade of grass softly sipping,
the spiderweb trembling
on the breeze,
the fly who provides
the spider's meal,
after he has eaten
the flea.

It is the essence of love
that births all life
on this planet.
At a cellular level,
we remember
that we come from love
and to love
we shall return.

Nature shows us
our inter-connection
with all life,
as it sings and dances
through the years
striving for

The Watcher
at the feast
is warning: Caution!
Take only what you need,
and then give back.
Mother Earth
is calling for
your protection.
Human imbalance
is toppling
the bounty
of her flow.

The Seer says:
It is not too late.
You are here
at this moment in time
to give love
and positive energy
towards the transformation
of consciousness
that is trying 
to birth itself
on this planet.

Live from your hearts
and have no fear,
for soon
you will see
a more beautiful earth
than you ever 
could have dreamed.

Blessed Be.

Kids, I am reading Little Grandmother's Message for the Tribe of Many Colors. Keisha Crowther is The Little Grandmother, a Seer who brings us messages from the spirit world about the Great Shift  about to happen on earth: the immense spiritual transformation which has been prophesied by almost all ancient and indigenous cultures. Naturally, I am loving it. You can find out more about her, and watch some of her AMAZING videos, at her website here

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Colorado Moon

Your eery beauty
draws my eyes
the heart
of a candle's flame,
but I know
your color,
against the navy sky,
is because
the forests, 
the houses
and the wildlife
all are burning.

Horses and humans flee fire

Sugar Doodle, after rescue

* photos from news sources on google

Kids, the red moon was beautiful, but it hurt to look at it, knowing our neighbors, both human and animal,  in Colorado and Montana, are suffering. I so admire the heroic firefighting efforts that are beginning to contain the fires. And my heart is lifted by the rescue efforts of emergency response teams,  the SPCA, and the Wildlife  people, who are trying to assist humans and animals impacted by this disaster.

Our skies, even as far north as Vancouver Island, are smogged by the neighboring fires, and it is hard to enjoy a summer afternoon, knowing so many lives have been turned upside down this week.

One scientist was quoted as saying: "This is what global warming looks like." I look at Sugar Doodle's coat, and my heart shrivels with pain, and then expands. Someone saved this critter. Wildlife workers tranquilized and carried out a huge moose who had succumbed to smoke inhalation. 

In the face of the overwhelming, it is all we can do, as humans: do what is in front of us, help whichever creature or person is in need. Clean up this planet, one inch, one mess, one human and one creature at a time.

Freaks Part II

Kids, last night was the ultimate! The organizers had regrouped after being slammed the night before and were On It! There were rows, and aisles, and things were under control, so much pleasanter. One could navigate. Whereas we could only hear my gal, k.d. lang, on Friday and not see her, last night we could see EmmyLou, but not hear very well.

Question: why would one go to a music festival and not listen to the music? Why do people feel they have to be talking at all times, to know they're alive?

Anyway. EmmyLou was warm, sweet and wonderful. She spoke so lovingly about the President, to our loud appreciation. It matters to us very much who the President of the USA is, as it impacts us directly. I love Obama, always have and always will. I respect and trust him.

EmmyLou said she wished we could all go down there and vote. Believe me, we do too!

We had Thai food - my new favorite thing in the world is Thai iced tea. I must learn how to make it. Too delicious. I wandered through the tents, full of all the wonderful alternative things I love and rarely get to see, funky clothing, all totally outrageous, wings, fur hats with ears - you know, cool stuff. I bought a new t-shirt and a couple of cd's - AND a wooden giraffe head to hang up among all the  other wildlife I have on my walls. I needed a giraffe and now wish I had bought a zebra too. And I finally found the rainstick I have been promising Damian! He so likes mine. 

But it was when the sun went down that things got really amazing, and the freaks came out in full regalia. A tall man in a yellow and red striped suit on stilts, another man all in white with a mask, women in ballgowns with full length white angel wings, little girls in lit up twinkling butterfly wings - it was all performance art.

It was like Mardis Gras, everyone parading grandly. There were performance dancers, and hula hoop dancers,; everything was lit up against the darkness. I was enchanted. It was the most magical thing I've ever seen. I felt like someone had waved a wand and transported me to All Is Possible, All is Beauty Land. A land where everyone is happy and smiling, where everyone loves everyone else. I wanted to stay. But we had to come home.

We drove home looking at a blood red moon, apparently from the terrible firestorms down in Colorado. Eerily beautiful. Home at one a.m. both nights, last night wonderfully satisfied by my weekend of fun. 

Now, of course, I am wildly behind online. Sigh. That's what today's for :)

* pix from google. Didnt have my camera, rats!