Saturday, December 29, 2012

Turkey In the Pot

turkey by Heather Johnston at

The turkey carcass in the pot,
its bubbling bouquet,
will stretch our turkey bounty out
to last another day.
Once gobbling in the garden plot,
so happily at play,
he'll soon be Turkey Lo Chow Mein,
with a glass of Chardonnay!

Decidedly silly, but it is all I can muster. Kerry's Real Toads Mini Sunday Challenge this week is to write a poem based on the rather intricate stanza style of Robert Herrick. Two examples are given, the first more complicated. I slid in under the radar using the easier second example.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wild Woman Takes the Wheel

Maxine, created by Hallmark's John Wagner, 
who says she is based on his mom

Driving my son around town, I saw how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, when it comes to our sense of the absurd. We laughed like loons the whole time.

He told me the funniest moment this visit was when Lori and I were rushing around getting Christmas dinner from stove to table, the dogs were needing tending, Steph needed to show me something on her tablet and Jeff chose that moment to ask: "Mom, do you ever get lonely living alone?"

"NO!" I replied, not to mince any words, and we all cracked up.

At an intersection, I was talking to myself, trying to gauge when to make a left turn: 
".......won't turn yet because cars are coming...." 
Jeff murmurs "helpful!"  
"Note To Self", say I, finger raised, then, while we are still laughing,  make a run for it, shrieking, "OH MY GOD, we'll all be killed!"

 "I love the way you enjoy your dementia," he says. "You think everything is funny, and everything you say is hilarious."

"Well, I may as well laugh."

"Yeah, because, honest to God -- seriously? -- there's Nobody Home!!!!" and we cackled like hyenas.

Now he is on the bus headed for the ferry. And I am home - alone - and very Not Lonely.

Hee hee.

Old Year, Passing

Hanging Garden Tree
Tall Tree Trail
Meares Island
Tofino, B.C.

It's all nonsense, really.
We use lofty language,
we spout theories,
we orbit the ethereal
as if we actually know
where we go
when we die.

We hold to a 
positive perspective,
to avoid the fact
that we will 
be eaten by worms.

Is it effervescence or 
the turgid waters
of dementia
that sparks our hysteria-edged 

Where is the exact
line of demarcation,
when one crosses over
from youth to age,
when life begins to jumble,
as if ordered by a miscreant?

Don't tell us.
We don't really want
to know.)

A bottleneck of Boomers,
Zen-fresh from their 
way cool meditation,
is gathering near the portal
to another plane.

When it comes my turn,
just wrap me in burlap,
and sit me up
 in the crotch
of an old tree,
looking out to sea.

Let the winter wind
howl its song
of wildness
to serenade me,
when I finally
fly free.

Well, now! Laurie at Real Toads set us the task of writing a poem to the collected word prompts she set for us in 2012. I saw a few key words, and this poem just popped out of my head. I italicized the words we were given to use. Yikes. It scares me a little! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wild Woman, Interrupted

image from the public domain

Wild Woman is a bit discombobulated
from Too Much Christmas.

Making her morning tea,
she put the teabag
in her cup,
and was interrupted.

When she returned,
the teabag was gone,
but, mysteriously, 
there was tea in the cup.


(I hope nothing disappears when I do the laundry. I could lose my scant wardrobe!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Christmas morning

Chloe~Baby Girl

Well, kids, Christmas just doesn't get any better. Steph and Gord and their dogs, and Jeff, all arrived safely, we've had tons of laughs, everyone got suitably spoiled, and the turkey was delicious.

The best gift, for me, after the puppies opened their stocking, was watching everyones' smiles as they opened gifts and exclaimed in disbelief. 

Especially Jeff,

who is gifted with a permanent attitude of gratitude. He ramps up the appreciation factor every time he's present. 

My sister gave me a faux wolf fur throw that looks and feels just like a wolf. 

my wolf throw

As I sat hugging it, rocking back and forth, saying, "my wolf!", Steph said, "I swear  you'll make me cry over Chase and Pup, if you keep that up". (Our two beloved furry companions are the missing faces this Christmas.) I replied, "I want this put over me in the coffin - and put in Pup's Urn, too," and pushed her right over the edge. But one might as well be clear, right?

Steph and Gord,
my wonderful soon-to-be son-in-law

Two other missing faces this year are son Jon and daughter Zenny, Jon's wife, who made the perilous and dangerous trip, in Budget truck, pulling the car along behind, through the Rocky Mountains, in blizzard conditions.  They are moving from the desert-like Okanagan to Regina, of all places, which is forty below today. Jon got a job with the government there. Zenny, raised in the Phillipines, cant even compute this latest change. Like Alice, her life gets curioser and curioser. Next stop: the Arctic Circle?

Apparently, they got pulled over by a policeman for driving too slowly, and impeding traffic. Zenny told the policeman he should arrest Jon for making her move to Regina from B.C. The policeman replied, "Sorry, I cant do that. That would be under the Mental Health Act." Hee hee.

Jeff cracked us up so many times. He stated at the supper table Christmas Eve, with great import, that "Psychiatry is like finger-painting." Turning to Steph he said, "If you guys have kids, dont ever ever take them to a psychiatrist." 

Looking at a photo of the Dalai Lama, he said, "That guy is profound!" 

Lori relayed how she had visited a nursing home this week and been introduced to someone she misheard as being the President. 

She assumed the woman was the President of the association running the home, so handed her her business card. The woman looked at it, mystified, and said "I've already got a BANK!" Turns out she was not the President - but a resident! Hee hee. Way to network, Lori!


Christmas morning, we invited Andrew, our neighbor and Lori's ex, over for a Christmas breakfast. He told us, "Last night I was invited for dinner by Ex Number One, this morning I was invited for breakfast by Ex Number Two. I would have to say this is an EX-cellent Christmas!" Cackles.

Andrew heard me quietly reminding Jeff to take his meds, and said, "I forgot to take mine this morning." Silence for a moment, then I said, "Oh my God! I forgot to take mine, too." More cackles. 

All Christmas day Lori and Youngest Daughter tried to explain to me how to use my new Kobo. All the icons and places to find one's way thru the labyrinth elude me. I kept looking back at their moving lips with blank stares, repeating: "I just want it to go to Page One!" So far no luck. 

Another classic moment: Lori and I were madly trying to get food to counter, to bowls and platters, to table, dogs were underfoot, Steph wanted to show me something on her ipad and Jeff chose that moment to ask: "Mom, do you ever get lonely living by yourself in one room?"

"NO!" I responded, not to put too fine a point on it, and we all cackled like loons.

There were some classic photos  taken midst the hilarity. Me, at nine a.m., swigging back a Bailey's, with gusto, in the tradition of my mother before me. 

Puppies posing (against their will, I might add) for puppy pictures in Santa hats (required Christmas behavior), me hugging my Wolf Fur, Jeff, hugging every gift and every person, a photo of Lori taking photos : happiness. The kind that Christmas always brings, no matter what the year has brought, no matter who arrives or who is no longer here. We make Christmas with whoever and whatever we have, and it is always full of laughter.

I hope Christmas, or whatever you are celebrating this week, was joyous for you as well. Tonight I noted the light is staying a teensy bit longer before nightfall, and that points me hopefully towards another spring.

A Limerick

There was a young lad, a Berliner,
who kept getting thinner and thinner.
He said, "Mother Dear,
it's abundantly clear,
you must cook something nicer
for dinner."

This is what Christmas merry-making has come to, kids. A limerick! I will soon blog about our revels, and look forward to visiting all of you as well.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Come Sit By the Fire

[This great image is from google. Wow.]

Come sit by the fire, beloved ones.
I'll bring in the tea.
Tell me how things are for you, today,
and I will listen to you,

We have walked a long journey together,
times we didn't even know we were traveling.
Now we circle back, we head towards home,
wherever it happens to be this particular year.
Time, now,  becomes so dear.

A quick look back at all of the hard times, and the good,
all the losses, from which, so painfully, we grew.
A longer look ahead, now time is short;
choosing how to spend what's left 
is more important
than we ever knew.

Come sit by my cosy fire.
We will laugh a lot,
and we will share good cheer.
We shall cherish the moments, 
all too few,
we have together.
I will be missing you
even while you're
still here.

All You Need To Be

google image

You do not have to be Superwoman
You do not have to leap tall buildings
with a single bound
You only have to get through
this one intricately challenging
and slightly preposterous day
with as much grace and humor as possible
Tell me how hard it is,
to just keep going
and I will hear you
Meanwhile the myriad galaxies spin
in their mystical and so mysterious orbits
across a midnight sky bejeweled with diamonds
Meanwhile the generous sun comes up each morning
offering a brand new day for trying
Meanwhile all beings in the cosmos
arise and go about their single day of solitary living
Whoever, you are, whatever your state of being,
the world awaits your constant co-creation -
issues you a blank canvas that cries out for
all the vibrant colors of your day,
you the living paintbrush, to draw forth
all your fire and fortitude and passion
and your deep, sweet peacefulness
at resting in the life that is oh so sweetly
and familiarly

.....from the archives, kids, given the day is busy. I wrote this back in 2003. It is an exercise by which one takes a favorite poem by a well known poet (in this case it was Wild Geese by Mary Oliver) and substitutes one's own words to that same format, thus creating a poem of one's own.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

When the Going Gets Weird

"weird animals" from

When the going gets weird,
the weird turn pro,
my Sis told me,
with pride
and sisterhood,
my excellence
at weirdness.
Weird has always
felt familiar.
Weird comes with
its own
built-in laughter.
Weird makes
the ordinary
stretch its wings
and try a little harder.
Weird puts a shine on
and does a little tap-dance
just to entertain you.
Weird turns a world of
Somebody Specials
with their
totally unbelievable
If Weird could speak,
it would tell you:
Come sit by me,
and let me tell you
a few good tales.

pulled from my December 2010 archives for Poets United's Poetry Pantry December 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dear Santa......

[Jasmine, in younger days]

It's Christmas night, it's Christmas night,
and all the dogs are out of sight,
dreams of cookies in their heads,
tucked into their little beds.

On the morrow, what will come?
Stuffies and bones, they'll all get some.
"Santa, we're Good Dogs all year!"
"Hush, no bark! for he is near."

I hear the jingle on the roof,
and the tiny little hoof.
Whoa! one gift is waking up.
Oh joy! It is a brand new pup.

(just kidding - I wish!)

Not Christmas Eve yet but decided to post something upbeat - we're due for some "upbeat", right? And no, no puppy this Christmas..........maybe come spring?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not Just Treaty Rights, but Human Rights photo

Heroes and warriors come in all shapes and sizes. Today, across Canada, thousands are gathering in many cities, in the bitter wind and snow and cold. The Idle No More movement  is gathering steam, as First Nations communities across Canada - and their supporters (I am one) - gather to support Atawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, in her eleventh day of a hunger strike.

You may remember last year when I blogged Chief Spence announcing a state of emergency on her reserve, in one of the cold northern communities in eastern Canada, where people were living in dire poverty, many without heat or running water - Third World conditions for the First People of this land.

Ms. Spence says not much has changed since then. All she wants is a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to discuss treaty negotiations. Harper  apparently met with Justin Bieber, when he was here,  but feels no urgency to meet with this woman who states she is "ready to die for my people." photo

An Idle No More movement has sprung up in response. This crowd marched on Parliament Hill this morning. photo

Here a thousand-person flashmob performed a traffic-stopping round dance in Toronto.

I am sorry to report this, in times that are already bleak. But I am heartened to see people taking a stand for justice, even in the bitter cold. Oppressed spirits always always rise. In Canada, this is the hour.

All My Relations.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


*photo credit below

* Ubuntu is a South African term, a humanist philosophy, of our inter-connectedness, that says when you do good, it spreads, and is for the whole of humanity.

I hold your heart
in my heart.


In your eyes
I see my own longing.

In your smile, 
lies our shared existence.


Kindness lives
at the core of you.

Feather your heart richly
with dreams.


For every need,
there's a giver.

Gifts given ripple out
like a river.

To your need,
from my heart,

From my shore to yours,

*photo credit: Doug Rea, Professor of Imaging Arts and Sciences, and freelance photographer for NGO's. Site:

On youtube there is a trailer about Madonna's film I Am Because We Are, the story of the effect of the AIDS pandemic in Malawi. You can watch it here, if you wish.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Home for Christmas

This image is borrowed from the Cause for Paws Canada website, where they are trying to find homes and connect with other agencies to place a large number of abandoned, neglected or abused animals a group of teachers is sending out from northern Alberta. 

The video and story of the animals just rips my heart out. There are a couple of them who look like Pup and one especially is haunting me. Five weeks old and found crying in a dumpster. My God.

Bless the people who swing into action to assist animals like these in finding safe places and help.

The Best Gifts of All

photo by Ellen
beautiful homemade wrapping also by Ellen

At Poets United's Wonder Wednesday, Ella has suggested we select a poem or two that has especially moved, impressed or inspired us, within our poetic community.

What a great idea, in this season of gifts, to recognize the gifts that the words of others bring. When we are hurting, others' words let us know we are not sorrowing alone. When we falter, others encourage. When we need hope, their poems provide it.

I will pick a couple. But truly, every day when I visit all of your blogs, I take away gifts that astound, amaze, encourage and inspire. This is a good time to thank you all for the wonder of this community of beautiful people. You have - each one of you - enriched my life beyond measure. You fill my heart so full, it spills over. 

And that you read my words is the greatest gift of all. You are  the reason I am writing, and when I'm writing, I'm happy. Thank you for this gift.

Shawnacy Kiker, at Guts and Juice, knocked me out with the following poem, a short while back.

Rave On, Beautiful Girl

You are so beautiful, it hurts.
It is the kind of beauty that leaves scars. Cornea-scorching. Like seeing a star up-close.
You slide through the world, slipping between its fingers and between its frantic footfalls like whatever is the opposite of a shadow. Like invisible lava.
You are of such material and construction that the world can’t touch you. Its blows glance off of your lithe, ember body and the only thing that happens is sparks fly.

I dreamed you last night. I dreamed you lost the way to the place where your bones don’t feel hollow, and you stepped out into the furtid night wishing that somehow someone had sent the northern lights to you FedEx, and they were sitting in a disarmingly drab brown box on your doorstep.

You wished for them this way, personally. Not remotely – up in the sky, resting like distant shine on a nameless mountain – but immediate. Ground level. Moving in that ghostly, undulant way over the gum-spattered pavement, performing around your cavernous body a ballet of light.

It was the light you wanted. You wished for it to come and cradle you, defining its green-purple current to every curve and swing of your body. That it would wrap itself around your dull, aching belly, drip down the backs of your knees, weave itself into the space between your fingers, twist in the wilds of your hair. You wished to open your mouth and let it run over your tongue. Down your throat, finding its way into the deeps of you. You stood in the night empty of meaning, and wished to be held. To be held by light. To lay down the heavy emptiness that strangles your thinking and rest.

You wake some mornings in the crablight of a foreign universe, and doubt. You doubt your shine. You doubt the depth of the stains of your feet. You doubt the iron girdings of your soul. You look at your face in the grey reflections of windows and you see small.

And so, beautiful girl, here it is. Your box of light.

It tells you that there lives within you the movement of a holy dark, and it belongs to the part of you that is made of God.

It reminds you what is the shape of your own spiral becoming. It holds you and speaks to you low of what beauty is.

That scar on your left knee from the time you jumped out of the treehouse wearing nothing but a swimsuit and a cape: beauty.

Piles of dirty laundry, you, off-screen laughing the way you did when you were five and you jumped out of the treehouse wearing nothing but a swimsuit and cape: beauty.

Walking the unseen sleepless hours in a marble of glass and black: beauty.

Your hair – long hair, short hair, pink hair, yellow, hair in braids or dreds or up in a ballcap or shaved off, spiked up, falling in chunks on the bathroom floor at 3am under the jagged flash of raging sissors hair, – hair like a single word, shouted a thousand times out of the top of your head: beauty.

The way the world folds around you when you walk: beauty.

The way you said to me, ‘It is all unthinkably perfect, and it is never enough’: beauty

And there’s more. If you can take it.

There’s the restless faith,

Your eyes, that wander the earth – the one that is and all the ones that are not – out windows full of rain; eyes that blaze and slice the universe into right-shaped pieces, and keep them wordlessly in hidden pockets,

There’s what happens to you when you see a red leaf riding gutter rivers, there are hands that don’t ask questions and a mind that never stops asking. A room that houses 4,327 books and no curtains.

There’s being afraid, and never letting the fear win. The ragged spaces that refuse comfort. The words that sit beneath your breastbone in strange languages that your mouth cannot speak. There’s the endless dancing hours in every weather, and every single warrior tear.

That one lifetime is nowhere near enough.

All of it: beauty

So you burn all your shoes and hang your walls with livid dreaming.

You wrap yourself in the spoils of your victories and of your defeats, that you may feel with every movement the force of your own wondrous intention.

Beautiful girl, build your home- the home of your soul-

and then rip off the roof. Because you are uncontainable.

In you burns the memory of distant flight.

Your soul is light and wends like a cloud through the deeps of the blue eternity


as you muddy your hands and feet.

There is within you an organ that plays on the music of your vast breath. It is apart from you – unmuteable – and it lives and sounds within your every cell

Turn its music up. Let it quake and roll in your bones, in your slow unquiet blood.

Gorgeous wanderer , keeper of the way, and of the way to the way,

who knows her destination

is always only the next step,





 Copyright © 2012 Shawnacy Kiker

I wish every girl-child could hear these words from someone who loves her. Thanks, Shawnacy. You keep shining! You're a beautiful girl yourself!

Of course we all know Fireblossom at Shay's Word Garden. The difficulty here is choosing one poem, as every one of her pieces just knocks me out! Since I had to choose one, I picked this one, for the lions, and the Serengeti:

A Serengeti Gospel

I was called by the matrilineal.

Already, from my grandmother, I had learned that one who lies so still will not rise again except in dreams;

From my aunt, I learned that laughter vexes the devil. Her example came loudly and often, delighting the child that I was;

And from my mother I learned that nothing is safe, and not to trust love.

I wanted more. I longed to join the lionesses, and so I sold my car, my house, my jewelry,

And found myself at the edge of the Serengeti.

I stripped down and walked into the heart of lion country.

You may think,

This was a fool's errand;

But the lionesses recognized me at once, and immediately I found myself

Watching the cubs,

Joining the hunt.

My body grew brown and tough,

My nails long and sturdy.

I crouched in the tall grasses with the others, and as we stalked the buffalo herd,

I looked at my sisters and their avid teeth, their golden eyes shining and I recalled a woman,

In an upstairs flat in summer time.

She called me "you sweet sweet bitch." That was the first time.

Then we are bursting into the open in streaks of yellow,

Like shooting stars,

And I am where I belong.

We are the lionesses, and we stay together for life.

The males come and go, depending upon who beats the daylights out of who at any given time.

That is not my concern.

My concern is to kill.

There is no cruelty in it, only pragmatic necessity.

If I return with nothing, my children cannot eat mercy.

For them, it is dinner or death, and so I chase, spring, and strike,

Without remorse;

And after all, I did not invent this arrangement.

This night, I have run to ground a member of a television reality program;

As I crush my victim's throat, a man wearing a baseball cap cries, "Are you getting this? Are you getting it?!?"

I drag the dead actor away.

Hyenas harass me, but my sisters come to my aid and we leave one of the thieves with an opened flank.

We eat well, growing lazy and contented.

This has become my home.

My life is bound together with the others;

I have almost forgotten that I am human,

And this is not such a bad thing.

A camera woman using night vision trains her lens on me--

I feel something,


Then I dip my head and show my teeth.

Whatever it was is gone.

[copyright Fireblossom]

And, lastly, in keeping with the season, my friend Lynette at Imagination Lane, wrote this wonderful haiku to accompany the photo her husband, Michael Killam,  snapped of her and some children on their visit to Africa. Lynette's writing, haiku and beautiful photos from all over the world, are amazing. It is always a rich feast, when one visits Imagination Lane!

'Neath skin dark or light
beats a heart that knows only
the color of love.

May you be gifted with that love.

copyright   Lynette Killam

See, kids? A feast, every day, as we travel the blogosphere, gathering delights.

Thanks to all of you who so brighten my life. 

Merry Christmas, and may the New Year 
bring you only good things.

Monday, December 17, 2012

If Not Now, When?

Friday's events were 
a blow,
a trauma,
to the entire global collective,
which needs to shift,
to evolve,
to effect
the transformation
of human consciousness
at every level.

If not now,

Our hearts grow
so weary.

*google image

Sunday, December 16, 2012

When We Are Sorrowing


In the darkest hour,
Out of the many differences,
a coming together
in unity.

When we fear all luminosity
has been stripped away,
the finest of human goodness

Divisions fall away
when, collectively,
our hearts are broken,
and our shared humanity
is revealed.

My thoughts  while watching the televised inter-faith gathering in Newtown, Connecticut. So moving, when the young Islam boy sang. Is there anything sadder than children singing for slain children?

I just have to say, I so love President Obama. He is always so intelligent, so authentic, with such integrity. He is one of my heroes. He walks tall.

Salem's Journey

Great news this week, kids. My adopted grandson in Kenya, Salem Lorot, of Echoes of the Hills, has been appointed an advocate at the High Court of Kenya. I have interviewed Salem twice, at Poets United and, from the first, have been so impressed by  his journey. Click here to read how far he has come, from being a little nomad boy in  his Pokot village, to the steps of the very Legislature.

Here is Salem: 

"Koko!!! It happened!!! Finally on Monday, the 10th of December 2012, the Year of Our Lord, at around 10:37 a.m. I was made an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

At the Supreme Court of Kenya, the journey to law that I took on for 6 years was being decorated and recognized. I was so happy for that.

And know what? I was adorned in a leopard skin!!!! It caused quite a stir during the event, with nearly everyone wanting to have a photo with me. The Chief Justice laughed and had fun seeing that.

And now most of my friends want a leopard skin during their admission next year, hehe.

We have had a great time around here and my mum, sister and my mother's friend are having fun in Nairobi."

Salem's mother

I feel as proud and happy as Salem's mom. This is a young man whose dream is to serve others. He wishes to build a library in his village, for the young people there who do not have the good fortune of a higher education. 

I know that, whatever his journey, it will bring good things to others. Salem's younger brother Fobian graduated from high school in this same week. Their mom must be so proud and happy.

And now we have to help Salem's brilliant sister, Lizzie, dream bigger dreams for herself. Now that she has seen Nairobi, I am sure she will set her sights on the stars.

Congratulations, Salem, Grandson. It brings joy to my old eyes, watching the trajectory of your journey. How you shine!

Love, Koko

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Love Is In the Details

"Love is in the details," she smiles,
pressing one halved walnut piece
into the center of each shortbread cookie.

The old dog sits, nose upturned,
eyes level with the table,
fixed and unswerving,
alert for any falling scraps.

Steam fogs the windows;
beyond, winter darkness 
blots out the landscape.
I put the horse 
into the barn early, tonight,
the chill air making her eager
for the sound of the stall door
closing behind her ample rump,
the sound of her chomping an apple
loud in the moment before
the barn door is closed
against the winter night.

In the house, 
the striped cat curls regally
under the bushy tree,
batting at the low-hanging  cows 
and cowboy Santas.
Colored lights warm the room
and, on the sideboard, 
candles flicker.
We bask in the glow
of Christmas Present,
and the poignant memories
of Christmases Past.

How many more will I be allotted?
"Yes, Love is in the details," I return,
with a smile.

Brian's prompt, at dVerse Poets Pub is intriguing tonight: to write a poem using descriptive detail to build a scene. 

A Dirge

I light this candle
in memory
of small bright-eyed children
who were waiting for Santa
until another man came.

And for his soul, too,
damaged  terribly
somewhere along the way.

How to ease this ache
in our collective consciousness?
May we wrap our loving thoughts
those good folk
suffering unimaginable grief
so they are blanketed,
and held,
and know that 
they are not alone. 

May its flame remind us
to keep coming from love
and not from fear.
Even when that
is the hardest thing to do.

May its glow shine
along with so many others
across this planet
that we shift from darkness
into light so bright
we all
Wake Up.