Saturday, April 29, 2017

A WEDDING IN THE GARDEN



There is going to be a wedding in the garden
this morning,
Mother Earth, the patient bride,
awaiting fickle Sky-groom,
fair-weather friend.
He is dawdling,
arranging his clouds just so,
to look his best.
He can be seen casting glances
at neighboring planets.
The groomsmen look at each other
and shake their heads.

The bride is resplendent 
in her grass-green gown,
dotted with magenta rhododendrons.
Her cascading waterfall tresses
roll bountifully down,
and an exaltation of skylarks
cavort about her head and shoulders,
joyously singing.

Birds just love a good wedding.

Wild bunnies peep, big-eyed, 
from under the floral garlands.
A mama deer and her fawn attend
but at a distance, out in the pasture.
The bride's attendants are covered
with pink and purple blossoms.
The trees stand tall in their tuxedos,
sporting a carnation in every lapel.
From every bough,
a collective of assorted yard birds 
warble a clarion call
to the assembled guests~
joy on a summer morning.

Sunflowers and weeping willow
line the aisle with splendor.
Mother Earth approaches,
carrying pink luscious peonies,
smiling a tremulous smile,
faintly tinged with tears.
She is softened and sweet,
with an attitude 
of wistful hopefulness
against the inner fear
she does not wish to see:
her groom is changeable,
can burn or freeze her at will.
Nevertheless,
she is dressed in her best,
lets her heart do the rest.
She steps forth with head held high,
into the moment.
The only time for love,
my friends,
is Now. 


One from the spring of 2015, my friends, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United on Sunday morning. Wishing you all a wonderful sunny weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beach Day


Note the carved words:
We Are All One



On the left of the cloud, in the outlined area,
it looks, to me, like a Pup angel....see the wings? 
and he is laughing: happy I am at the beach. 
It is hard to see until the photo is enlarged.
I didn't see it when I took the picture, 
it only popped up when I 
downloaded the photos.
But, to me, there was a Pup angel 
at the beach today.


Now he looks like Puff the Magic Dragon.
It was a beautiful day for waves and clouds today.



Frank's Island



I ran away from my desk today and 
enjoyed the beach in the sun. 
I wanted to share some 
highlights with you.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

HOUSE OF SAND AND SEA



I spun my house from sea sand
and early morning mist,
filled it with daybreak and evensong,
used beach glass
for all the windows.

I left my roof
open to the sky,
a ceiling of stars and windsong,
seabirds on the wing,
sea fog and ever-changing clouds.

At the shore,
I replenish my stores of peace,
let the sursurration of the waves
wash through my ears, my heart, my being,
till I grow as calm
as the lull between waves,
as strong and silent as the smooth stones
scattered along the shore,
as patient as the sand dollar,
that spins its house
from the sand and grit around it
and carries it
within.

Full of whalesong
and sand and sea,
my heart is its own
little sand dollar home.
I carry it along
with me.




for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: A Grain of Sand. A topic I know a fair bit about. Smiles. I borrowed a few lines from  older writings to make a new poem, since I am not writing much at the moment.



Monday, April 24, 2017

My Favourite Activist



This is Ta'Kaiya Blaney's latest video. Ta'Kaiya is now fifteen. She devotes her life to speaking on behalf of Mother Earth and its children and creatures. She sings straight to my heart, and has done since I first happened upon her. Ta'Kaiya is a member of the Sliammon Band in Powell River, B.C. She has addressed the United Nations, speaking for the children of the world, and their right to a future. Five years ago, I posted her first video, Shallow Waters, made when she was ten years old.

I so admire her original songs, her video, her vision, her clear eyes and voice, her message, her life. When she sings, my heart melts, and I have hope.

Shine on, Ta'Kaiya!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Running Free In the Forests of Heaven



Running free
in the forests of Heaven
is how I see you,
tail and ears up
and that old wild gleam
in your eye.
I never tamed you.
I never wanted to.
We both loved the wild,
and I honored it in you.

Those big puppy paws,
I hope they're lolloping along
miles of sandy beaches,
dipping in and out
of the waves,
the way you always did,
impervious to my calls
as you always were,
until you were done,
and then along you'd come,
galloping back
to me.
You'd pick up a piece 
of driftwood
as we left,
and carry it to the car,
for remembering.

Now I am the one
who is remembering.
And one day,
when it's time,
old wilderness pal of mine,
may you come lolloping
back to me
to guide me safely home.

There are only three things
I need to see in Heaven -
the first is you,
and old growth forests,
and the sea,
so we can walk those trails,
hike endless sandy beaches,
and watch the sunset, 
once more,
you and me.

One from 2015, my friends. I cant believe how much I still miss him, six years later.  Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, wonderful reading every Sunday morning.

Friday, April 21, 2017

No Mouth To Scream




For five decades he has lived,
a disabled non-verbal adult,
at the ministering hands of staff,
in their varying moods of brusqueness,
efficiency, false cheerfulness,
stress, fatigue, or distraction.

They dress him,
shoving brittle arms into sleeves,
feed him, pureed glop,
spoon impatient for his difficult swallow,
bathe him, quickly, as the clock is ticking,
sit him in a wheelchair, park him in a corner.

Day after day, he lives
inside his mind,
unable to express a wish,
hoping the day person will be
gentle, unhurried, patient.
Some days are golden,
when the shiny one comes,
who asks him:
which shirt? this one? or this?
the one who laughs and sometimes dances,
acting silly, like a long-legged stork,
just to make him smile.
Her hands are gentle.
She tells him, one late night shift,
"I see you and you are beautiful",
and watches a single tear
roll down his cheek.

He has no words, but his eyes tell her
he is grateful.
He has no mouth
to release the scream that has
been building for fifty years
at his forced confinement,
the sameness of his days,
living in a world
of few choices,
trapped in a body that doesn't work.

But sometimes the golden girl comes,
and those days shine.

Grace. It is what makes us all
shiny dancers.


True story.  for  Magaly's  prompt at Real Toads: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Crow At Large




Canuck the Crow was helped to live
by the humans of the Lower East Side
when he fell out of his nest
as a baby.

Midst the disenfranchised
and the struggling,
he lives with camaraderie
for his fellow beings,
who share what little they have
with Canuck the Crow.

He  alights on peoples' shoulders,
begs for treats, tilting his head winsomely
and shining his beady eye.
He even rides the Skytrain,
zoom zoom.

One morning, as police were arresting
a young man brandishing a knife,
the knife fell to the sidewalk, with a clatter.
Canuck swooped in,
picked it up with his swift beak
and flew off, partner in crime.
The police gave chase.

Eventually, the news anchor
informed us that evening,
the knife was recovered
and entered into evidence.
The crow was still at large.
Canuck, the newsman added,
with droll face and lopsided grin,
was "known to police."


Canuck and his dad Shawn Bergman.
Shawn is relieved here after Canuck's recovery 
from being knocked out  by a flag at a soccer game,
apparently on purpose.


True story. For Shay's prompt at Real Toads: Crows. Very clever birds. I must say the photographer was as quick as Canuck, to capture this on film. Canuck is a famous denizen of the Lower East Side. As a baby crow, he was helped to live by Shawn's landlord's son. When he was deemed big enough to be released, they set him free, but he returned straight to Shawn's shoulder, and has stuck close by ever since.

His fame spread after the above incident. He has his own facebook page, has been featured in paintings at a Vancouver art show, and has had his own meet and greet in the downtown core.  As of last word, he is still very busy finding objects and schmoozing with folks in the Lower East Side.


Shawn Bergman photo

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Red Tulips On the Altar of the Morning



The gong sounds.
Monks bow their heads
in meditation.
Burgundy-robed nuns
kneel and flatten
in prostrations,
a thousand repetitions
for the good of all beings.
A sherpa places
one slow foot after another,
circling the sacred mountain.

On the other side of the world,
I walk the beach,
breathing in the constant
prayer of the sea,
the promise of the arching sky.
One breath, another breath,
at one with sand and sea,
inhaling the westerly.

I pat and praise
a white wolf dog
with blue eyes.
It is a prayer of love
for his safe passage.
He leans his head on me
in trust.
A message from my boy.

I choose red potted tulips
at the nursery
and carry them home,
whispering thanks
for their beauty.
I place them in
a sheltered corner of my porch,
a prayer of promise
for spring,
for sunny days,
a prayer of gratitude
for being and for beauty.

I watch small hummers
at the feeder,
my heart expanding
with tenderness
for birds and blossoms.

This whole morning
has felt holy,
each new joy unfolding
its own prayer.


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Holiness / Holy Day

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

May the Patient Live


The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.


Friends,
our planet is very ill.
It may be terminal
and, sadly, the cancer is us.
Bad cells are trying
to conquer the good cells.
The good cells resist,
but the situation is toxic.

In the end, the cure
for planet and humans
is the same:
good medicine to defeat
the bad cells,
a hopeful heart
and positive mindset,
pure vibrations
to heal the trauma,
and transformation
to a peaceful paradigm.

May peaceful pilgrims prevail.
May we not lose heart.
May the patient live.

I was driving this morning when these thoughts came to me, how alike Mother Earth is to a cancer patient, in the struggle going on right now between dark forces and light. May she - and we - survive towards better years than this.

The voice on this beautiful video is that of Thich Nhat Hanh, and the chant is sung by his brother, Phap Niem.





Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES




















I open my window to the music of the spheres:
call of mourning dove, hoot of owl,
fresh new leaves rustling on green willow,
creek trickling over rocks, singing a morning song.

I open my door to the beauty near at hand.
The mountains teach patience.
The river teaches joy.
Trees are the wisdom-keepers.
The ocean sings a song of life
that echoes in our hearts.

I open my soul to the expansiveness of Sky,
the deep mystery of the heavens,
moon and stars and clouds and swirling planets,
each in its perfect place.
As we are, no matter what we face.

It is all here ~
everything we need, for wonder ~
our souls rise up in response,
like candles, catching the flame and flaring,
like hearts, catching the light and sharing,
warm, like the sun coming out,
after a long winter.


Sharing this poem from 2015 with the good folk of Poets United, where you'll find good reading in the Pantry every Sunday morning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Kathleen Norris Ruined My Life



My Grandma plied me
with Kathleen Norris novels
when I was a girl,
and full of romantic dreams.
Little Ships, Saturday's Child,
The Heart of Rachael,
I gobbled them all.
In these books,
the heroine was good and true,
and by the end of the tale
had made the right moral choices.
All worked out in the end.

Oh, I believed!

As my Grandma
watched with sorrowful eyes
my bumpy journey of discovery
- and of recovery from
all the disillusionment thereof -
she was known to remark sadly
that she should never have given me
Kathleen Norris books,
because they didn't prepare me well
for real life.

She was right.
But how I loved
the gentle world of Kathleen Norris,
where character always won out in the end,
and the world was clean and kind.


for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Books


Books



From the age of five, I have come home from the library each week with an armful of books. As a child, I read to escape, to enter a world better than the one I lived in, a world of unicorns and magic, princes and princesses, cottages with white picket fences, Heathcliff and Catherine and their undying love. I read to feed my dreams. Through young adult years, I read seeking a blueprint on how to live, how to escape the pain and arrive at the elusive life I longed for, which can only be reached by living. In my aging years, I moved from fiction to stories from real life, for our lives are more fascinating and unbelievable than anything a writer can make up. I read stories that inspire, tales of not just survival, but transcendence of difficult or impossible circumstances with a modicum of grace.  I read to visit all the places, make all the journeys I never will make in real life. Down all the years, week after week, how I love coming home with an armload of books.

Small child, young woman,
crone reading fast as light dims ~
books her constant friend


for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Books


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Postcard From the Edge of Hope


I'm standing on the rim of the world,
at the far edge of far, 
next stop Japan.

I am thinking of you.

The news is bad.
It is very bad.

But the view is beautiful
from here.

I send you
a small postcard
of hope.

Believe in the essential goodness
of humankind.

Believe in Mother Earth
who, like us,
wants to live.

I stand on the edge
of the edge of the world.
I send you this
small postcard
of hope.


Warren Rudd photo
This little guy lives just off my small porch.
A small note of hope.


Yesterday, responding to one of my poems, Brendan thanked me for the postcard of hope, and that became this poem. Thank you, Brendan. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Alive, on Planet Earth






When the Westerly blows,
clouds scudding across the sky,
and the waves crash thunderously
upon the shore,
when the morning fog
blankets the sides of Meares,
jaggedy treetops poking through
making me catch my breath in wonder,
while the morning fishboats
putt-putt-putt across the harbor,




and the bell tinkles
over the door of the Common Loaf,
all the faces turning to see who just came in,
wet rain-gear sloughed off and steaming
in the warm, bread-scented air,



when the eagle cries atop
his favorite scrag,
and ravens pace the beach
hoping for dropped scraps,
dogs lolloping in and out of the waves
with loopy grins,
and surfers stand to ride, and fall,
and rise again,




when the morning sun breaks
over Lemmens Inlet,
and the jellyfish wake in God's Pocket,
when the seabirds' cries are muted
by the roar of the surf,
and they sit facing seaward in a huddle,
predicting storm,




when sunset paints the entire sky
with colors too fantastic to describe,
after the big fiery old orb has vanished
behind the far horizon,
 little sanderlings weaving and darting
along the shore as one body,
and the sonorous back and forth,
ebbing and flowing,
of the waves' ceaseless 
advancing and retreating
sings us home,

when the wind howls up a tempest
that batters every living thing,
and we hide indoors,
awed by her strength and fury,
wood-stove crackling,
and snug and well-content,

when just being alive and breathing
in this blessed, sacred, forever place
seems more bountiful
than a wagon-load of gold bullion
and I more richly blessed,
there is no Thank You big enough
or sufficient words to tell
how dearly I cherish the beauty,
the sheer awesome
interconnected wonder 
of Clayoquot Sound,
or how grateful I am
to have walked this earth walk
with the song of its waves in my heart,




how, each evening, 
climbing into my purple bed,
each morning, climbing out,
I feel the blessing,
rich with all life's worth,
just to have another day, like this,
alive on Planet Earth.




I re-worked an old poem for my prompt at the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads: to write a love song to the place that says Home to us. I have been granted the extraordinary gift of living in this magical place, not once, but twice in my life, and I could not be more grateful. This is a very alive place in which to spend my sunset years! Do stop by Toads, where you will find some very fine reading, any day of the week.



Friday, April 7, 2017

WHEN SUN DOGS DANCE ACROSS THE SKY


Wickaninnish Beach Sun Dog
(the driftwood looks like a wolf to me)


When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the sacred prophecy is at hand,
as the Children of the Rainbow
begin to walk across the land.

Hush, now, and listen,
for the Grandmothers are speaking:


"Like a new-born, wobbly foal,
you're trying to find your skittery legs,
in a time of great change
as land and waters re-arrange.
You'll feel the wobble in the earth
turmoil in the land and sea.
As our Mother Earth gives birth,
we'll learn a balanced way to be."

The people of the Rainbow
were born seeing with new eyes.
May those ready to awaken
hear our Mother's painful cries.


"Getting More must now give way
to the sharing of All with All.
We must return to the Old Ways,
let polluted systems fall.
There will be turmoil in the turning.
Trust those with twinkles in their eyes.
They are cool water to ease the burning.
They are the Messengers, so wise."

Mother Earth, I feel you quickening
as the new world is a-borning,
like a shape-shifter, transforming,
response to evolution's dawning.

"In the time of whirling rainbows,
dance your prayers under the sky.
Listen to the song of the wolves,
fate of the wild world in their cry.

"Sing songs of love and peace.
Watch for a rainbow 'round the sun.
When sun dogs dance across the sky,
the Fifth World of Peace will have begun.

Ah, ho. Now we have spoken."

Thank you, Grandmothers,
for this hope and trust.
We will help the people change,
because change we must.
We will sing with the wolves
our song of tomorrow,
work to mend and heal the planet's people
and the earth its sorrow.



*To the Navajo and the Hopi, the Prophecy of the Whirling Rainbow speaks of Ancestors who will return in white bodies, but who are Red on the inside. They will learn to walk the Earth Mother in balance again. The generation following the Flower Children are prophesied to be the ones who will see the dawning of the Fifth World of Peace.

from April, 2016, to be shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you can find good poetry every Sunday morning.


source: Whirling Rainbow Prophecy


Lullaby

Tree Girl With Woodpeckers 1960
Kaoro Kawano
Fair Use

In the darkling forest
verdant and serene
small gentle birds
tapping a lullaby
to sleeping tree sprite


A tanka for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads: Let's Paint a Picture



Thursday, April 6, 2017

A SAD DAY FOR DR. SEUSS




Big dogs and little dogs,
happy dogs and sad,
dogs on the furniture,
dogs being bad.

When I look
from Here to There,
I see dog hair
Everywhere!

I think I just might
wind up thinner -
they ate the roast
I planned for dinner.

I'd maybe eat 
brown eggs and Spam,
if I was even
crazier than I am.

We don't have
a cat in the hat,
just one who brings
dead bunnies in
and lays them
on the mat.

Rhyming like Seuss
can be a cinch
but that old grinch
won't give an inch.

Wacky Wednesdays
backwards go,
so I typed this po-umm
with my toe!

Backward from 
my comfy bed,
I sat on the toilet
on my head.

Yuck! that experience
was not pleasant.
Now I need 
to find a pheasant

not for use
at dinnertime,
but just because 
I need to rhyme.

Back to dogs
and it's
Go, Dogs, Go!
The only Seuss poem
I really know.

It's a sad sad day
for Dr Seuss.
And now I need
to find a moose.




Ha, Stacie over at Real Toads asked for a whimsical poem a child might enjoy. I pulled this out of the hat, figuring the toilet line might appeal to kids, if nothing else. Smiles.


April Fools




Yesterday, April was fair and buxom:
warm sun, blossoms,
the air full of birdsong.
Little hummers zoomed
back and forth to the feeder.
We all expanded, smiled,
welcomed the soft-scented
arrival of spring.



Today April is grey, wet, chilly.
The wall of green outside my window
is flailing in the wind,
a wild dervish dance,
arms upflung.
At the beach,
waves roar in like jet planes,
huge and voracious,
gobbling the sand.



And we are April's fools,
alternately charmed 
and drenched,
wooed, then rejected,
beguiled, then shocked
by the unexpected.


For Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: April

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Word from Mother Tree



My babies were all safely tucked
in their little bud-beds,
when that sultry Chinook wind
fueled by human greed and ignorance
blew through and lured them
to awaken too soon.
I tried to warn them,
but buds will grow
the way they want to grow.
They rarely listen to Mother Tree.
When the sap rises,
they're off and away.
And so they opened,
and my heart wept,
my tears joining the freezing
rain and sleet that followed.

The hardy ones may recover
and complete their cycle.
But so many little blooms were lost,
along with the fruit they would have been,
along with the disappearing bees
and salmon, and whales,
and coral reefs and plankton,
all gasping in humanity's
last choking dance of despair.

It isn't easy,
being a Mother Tree,
in a world grown perilous
for things that grow.

for Magaly's cool prompt at Real Toads: to speak with the voice of a grieving tree whose buds have been damaged by climate change.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Bodhisattva of the Morning



The Bodhisattva of the Morning
has draped cloud-shawls  
most attractively    
along the side of Meares,
whose head and shoulders
emerge like a stately woman,
assured of her place
in the scheme of things.
The water is calm and still,
waiting for the day to begin,
for the little boats to start chug-chug-chugging
across the harbour.
The quiet streets are speckled 
with pink and yellow blooms,
and the little birds are singing
their warbled songs of spring.

My eyes feast on village,
mountains, water, clouds.
My heart swells in my chest
and all is
      Gratitude, 
            Gratitude, 
                 Gratitude.


Because It Is My Heart


Wonderful photo by The Unknown Gnome



I selected what went in with great care:
wolf howls and a shaman with wise kind eyes;
a big black wolf whose eyes and memory
never leave me; hope and love 
and trust in the divine,
waves rolling endlessly onto sandy beaches,
and an old-growth forest, breathing peace;
music and puppy paws, 
wagging tails and doggy smiles,
lions and elephants, whalesong 
and birds on the wing,
and I packed them all in together, 
leaving nothing out,
because it is everything I love, 
and because it is my heart.


One from August, 2016, my friends, shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where there is wonderful reading to be had every Sunday morning.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I Meet You There



When I see you,
I see you
not as Other
but as Same:
a human being
with your challenges and struggles,
your joys and tears,
your light striving to outshine
the darkness
that surrounds you.

The journey for each of us
is the journey of becoming
who we were meant to be,
climbing the mountain
of self-worth,
coming home
to ourselves.

I see your passage
through the fire,
the imperfect pilgrimage
which was much the same
as mine.
I applaud your spirit's rise,
our souls like bright suns
emerging from
the night-time of solitude.

I see in you
our shared humanity,
and, man or woman,
insofar as it is possible,
I meet you there.


written for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Gender


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Tribe's Magic Person


In the Old Ways,
those who embodied
the spirit of a man
and the spirit of a woman
in one person
were considered doubly blessed.

They were the gifted ones,
the tribe's magic person.
They were the visionaries, 
the prophets, the healers.
They were the medicine people,
the keepers of creation stories.

The elders say, aho,
now the seventh generation has come,
when two-spirited people
are restored to their 
traditional and respected roles,
all of Turtle Island
will begin to heal.

May it be so.


for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Gender. The Two-Spirited people have always fascinated me. I love the idea of them being the tribe's magic person.

Sources:
Rainbow Resource Centre
Canadian Encyclopedia: Two-Spirits
First People
Two-Spirit


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Distraught Sister Moon



Distraught Sister Moon,
I see you up there, pacing around,
wringing your hands,
"what to do, what to do, what to do?"

Down below, all hell is breaking loose:
bombings, shootings, drought,
famines, floods, melting icebergs,
forest fires,
wildlife fleeing in terror,
with no where to hide,
dangerous people with bad hair
behaving badly.

I see you trying to efface your fullness
quickly, perhaps thinking
if you lessen your roundness
the populace can return to calm
under a slice of moon.
But when were we last calm?
Between the dinosaur era 
and Cro-Magnon,
was there once an age 
of hunting and gathering,
feasting and rejoicing,
before My Cave and Your Cave 
became issues and clubs started swinging?

By your light, madmen and prophets collide.
By your light, poets seek truth and beauty.
By your light, we dream of a better world.

You have stopped pacing.
You like where this is going.
Okay, hear this:
By the Light of Your Silvery Moon,
on earth we dream, we dream,
we dream of peace.


from July 2016, shared with the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads. Reference is made to the old old song of my childhood in the closing lines.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday by the Sea


This morning, the sun was shining, so the beach was calling. When I got there, the road was lined with cars from one end to the other. Every surfer on the West Coast must have been there. 



The waves were spectacular. A cacophony of hoots, laughter, joyous shrieks and happy dog barks
filled the air, counterpoint to the roar of the waves.


When a photo opp like this walks by, one must be swift with her camera to capture it. The surfers watching them pass seemed to appreciate the beauty as well. 







I like to play with my camera at the edge of the water, trying to capture the changing patterns on the sand as the waves withdraw. So I was standing there, back to the ocean, when suddenly a big wave rushed in, filling my boots, soaking my jeans to the knee, and almost knocking me down. I emerged nonchalantly, cane tap tap tapping, pretending the immersion was intended. LOL.



I came home with my heart singing (and with a jelly doughnut for dessert tonight.) I tell you, life doesn't get much better.