Tuesday, March 20, 2018

An Evergreen Soul

Tall Tree Trail, Meares Island

My soul goes walkabout
into the forest
on a vision quest.
Amongst the breathing trees,
the white owls are speaking,
softly, so as not to be overheard
by the Others.

My child,
you have journeyed far,
and you are tired.
You are approaching the edge of
a far valley.
Attune your heart
to journeying.
Prepare your traveling song.

My soul sits itself down
at the base of a great green cathedral
whose trunk has grown
for almost one thousand years.

My child,
you are weary and heartsore,
and can find no surcease.
Place your hand on my trunk
and I will tell you all I know
about Enduring.

My soul tiptoes up close to
a gentle, startling deer.
She tilts her head, recognizes
that I mean no harm,
and does not turn away.

My child,
you have learned to keep
a distance from the world.
I understand.
My way, too, must be one of caution,
for there are fast unthinking cars and
angry men and killing guns
out in the Land from which
you come.

On the shores of my soul,
there are waves,
forever advancing and retreating,
while I perch in this desert of the heart
as precariously
as a cactus flower,
afraid to take root for fear
the wound of blooming
will be

Bloom and thorn-
sometimes the messages
are mixed.

My soul emerges from the forest
surrounded by
six white wolves.
My honour guard,
they will protect me.
My soul puts forth the rough, hardy shoots
of a cliff-dwelling juniper.
They wrap around some 
shambling, slipping rocks
and hang on tight.
They have learned
to be tenacious,
and self-sustaining.
They have learned
that even the most solid surfaces
can move and change
and crumble away.

An evergreen soul
can weather the storms,
can withstand drought,
can find joy 
singing in the rain.

for Paul's prompt at dVerse: Soul Gazing

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dear Lunabella

Dear Lunabella,

I'm sitting at the beach
looking at a world that is
all beautiful and blue,
and I want to hand it to you
just like this:
blue sky,
puffy clouds, peaceful dogs,
and a silver sheen on the water.
The waves are singing.

I don't want to leave you
the world on the news:
children dying, suffering, starving,
war everywhere, racism, division,
animals being tortured and murdered,
corrupt politicians, climate change,
and corporations raping the earth.

How to give you hope
when mine is fading?
How to feed your dreams
with my aching heart?

But I see you,
bright Rainbow child,
with your shiny spirit,
and I see the young folk rising
across the country.
You all deserve this world
the way it's meant to be.
So I know, for you,
I must believe again.

For Mother Earth can heal,
if we all help her,
and there is enough for all,
if we all share.

I turn off the news
and all negativity,
and look with eyes like yours,
little Rainbow child,
wearing your shining spirit
of many colours,
alive with all your tomorrows
of hope and promise,
and Life! oh, how it shines!

This is the world I want to give you,
all blue and shining
and wrapped in sunny ribbons,
as brand new and perfect
as your trusting eyes.

love, Great-Grandma

for Karin's prompt at Real Toads: "Dear" poems, and shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United

As I watch the young people speaking truth to power, unafraid, because they see things clearly, not through the filter of money greed or power, I begin to think the young folks will be the ones to save us. I can't wait till they begin voting and moving into the corridors of power. The old way has gotten us in a pickle. Let's get money out of politics and find people who want to SERVE.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Turning their backs
on a White House
that does not hear them,
their silence 
is more powerful
than a scream.

I stand in solidarity with students marching across the USA today, asking for something so simple it is heartbreaking that they have to ask: safety in their classrooms. In front of the White House, these students turned their backs on the government that does not hear them. Their silence was more eloquent than words. It is sad when students have to do the job we adults have failed to do over the years. But I am heartened that we have strong young leaders on the way up. There is hope.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


This beautiful collage was created for me
by my friend Steve, The Unknown Gnome,
one of our early Poets United poets,
who sadly left this world too soon this week.

I am referring to Pup in the following poem,
whose spirit I hope still accompanies me 
along the beach.

We were traveling together
when you took the turning
where the Disappeared go,
and were seen no more.
I could not follow. The way was barred.
Still, I continued walking,
carrying your soul with me
in a small wooden box,
hidden under my cape,
held close to my heart.

When I tire, and falter,
am tempted to turn back,
I can hear you thumping inside your box.
You will not let me abandon the journey.

(Asleep, she found herself
crossing a barren desert.
There was a river ahead,
and she could hear voices, singing,
coming around the bend.
They were coming to get her,
but then she came back into her body.
Not time yet.)

Death is a river, turbulent, roaring,
through time-worn rock-walled chasms
green with weeping.
It dashes our brains out on the rocks
so the eagles may feed,
then settles us, lighter and relieved
of our earthly burden,
in rippled ponds along the shore,
where beaver and wolves may find us.

I will meet you there
at twilight
on the last day.

At midnight, a ghostly spectre
glides mistily along the shore.
She is beckoning,
but I pretend that I am blind.
She is calling. I pantomime
that I am deaf and cannot hear.
Not time, yet.

These words are a pathway
between the time when you were here
and now.
They are as full of your absence
as my heart.
I am still traveling.

You always did go
before me on the path.
I am getting just
a little closer.
Not time yet. Not yet.

This poem was written in 2014. I borrowed some lines for a collaboration with Paul Scribbles last year. But this is the original. I am feeling my mortality these days, and decided to share it with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United this weekend.

Friday, March 9, 2018


The curtains are blue, on rungs,
surrounding the last resting place,
the bed where breaths go in and out,
rasping, until that final moment,
after which there is no more
life on earth.

Before then,
may there be great swirling galaxies
of miracle and wonder.
May we catch our collective breath
and drink it all in,
with awe, with gratitude:
the beauty, the colour,
the sweep, the reach,
the astonishment of each dawn,
on another day of living
on Planet Earth.

for the prompt at Real Toads: Curtains

Today it is gloriously sunny. The daffodils are blooming, and I am off to the beach, with a grateful heart.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Hearts of Women


"A nation is not defeated until the hearts
of its women are on the ground."
A Cheyenne saying

Aho, Wise Grandmother says,
it is time for the women
to raise their voices:
in song, in council, in power, in truth,
to speak for social and
environmental justice
for all the living.

Huff, puff, says the big bad prez,
we are going back 50 years
to the Good Old Days
and women may not speak.
We are not, in fact,
entirely convinced you are people.

Aho, you are foolish.
We have dealt with men like you before,
and better.
We have grandchildren,
and we need to leave them
a world that is alive.
You will find us a formidable force,
for we are half the earth,
we hold up half the sky.
In strength, we bear
your sons and daughters.
Our life's purpose is
to keep them safe.
Our hearts are strong.
Our love for Mother Earth
is fierce.

You can drive us
away from the river.
You can lock us up.
More of us will follow,
for water is life
and we do not respect
the ways of death.

Your addiction to oil
is polluting sacred waters.
Your addiction to money
is melting the polar icecaps.
Your willful ignorance
is imperiling the planet.
We refuse. We resist.
Our wolfish hearts rise up.
We march for
our grandchildren's grandchildren,
and for yours.

We are of Life, of Breath,
of Memory, of Tomorrow.
In sisterhood, in motherhood,
we sing the Earth Mother's song.
Our hearts are weary
but our minds are wise.
We speak for the voiceless,
for the refugees,
for the wild, for the animals,
for the air, the soil,
the ocean, the rivers, the lakes
and for all creatures.
This gives us strength.
We will not be moved,
or silenced
or overcome,
and our hearts are
no where near to
being on the ground.

A message in honour of International Women's Day. [from 2017]

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

We Can't Eat Money

The animals are looking at us
with questions in their eyes.
They are starving,
with nowhere to live.
The trees shiver with fright
as the chainsaws roar.
Whales lose their lives
in the noisy, polluted ocean.
Creatures all over Mother Earth
are disappearing.

And still the Two-Leggeds
log and frack and lay waste.
The Black Snake coils
across the land,
spewing death.
Plastics pour into the sea
and come back out as our food.
As a species we are unique
in fouling our own nests,
destroying our habitat,
and that of 
every other creature.

There is not enough money 
in the world
to fix all we have destroyed.
Nor enough time.

Mother Earth is crying
for our voices, our actions,
our help,
for she can heal,
if we give her the chance.

What will it take
for us to understand:
humankind is in peril, too?
What happens to one,
in the web of life,
happens to us all.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif at Poets United: Money

Saturday, March 3, 2018


I gift you a morning sunrise,
in late winter,
new-minted with promise,
a fresh day unfolding.

I gift you hours with loved ones,
sharing songs, and stories, and laughter,
and tears, in the remembering
of those things that have been lost.

I gift you sunshine and birdsong,
and a winter hummingbird,
magical and unexpected,
at the feeder,
blue jays and scarlet cardinals,
and a horse in the field,
huffing small clouds of breath
into the cold air.

For your lonesome heart,
I send you an old dog's smile,
patient and devoted,
and always there.

For your tomorrows,
I send you a small fairy
sprinkled with moondust,
and a wand,
to bid you safe passage,
and the certain knowledge
you have a place in this world
that is distinctly yours, where you
are treasured and needed.

I wish you open hands
to receive each day's gifts,
to store away in your heart
like nuts from a winter squirrel.

This poem is adapted from one I wrote for a friend back in 2016, when I lived at the farm, and there were horses in the field. The photos were taken last night at the beach.

Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Calling Bullshit

Emma Gonzales
photo by Jonathan Drake, Reuters

Their leaders are failing them,
so they say “We will be the change
we need to see.”
They are tired of waiting,
so they say, “We call b.s.”
that the NRA donated 30 million
to the repubs,
who refuse to legislate
tougher gun laws,
though other countries have shown
this is the answer.

I call b.s. too,
that MR-15’s – weapons of war -
are available to anyone
who wants one
and that the prez’s answer
to school shootings
is to arm the teachers.
We have fallen so far down
the rabbit hole
we can no longer see the sky.

But when these young people speak
Truth to power,
Hope rises in my heart
like a brand new day.
Damn right, I’ll walk with them,
support them,
drink in the inspiration of
their pure, unvarnished truth,
stitch up my tattered heart
and march again.

I can’t literally march for this issue, as I live in Canada, and we have other things to march for. But in my heart I am marching, listening, supporting, and speaking out with these kids, who are rising up to make this world more worthy of their presence. Here come our future leaders, who are already providing more leadership than we have seen this past year: Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin. And students all over the country are planning to March for Their Lives on March 24.

When it came to this most recent massacre of school children in the US – the seventeenth shooting in 2018 (and it is just barely March), according to Everytown for Gun Safety  - I had had it. It was with complete admiration that I listened to the young rising up to do what their leaders refuse to do, insisting upon legislated change. Thankfully, these kids will soon be of voting age. I place my hope in them and in the voices in government rising in support of gun legislation – Joe Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, and others.

Corporate interests are now withdrawing their connections to the NRA. Good news, as it is in the pocketbook that impact is most felt by those ruled by money.

Maybe this is the tipping point, where the majority of us, good-hearted people with no Big Money agendas, say “Enough is enough!”

In Canada, we have our problems. But we do not have this repeated incidence of gun violence. We have gun legislation. People still have rifles, still hunt, still can buy the firearms they feel they need. But there are background checks, and guns are registered.  ASSAULT RIFLES are not available to the public. An intelligent, immediate response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting would be to remove assault weapons from sale to the public in the US. That would be a good first step. No civilian, and no hunter,  needs weapons of war.

On March 24, young people will be marching on Washington and across the country. I hope Washington will hear them and not insult their intelligence by ludicrously repeating that arming teachers will make their schools safe.

for my prompt at Real Toads: Being the Change

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


photo by: _thewhiteguy (via Instagram)

Each day
is framed
by sunrises and sunsets.
What we do in between
is our lives,
days drifting by dreamily,
as if there will 
always be
more time.

Let's remember
to stop often,
look up at the sky,
smile at passing dogs
and people,
commune with trees
and waves,
breathe deeply
the gift of the hours
that are ours,
handfuls of happiness,
be grateful.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

My Inner Bird

Original artwork by Marion Syme
for Clayoquot Eclectic

My inner bird is, perhaps,
the raven with her gobble-cry,
or maybe the cheep of a small sparrow.
Perhaps a mourning dove.

How many times can the heart break?
As many times as are required of us.
I turn on the news.
The young are rising.
Thank God.

Children are still dying.
There was Sandy Hook one Christmas;
now it is years later
and the children are still dying.
How are we adults to bear
the world we have created
for the young?

My inner bird must be
a tough old bird,
because we’re still here,
still outraged,
and our hearts still fire with hope
when the young raise their voices
and speak their painful truth
- our painful truth -
to corrupt power.

My inner bird
shrieks with a pain
I cannot release
for fear the walls will tumble.
All identifiable walls have tumbled
but, thankfully,
there is cement and mortar,
and willing hands
to help us
build them up again.

For Kerry’s prompt at Real Toads: to write a poem as a one-sided conversation to a disinterested audience. The governmental audience is certainly disinterested, in anything but their own agenda.

Also shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sing a More Hopeful Song

Emma Gonzalez, 17, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, calls bullshit on the status quo. This is how strong one voice can be.

voices silenced
under the barrage of bad news
when we can't begin
to find the words
to fix this suffering world

let us go out into the forest
breathe in some peace
return to sing songs of healing
like small sweet birds

place twigs between
my nest and yours
share nuts and seeds

we old ones grow weary
of fighting the same fight
let us listen to the young
saying "we call bullshit"
and "enough!"
march with them
add our voices to theirs
sing a more hopeful song

for Susan's prompt at Poet's United's Midweek Motif: Voice

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Image by  QUIXOTE.tv.zazzle.com

He was my last Valentine.
I told him, I have one relationship
- one last stab at hope –
left in me,
and I don’t have ten more years 
to heal another broken heart.

He nodded.
But he was sly.
He knew all the words,
and I never played "the game".
Later, it was revealed
he had two others on the string,
“keeping his options open”,
while he plied me with
sweet promises of forever,
leading me past the point 
of healthy, instinctive fear.

I fell like a lemming off a cliff,
like a horse heading for the barn,
like a freight train to nowhere.

When he told me oh, so sorry,
he was "confused",
he "needed time" 
(to try out the other two)
he said he’d miss 
my blueberry muffins.
Would you believe I made him 
one last batch,
before I left his house that midnight
and drove the long road home?
Yes, of course you will totally believe it.

I got my revenge, though.
No, no poison in the muffins.
I lived on and got to be me.
He still had to remain himself:

a befuddled Quixote,
tilting his misguided lance
at all the pretty ladies.

LOL. For Rommy's prompt at Real Toads: Love Hurts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Kennedy Lake

I am driving home through the mountains,
and I'm writing this poem to you,
Mother Earth,
because you dazzle me.
This morning,
you have your best
blue sky and sunshine on.

Snowy peaks glisten
at the summit,
gauzy clouds wrapping
the slopes' shoulders
like prayer shawls.

Tall trees are draped 
in winter snow jackets,
and  lake and  sky
change places,
the water is so clear.

Around every corner,
vista after beautiful vista
leaves me breathless,
and the only word I have for you,
again and again, is

I drove through the mountains heading home this morning, and didnt have my camera with me. If I had, I would have stopped twenty times, the beauty was that breathtaking. The scenery is always spectacular, along that highway, though the road itself is a bit worrisome. But this morning, Mother Nature exceeded herself. She pulled out all the stops.  I wrote this poem in my mind as I traveled. I am now back at my desk, and have a lot of catching up to do. It is a glorious sunny day and I am ecstatic to be here, on the West Coast, on Planet Earth, in early spring.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Word.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Stairway to Heaven

This is not the actual Stairway to Heaven tree,
but is one of the trees on the Tall Tree Trail
on Meares Island

I climbed the
Stairway to Heaven tree
that first summer,
when all the world
was bathed in 
gold and green.
The trees were prayers,
the forest my cathedral.
I had found the place
of perfect harmony
and peace.

She had laid herself down
along an incline,
and a tree friend had notched
gentle stairs in her girth.
Step by step,
one climbed her
to the stars.
I sang her song
as I tiptoed
towards the sky.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads: Stairway to Heaven. There is a huge old growth fallen tree by this name on the Tall Tree Trail across the bay from Tofino. As it fell on an incline and there were stairs gently notched in, I could, when I was young, climb up it towards the sky. There are trunks there so enormous you wouldn't believe it. It felt unlike any place I have ever been and far holier than a church. Here is my photo of the Hanging Garden Tree along that same trail.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


My first word was "oosh" for "shoe".
The shoes kept growing bigger
as I walked a million miles
through childhood summers,
through evenings looking in windows,
in the city,
dreaming of the home
I would one day have,
and then
through long autumn afternoons
pushing a baby carriage,
wearing out tires and footwear.

I walked my way from city to country,
from desert to seaside,
and back again.

I am still walking, my shoes now
an old woman's sturdy black
with orthotics,
that carry me up and down the shore,

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Shoes

Of Moon and Stars

My Mom and Dad

He hung the moon for her
and she lit up his night sky.

He jumped over a piano,
and down from the stage,
to meet her
when he saw her walk in.

So much love,
yet their life was hard.
She stayed with him
through it all.

When he died,
she held his fedora to her chest
and walked up and down 
along the creek,
for hours,

The sky had gone dark.

So much love,
so much regret -
so much to grieve.

My dad played alto sax and clarinet in bands all his life. My mom walked into one of the dances, seventeen, a beauty, long blonde hair falling down her back, and he did jump over the piano and down from the bandshell to meet her when he saw her walk in, a fact my mom smiled over all her life.  

Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Standing With the People of the Earth

A feather lies in the mud
at Standing Rock.
Fallen from a brave warrior,
it holds the prayers and dreams
of generations:

Mni wiconi: Water is Life.

They stood frozen in the snow, unmoving,
against the water cannons, the tear gas,
the rubber bullets,
sustained brutality,
peacefully, prayerfully,
because they believed
justice would be done,
the water and their sacred land
would be saved,
when it is so simple and so clear:

Mni wiconi: Water is Life.

Then the Orange Man, with satisfaction,
signed his dishonourable name
and the oil barons clapped their hands,
the billionaires all smiled.
Because money rules.
Money always rules.

But theirs is a temporary win,
because the spirit liberates.
Either enough of us will stand up
to save this suffering world, or,
in a not-distant time,
they will thirst
along with all the rest
of earth and its creatures.
None of their billions can produce water,
when all water is dead
and thick with oil and plastic.

A feather lies in the mud at Standing Rock,
symbol of a brave people
whose cause was just,
who stood under assault
for all of us,
who shared a dream of social justice
the fat cats will never understand.

Mni wiconi. 
All my - all our - relations.

A week after taking office, trump okayed the go-ahead for the Dakota Access Pipeline without a need for review of environmental factors. In fact, he has stripped most environmental protections and is dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Justice. He is proposing peaceful protestors be charged criminally, though there are a bunch of people in Washington I think deserve criminal charges more.

Big money wins, for now, and all of us lose. The planet and all of its inhabitants, and we are many, will suffer the results. Meanwhile, oil spills and chemical explosions continue apace. "Clean coal" is the new mantra. Cough, cough.

Even in Canada, we are disenchanted with the charismatic Prime Minister Trudeau, who, like all politicians, once in office becomes hobbled by the capitalistic model of money being all that matters, and has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the continuation of the doomed, financially and morally insane Site C dam above vociferous protest by the people. Money rules.

A more hopeful note: February 6, 2018: "Oil investors, Marathon shareholders, want the oil company to explain how it weighs environmental and social risks, given the treatment of Dakota Access Pipeline protestors. They have called for a human rights risk report after Standing Rock." One young protestor has just been given three years in jail for peacefully and prayerfully bearing the assault of the militarized police at Standing Rock.

Of course, all of this is moving way too slowly.

source: Climate News

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Note From the Edge of the World

It is late afternoon
on the edge of the edge of the world.
Grey skies and raindrops
play timpani on the budding tulips,
and a pink-headed hummingbird
darts at the feeder,
grateful for sustenance.
As am I. As am I.

There was hail yesterday,
frozen pellets fired from heaven.
I passed laughing villagers,
coats held up over our heads,
as the streets grew white.

Where have all the years gone
and why have all the cherished people
from those days
changed so,
as if I am a different person to them
now that I am old
than I was when I was young
and laughing and strong.
As if they no longer know who I am.

I spend my days and nights
and years
with no dog,
but the song of the sea
is my comfort.
At twilight, I stand at my open door
and listen
for whatever it wants
to tell me.


sailing a celestial sky, 
conveyor of dreams,
you glide serenely,
untouched by the foibles
of humankind.

a wolf howls
in the lonely midnight hours.
we stir in our troubled sleep,
knowing there are things 
to be made right,
answering the inner call
of the wild,
seeking justice
for all creatures.

light our path.
shine enlightenment
on our species,
that all others
may live.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Moon. I have written many moon poems over the years. This one is more troubled, given the times we live in.

Saturday, January 27, 2018


led me into books,
and, through them,
out into the world,
what would 
complete me.

became a road map
for me,
out of pain,
and a manifesto
I could
believe in.

they brought me back,
and took me 
deep inside myself,
where I found
all the 

for Magaly's prompt at Real Toads: to describe what words do or have done for us.

Winter Blue

Wickaninnish Waves in Winter Blue

We sat together,
my grandmother in her wheelchair,
I her most frequent visitor,
as I told her 
I was moving to the sea,
my heart's dream.

We both knew what this meant 
for her.

She gathered herself to speak,
and she was generous:
"You deserve this, Sherry,"
she told me.
"You've had such a hard time."

The next time I visited,
she had retreated into herself,
and lived in silence.
But when I told her of the eagles,
and the whales and the wild waves,
she smiled.

Traces of mixed
joy and sorrow,
reflecting on the years'
unfolding ~
my solace, always,
the silver, shining sea.

for Angie's Get Listed at Real Toads : a celebration or a milestone memory of a loved one. And I will share it in the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Wickaninnish in Blue......

One can never take too many photos of waves -
always trying to get that one perfect shot!

I love the winter blues
in sky and sea.

So pretty, the misty mountains.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ploughshares of Peace

"They will beat their swords into ploughshares.....
nor will they train for war any more."
Isaiah 2:4

It is time
to turn the weapons
into ploughshares,
to till the hearts
of all men.

Make my pen 
a weapon of peace,
of hope, of faith,
of connection.

Let us vote for those
who play the pipes of peace,
not only in words,
but in deeds;
those who will spend 
on social justice
what we now spend 
on killing machines.

I see the world
that we have made,
and the world we could have,
if  we choose leaders
who will take us there.

We have seen the best
and the worst.
And we know, now,
how important it is
to choose.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: a poem of hope on the topic "Weapons".

Wickanninish in the Sun......

Mother Nature gives us a warning, and then a gift........
Today dawned sunny and beautiful, so we went to Wickanninish, 
where the waves were dancing. Enjoy!

Sebastian had a great day.