Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When time closed your heart to me
You passed right through
Dance partners on different planes
Unable to hold each other
Invisible at close distance
No way to push the water
Back up this river

The river was fun
And the rapids were
Just bumps and dodges
Sitting in the raft
Where only pant legs got wet
And life seemed real enough

In a moment of neglect
Our raft overturned
At a standing wave
You and I torn apart
By the current
At once wishing differently
But knowing the truth
Searching for children
Tossed from the raft
Where we all felt safe

Agitating freely
In the belly of the river
This old sweater
To heavy in the water
The uncertain balance
Of over and under
Water then air
Not knowing
What will come
Who is safe
Fragile and precious
Each found breath

Eyes opening
Under water
Glimpse a new truth
That couldn't be seen
From the raft
Now lodged in me
As deep and as strong
As the river itself
The will to survive
Bobbing loose in the rapids
Surendering to the current
Finding its own strength

When my children are saved
When we are past this narrow gorge
I will find a bright new dream
Painted over that canyon of shade
Where we passed
Across the threshold
Into this bigger world
To find our deep
And quiet breath
Arriving again

Waking to the truth
Dust is blowing off the stone
Where we drew our dreams

Monday, December 8, 2008

Summer Nights

Summer Nights 1

I remember summer nights
When as a child
I lay in bed drifting
With the ocean
Listening to its waves
Hearing confident adult voices
In a different room
Summarize the adventures of their day
I often thought before I slept
That I understood how the sun
Matched my fading light
Near the end of a busy day
My skin so suntanned and salted
By summer days
Of swimming in the ocean
I felt safe in that place
And comfortable
In the bed where I slept
On gray flannel sheets
That were as soft
As the summer's night
The ocean happily played
Its own perfect music all night long
With only the moon that seemed to listen
While it passed in peace
Across the sky

I listened through my window
To the thousand songs
Of my very own ocean
As it played joyfully
Through the nighttime
Never tiring of stirring
Rounded granite gravel
Along the bay's upper beach
Each wave that crested
Broke and withdrew
Would shuffle and turn
Every bright stone it could find
Later as the ocean withdrew
With the falling tide
Its waves would only find
The sandbars
Where just a few rocks
Lived scattered among the shells
Or sat between clam siphons in the sand
Where they rested stuck
Nature's jewels set in her crown

The stones out there
Had wiggled down through water
After splash-landing into the ocean
Where we threw them
As high and as far as we could
Those stones
Made no crackles in the surf
But slowly disappeared
Into the sand a little more
With each visit of the tide
I never found the
Carefully chosen
Flat skipping stones out there
They were probably swallowed
By shifting sand right away

Summer Nights 2

I remember summer nights
That comforted me
When I was tired from pushing
Logs out to sea
Toward every boundary
And never quite managing
To fly as a bird or swim
As a fish or stand as a tree
Or to move with the purpose
Of an army of ants
Or a pollinating bee
Then, at the end of the day
Lying there waiting for sleep
To safely and quietly carry me home
I sometimes found
An unbroken thread of music
Fastened by the silver moon
That drew each wave
Onto the gravel beach
In front of our cottage
Sending its song
Across the sandy grass
Of our side yard
And through an open window
Of my magic dreams
Straight into my soul
In this simple way
The moon attached me to the ocean
For an entire lifetime

Even now when I sleep
Distant from the ocean
My hands find you
And move along your body
Pushing and drawing
A wave exploring its shore
After traveling in silence for so long
Finally free to celebrate the nature
Of the distant disturbance
That brought it to life
Tracing your shorelines
With my fingertips
I gently draw the silver threads
Of the ocean's music
Across your skin
To any one of
A thousand ocean rhythms
That has played in me
Since I slept a child

Now that I am older
I still sleep to the rhythm of a sea
Gentle snores ride the crests of breaking waves
As relaxed bodies drift
In the foam of a gentle surf
This place is somewhere close
To where we met for the first time
The music is loud and clear
When the ocean
Is near the height of its tide
Then fades to softer
And quieter tones
As the tide withdraws
To its solitary practice
Of sculpting patterns
In the shifting sands
Of isolated sandbars
Their designs perfectly refashioned
With every falling tide

Sometimes in the early morning
The ocean seems so gentle
And looks as if at rest
Then at other times
Smiling behind clenched white teeth
It just dares us
To give it a bare foot
Its undertow charged with heavy gravel
Set to bruise and batter shins and ankles
At each withdrawing wave

Now that I see
The ocean’s pattern on me
I remember the endless waves
Inviting me to express
My own deep and ever-healing love
Bathing me in the cadence of their rhythms
That has lived like a light in my hands
Since I played a child
The ocean as a teacher
Just as much as a friend
Offers its rising tide of love
To the silver light of the moon
Drawing us closer to the music
Of our own ocean waves

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Green Man

The green man
Stands in his forest
Rooted in nature
Welcoming us home

Sometimes we brush
By his wooden ankles
Sometimes we can look
Down into his liquid eyes

There is always love
Deeper than we see
Carried with his soul
As he flys from tree to tree

The dreams he loves to share
Are cast into the clouds
Where they float above the leaves
In this forest full of trees

I never walk so fast
Through the landscape where he lives
That I would fail to greet him
Any place where I might meet him

Sometimes, he hides too well
In the forest where he lives
Though whenever I seem to find him
He's the one who shares my breath

Not everybody sees him
Not everybody needs him
But I love him
Deeper, deeper every day

I have always been his brother
And yet, just like any other
You may find him in your forest
By your self

If his hand should gently wake you
Softly brush along your cheek
With the silent mist that is carried in a cloud
Your soul can ride its ever-flowing stream

Don't whisper who he is
Or he will lift and float away
But you will always know it
When you meet him on your way

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Thought I Understood

I thought I understood
But I didn't know anything
I wished so hard
For things to be different
But it has not changed anything
And I still can't understand

I know that I love
And that should be enough
To sleep and to feel the rain on my face
Now I can see that I wished
For my love to change other worlds
As I would want them to be

It just may be that the only world
That really needs my love is mine
When love is pure and unselfish
It is transparent and will not block the vision of others
They can see right through to truth
Where love and forgiveness live together

In that deeper universe
That patiently waits to welcome me home
Back into my own world
Seeming so familiar and yet
So brand new again
I just can't understand
What still holds me back

I know that a bright spiritual peace lives there
And yet, I still hold so tightly
To this coattail of suffering
So unwilling to let it go
But I know now that I am being shaken loose
And am reawakening in the process

I know that I feared loosing what I had
But my life stopped breathing so long ago
Crushing pressure from my clutching grip
Has cost me so very much
Everything I thought I wanted has fallen away
Now, I seek to find my rightful seat

In that place that lets me see and know this pain
Just for what it is and not for what it could have been
In a world that smiles deeply with love and compassion
For this new child as he learns a deeper truth
And opens with joy - just like a bud
Unfolding the beauty of its flower

In a new and richer world
Where love is created
Inside every thought
And reborn with every breath

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Awake to this Morning

Early morning
Quietly breathing
In its own
Rich way

Unable to stir those
Who sleep in silence
Awaiting the narrow call
Of a starter’s signal
Rousing them into
A new days race

Few truly notice
The beauty of this morning
The river seems still
But its belly is full and round

The surface of the water
Braised with all the colors
Of overheated steel
Reflecting back
Gently but lively
Into the morning sky

Cool air finds me under my collar
Grassy dew holds to my boots
My body lightens as
I join this morning song

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Tiger! – Tamel!
Pre-dawn raid
Shooting shouting running
Chasing bullets through shattered glass
Refuge in the trees…

Sweet quiet smell
Of summer earth...
Lying on our bellies
In our best white shirts

Gentle whispers
Phut.... phut
Of Unseen bullets
Striking nearby

Children clutched at my side
Phut.... phut
In this strange game
That seems less real
Than I could ever imagine


artist: Ben Houstie 1995

^ ^
Spirits of ancestors fly on the wings of great birds
Many others travel with the fierce killer whale
Totem speaks from the front of our house
( . ( . ( . Eagle . ) . ) . )


}< ///o > ......}< ///o >...... }< ///o >

Reading room

Sunlight streamer
Perfect angled ray
Teasing dust dreamers
In and out of your way
So drawn from my story
I reach to rest my book
And stir new worlds to glory
Each inviting me to look

The Human Part

Can I just give you a hug right now?
I want to fall asleep in your arms
I want to feel the rain on my face
And hear the waves on the beach
And smell the moss in the forest

Winter tide

Playing on a winter beach
Sun's Warmth still far from reach
While wet and cold dare two bare feet
Precious moments I will keep

Lost in quiet, a forgotten place
My loose string of footprints trail through space
Now washed with waves that drowned the race
I feel the smile that finds my face

The smell of seaweed loosely rolled
With shells and rope and boards that hold
Wind-rows of stories all untold
That I with driftwood can unfold

The moon has whispered to the tide
The ocean turns and needs to rise
My footprints change in shape and size
And through the mist my soul can ride

Butterfly Clam

Beautiful broken blue butterfly
Sitting stuck-still in the sand
Half-buried beneath a black beach
Letting go of living life
Breaking into brittle bits
Then swashed as sand by sea

Special Places

There are places
We can stand
That will not let us
Be alone
Where our heart
Is drawn open
To the fullness
Of our time
Where senses unfold
To enter
The moment
Bright and brand new
One with all
No thought of alone

Boat Wake on a Quiet River

After the boat went by...
Melting me into the moment

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The gifts I kept from you
The Love I kept from view
Left me standing
On the other side of the River

I could have joined with you
In the river
If I would have found the courage
To share a dance
A kiss - a gentle caress
When you needed them

When we got lost
And needed to cross
Back to the other side
We could have made a bridge of love

Winter Morning

Ducks in darkness
Glide silently
Perfectly together
Sliding to a stop
On dawn’s heavy pond
Settling to rest
Like two slippers
On a fabric floor

Their soft swash
On the still pond
Draws brash calls
From crows on branches
Tangled in the darkness
Awakening the day
Like a fire stirred to life
From overnight embers

Morning’s light ignites
Its wash of colour
Flooding the eastern sky
Tinting all things their Hue
Black withdraws from all
Except the crow
Who keeps his morning
Colour in his call

Wind Chime

Everything in nature
Everything in life
In its own way
With its own rhythm

The tree
In a breeze
Dances with its leaves
Its branches
Its trunk

One branch of leaves
Makes the beat
As the crown
Sways with feeling
And the trunk resists the pull

My eyes close
And I lean back to sway
In the soft push
Of the wind

With my hand
Or my voice
I add to the music
Of the wind in the trees

It really
Doesn’t matter
How the wind plays us
Just that we feel
The beauty

A Widgeon’s Warning

I walk along the river
Every day
With my dog

Widgeon whistle warnings
While we walk by
Even though they know
He never chases birds

Their warning call
Fused into behavior
By the white-hot need
To survive

Not so very different
From some of my own
Strong habits…


Waves form their curl
And one upon another break
To run up on the beach
And sink into the sand

Sand grains seive through fingers
As the water draws away
It is a wet and sandy apron
This noisy ribbon in the bay

Morning Crow

Black crow
Flying low
Across the road
In front of my car

Round belly
As its
Flat shadow

Sun's silver steel light
Stolen from the ground
Off cocky wings

Autumn Leaf

Yellow leaf on black pond
Of two worlds
Under a bare branch of your tree
That combs the morning mist
Reaching out for winter's sleep

How different your back
And your belly must feel
Stuck to the top of deep water
That soft familiar whisper of breeze
Now silenced under a muffle of cloud
Pushes at your belly
But the irresistible pull of the river's current
Moves you now closer to the shore

While you floated
I watched a boat pulling logs up the river
Its exhaust mixing with the mist
Spreading from a cotton-cloud gray
To an air-brushed blue
As the boat took its sound
Around the river's bend
I noticed you again
In your neither-here-nor-there world
Still and silent

There wasn't much of a wake
From the boat or its boom
More like the jelly-jiggle of rippled water
But it cast you on the shore
Where you folded and tore in two
Yellow leaf on black pond
Circling back into life
Stuck at the interface

Listening to Waves

I felt you lift my boat
Green and solid ocean wave
Moving so fast and strong
Silent on your track

I watched you find your shore
And at your turn
Stand to call your truth
I ran with you down the beach – listening

Sometimes you just whispered
But sometimes
You seemed to shout
Pounding your message into the surf

I never understood you clearly
But you always touched me deeply

Your voice carried over the sand bars
And tumbled with the salty wind
Beyond the beach grass into the forest
Where your song would softly rest

High up on bent branches
In the summer smell of old cedar trees
You would sleep with invisible silence
Until the raven would visit your branch

I watched the raven tilt his head
And listen carefully to your secret
Then with it fly away calling
The essence of your truth

I never understood him clearly
But he always touched me deeply

I wondered - Did you find your peace
On the beach, or in the forest
Or when raven learned your message
And called it out for the others to know

Now, when I watch your brothers find their shore
And I smell the forest where they rest
And as I hear the raven call your truth
I find your joy in my own heart's beat

A New Season

Standing for a moment
Toes in winter boots
The river's edge
Gazing into my own
Rippled pond

By a wing of geese
Passing over the water
Like a healer’s hand
Its subtle brush of air
Quieting rippled water
Under the gentle touch
Of its soft feathered shadow

Their colourful-chorused call
Finds me and draws me
From my sleeping place
To join them
In their triumphant return
To spring

Now out of sight
Past the thicket
Of budding branches
On the other side
Of the river
The geese move on

I watched it all happen
And somehow now
My inner pond
Full and clear and still
Has awakened
To the rhythm
Of a new season

Present Moment

Sometimes the past
Rises with the tide
The weightless pull
Of a memory
That can shadow
The sand we stand on

Sometimes the future
Carries me away
Like an outgoing tide
To dream a distant thought
That shimmers
With uncertain light

As with every tide
At the moment of its change
A quiet instant rings
Returning us
To the fullness in a moment
And the sand beneath our feet