The Ballad of Banaabekwe and Her Gulls

What diplomacy today can bring to the rescue mice fit to chew through plastic nooses carelessly left to wind around the bleeding necks and throats of sea elephants? You don’t hear that fable, now, do you? – Don Perkins 1. Banaabekwe, at her loom of seagrass slowly, in dappled morning sun, weaves stories for her…

As If We Believe in the Light

April is ugly in April in Edmonton but swans ripple high overhead and we lift up our eyes to their arrows as if we believe in warm wind it is grit brown and slouched but the crouching sun gains day by day and we track it home over the river as if we believe in…

Secrets

clam nestled in sand will not yield, there is no revolving beyond   sun sparks cloud edge low, between mountain and sea running silvered under early blue seething, top to bottom storied beyond our reading   slaves, liars, murders, cheats underpin glass towers glinting now, at anchor lights winking back from their smug harbour  …

Pacific Rim

Spring, training our eyes on the blues of Coal Harbour, rife with wind we rest, cupped in a moment.   How the Salish Sea has changed and still beneath wave and pavement thrums a heart connected to trade seasoned by years of muscling voyage anchored in exuberance – this cloth, this metal, this animal wealth…

Wood With Rabbit

married at the scar, two salve trees lean against each other, how we all learn to walk, watching feet trusting heads to sky silver leaves tip up for rain and beneath them, small boy rabbit frozen in prayer, down among fireweed, wild rose and stalks of tiger lily, velvet footed indian paintbrushes is that where…

In the Garden, Retilled

you can’t hurry dirt garbage to rich brown, seasons and the efforts of millions, obedient to life, composing, compost, calm pose, compelled to completion so small against it all, tidal wave, tectonic thrust, breath ocean exploding, green threads back toward the sun. does any given microbe know daylily blooms?   And here’s the 2009 edit,…

Yevshan, a song goes on singing

now take the sage — yevshan — now breathe it in yevshan yevshan you call from it a story of your own people far away an eastern light, far grasslands yevshan yevshan yevshan your silver leaves bend shining slight arms embrace the wind your sharp breath breaks the bonds of winter roots endure and flourish…

Being Here, Now, Part Two

So, I was saying I  met Ram Dass? That is to say, in the library of the good people who invited me to live in their house (and made it seem I was doing them a favour by house-sitting), among the books was this dark purple one, called ‘Be Here Now.’ I’d never seen anything…

Being Here Now, Part One

Long ago, in Mexico, I lived by myself for the first time in my life. All alone, in a traditional Mexican house, which closes firmly to the street, but opens into a courtyard, which ends at a rough stone wall, shared by several neighbourhood houses. I’d lived in that town for about half a year,…

Worm Medicine

earthworm, indivisible one, you feed on smaller things what is dead, and what is rotting food of worms, no glory until above you, sky riots with beauty that feeds on your tiny work was it you? st. francis held in his hand, praying make me a channel of Your peace here, this reeking moment, break…

Song of Praise (resung)

In Nass Valley, one shaft of sun lights two red and white toadstools in damp moss, luminous deeper in cathedral, wingéd ugly fungi, colours i wouldn’t admit there, i and all that i am, no less than the stinkhorn and oozing mud sing the brown and wrinkled, slick and loathsome, what i would not dare…

Seokguram Temple (revisited)

watch the spell these  mountains clarify our breath, that is the sea over there in this grotto, guardians of broken stone can’t stop tourists, nor the thief who pried loose the jewel once in Buddha’s brow at sunrise, they say you could stand just inside doors opened wide toward sea, and the first ray of…