No Buddy Left Behind


When I started writing this blog over two years ago, I never dreamed that the book I co-authored with Terri Crisp of SPCA International would hit NUMBER THREE on Wall Street Journal’s BEST SELLERS Top-Ten List for Non-Fiction E-Books.  It’s hard to describe how incredible it feels.  Gratitude – lots and lots of gratitude.  Thank you Terri for the opportunity to work on your story and those of the soldiers and animals they befriended.

So, to all my readers, according to the Wall Street Journal, our book is one you don’t want to miss reading:

No Buddy Left Behind: Bringing U.S. Troops’ Dogs and Cats Safely Home from the Combat Zone by Terri Crisp and C J Hurn (Me).

You can order it from your local bookstore, or buy it online as hardback, audio or e-book. In July the paperback version will be coming out as well.

See link to May 18, 2012 Wall Street Journal below. No Buddy is in 3rd place in the 2nd section down (Non-fiction E-books)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577389970643064172.html?mod=WSJ_Books_LS_Books_13

Other top-selling books I have been blessed to contribute non-fiction stories to:

and

Right now I am working with Bernie Siegel on his next book, The Art of Healing, (New World Library).

Terri and Cindy in Erbil, Northern Iraq  – February, 2011

Thank You Terri for a life-changing opportunity

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Editorial, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Whale of a Day


Fridays and sailors don’t get along, so I’ve been told. And no sailor in his right mind would begin even the shortest journey on Friday the 13th if he could avoid it. Perhaps that’s why Ed Young and I were the only two people at the harbor that morning.

Last Christmas I decided to purchase myself a gift certificate for a two-hour tour with Whidbey Island Kayaking Company. I had previously enjoyed kayaking in California, but always on a lake-reservoir. Now I was hoping to have as much fun in the ocean as I’d had on the lake. All winter I waited, looking forward to the day when I’d slip gently between swelling waves, leave life’s worries behind and paddle my happy craft along the coast. It had seemed to take forever for Spring to come, but finally, at long last, Spring and I arrived at the harbor along with my inner child, who, bouncing like Tigger, threatened to make me act sillier than adult behavior decrees.

Ed and his wife began Whidbey Island Kayak Company as a retirement project ten years ago.  With a generous assortment of kayaks and well-trained guides, Ed and his crew take tours out of Langley Harbor. For many of Ed’s guests, this is the first time they’ve ever sat in a self-powered boat, let alone a kayak, so before launching, Ed takes time to help each person become accustomed to the feel of the vessel and to learn basic safety techniques.

Kayaking season around here usually begins in March, along with the migration of Orcas and Grey whales, but smart ocean kayakers wait for relatively calm weather. This year the March Lion refused to make way for the lamb. All month I waited as Mother Nature released her vengeance; she down-poured and flowed; she gusted and snowed, and I desperately tried to be patient. Come April and our first day of partial sun, I called Ed. While he checked his tides list, I checked my weather forecaster. The week beginning April 8th looked encouraging for late morning high tides, when whales were most likely to be feeding, but Monday through Wednesday had predictions of wind gusts up to 25mph. “Thursday the 12th looks good,” said Ed.

“Sorry, I’ve got several appointments that day.”

“Are you superstitious?” he asked. “We could go on Friday the 13th.”

I respect the ocean and her moods, but I have no time for superstitions that curtail my opportunity for exercise, wonder and just plain fun. “Friday the 13th sounds perfect,” I said.

Langley Harbor lies at the bottom of a 300-ft. cliff on the eastern edge of town. If you stood at the end of 2nd Street, it would be easy to miss seeing the harbor altogether, tucked tightly below the coastal road. As I drove down the small lane that, carved diagonally into the cliff, hugs verdant growth, I wondered just how much the rising seas and rain erosion threaten the road. At the bottom, the shore broadens out, leaving enough room for a few guest houses, a pub and some harbor parking.

Ed arrived just as I parked my car. There were only two of us that day, so he unloaded a two-person kayak, which was fine with me. The water was calm at the moment, but oceans have a habit of changing almost without notice, and I was grateful he’d be in charge of our vessel on my first time out. After we geared up and went through the safety review, Ed decided to visit the public toilet across the way. Just as he turned to go, I gazed out to sea. Suddenly a heart-shaped mist appeared above the water and then dissolved about 100 yards from where I was standing.

“I think I saw a whale,” I called to Ed.

“What?” Ed stopped and waited to see if anything more broke the surface. He hadn’t seen the spray, but gave me the benefit of the doubt. When no other sign presented itself, he said, “I’ll just make a quick visit and then we’ll head out.”  At that moment, two whale-sprays appeared about 50 yards away from me. “Forget the bathroom,” Ed said. “Let’s go!” He pulled the kayak into the water, told me to get in and adjusted my footrests.  A minute later we launched, eyes peeled on the spot where the whales had been spouting.

Moments after we launched, one of the whales breached the water’s surface, his spine looking more like the Loch Ness monster than what I had expected. I was used to seeing Orcas with their characteristic dorsal fin, but not this smooth-backed creature.  “It’s a Grey whale,” Ed said. “Judging by the length of our 20 ft. kayak, I’m guessing he’s about 30 to 35 feet long.”

Unlike Orcas (Killer Whales) which are members of the Porpoise family, Grey whales have no dorsal fin. We kept a respectful distance to avoid disturbing their feeding, but they were well aware of us.  Every few minutes, a giant barnacled head would emerge, and one eye, just above the water-line, would stare directly at us. A bulge on top of the head revealed two nostril-like holes or spouts before the whale retreated below the surface.

A minute later, the pectoral fin would rise like a wind-filled sail, giving us the whale’s version of a High Five.

His giant fin was patterned in shades of black, grey and white. Just as one sees pictures in clouds, I made out the profile of a smiling sea lion on one whale’s fin. “The patterns are formed by barnacles,” Ed explained. I hadn’t brought my camera, but Ed used his phone to take dozens of pictures. Many electronic cameras these days have an annoying time-lapse after you snap the shot and Ed’s phone camera was no exception. We wished the whales would stay still long enough for him to capture these remarkable moments, but of course, they paid no heed to our desires.  All we could do was hope for a least one good photo.

Just as cows or sheep meander through meadows while they graze, so did our giant friends. Their movements were surprisingly slow and relaxed. I half expected to hear a whale version of the bath time song Rubber Ducky bubbling up from below as they lay on their sides and scooped sand, filtering it with their tongue against baleen screens.

For over an hour, we paddled and rested repeatedly, working our way gradually east-south-east while the whales seemed to accompany us between feeding stops.  In one deserted spot, the whales swam so close to the shore, a person standing on the tiny beach could easily have waded out and touched them, but no one was there.  Ed and I were their only witnesses and we kept our distance.

Ed was the perfect guide. He shared his knowledge about whales and tides and matters of the coast, and he spaced his talking between generous layers of silence, leaving me room to enjoy the paddle and merge with the sea adventure. “Over the years I’ve come to know their habits, so I can often successfully predict where the whales will be,” Ed said. “Some of our guests have asked me if I was a whale whisperer,” he laughed. He went on to explain more about the two giants we were watching.

Grey whales migrate every spring from the warm waters off Baja California where they spend the winter months mating and giving birth. They don’t feed during that period. Southern waters contain no food fit for a baleen whale. These hungry creatures were now en route to the waters off Alaska where they would fill their bellies with krill, plankton and other delicacies. Over the years, a dozen or more members of the Grey whale population had learned that the surface layer of Whidbey Island’s shallow coves was rich with tiny crustaceans. This particular small group of opportunistic travelers made an annual fast-food stop here before continuing on to their northern destination. I guess you could say they keep Whidbey’s secret from the other whales, much as a fisherman jealously guards the location of his catch. Islanders wait for the Grey family every year and some of the members are easily recognized, especially the elder male, named Patches.

Last year, people stood on the shore of Penn Cove, just north of Coupeville, and watched in horror as Patches battled with a pod of transient Orcas that were trying to kill one of the two youngsters Patches had in his charge. He put up quite a fight; the Orcas eventually gave up and left to hunt elsewhere for easier prey. But everyone saw the blood. Patches had suffered injuries that could be fatal. He disappeared that day along with his charges, and wasn’t seen again for the rest of the year. “He’s an old trooper, over 40 feet long, and we’ve all come to love him,” Ed explained. “You can imagine how thrilled we were last week, when Patches was spotted off Harrington Lagoon. That tough old whale made it through another year.”

When our kayaks neared Sandy Point, Ed suggested that we paddle well ahead and get downwind of the two giants. The bays on either side of Sandy Point are favorite feeding spots, and we didn’t want the whales to feel pressured to move on because of us. As soon as we paddled ahead, they followed our kayaks and stayed much closer than we expected. It’s easy enough to stay out of a whale’s way when you are following him, but when he starts shadowing you, there’s not much you can do to keep your distance. Did they know where we were going? Were these whales playing tag with us or just curious? Perhaps they thought we were racing them to the feeding ground, trying to claim the feast for ourselves.

After we got downwind, the larger of the two whales spouted, and the wind carried his spray to our nostrils. “Can you smell that?” Ed asked. Just as a gardener breathes in the deep aroma of damp earth and rich loam when his spade lifts the soil, so we inhaled the fresh, warm scent of sand, crustacean and whale breath. I held the expired air of a whale in my lungs and sat there in awed wonder. Goose bumps traced my awareness of whale-spirit up and down my arms. Before that moment, I had been fascinated by whales and concerned for their safety. Now, I became acutely aware of our interconnection; our very existence linked as the atoms of spiraling DNA. We were separate parts of one whole, clearly conscious of each other. Was this was the lesson I’d been sent to learn?

A ribbon of foam on the surface of the water gave evidence that the tide had just changed. A brisk wind carried chilly gusts that whipped up the previously calm surface, and churned the sea with intention. “We’d better head back,” Ed advised. “It’s going to get a little rough.” We turned the kayak around, and I glanced over my shoulder, hoping for one last glimpse of the whales. At that moment, the two silent giants made a dive into deeper water.  Their graceful tail flukes rose towards the heavens, and they seemed to be waving us goodbye.

There was no time to sit and gaze. The sea, which had been sparkling blue had now turned black and ominous. Waves grew choppy, some hitting us head on and the occasional white-crested one would smash our bow, spraying my face and dump fistfuls of freezing water into my lap.  I felt as if the ocean was teasing me, trying to see if I’d succumb to fear. But the vigorous paddling energized my body, and the cold wash of wind and wet was exhilarating and just plain fun. I smiled so hard and for so long on that paddle home, I feared the smile would weld onto my face in a permanent Cheshire Cat grin. The thought made me laugh. It’s impossible to be miserable when you’re smiling.

“How are you doing?” Ed asked as we reached the halfway point.

“Fine!” I replied. “Were you worried about me coping with these waves?”

He was quiet for moment before saying, “I’ve learned over the years that there is one thing a guide should never say in the kayak.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Uh-oh.”

I burst out laughing and imagined the expression on guests’ faces when their guide let loose the ominous sound. Ed’s sense of humor is one more attribute that makes him an excellent kayaking companion.

For the next forty minutes, a bald eagle flew between us and the shore, hunting and resting on Douglas fir branches, then swooping over the water again. He accompanied us all the way back to the harbor in the same way as the whales had led us out, and I felt almost as if he’d been sent to ensure our safe return. Every once in a while the sun would flash on his pure white tail feathers like a wink of encouragment and a hearty ‘Well done.’

I thoroughly enjoyed our invigorating paddle back to the harbor.  We made it back in pretty good time.  “In the ten years that I have been taking tours out,” Ed confessed as we unloaded the kayak, “I can think of only four times that were as remarkable as today. We will often sight the whales in deeper water, about half way between here and Camano Island, but they come nowhere near as close to our kayaks as they did today. We usually expect to have a few minutes of sightings at this time of the year, but you had at least one hour with two whales. That’s incredible. It seems your Friday the 13th turned out to be an unusually lucky day.”

If you haven’t taken the opportunity lately to enjoy the simple pleasures of putting paddle to water and exploring our beautiful island coast, why not treat yourself?  Let Ed or his guides take you safely through an unforgettable morning or an afternoon journey.

For more information and contact details, visit their website: http://www.whidbeyislandkayaking.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Editorial, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Morning at Keystone Harbor


Mast-high pilons root deep in the harbour sand

and slapped by bickering waves

abrupt and cold, as if salt-crusted sea cow’s tongues

washed the creosote, lapping the rough black skin

cringed in retreat at the horrid tar taste

and swelling again hunched their wet shoulders

A stadium wave pummels the shore

incessant and rough

stretched and rolled beyond limits

potential velocity breached and broken in foam

while terns and kittiwakes play on invisible currents

spearing the air with their descending cries

high wire acts on daredevil wings

flickering from kohl to silver

shimmering white then back to black

frontside to backside, fishschool patterns

flocking and swirling their silhouette like smoke

dissolving against the cyan blue sky

Two terns in the harbour mercilessly tease

a solitary grey-winged king of the pilon

the glaucous gull, the beggar bird

Detached and rooted he cries

tasting the aromas of

fresh baked bread and buttered crab legs

Across from the harbor

a broad windowed café gazes at the sea

surrounded by flowering weeds and dancing climber roses

red against white beside weathered ash benches

There, a writer sits in her windproof jacket,

intense and frowning

lost in the force and dimension of imagine

her broken stories mended by a smooth wooden pen

while, gathering the morning sun,

the oil of rose wafts subconsciously

into her work

Beyond her a mocking ghost fence

groans in the breeze and rattles in the wind

and traverses the meadow grass beside the coast road

a wooden signboard, wearing time-peeled paint,

hangs upon rust-bleeding screws

Chipped and blistered

it tells its own half-dead

but still kicking story

in black on white with three simple words

Private, it says.

No Trespassing

gulls painting may be purchased from:  http://www.carolthompson.com/seabirds/harbor-gulls/index.htm

Entered in: http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/

http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/

http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/2012/04/thursday-poets-rally-week-65-april-5.html

23 Comments

April 1, 2012 · 5:03 pm

Beloved


I am child of toboggan and of a family that played in snow

Dad chose our Connecticut house for the half acre yard,

its graded slope was perfect for tobogganing.

I am child of a mother who cut my snowsuit

from the warp and weft of my father’s WWII Marine uniform

Between her singer sewing machine fingers

magic happened.

She buttoned me up and wrapped a knitted red scarf

round and round my little bundled body

then, kissing each of my dinner-roll cheeks

she looked into my eyes and smiled.

I knew I was loved.

I am child of a family whose interlocked legs

made space for me at the front.

Tucked under the curling toboggan’s hood

nested in my sister’s lap within big brothers’ reach

I sucked and ducked gallons of snow dust

guided by parents’ voices: lean this way or lean that;

and the toboggan flew like a snow-Ferrari

until it tumbled at the bottom of the hill

dumping all of us

boots and mittens flailing

tears of laughter freezing on faces

my mother’s eyes shining, burning like a winter-hearth fire

reminding me Who I Am

before I forgot.

Decades of seasons and snow wove their tales

of forts and slushy meltdowns

until miles of death and years of living changed my view.

Today it grew cold and it snowed.

I grabbed my new yellow ergonomically designed snow shovel

and I worked all morning while flakes descended like long forgotten memories

until at last, I gazed with satisfaction at my newly cleared drive.

Exhaling clouds of frost, velvet roses feathered my cheeks with her warmth

I felt her hands bundling me up

and I saw her eyes gazing into mine

And I knew once more the love that glows against winter and cold

And I remembered

This is Who I Am.

 

 

 

29 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Reincarnation


#1

Dead drifted wood

Harboring frost

Dreaming ghost branches

#2

Rising sun warms

Crystal meditation

Awakened water flows

#3

Earth thirst quenched

Knowledge released

 Memories take root

~

submitted to:

Jingle’s Poetry Picnic prompt: Spring

Thursday Poet’s Rally  – Wk 60

dVerse Poets prompt – Imagery

Haiku Heights – Gem

27 Comments

Filed under Haiku, Poetry

Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill


 
Andrea Hurst served by Chef Gordon Stewart
 ~
Whidbey Island: a place of magical dreams come true and of people so gifted, you’d never believe it possible. This week I met one of those most remarkable people. His name is Gordon Stewart, and he is the Chef and Owner of Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill.
Gordon is a man whose heart fills the room, whether he’s cooking in the kitchen or seated at the table. Andrea and I had the pleasure of being his guests, listening to his story and tasting his culinary creations. In fascinating reminiscences, revealed through the lens of a culinary magician and with humility most untypical for a chef, Gordon held my imagination and kept me entranced for several delightful hours. He is not arrogant, though he knows his true measure and on many levels it is great.
I will not divulge Gordon’s stories as yet, for they will soon be gathered and published in a most unique memoir titled, “Culinary Enlightenment.” Do hold your breath. It is worth the wait.
After passing a few delightful hours listening to Gordon, I confessed that he reminded me of my step-brother who died two years ago this month.  Ace was also a big guy with a huge heart and a passion for food, people and cooking. Ace was a chef, and his first culinary creation was the French Toast he used to make when we were kids. It was so good, we never wanted Mom’s carefully crafted Coq au Vin or Lobster Bisque. We only wanted Ace’s French Toast. Gordon smiled and his eyes sparkled with mischief. He really does remind me of Ace.
Offering to cook lunch for me and Andrea Hurst, my friend and Literary Agent extraordinaire, Gordon asked what we’d like to eat. We decided to leave it up to him, and he took up the challenge as if it was the best part of his day. Nothing is more exciting to an artist than permission to express his creativity.
I should have known from that twinkle in Gordon’s eye what he would prepare. He had connected with the story of my dead chef-brother and took up the challenge. Gordon was about to show us what French Toast could be when created by a true artist of cuisine.  All the while I could feel Ace’s spirit surrounding us – laughing – and raising his glass to the master. A mutual respect between peers had crossed the boundaries of what we recognise as living and dead. No death entered Gordon’s kitchen – but life, love and inspiration.
I asked for permission to watch as Gordon prepared our feast, and granted the honor, I stood, transfixed. But I will leave my description of the great man’s kitchen for another day – another place.
My last paragraph has to be about Gordon’s creation.  Although it was days ago, this morning I woke, still filled with vivid memories from Gordon’s table.
All night I dreamt of it – a whole blissful night infused with aromas of rosemary and herbs, flavors of duck breast, grilled to perfection, draped against crisp and tender herbed French toast and a wild blueberry sauce to die for. The savory, tart sweetness of Gordon’s inspired dish was crowned with deep-fried fresh basil, a rice-paper thin perfection of green which dissolved upon the slightest pressure of my tongue, and exploded flavor into the deepest parts of my brain, over and over again. A perfect balance of sensations – feasting the eyes, nose, tongue and soul – satisfying, fulfilling and just plain Heaven.
Thank you Gordon for your gracious generosity, great stories that contained much laughter and kindness, and for sharing your insatiable passion for people and life. Most of all, thank you for honoring my brother with the world’s best Savory Blueberry & Duck French Toast.
Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill
5438 Woodard Ave.
Freeland, WA 98249
(360) 331-7515

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

This Is Who I Am


To be a writer

is like being two atoms that dance with one

Hydrogen playing with Oxygen

moving with scintillating, procreating fluidity

a disciplined yet unchained pattern

until the quadrille

slows down

and stands

with hardly a breath

transforming into crystals,

each one a unique expression

of water being frost

rock being mountain

or wind being ripples on river’s skin

like human being body, emotion and thought

like me, turning molecules of mind into words

dancing the rounds and rhythms,

pulling sounds and meanings like taffy;

stretching, tempting, and loving the sweetness

of post-rain petrichor, poetry and story-being-born.

Discipline is all it takes;

it’s only a matter of focused attention.

All the while my faucet drips

a metronome playing Chopin’s Funeral March.

It echoes against the cold hard tub: Dum Dum da Dum,

Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum…

A suitable march for somber scenes

or penned phrases that smirk.

Do you remember Mommy’s funeral?

When we weren’t supposed to laugh?

Suddenly, simple things such as a lady’s hat

black and wide

a saucer-shaped ride for snow,

turned resignation and sorrow into nonsense,

amplified our sighs into unstoppable giggles,

and hoots escaped from our throats

bouncing off gravestones

and falling like stars of grief-relief.

We stood there, two children hugging themselves

trying to appear with socially-acceptable sadness

behavior more suited to the tragic event.

We failed.

Laughter, glorious laughter

like a toad released in a classroom of nuns

shocked the mourners and freed us.

Mourners shifted in confusion

at our emancipation.

Surely we weren’t glad that Mommy died?

No more bed pans

No more sheets and laundry

Not one more morning of waking up wondering

if she’s dead

or still dying…

Is that faucet still dripping?

It is.

Handel’s Water Suite No 2

now skipping like tigger in my tub

bouncy, boisterous and… happy.

In the yellow pages under Plumbers, I find Scotty.

I call and ask him for a quote.

He knows my rented cottage

I forgot that this is an island,

a community of small and intimate

where no sparrow falls without everyone knowing

just as no bath leaks

nor pipes crack

nor drain becomes clogged

without Scottie fixing it

I need more than a washer, he says,

to stop this rhythmic dripping that disturbs my work.

Receiving his quote, I discover that words come cheap

but plumbing doesn’t.

His repair will cost me a whole chapter

including the edits.

Handel’s happy notes begin to grow on me.

Staying in the moment, I hear another pattern

an attitude – a practice of choice – an epiphany.

A drip or a sound need not be my nemesis

instead it is a setting; fire and fuel for my work.

I listen to the rhythms, inhale them, accept them into my being

Words commune and bond with water

dancing the dance of intention

while I, in glorious birth,

exist again and again and again

bonder of sights, sounds, heart and soul

in crystal-forming discipline

becoming what I already am

and so

I write

~

Submitted to Poetry Palace’s Thursday Rally:

http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/2012/01/agreement-for-poets-rally-week-60.html

13 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Dawn Ablutions


Starting the day by counting ten things that open my heart leaves me awash in Gratitude, a perfect morning prayer.

Thank you for:

Pink-tinged sunrises, transforming trees and silhouettes

Eagle’s mating cries between wings that steal the sky

Heron – still as stone – takes flight,  a squawking winged dinosaur

Red-shafted Flickers dropping madrona berries on my roof,

and each happy Plunk, landing like a new idea

My golden retriever’s Sigh, soft as her silken Fur

Fresh-ground, steaming-hot Island Coffee with milk and two sugars

Words, and finding just the right one

Windows – my eyes into this island’s Soul

and Doors – God’s open arms into His

~

Submitted to: Poetry Pantry

4 Comments

Filed under Poetry

For Kay: Remembering Geoffrey


In the trembling ether

of three candles’ breath

We sat through the moment

of Geoffrey’s death

humbled by his generous heart

He who guarded both person and cat

as if his life were only for that

and all he asked in return

was closeness to us

He’d nudge a hand or press

the weight of his chin against skin

His eyes spoke more than language can

His tail, always applauding

never failed to cheer those watching

The candle flames dip and glow

almost as if they know

that today a great soul is passing

Geoffrey – the Lab x Rottweiler dog who lived and loved for 18 faithful years

12 Comments

Filed under Poetry

Waiting


Dawn filled the space of where

you had just been sleeping

talons of sunlight gripping my heart

and our lantern child’s sweet orange smile,

carved from Hallowed October night

our two-toothed ghost of orange love

formed by gentle hands

grins through the window

and remembers your touch,

while learning the lesson

that it’s harder to be

the one left behind

than the one who does the leaving

Alone with the ocean and tree-boned beach

Eagle claims her driftwood beam

gazing across sparkling waters

she waits for spring and her mate’s return

while my heart beats behind her

~

written for Thursday Poets Rally Week 55: http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/2011/11/agreement-for-thursday-poets-rally-week.html

and Poetry Pantry of Poets United

36 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Shaman Song


Medicine woman gathering sap

Amber balm of tree

Trapping Loon’s sad laughter

~ ~ ~

Holy man drumming

Surf pounds island shore

Beating stone prayers

~ ~ ~

Salish hunter singing

Heron watches Eagle’s reflection

Listening to all the drums

.

Thursday Poets Rally Week 52,

18 Comments

Filed under Haiku, Poetry

Nadira’s Gift


Through the insanity of “flow” fixed stones of words grow, grounded in clay, slate and molten glass, grass, roots of earth, hearth of sun, mantle of river where water tumbles, crashes over edges like minds of poets and women who sit beside windows and touch across miles and oceans…

and smile because they know they come from the same strain of imagination, rained upon by years of struggle, laughter, tears, fears, and playing with saying words, caring not about madness but only seeking those moments of divinity where life begins and ends in a flash of recognition…

realizing death is just a breath inspired, a change of the woven pattern from knit to purl from water to gas, moving here from air to there where a thought or a prayer pulls Form out of nothing and starts all over again…

4 Comments

Filed under Poetry

Sweet Peach


I no longer have to share my peach

not even this, large and ripe as a Red Sox baseball

ready to play

leather smooth and fine in my hand

Glowing yellow slips and drips

its plum red core

creamy across my tongue

but the pleasure is somewhat wanting

I should be happy

to have this fruit

all to myself

sitting on my shelf, no longer at risk

of succumbing to other hands

hands that would take it to mouth and bite into flesh

without even thinking of sharing

Those hands would quickly be empty of peach

and full of its satisfaction

while I, complaining, though only in fun

would go and buy another

I never really minded

His pleasure pleased me

as much as the peach

pleased him

Now I have my own peach

carefully pitted and sliced

placed on earthenware inside up

blushing towards the sun

waiting for me to enjoy all by myself, all to myself

with no one to claim the bigger half

~ * ~

Last week’s bowl of ripe Skagit cherries

departed, silent with the season

that I never noticed leaving

The bowl sits on my counter, a barren vessel

If only I’d tasted one more rich orb

before having to wait for next year’s crop

knowing this was the best we’ve ever had

realizing the miracle of ripened fruit

If only I’d enjoyed a little longer

spitting the pits across the garden

one more time

The only thought that hovers now

like an uninvited guest

is that no one is here to share the bowl

or to challenge me, seeing if I could spit the pit

further than him

~ * ~ * ~ *

Submitted with many thanks for their service to writers to the following:

Poetry Pantry at: http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2011/09/poetry-pantry-is-now-open-67.html#comment-form  AND

Poetry Picnic Week 5 – Jingle’s New Poetry Place!

http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.com/2011/09/poetry-picnic-wk-5-object-thing-form.html

12 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Shoshone Muse


Return to the place where You began

and know it for the first time

said the Muse of the hills

She of stone, witness of weather

Keeper of the ways of time

whispered deep: Feel and weep

Let your tears paint the earth

with salt and sweet release

to merge in sand, soil and rock

Be grateful

Life is your work

You, maker of art

need only master certain skills

before you can walk away

While  I, Keeper of Time,

stand here before sun, moon,

and seasons

constant, harsh and soft

wearing me down

to scoured bones of stone

 

Submitted to: Poetry Potluck 

http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/2011/07/poetry-potluck-week-44-painting.html

6 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Travel

Doc Sheridan’s Gift


He walked into the white-tiled room

wearing clean green scrubs and a hood

It must have been an Easter-bonnet reject

with flowers long-since gone, only one thing left

the pale green gauze and a chin strap

wide as a flap of beard

Anyway, it made me smile

He smiled back

I was gonna tease him about his funny looks

till a nurse handed me a bag and said

Go take off your clothes; put these on instead

I pulled out one of them flap-backed gowns

made to fit a 700-pound body

and me, being just a fraction of 700,

did what I was told

but there wasn’t no tie to hold

the back-flap together and hide my knickers

Then inside the bag I found a hag’s bonnet

only this one was white – not my best color

it framed my mug like a prison shower cap

the size 700 elastic slipping down my face

not a trace of brow left and hardly any eyes

Stripped of my clothes and vanity

I re-entered the room, humbled

on equal terms with the bonneted Doc

He’s an artist I decided as he described

the seventeen bones in my foot

compared to only three in my ankle

He knows every one of those structures

like the back of his hand or his own child’s smile

Put your feet up here, he directed

and took a pen from his pocket

then outlined an arrow that pointed to the spot

where the screw had stopped working

and was no longer needed to hold my foot together

Suddenly

he drew a happy face on my big toe

made me giggle like a little girl

Ooh that tickles, Doc

How good it was to laugh with my artist surgeon

easing the pre-op tension

Then Robert came in – Him, the nurse

with the warm blanket and eyes,

wrapped a strap around my arm

and pumped till the numbers jumped

Are you nervous? Your blood pressure’s up

Don’t worry, he said. This is just like

going to the dentist

My blood pressure rose again

That’s when Doc took a full syringe,

aimed it at my screwed foot, and squirted

saying This is gonna be a bit cold

But it was more than death’s door of cold

It burned like hell

It will kill the pain, he promised

If burning like hell was better than that pain

then that pain was gonna hurt real bad

so I was glad I didn’t have to face it

Soon after my foot went numb

Doc said Let’s get started

I walked to the operating room

holding on to my floppy cap thinking

To hell with the exposed back-flap

I’ll be sitting on it soon

I climbed on the table and met John

the vet tech for people

He covered me up and hung a sheet

so I couldn’t peek and pass out in a swoon

I lay back down and talked a streak

looking into Robert’s brown eyes

trying not to worry that I could feel a lot

more than my heel, I felt my whole foot

in Doc’s hand and I felt pressure

The only real pain was in my brain

and in the bone where the screw was stuck

They put a tourniquet down around my calf,

and I laughed thinking my foot might fall off

and solve the whole problem if they forget

but they didn’t

A few stories later – you know, the ones I told

to keep us all entertained while they worked

though I doubt they listened, knowing

it was just a ploy to keep me busy

playing with a stream of words

Well, a few stories later,

using the scalpel, pliers, and the wrong screwdriver

they tried to unscrew that old pin

but the bugger was stuck in there

We need a Number 62, said Doc

It’s in my office

I hoped his office was close by

and I told another story while they tried

to find the right driver. I don’t remember now

if the story was done when someone said

Screw’s out!

Robert showed me the titanium imp

that made me limp every time I donned a shoe

for the last few years

I felt like shedding tears of gratitude

but I just said Well Done and Thanks

They bandaged me up and sent me home

with one black sandal and two white pages

of post-op instructions saying

Stay dry

Don’t try running or playing golf  – yet

Keep your foot up and take a rest

You were blessed with a good screw

Now it’s done and gone so hop along

and we’ll take the stitches out next week

When Rich came home and saw the new shoe

and the bandaged foot, with toes exposed

and the happy-face still grinning, he asked

What’s up?

My foot, I said

I have to keep it inclined

Would you mind walking the dog?

So he did, much to her concern

cuz he still hasn’t learned

to scoop her poops without gagging

It’s not the dog’s fault they stink

Then Rich went to get us a take-out supper

since I shouldn’t stand but when he left I stood

I wanted to cook the dog’s dinner

sweet potatoes, brown rice and chicken

Tomorrow while he’s out playing golf

she’ll be here with me

licking the happy-face

tickling my toes

and making me giggle like a little girl again

google images

Posted in: http://sundayscribblings.blogspot.com/

 

18 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Matin


In the presence of Self

in a place of Alone

where words dismantle and disperse

just as dreams that disappear upon rising

I sit and drink sweet Columbian brew

from a china cup

Cherokee sighs, her tawny gold fur

resigned to carpet while paws twitch,

ears lay flat and deaf

nose clocked-off and eyes

dimmed beneath soft-lidded mounds

My g-o-D spelled backwards

snores in her sleep

The coffee-maker base

clicks on… and off

as it heats and cools

on… and off

an electric lung

breathing the silence

of kitchen and space

No radio, tv or iPod tunes

unravel the morning

in this place of Alone

no racing to work

or seeking solutions

to revolutions and chaos

and all the troubles

that humans burden

and chase

while amassing wealth

discarding waste

their cycles of activity

dizzying and pointless

In this place of Alone

where worlds dismantle

and disperse like dreams

I sit and drink

from a china cup

with only the movement

of breath flowing in

…and out

in…

and out

Blood pulses

like highway traffic

while I surrender

to the awareness

of d-o-G spelled backwards

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck and One Shot Wednesday

35 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Truth from Farley’s Eyes


 “They’re starting – Quick!” I said to him

“It’s the trooping of the Queens’ Guards

Take my hand, and we’ll find a place

in the front where you can see.”

I led him to the palace yard 

clasping palms we chased the parade

hearts beating along to drums,

to soldiers’ feet, and horses hooves

and triumphant marching songs

My grandson and I stood and watched

row upon row of belted tunics, 

scarlet red of Britain’s blood

gold buttons flashed by noon-day sun

black trousers and shoes in scissor-leg moves 

snipping in time, wooden, all as one

Left right, snip snap

Bayonets fixed on sky-aimed rifles

Canadian bearskin-heightened heads

glistening fur bounced and swung

while people jostled, tradition bound

Left right, swish swoosh

“How many?” he asked above the din

“What?” I said, too thrilled to hear

He pointed at the black fur dancing

noble and thick upon their heads

Left right, snip snap

“Grannie” his query pierced the music

Left right, the soldiers passed

I cheered with the crowd but Farley cried

“For the soldiers hats,” he demanded the truth

“How many bears have died?”

.

Submitted to:

  Imperfect Prose Thursdays

    http://thursdaypoetsrallypoetry.blogspot.com/

51 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

The Wakening


 

She

on her knees

plunged the paddle

slicing swift steady strokes

urging the canoe, peeling the water’s rind

Canoe and she

became the horizon point

 seeking the lost open as water-cast wake

reached and stretched with giant gathering arms

~:~

Boy fishing

at edge of the lake

ankles clasped by water

unconscious toes kneading slimy mud

drowsy eyelids dipped and closed

while sleep dulled his senses

All the while

her silent wake approached

slapping the shore

it spread

in a stadium wave

suddenly

the boy woke

realizing his first-time catch

and he heard the sound

of water laughing

Submitted to:

   Poetry Potluck Monday

  One Shot Wednesday

55 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Becoming Grannie


Nothing in the world

compares 

so make sure

you write it down 

Many things happen

from now on

In your garden 

a new tree

bears chocolate fruit

and promises

years of sweet

pleasure

especially

when that little child

looks up at you

and says

Grandma

tell me about

the day I was born

 

Entered in Poetry Potluck Monday with Jingle – Week 26

 

62 Comments

Filed under Poetry

Walking on Frost


He knew the fragility of frozen grass  

Cells thin as a skin of glass

when trod upon, they break

shards of wet ice crushed into green Slurpies

Not good for lawns

 

My puppy’s paws left mitten-size tracks

dark green patches on white

Beside her paw-spotted trail, my angel

spread green wings and skirt

I couldn’t wait for snow

That was when he said “Don’t walk on frost”

That was a long time ago

 

This morning’s dawn woke to me walking the paths

 Following, my old dog chose the frosted grass

No mitten marks from her

just two green trails – silhouettes on white

parallel stories of arthritic joints

dragging her feet like an old woman

 

Crystal-dusted shrubs frosted with fog

caught my attention

I stopped

Gradually my shadow appeared

long and slippery

and buttery heat stroked my back

as the faceted ice began to dance

for the sun

glittering splintered rainbows

until spent

Crystals died in the warmth of morning

Just like him

 

Parallel trails

mitten-paw tracks

green angels and memories

wait upon patience

for winter’s next

walking on frost

 

   Jingle Poetry     Thursday Poets Rally week 36

                                                              And

           One Shot Wednesday

Photo courtesy of Google Images: http://footprintsofabackpacker.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/P1020315.jpg

53 Comments

Filed under Poetry