Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Something Died

He beat a duck to death
among the alders that grew thick
beside Mackie's Pond
Clubbed it with a length
of stick as it lunged against
the spindly trees, struck the terror
from its emerald head

Killed it there in the bracken
in one of November's sullen moods

He brought it home to Dad splitting
seasoned birch in the back yard
Held it up to show the world, its dripping bill
and crimson gash on running shoe toes

Bringing home dinner like those cherished stories
that he believed were true

But there was no joy, no job well done
Dad seized those orange and scaly shanks
and buried his prize beneath the raspberry canes,
never opened his mouth except to spit
into calloused hands to take up the axe again

And I stood like a pubescent murderer
watching the vanishing of my deed
as the rain fell in blessed sheets
and washed the blood from my veins

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Earth Day

in all that space - how could unkindness
live in the blue dome of existence,

in all that stillness - how could anyone
not want its secrets,

in all that totality - why would a few partition
its power,

in all that oneness - when will they know
to lay down their arms,

in all that is - who will be the first
to surrender to what love can do

in all that we are - when will we learn
that the world was not meant for us alone?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Age of Unity

and the dream ended and he stood
at the end of the road and it seemed
wrong as if the journey
had been taken for him

he turned and looked back,
to the cities and institutions
where the air was troubled and he
rubbed the deception from his eyes

it was the wrong road
and he had followed it for a long time
and had believed that it would go
on and on to some promise of fortune

and then others awoke and stood with him,
shoulder to shoulder and the first one said,
this my friends, is the wrong road - turn back
but there was no one listening until

they joined hands and began to warn others
and the air became clear and they said
people this is the wrong road -
we have been put to sleep

and they went back to the cities
with a message to the people who would listen
and more gathered because what is true
cannot be denied

but the Keepers of the road were afraid
for they had been found out and sent
their emissaries armed with uniforms
of power and control

and they beat the people because the road
was everything - stood for the things
of freedom and God - and the people
could see that it was not true

because it was freedom and good that brought
them to the cities and to the fathers
that had been trusted, that had betrayed them
with laws and confusion and fear

that belonged to a greater city where
Presidents and Kings gathered the young men
and women and swore them to a duty
of protecting freedom and democracy

but denied it to them in their own country,
denied the very freedom promised by those
who knew what road to take, Lincoln and Kennedy,
King, Gandhi and Black Elk

and a great awakening began
and the Keepers of the road
around the world spit their poison
in the mouths of the people

but the centre cannot hold when an idea
has come into its truth and the wings
of freedom reaffirm a true democracy
that will not be denied or refused

that exposes the heartless and arrogant,
the Presidents and Kings who know
what is best for the people, who forgot
that democracy is of the people, by the people, for the people

who thought that the people serve them,
serve the needs of government
and the servants of government - the Corporations
and the glut of money oiled and foul

that is killing the world

and the road ahead could not be seen,
there was only dust and a wasteland,
endless destruction and the sky black
over distant fires

still there was no going back
to find the right road, it was lost
in the illusions and decay, spoiled opportunities
that time did not obey

but there was another road waiting
with such patience - it was just ahead
the freedom road, the many names
when all the people decided to link arms

yes, that is what The Age of Unity looked like
in the beginning when the future took
to the streets, when someone heard faintly
Occupy - I am

Monday, November 14, 2011


"I long to reach my home and see the day
of my return. It is my never-failing wish."

-Homer, The Odyssey

i lived on the west coast
and longed for the parched hills of my father,
the smell of sage like a fable
and the aspens gold in rutted groves

now I live where the sun blisters
and long for the heavy rush of the sea,
trillium, and the melodies of winter wrens
haunting the sunless woods

how could there be two worlds
and not one for me - why can't my mind
settle for the place beneath my feet?

it is the dreamer who is never content,
reaching too far into the future
and unwilling to die in the past

and if I stopped dreaming,
would I cease to create my worlds -
and longing some reckless notion of life?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ode to a Starling

You arrived in 1890,
back east by some newcomer
who longed for the familiar,
your numbers like the stars on your back
- homesickness will do that

But you never had a choice,
you just arrived with nothing
to do but live your life,
set sail your stubby form
for the endless spaces
that never heard the whir
of your wings or the chuckle in your song

You did nothing but push your neighbours
from their nests, heaved them onto
the lawns for the crows
All this because you could
and nothing to stop you,
and yes, much maligned to be sure
but most would not grieve for you

Once as a boy, a kid next door hung you
by your neck until you fell
headless and spoiled to the dank earth,
this was in 1964 when the world came out
swinging at its own shadows

And now I hear you with your
book of melodies - that red-tailed hawk
and steller's jay, a flicker, and of course
your pops and whistles and clicks
like a circus in your throat

And when the sun catches
you in a moment's idleness, before
you and your brothers fall like cinders
upon the vineyards, I see the Universe
etched by some fine hand
that thought you worthy of loveliness