The Staircase

Evening mist rises off mountain stream

Delicate wind shivers moss laden limbs

Pine needles plink plunk through huckleberry

They land soundless on a cushioned moss earth floor

Engulfed by aliveness, this place called old growth

Bears its mark of constant shed and regrowth

The cathedral of cedar and firs dappled in celadon light

Sheltering a blue tent with husband and daughter

Yet, it’s a false sense of silence for the river roars

Builds each moment in clamorous crescendos

I am near drowning in the racket and swaying

The forest robs me of my equilibrium and hearing

Tilt my chin towards still bright rusty mountain peaks

Draw upon the great jagged heights for steadying

At that moment, the rushing waters spoke plain sense

Becoming a thousand joyful voices sobbing relief

The cloak of river words poured soothingly through me

Their voices rained down soaking my deepest parts

“We are here, have been waiting, you are never alone”

Awakened

Flooding awake, I was aware of tumbling

Then a slow grace of dawn’s light stole through

Before dream vanished, my children rushed back

Out of a gray, colorless and swirling void

We were reunited, myself and two daughters

Our separation healed, gratitude sang and swelled

Awakening from this dream

I knew each day should be like this

Instead of teeth-clenched not another day

Lucky to hve my angles, my golden golden girl

Ad my little strawberry shortcake.

I came alive this dawn with very much at stake

Awakened to my blessings

Seattle Ghosts

This city murmurs and hives with a past

As Chief Joseph foretold

The ancestors do people our land

They will help us now

If we but listen

This Vashon Island meadow

Farmed and frame-housed for only a century

Appears to me in felt time with pentimento teepees

On my property a fresh water spring

Still a gathering place of ghosts and blessed

Now will you believe?

The place we live is filled with all our people

If we would but recognize them

All around are those whom we deseve

Reach out, it’s been hundreds of years

Waiting, inside the stillness of this meadow’s silence

People of the Forest

We are the people of the forest

We, who have come to live here

Dwelling in green-clad lands

The lures the world with pristine delights

Rising up mountain shoulders

Not every peak has been clear cut

Especially are the highway corridors

Have you noticed there are trees still on the mountains?

There are even some few ancient ones left

Like the family of thousand year old cedars

Anyone can visit, it is a national park

It is a mountain and it is a park

Where trees are left in peace

And so, we are the people of the forest

We new residents of few hundred years duration

Even as we eat at Burger King and strip malls

Grown clear up the mountain thighs

We should understand that we are no longer a people

When there are no longer any forests

Winter’s Measure

Burn away all that is not love

And, worry is the last to go

It has long feathered its nest

In my breast a worrier of first rate

Niggling doubts and terrors of safety coddled

Valued according to potential longevity

Seriously, a good worry is hard to find

And even more difficult to replace

Take a clear, hard look at the nature of worry

And many vanish without a trace

Remainders do require a thorough examination

Then, after grief, fear, rage and all the jubilations

Are seen for what they are and stripped out

There remains, pure as moonlight in winter

Everpresent and deeper than frost’s heave

Dwelling underneath, in parts not dormant

There, an underground river, my promised heart

To always lay on the side of truth

Not For Sale

This poem needs no warning label

These words are not for sale

Turn off the evening news now

Go ask the children what to do

For a child can invoke the ancient will to good

That has carried us over many mountains

Alive as long as memory serves it

As long as the willow branch quivers in spring

As lasting as a mothers love

Pray that goodness triumph

To rise up like good bread

The end of green will come

When compassion reigns

Take My Hand

Help me, take my hand

There, I can feel your touch

Thank you for bringing me to Vashon

It is green, though more noisome that I imagined

The crows bicker wildly like old Chinese men

Over cracked walnuts on Cemetery Road

Thank you for bringing me here

I heard the aspens flicker leafy greetings

Watched a fall day tease into evening

Let the willow drape its slow calm

“How long”, wind calls, “do we have in this world?”

And, have I done all that I can?

All I Can Do Is Make Tea

This roibos cup my daughter calls bleeding tea

The blossom of red taint swirls cloudlike

On the box it’s name Tropical Escape

I am jittery and I hope it calms me down

Bu the worry I have is like a cat in a bag

Should I or shouldn’t I taunts the refrain

For like a wild cat, must true only

Revealed only to the ardent searcher

Or, to one who lives long enough to tell the tale

In Egypt the Muslim fundamentalists

Are murdering the best and brightest writers

In the name of what good God is this done?

That other name again, Tropical Escape

Soothes my stomach and tastes great

While across the sea an ethnic cleansing

Forces other helpless ones onto the blade

How unimportant feels my life

How confused I act about my own prupose

For fear of mortal embarrassment

I hide

But I will lay this out in plain sight

In God’s good name we can no longer fight

In a world where great religions lack spirituality

Great change may come when everyone

Lays down beside still waters and unclothes their heart

Daring

The cedar branches are wet and tremble

When gathering clouds part

The tree bejeweled with diamond earring drops

How dare I choose the multi-colored cloak

The mantle of storyteller so thoroughly worn

For no one bid me to perform these scales

These wanderings in solitary reaches

To spin visions that anyone may follow

I will dare to remind sky that my words gather

And like the sun behind passing clouds

There are diamonds waiting to shine through

Go ahead, I nod, for it is true

Words are like raindrops and never owned

Only briefly inhabited, falling freely

To service well and release with joy

Aiming their marks through many lifetimes

Targeted to reinvent new mythologies

Powerful enough to dare one soul to betterment

Even if that if that one is now only my own