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O Eldest Tree,
I look at your gnarled hands
which have witnessed all our history
as you sit in Time’s grassy lands.

You were already ancient when
we capped the great pyramid,
Long before that, you were Gilgamesh’s Haven
Under your leaves Adam hid

Methuselah scrawled his name in your bark,
your siblings built Noah’s Ark,
for Moses your leaves blazed in shame

Jesus smiled upon your leaves,
Buddha pondered the universe, your branches eaves
of the Great Prophets.

O Eldest tree
sheathed in mystery
all life bows before you,
including Ozymandias- who fell and swore.

When we knew no words
you spoke daily with birds,
before we built our Babel
you knew the River’s gabble.

O Eldest Tree
When you look at me,
So short lived, so tiny,
what is it that you see?

Am I even a drop in
the ocean of eternity?
To you, Eldest Tree,
where does my place begin?

Eldest Tree
please look at me
tell me I have meaning
something from me worth gleaning

For I feel like a wind
tossed in your leafed tresses
another of Earth’s messes,
O Eldest Tree.

O Eldest Tree,
Set in Time’s Sands,
Old when we capped the pyramids,
O Tree of Merlin’s staff,
I try to etch my name on you,
but my knife’s too dull
to pierce your adamantine skin.
The world grew sick
it happened so quick
and so the people prayed
in spiritual foundations laid

the people went to see
the healers to be set free
hurt souls seek relief
and beyond belief-
     ~the healers got sick

songs lathered in Purell
as the death tolls swell
ringing out the Sioux band’s
cared for with gloved hands
    ~hands that caught rain
       now wracked with pain

Standing Rock tumbles down
as fits of coughs drown
    “My girl, I don’t know what to do-“
the words of a dying healer
once free to roam
in death
kept far away from her  home

When they pass on
all that knowledge gone
the words and ways of old
lost as voices go cold

Breath taken away
also yesterday
is gone around the bend
ways of old set to end
     -the sacred fire untended

No more secret Candy
or cherished smiles
veterans vanquished
peacemakers in pieces:

Bear Soldier
Running Antelope
Cheryl and Jesse Taken Alive

lovers from the start
Cheryl and Jesse died
only a month apart
holes in the Taken Alive heart

Their moccasins remain still
big shoes for others to fill
Standing Rock’s hills rolling
as graves keep filling
  ~the healers got sick
     hands that caught rain
     now wracked with pain
     the sacred fire untended

... still, the fire burns
out of the ashes, Nola, a child
of those Taken Alive learns
to hear the call of the wild

Young pup’s paws will fill the boots in time
though Standing Rock’s still,
still it stands
rain to be caught by fresh hands
new ears record the tree’s chime

“We’re still here,” Nola said
Taken Alive stands still
at Standing Rock
The Indigenous people of North America are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Indigenous elders are dying at a rate of 2:1 in comparison to White North Americans.

This poem was inspired by the true lives and stories of the people of Standing Rock and other Indigenous communities.

When threatened with an absence of life’s essence,
we grab out where we can,
cling to primal effervescence.

Pure panic produces piety
when under a threat of death,
to quell our expelled anxiety
we hold on to Brighid’s* breath.

In streets of pandemonium
devastated by Death’s bell,
blooms the Chrysanthemum**
a bit of Heaven amidst Hell.

Just one more breath
before the dying day’s gone,
given over to the kiss of Death
a memory of long gone dawn:

planted, secure, in my arms
is an organic bit of hope,
for salvation from harms
a tender vine-like rope:

This too shall pass
there is an end to the storm
a return to lush grass
caressed by the sun so warm.
This poem is commentary based on  a news story about how the people of Japan are turning to plants in seeking comfort during the C-19 pandemic.

*Brighid is the Celtic goddess of poetry, spring, birth, and renewal

**The significance of Chrysanthemums in Japan:
When today is all red
but yesterday was full green
    -remember, we’re all in this together

When you feel your belly wriggle
due to their infectious giggle
   -know that there’s sugar with the spice

If you are doing three
transfers in fifteen minutes
   -remember, we’re all in this together

If you feel the garden hose spray
of their amazing joy-full day
    -know that there’s sugar with the spice

At times when the top of the first
feels like the bottom of the ninth
   -remember, we’re all in this together

At dawn of Thursday’s Eve
as you feel a week’s worries start to leave
    -know that there’s sugar with the spice

When the bus has not arrived
but your patience has departed
   -remember, we are all in this together

When success smells like sweet grass
freshly cut, or a masterful CLP class
    -know that there’s sugar with the spice

Should the day’s turmoil find you throwing
your bowling ball down the wrong lane
   -remember, we’re all in this together

Should you feel your day’s ride’s
Slick with joy like a waterslide
   -know there’s sugar with the spice

Oh when today is red
but yesterday was full green
remember, we’re all in this together
know that there’s sugar with the spice
and for all of our sakes
keep your stick on the ice
*In loving memory of
Jon Wiebe (1993-2019)
Currently I work in a private residence with individuals who live with disabilities. Before Covid-19, I worked with these persons in a day program. No day programs are running now, so all staff have been shifted to the participants’ residences. Our people are in need of long-term/lifetime care. There are beautiful moments, and times of struggle. Considering the world zeitgeist of when I’ve posted this, I think we all can use reminders that we’re in this together from time to time. I know I sure need these reminders sometimes.

I dedicated this poem to the memory of one of the people in my program who passed away the year I started my current job. Jon’s favourite sport was hockey, thus the hockey metaphor to finish the poem.

CLP stands for Community Learning Program. We teach people the skills necessary to function to the best of their abilities in society. Stuff like hygiene, or knowing what kinds of clothes are appropriate for the weather, usage of traffic conventions when biking/walking, etc.

A transfer is when someone is moved from one spot to another for rest/exercise/hygiene purpose. We use mechanical lifts for this process.

A lot of the activities and metaphors in this poem are related to real occurrences/hobbies/interests/routines of the people I serve daily.

Pogrom is a word meaning “massacre”. Some days I’ve left work feeling like my day’s been massacred. Especially since Covid started. This has added exponentially more stress into my days. It is unbelievably heartbreaking having to routinely tell one of your residents you can no longer hug her, and watching her weep for hours, no matter how you try to frame the situation for her to understand. Or require people who are already deprived of social connections and social outings to remain sequestered in their rooms because of their being sick.

Simple and
2020 was one heck of a year for many people. I lost Cleo, the second of two cats who’d been my companions for the last sixteen years of life. She had to be euthanized due to disease and old age.

However, as Cleo left my life, Poe entered in. Poe is my new cat, named after the great American poet, Edgar Allen Poe.

Like his namesake, Poe’s early life has been marred by grievous tragedy. His mother was killed by a car, and the other cats on my aunt’s farm were very unkind to him. I intend to give Poe a good and decent life from now on, as free from tragedy as I may provide. Poe, we are each other’s silver linings in an era of deep sorrow. You are the kiss of life in my hour of strife, O Poe Dearest <3
Sleep sweet, child
the new year comes
all yesterday’s troubles
gone as time outruns

the fear of yesteryear
the new year comes
what happened here
more than zeroes and ones

turning, ever turning as
the new year comes
remember what is dear
by the beat of drums

marching without retreat
the new year comes
full of joy, love, and hope
for what is to be done is

Sleep, sweet child
the new year comes
today has its own troubles
come as still time runs.
*For Manar
Oh so dear a flower
I spend every waking hour
Dreaming of how we met
It seemed Fate had set
Our paths with cosmic power
Intertwined as strings in net

I was drawn to her grace
As the pale of her face
Let Life’s colour enter in
As we two begin
The end of the chase
Started conversation

And we danced away
Words and minds in sway
She lets me take the lead
Her trust plants the seed
For a new better day
Where I can meet her need

To feel resplendent
Beauty not dependant
On the pomp and circumstance
Of a perfect romance dance
My steps lead but are pliant
Give misstep a millionth chance

I adore her
She loves me
She and me

I need to be near her
Hear her heart whisper
Suckle the sweet residue
Of joy from knowing who
Is my true lover
And how her heart’s red

That should we ever part
My world shall fall apart
Leaving me grasping for air
Drowning without her there
As oxygen flees my body only a Gasping grasp for her care

I’ll always want her love
Swoop down from above
Greedy for lovers’ grub
Vie for it in the hubbub
While I am no dove
My heart’s no ****** stub

Oh dear oh dear
I beg her stay near
For she is my cover
My dearest sweet lover
Brush me here
Provide my cover

Oh so dear a flower
I was drawn to her grace
And we danced away
To feel resplendent
I adore her
I need to be near her
Should we ever part
I’ll always want her near
Oh dear oh dear
Oh so dear a flower
I wrote this after viewing the nature photographs of a Danish artist, His photos were so beautiful they moved me to compose poetry.
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