Feather Quills

When the sun sinks into the sea

–a candle snuffed out suddenly–

the silhouettes of palm trees darken

against the fading colours of the sky.

Their leaves become black as crow feathers–

old-fashioned feather quills

writing poetry upon the earth’s dome

among the shooting stars.

My brother Winston took this pic of our brother Monti’s back yard.

Into Eternity

For you I would enter the dark waters 

Extinguish myself

For you

Give all

So said the Voice to the tiny speck

Floating the the vastness of the universe

And the little speck

Overcome with sheer joy

Burst into flame

And lit up the entire universe 

With a flash of love

Uncontainable

Entering by this exchange of love

The realm of eternity 

Human Heart Divine

Tonight,after another long day of unpacking
and sorting the mismatched socks which mysteriously followed us
to the new house (how? how?),
we walk the two blocks to church—so close!—
and attend the Mass of the Sacred Heart.

Jesus awaits us. 
And amidst the glow of candles
and the flowing melody of chant
my spirit begins to breathe again,
having been slightly suffocated 
by walls of cardboard boxes.
In this open space, my heart expands.

The silence is pregnant with poetry—
the words which have been bottled up inside,
which my hands have longed to release,
begin to emerge and the urge to write grows stronger. 

My little ones are sleepy
the baby dream chuckles and snores somnolently in the snugly
cosy and safe as in God’s pocket. 

My toddler clutches his toy car,
which is always magically in his hands
no matter where we go,
until sleep releases it from his grip
with a small clatter.

  
 
My five year old slides over 
with her stuffy peaking out of her coat,
her eyes wide open and insistent,
as she asks me a pressing question 
“Do bunnies eat petals?”
“Yes!”

“I know,” whispers my four year old,
Let’s pretend we’re in a movie theatre.”
I grin and breathe in deeply to let the incense fill my lungs 
as the shimmer of golden vestments brightens my eyes. 

Under the everyday human humdrum,
runs the divine,
like blood under skin—
hidden, life giving, essential. 
The heart of God
pierced with the sorrow of love for us
stoops down to touch us gently…
an embrace filled with yearning. 

Rain drums on the roof 
and we are cradled inside the cosy wooden church
as if in the ark,
riding the waves of our life
to the shore beyond…
seekers listening for the gentle sound of a dove
as the Holy Spirit leads us forward. 

a poem a day for advent

Recently my friend and former highschool writing mentor Caroline Woodward invited me to submit a poem to her friend’s online advent calendar, where a poem a day awaits us, instead of a little chocolate. 

I did send a poem in, and I’m honoured to have it included in author Joanna Streetly’s Poetic Advent Calendar. Joanna is the author of several books and is the west coast rep for the Federation of BC Writers and a long-standing member of the Clayoquot Writers’ Group. 

The poems and photographs by Joanna and various guest poets are poignant and personal…and touch on various themes from the satisfaction of burying ones hands in dough to make a traditional recipe, to the mystery of human suffering and the need for solidarity at all times, and not just Christmas. 

Here is a peek at mine…if you visit her site you can enjoy the other poems, too, such as “Wingless Angels,” “outer isles haiku,” “Stone Flight Requiem,” and “the gladness of stars.”

  

See more at this link: Poetry Advent Calendar

And many blessings a you prepare for Christmas!

Paradox

  

If you want to know true joy,

look to the one who has experienced deep sadness.

If you want to find strength,

look to the one who has been broken. 

If you want to know peace,

look to the one who has wrestled with despair. 

If you want to know laughter, 

look to the one who has wept. 

If you want to know loyalty,

look to the one who has been abandoned.

If you want to be truly human,

look to God.

Dance with me, daughter

  

“Little one arise,

get up from your corner;

unfold your sulking arms

and dance with me.

If you don’t know which way to go

stand on my feet

I will guide you.

Give me your arms

see my face

I am with you.

Listen for the music of grace

give in to the mystery of my rhythm 

I will guide you.

Don’t refuse to dance 

because you don’t know all the steps.

The music will guide you,

you will see

when you let go.”

“Father God, forgive me

for being afraid

for refusing to dance

with a light heart

and joyful feet.

I know you are leading me 

and yet I resist—

call out in fear when you dip me,

stiffen my arms when they should be supple 

for a twirl—

Let me instead be responsive to your guidance,

open to your plan,

a joyful partner

in this unexpected 

dance of life.”

  

Interview with Bonnie Way of The Koala Mom

Here is an interview with my friend and fellow Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood author Bonnie Way. I’m excited to be starting as a guest writer a few times a month on her blog, The Koala Mom, and was interviewed on it last Monday. I so love having a blogging buddy to talk about writing with! Hope you enjoy meeting her, too! 

 

Bonnie Way                          The Koala Mom

Please tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a SAHM with three girls (ages 7, 5 and 2) and another baby on the way in November. My husband and I both grew up in Alberta. We met at university and got married when we graduated, then moved around a lot before deciding to go back to university in Victoria. Now we’re settled in Vancouver, where I’m homeschooling our oldest two. We enjoy going swimming and hiking together, watching movies, and playing board games with friends.

Why do you love to write? How does it help you be more yourself?

I’ve always been a writer. I started my first diary when I was ten and printed my first novel when I was fourteen. In my teens, I wrote several fantasy novels and started various other novels, which still sit on my computer. Then I did an English degree and worked as an editor for a year before going on maternity leave. I started my blog just before getting married and it has slowly evolved to be my biggest writing outlet. It took me a few years as a mom to realize that I needed the support of other moms; my blog has been one way to connect with other moms and to share this journey of motherhood. Writing is kind of my way of processing what I’m thinking and going through, and blogging allows me to combine my passions for writing and mothering.

What made you want to be part of this project? Why do you think it’s important? 

I love supporting other moms and writers, so the idea of contributing to an anthology was a lot of fun. Moms and families are also very much under attack in today’s society, so I believe it’s important that we as moms encourage each other. I’ve often felt looked down upon for being “just a mom” or wanting lots of kids. Society seems to see kids as a burden, an expense, a stage in life to “survive” until they are more interesting. So I wanted to share that kids are a joy at any stage – even through those night wakings of the first year or two and that it’s okay to want nothing more than to be a mom. Reading Anna’s essay on being a love rebel is what really encouraged me to share my whole struggle with wanting to be a mom in a culture that looks down on a mom, and how finally, after nearly seven years of being a mom, I feel like I really have embraced that role and stopped looking down on myself. I hope that will encourage other moms too, to stand up to our society and be love rebels.

  

What benefits do you think people will gain from this book? Could it be used in a mom’s discussion group or book club?

Yes, this would be a great book for a mom’s discussion group or book club. I think each of us contributors provides a unique perspective on motherhood. Any of the essays could inspire a good discussion. 
I also picture this book inspiring the mom who doesn’t have a mom’s group, who is busy all day with her toddlers or babies and snatches a few minutes here and there to read. Many of the chapters are short (well, except for my long essay!) and easy to read in a few minutes (put it in the bathroom if you have to! I used to read a lot of magazines there!). As moms, it can be easy to get bogged down in the tantrums and the messes, the daily chores, and to lose the big picture of motherhood, so I hope this little book can inspire moms everywhere to look beyond the sleepless nights and the other trials of motherhood to the joys and the long-term goals of raising kids.

Why is friendship with other moms so important? Is there a friend who has made a big difference in your journey as a mom?

I was among the first of my friends to get married and the very first to have a baby. That created a bit of a gap in my friendships, as all my friends were focused on their careers and I was at home changing diapers and doing laundry. Then we moved several times and went back to school, and I finally found a mom’s group at a local church. That group of ladies was like a breath of fresh air. It was so amazing just to show up every week and talk about everything, from who was up all night with a grumpy baby to how to help a kid transition into Kindergarten. We’ve moved again since then, but I still keep in touch with the moms from that group and miss them so much. They were the ones who taught me how much moms need other moms – whether they can answer the question I’m struggling with, pray for me, or just offer a shoulder to cry on until a certain parenting phase passes.

Tell us a bit about your pieces in the book…what is your main message, or best piece of advice for moms?

I have a couple little poems in the book, a short essay I wrote about my oldest daughter’s first pair of shoes, and then a longer essay about my journey into motherhood. I think the first three pieces each focus on little moments of motherhood – things we could overlook, but might look back on later with a smile. I want those pieces to encourage moms to treasure the little moments before they are gone. My longer essay is about my desire to be a mom in a society that says women should be more than moms. I hope that essay can encourage other moms who also struggle with that to stand up for their desire to have kids and be mothers. Even if we wear other titles as well, “mom” is an important and worthy job and we shouldn’t let society look down on us because this is what we chose to do with our lives.

  

Who was your favourite author growing up? Was there someone in literature who modeled for you how to be a woman or mother?
Just one favourite author? LOL. On the topic of motherhood, I’d mention Little Women and Louisa May Alcott’s other books. Marmee is a constant, loving presence through that novel and we also see Meg and Jo growing into their roles as moms—Meg as the mom of her own twins and Jo as the adopted mother of a whole school of boys. Another favourite author is L. M. Montgomery and her Anne books. I love the way the relationship between Anne and Marilla develops through that novel, and then again, seeing Anne become a mother in the later books is also inspiring. And I should mention Cheaper by the Dozen, a hilarious book about a family with twelve kids that kind of started my own joke that I want twelve. All of those books talk about motherhood, adoption, and large families, and had an impact on me as a young reader. 

Can you tell us a little about your blog?

Well, I write a mom blog so it covers a little bit of everything. Right now, I blog five days a week and have a rough schedule of blogging about motherhood on Mondays, travel (around Vancouver) on Tuesdays, marriage or other things on Wednesdays, homeschooling on Thursdays, and book reviews on Fridays. I’ve been blogging for nine years this summer and do product reviews as well as sponsored posts. I call my blog my work-at-home part-time job and I love the fact that I can do something I enjoy, make a bit of extra money for our family, and still be at home with my girls. Plus, I’ve met so many other cool women through my blog so I love the way that social media and the blogosphere can connect us as moms.

  

Visit Bonnie at 🐨 The Koala Mom 🐨

Contemplation by Moonlight

Outside the moon smiles lopsided

ever laughing, ever the same

despite my foibles, my losses

my little tragedies and defeats,

the moon continues in it’s ever changing sameness,

shining down like a flashlight 

from eternity,

each difference but a dance with shadows.

And while sirens blare 

and strange cars drive by 

on late night voyages,

the cool air caresses me with the same

light breath and the stars quietly proclaim 

“We are forever.”

Can it be that I, too,

despite my little daily battles—

the exorbitant dishes, the laundry piles that heave and grow

like monsters animated by dust and finger-paint, 

the millionth cup of spilled juice,

the sweet stickiness of the table after pancakes—

am somehow part of this cycle of sameness

which is a gateway to eternity?

that through these daily things

and my yes to the “now”

to the goodness of each day

I am also saying yes

to eternity?

An amen which fills the heart

with joy unquenchable..

The moon looks down 

through the cool night air

upon my littleness 

and laughs, “Yes!”

Eternal Echo

Look up into the sky

with its whispy clouds

caught in still life ballet

Let the vast expanse of its azure stage

enter your soul through your eyes

Don’t you find

an inexpressible longing within

an echo of the eternal?

Can you tell me

with conviction

that you weren’t meant for Heaven?

If you do, my brother, my sister

I won’t believe you,

because I see mirrored in your eyes

pieces of my own heart.