all the oceans we contain

I seem to be on a roll with First Nations poets. This poem was shared in a workshop I did this past weekend with my always illuminating teacher, Marlene Schiwy. This beauty is from Linda Hogan. 

To Light


At the spring

we hear the great seas traveling


giving themselves up

with tongue of water

that sing the earth open.


They have journeyed through the graveyards

of our loved ones,

turning in their grave

to carry the stories of life to air.


Even the trees with their rings

have kept track

of the crimes that live within

and against us.


We remember it all.

We remember, though we are just skeletons

whose organs and flesh

hold us in.

We have stories

as old as the great seas

breaking through the chest,

flying out the mouth,

noisy tongues that once were silenced,

all the oceans we contain

coming to light.



sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness

I think of this poem as the theme poem of my CHERISH course (which begins next week). When I first started bringing together the pieces of the course, "sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness" was written at the top of every page in my journal.

As I am writing this, out my window the magnolia tree is full of buds just waiting to burst forth. I love how Galway Kinnell, in this poem, follows that bud down to the earthy mothering of the sow, and blesses us along the way. I recommend reading this aloud to yourself to make the blessing even stronger.  

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;   

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;   

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch   

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow   

began remembering all down her thick length,   

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,   

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine   

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering   

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

The forest knows where you are

I just recently discovered the work of the photographer Mary Randlett. She was considered part of the art movement in the Pacific Northwest known as the Northwest Mystics. I plan to use her book of landscape photos as inspiration for my own photography this year (an ongoing creative adventure.)

Both she and the poet David Wagoner capture the spirit of this land that has claimed me.  Doesn't the Wagoner poem go well with this photo of hers? It also conveys a message I share with my clients often - sit still, do nothing, listen. 


by David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

 from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems