We Must Be Arrows (2013)


We Must Be Arrows pmh 10/10; 2013

Fly to my heart’s desire, Fly to the thing I love.
We must be arrows – fly, fly fly.
Fly to my heart’s desire
Fly to the thing I love.

Ageless aeons birthed the flinty knob.
The hammer’s ready rhythm flakes the form.
Heat and sinew bend the branch’s bow.
Here the hand that draws the bolt to launch the storm of longing.
We must be arrows – fly, fly fly.
Fly to my heart’s desire
Fly to the thing I love.
 
Need has carved us to our very bones:
here the haft and here the sharpened will.
Longing is the force that draws the bow,
fletched with feathers like the angels we still call on, praying.
We must be arrows – fly, fly fly.
Fly to my heart’s desire
Fly to the thing I love.
 

Charlie’s Song pmh 4/27/10

For Charlie Cutten: guitarist, composer, elf, prince, friend. 1948-2004
I spent all Sunday searching for
A blue, a blue-black feather
The one that sailed into our waltz set
Swinging down a sunbeam.

It settled on the duffy floor.
A jay, a jaunty fella
So like yourself who’d strut and strum,
Just tossed it, nonchalant.

He flew away just like you did
- basic transportation –
past La Honda, on for home
all the way to heaven on six silk steel strings.

I spent all Sunday searching for
A blue, a blue-black feather...

Angel Of Music pmh 6/30/09

My thanks to the gals of Aurelia’s Closet, my musical guinea pigs as I was learning to arrange multiple voices, and to Celia, Connie and Shira: angels all!
I am the one who guards your sleeping,
the one watches over the details of your day.
I am the one who holds the candle,
the one who counts your footsteps when you stumble on your way.

I am the one was given to you,
the one who marked the moment of the first time you drew breath.
I am the one who stands beside you,
the one who journeys with you from your birth until your death.

I am always with you, ever and always there.
I guide your passage, lead your footsteps from despair.
 
I am the gentle touch of wonder,
the whisper on the wind that stirs your holy heart to prayer.
I am the memory of each song you'll ever sing.
In your coming and your going, I am there. I am there.

Ten Silver Hairs (Housewarming) pmh 7/3/09

The hummingbird nest I found in the front yard proved to be the prompt for a housewarming song for my songwriting sister, Wendy Beckerman.
10 silver hairs,
feathers and shattered stalks of grass,
small twigs of sage,
white wool and grey,
cat fur and down,
cream balls of spent acacia flowers,
petals and vines
spackled with clay.

Hummingbird nest
hangs from a bough of sugar pine
woven to hold
3 sky-blue jewels.
So build your home
one tiny treasure at a time.
Hand, heart, and mind
shall be your tools.

Reaching pmh 7/30/06

For Tony and all the dear hearts who have sustained me since that first transformative trip to Lake Flora and PSGW.
Swimming in this lake of tea, limbs look like arbutus tree
Lithe and tall and crookedly, reaching, reaching, reaching..

In the water-colour sky, bluer than a blind man’s eye
One sole cloud is watching while I’m reaching, reaching, reaching..

Ten years since I made my way here
In a darkening woods, found myself at the gates of hell
I turned aside and walked away
With my harp on my back and not much more
I was waiting. Well, I thought I was waiting..
 
Swallows skim the riffling lake, harvest insects as they make
barrel rolls. And in their wake I’m reaching, reaching, reaching..

Though I spy the farther shore and strain for it, I know there’s more.
I’ll swim each day I’m granted for the reaching, reaching, reaching..

.. brought me here ten years ago
Took a right run for once
Took a turn and I caught this glimpse:
I was swimming cross the lake
With my harp on my back and not much more
Reaching, reaching, reaching..

The Snow Suite:
Snow pmh 8/07; 4/20/09

Snow falls
wooly airships landing on the sleeping planet
silent kisses, there
and there.
Sun’s up
pouring maple syrup on the waking morning
golden ribbons in
the trees.
Burrow
deep in the blue quilt’s star-stitched warmth
unsung lyrics
settle, wait.

In the Spilling Sunshine pmh 1/08; 8/08

Though I now live in California I grew up on the Canadian Prairies. We know snow. These two pieces were an experiment in first writing poems and then setting them to music. Siskiyou County is home to Mount Shasta.
In the spilling sunshine
Silhouette pines rush upslope
Through snow and tumbled cinders
To fling themselves into endless blue Siskiyou slopes surrounding
Consider the somnolent mountain
Like headless ancient lions
Tawny with bunchgrass and winter sage.

Tea Time pmh 1/98; 11/06

I’m Canadian, eh? Canada Day at the Vicarage is a renowned event.
Well, you’re bored and sick and tired of being cold and want a project
To occupy your hands and mind and make you feel worthwhile.
You’ve burnt your arm while making cookies, written your great-aunt,
Done the ironing, harmonizing in great style.
And now it’s teatime! Put on the kettle, it’s teatime.
What a relief! Just a pot of Darjeeling. Pass the sugar! Teatime!
Every day about 3:00 I’m longing for company.
Darling, come have a cuppa with me!
So, you boil the kettle roundly and you set the pot to hot.
You find the tin of bikkies and what chocolate you’ve got.
A proper cup and saucer and some marmalade and toast,
And you settle in to eat the whole great lot!
Because it’s teatime! Call in the neighbours, it’s teatime.
What a relief! Just a pot of organic Oolong Souchong! Teatime!
Every day about 3:00 I’m longing for company.
Darling, come have a cuppa with me!
Now you’ve read the texts on flavenoids and polyphenol catechins
Depression-fighting thiamine, endorphin highs, and EGCG!
But, tea is more than medicine, it’s civilised and my Mum says
Some day you might be asked to slurp some tea..
.. with Queen Elizabeth! Can you imagine? That’s High Tea.
Maybe Prince Charles will come, maybe Prince Will will bring the corgis! Teatime!
Every day about 3:00, imagine me hosting the royals.
Darling, they’re coming to tea!

I’m not exclusive, not me!
Drop by tomorrow at 3:00!

Since You’re Away pmh 6/30/09

Since you’re away, the bed’s too wide.
It’s cold there on the other side.
I put a pillow at my back to keep from falling over.
Since you’re away, the bed’s too wide.

Since you’re away I eat alone.
I set the table near the phone.
I cook the things that please most. I’m very independent.
Since you’re away I eat alone.

I map the details of my day.
I work a lot when you’re away.
I find that I am listening for a mention of your name.
Since you’re away I work all day.

Since you’re away, the bed’s too wide.
I let the cat sleep on your side.
I practice being brave, but God, I wish the war were over.
Since you’re away, the bed’s too wide.

Salamander & Bear (Prayersong) pmh 3/06; 8/06

Gratitude to Trillium for the triple harps and the encouragement to record this prayersong. Shira Kammen introduced us to Hildegard’s Virgo splendens.
Salamander is my mother
Bear, my father, o Black Bear.
She’s a dreamer, he’s a Wise One,
Looking far, looking far….

Salamander lives in shadow
O my mother, dreaming far.
Shadow always hugs your heels;
As you go, there you are.
Bear is fishing in a stream
Bear, my father, o Black Bear.
Wisdom sparks like flashing fishes;
Where your heart is, you are there.

O my mother, Salamander,
O my father, wise Black Bear
Bless my world with dreams far-seeing.
Grant my prayer, grant my prayer.

Mrs. Collinson’s Piano pmh 8/21/09

True story: I was so shy my Dad had to walk me to school for my first day of kindergarten. I wore red shoes; that’s all I saw the first day. Fortunately Mrs. Collinson was kind, tall as my mom, and played the piano I hid behind till mid-year.
I sleep behind Mrs. Collinson’s upright piano.
I put my mat near the shelves underneath the big window.
That’s where we keep the Blue readers and all our red scribblers.
We pile them up really nicely. We have to be careful.

I keep my back to the moms when they come to hear music.
I play the triangle, sandblocks and sleighbells sometimes.
When I grow up I think I’ll be a famous musician.
I’ll play piano and sing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

I like to watch Mrs. Collinson’s face while she’s singing.
She looks a bit like my favourite aunt from Toronto.
That’s far away but she always sends records at Christmas:
Peter Tchaikowsky and “Rusty in Orchestraville.”

Marthe never comes to our house but we see her at Grandma’s.
We sing the old songs in four parts and Grandma’s the alto.
When they play “I’ll Take You Home Kathleen” everyone cries.
 
Meanwhile it’s quiet behind this old upright piano.
Sun from the window is lighting the dust in the air.
When I breathe, fairies waltz up to the ceiling in circles.
I close my eyes till my teacher sings “Rise Up and Shine.”

Rise up and shine!

Blink! pmh 9/11

How my heart sings!
Wings whir
in the jade tree
ruby throat and speed
Cats rapt
leaning longing
Here’s desire in fur
Time stops
waits impatient
Do not breathe or move.
 
My eyes
open wider
Honey on my tongue
One glance
recognition
How my heart sings
Time stops
for an instant
Do not breathe or move.
 
My eyes
open wider
Honey on my tongue
One blink
recognition
How my heart
sings

The Tree’s Song pmh 8/10

Kathy Kallick gave me an evocative photo prompt. Coral root, miterwort and the evergreen shrub salal are understory plants of the Pacific Northwest forest, beloved landscape.
Coralroot, miterwort, tiny cups of lace
nestle in my skirts of green salal.
Spill of sun through my branching limbs on the forest path, warming where I stand.
There’s the man. Here he comes
grey fedora jammed down hard around his ears.
Comes this way every day.
Turns the corner, walks uphill
and disappears.
 
Shoulders bowed, stepping slow through the bracken fern,
stones of disappointment in his hands.
Never speaks. Always comes alone down the forest path, turning
where I stand.
There’s the man. Here he comes
grey tweed collar turned up close around his ears.
Comes this way every day.
Turns the corner, walks uphill
and disappears.
 
Coralroot, miterwort, tiny cups of lace
springing from the remnants of the land.
Orchid dreams rising from the past flower where I stand, where I always stand.
There’s the man. Here he comes
Does he feel the breezes whisper round his ears?
Comes this way every day
turns the corner, walks uphill
and disappears.

Here Within My Song pmh 1/14/09

For Arlene & Cooper, and all hearts broken open and then redeemed by love. We cannot be parted, love, here within this song..
When the day is done, and the night comes down,
As my eyes grow dim with sleep, stillness settles round.
I can see your face, dear and sweet and strong.
You are ever at my side here within my song.

Let there be no tears, let there be no sighs.
We are still together, love, though the years go by.
Rest here in these lines, safe from strife or wrong.
You are ever whole and sound here within my song.

Grief’s an awkward dance
Life’s a waking dream
Stronger than them both is loving.
 
Though the cold winds blow, and the snow drifts high
Still the stars shine out beyond the wild and stormy sky.
We are ever one, joined our whole lives long.
We cannot be parted love, here within my song.


Album: Bluest Blue (2011)


Golden Time        pmh 2002, 2010

       The beautiful blue Bow River flows out of the Rockies and through the city of Calgary, Alberta where my mother, Aileen, grew up. Born in 1925, she knew the Dirty Thirties.  She told a tale of walking across the fields to the neighbour’s for cream, racing her brother and the grasshoppers home, and arriving with a jarful of butter!

Golden time of year

My thoughts turn to you

Aspen leaf sailing on the current of the Bow,

Blue old river,

That blue, blue river

Flows – past Heaven.


I see a golden girl

dancing down the prairie

chasing clouds of hoppers,

leaping twice as far.

Grass above her head,

Grass as high as heaven.

Butter in the jar.


Watching as you go

How your eyelids flicker.

Sun as gold as honey, hair as white as snow.

Dear old darlin’

Life-long darlin’

Heads – toward Heaven.



Edge of the Sea        pmh 2006; 2007; 2010: thanks to Ed J, Dr. John & Hiroshi


I walk to the edge of the sea,

stand on the shimmering shore:

wind in my eyes

watching the gulls

homeward soar, ocean roar.

The sun slides away to Japan.

Lavender smoke tints the air.

We all have wings;

Why don’t we fly?

Only lovers dare.

Venus is rising, Queen of the Sea,

dances away with gravity.


Alone at the edge of the sea,

I sing to the grumbling tide.

Stars in my eyes,

watching for you,

here am I, satisfied.

The light of the mandarin moon

bridges the fiery sea.

Straight cross the waves

into my heart,

love will come to me.



Be Still My Heart        pmh 1999; 2010


Be still, my heart. Life is an ocean.

Launch all your worries like boats on the tide

and watch them float into the sunset;

see how they ripple and shimmer and glide.


My foolish heart you are determined

to conquer the wind in the midst of the gale.

Oh rest, my heart, gentle and patient,

wait for the breeze that will cherish the sail.


What is your task, my heart?

Simply to beat for a season.

Seek to be whole.  Seek to be true.  Open yourself and let joy come to you.


The waves roll in faithful as morning;

worry and tears will not speed them along.

The river flows true to its nature:

trickle and tumble and torrent its song.


What is your song, my heart? Sing as you mark off your season.

Sweet as a child’s open regard, endless and deep as a night full of stars.


Oh fearful heart, why so insistent?

You carry your burdens wherever you roam.

Be still my heart. Life is an ocean.

Trust is the vessel to carry you home.

Trust is the vessel to carry us .. home.



Thetis Lake        pmh PSGW 1998

       My mentor Bob Franke set me to write this song the summer I left Vancouver Island to move to the Bay area and marry Tony.

Goodbye

I never thought to see the day I’d say I’m leaving

You’ve been my refuge for so long

my comfort and my shelter from life’s storms

And while I’m grieving,


My dear

I mark the hours I’ve watched the turning of your seasons

the way the clouds move on your face

the bluest sky reflecting in this cove

where I am floating.


Sometimes, you’re given sweetness you can savour

Sometimes, a taste is all you get.

This time, I trust the memory’s enough to hold me steady

for love has called me

And while I won’t forget


The many paths you hold that led me back to sunshine

I’ll miss the greening in the spring

the heavy misted silence of the fall

But I am leaving..


And sometimes, you’re given sweetness you can savour

sometimes, a taste is all you get.

This time, I trust the memory’s enough to hold me steady

for love has called me

And while I won’t forget


The many paths you hold that led me back to sunshine

I’ll miss the greening in the spring

the heavy misted silence of the fall

But I have chosen ..


Goodbye.



Bluest Blue        pmh 2006

       A mysterious voice at the other end of the phone line accused me of playing twinkie music on my harp instead of ‘real blues harp’.  I had to rise to the challenge.

Azure is the bluest blue of all.

Azure is the bluest blue of all.

Throw myself into the sea

Misery wants company.

Azure is the bluest blue of all.


Indigo’s the darkest mood I know

Indigo’s the darkest mood I know

‘round midnight hear the cry

moanin’ like I’m gonna die

Indigo’s the darkest mood I know


Lapis for my heart that’s like a stone

Lapis for my heart that’s like a stone

All my sorrows come to rest

Place a scarab on my breast

Lapis for my heart that’s like a stone


Sapphire holds a star within its eye

Sapphire holds a star within its eye

In the cobalt blinks a light

Windsor blue and hematite

- a star within its eye



Penelope        pmh 1999; 2008

       Penelope managed the upkeep of the kingdom for 20 years while Odysseus was adventuring his way home from Troy.  With so much grief and struggle she kept her heart open.  I wanted to know what she had learned in those years alone.

I wake up and, once more, stand at the window;

I’ve waited for months and the months become years.

Folks say you aren’t coming back now or ever

But somehow it’s you I still hear.

You said once you loved me, said for all time

If ever you’d given your heart it was mine.

I’m trying to be patient, faithful, hopeful,

in case you should ever return.


I’m not getting younger. The days feel like seasons;

Sometimes it’s springtime, and that is the worst.

Folks say I ought to get on with my life

I’ve said I must bury you first.

Day after day I sit at the loom.

The shuttle sings on like the tides of the moon.

I’m weaving your shroud, love,

But each night I undo the threads just in case you return.


One autumn a stranger appears in my courtyard,

He’s hungry and weary and half-dressed in rags.

The others ignore him, but I bring him water

And ask him to set down his bags.

You said once you loved me, said for all time

If ever you’d given your heart it was mine.

And it could be you’ve finally returned from your journey,

so listen, while I tell you mine.


Day after day I sat at the loom

Weaving my dreams to the tides of the moon

And trusting the on-going song of the shuttle

That says love will always return.


Singing along to the song of the shuttle

And trusting that love would return.



If I Were A Lake        pmh PSGW 2003

       Lakes are my refuge and Flora is where I regularly go fishing for songs.  Rene helped me to understand the ground of this song.  It couldn’t exist without him.

If I were a lake I would be still

If I were a lake I would be deep

I would be dark

I would be cool

I would be mirroring the sky

I would be blue


And if I were a lake I would be always watching

I’d hold the moon

I’d drift from song to song

I would be listening for lilypads and frogs

and dreamers too


And if I were a lake ..

if I were a lake I’d sing along.

I’d sing along.


In the morning I would wear a mist

and feathered fronds and gentian blue,

willow wands and green salal,

and grasses too.

I’d simply be a lake

From boggy end to rippling surface breeze

I would know myself. 


And if I were a lake I would be

still…



I Wish I Were A Stone        pmh PSGW 2000; 2008

       Tom Hodge was responsible for helping to generate the seeds of this tune to lyrics I wrote in an exercise in 2000 at PSGW.  He forgot it but I didn’t.  I can’t thank Jeff enough for stepping off a cliff and soaring into this solo.

I wish I were a stone,

Flat and smooth in your hand, so when you chose to leave

You’d hurl me far away.

Skipped cross the top of the waves, I’d sink beneath your reach.


Just for the sake of it I’ve gathered up all the fractured pieces

Safe in a box I keep locked at the foot of the bed.

Who’s gonna understand all of these curious bits and pieces:

Remnants and memories scatter the ship-wreck shore


Now at times when I catch just a glimpse of you there

I find myself wondering

What became of the dreams that we shared, just we two,

back when we thought as one.


Just for the sake of it I’ve written down all that I remember

Safe in a book I keep hid ‘neath my socks and my scarves.

When will I understand all of these curious bits and pieces:

Flotsam and jetsam I turn over time and again.


I’ve always dreamed in the night

Always have, and I hope whenever morning comes

I’ll find a message complete,

Bottle plucked from the sand sent from a foreign shore.


I wish I were a stone..



Altars        pmh 2008


Life is mostly solitary:

Watching, hoping, seeker strives


Daily labour, war and taxes,

compensation for our lives.


In one hand is beauty;

In one hand is grief.

We are building altars

to our breathing. 


Snagged by longing, hooked by hunger

Fish is struggling on the line.


Where’s the refuge: cool deep water,

sandy bottom clear sunshine?


In one hand is beauty;

In one hand is grief.

We are building altars

to our breathing. 



Psalm        pmh 2004; 2011

    Quakers talk about Way opening.  I didn’t want to write this lyric but it opened.

3:00 in the morning without any warning, he tells her good-bye.

Awoken from dreaming, a fish in midstream, and he

just has to tell her it all was a lie.

She tries hard to listen, tries to keep breathing,

all of her plans are in pieces around her.

He wants his freedom, nothing to bind him.

Her heart is a drum and its noise is astounding.

It sings: love will find a way. 

Love will find a way.

There are mysteries so deep that we can’t even think them

Love will find a way.


80 years old and a spill on the sidewalk: you’d wandered away.

These days you move slowly, so much to remember.

You act like a lion the dogs have at bay.

Look in the mirror: you still feel the same but

the person you see there is no-one you know.

How did this happen? Weren’t you watching?

Why is it always so hard to let go?


Who promised we would soar with eagles?

Who said they’d catch us if we should fall?

Where is my rock and who is my comfort?

Love is the refuge, the shelter and port in the darkest hour.


Maybe a phone call, maybe the doorbell: what can I say?

It’s never the right time when bad news comes calling,

Couldn’t have chosen a less perfect day,

because we’re all alone here. This feels like dying.

Someone is always left holding the bag.

I’m tired of being Martha, could I play Mary?

Sit really still and remember the story..

that goes: love will find a way.

Love will find a way.

Under the surface it flows like a river

And I can’t explain it, can’t own or defend it

But I’d bet my life on it: that’s what we’re doing here

And love will find a way.

Love will find its way.



Wake Up!        pmh 2008; 2009

       Tony has taught me a lot of the great Songbook standards and performed a significant number with me in our duo, Leftover Dreams.  He’s penned a few fine new ones too. This is for him who helped me find my dancing shoes.

Wake up, wake up!

Get your dancing shoes.

Life’s much to short to be singing the blues –

without your shoes on.

Hey there, sun’s up

Rise and shine up!

No sitting around looking droopy and drawn!


First thing I gotta say

When things don’t go your way

Don’t be a lump and stay

Come dancing while you may

Baby, I’d rather play

Sun’s shining let’s make hay. Hey!  Hey!


Come on, lose that long face

You’ll have forever for wishing you did when you’re gone

So come on, wake up

Go get your dancing shoes on.



Fireweed        pmh 2005; 2011

       I began this poem years ago on Vancouver Island where fireweed colonizes the slash of logging shows.  My heart rejoices to see that beauty will not be held back.  For Matthew.

Fireweed

you spring up like the dawn,

rosy as the morning

Where the remnants of the lost land lie

you dance

the world reborn.


Fireweed

you stretch to touch the sun

crowding tall and slender

in the afternoons of August days

on burnt and barren ground. 


When the land breathes again after desecration,

from the ash comes the bloom of your consolation.


Fireweed

as quickly as you came

flowering fleeting has-been

a thousand feathered seeds you give

to the waiting winds

to blow away.



Album: Headed Home (2005)


Dallas Road        pmh & Barry Crannell; 1998

When Clive Gregson gave Barry and me the word “Dallas” and said write a song, I knew immediately it was about my heart-home, Victoria.  Dallas Road wraps around the southern edge of the city, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the glorious Olympics.


Is it my imagination,

or do the mountains touch the sky? 

If you walked along the moonbeams,

would you find yourself at last

on Dallas Road?


On the hill beneath the tea house,

standing stones rest in the grass

where they can count on nothing changing

while they watch the world go past

on Dallas Road.


Fell in love for the first time, thought I’d never leave.

Heaven must be a lot like that.

How I long to be there

but I won’t be going back to Dallas Road.



Seems like more than a picture

of somewhere I have known.

It’s more like a lifetime,

like family, like home:

Dallas Road.


Fell in love for the first time, thought I’d never leave.

Heaven must be a lot like that.

How I long to be there

but I won’t be going back to Dallas Road.



Is it my imagination of somewhere I have known?

Dallas Road.



Dawn Song        pmh; 1997

For years now I’ve joined the early risers at camp on the back porch of the lodge, playing for Lake Flora as she wakes in rising mists.  I couldn’t believe my ears when Orville’s slide joined my harp; who’d’ve thought the music of angels and the music of the devil could harmonise so sweetly?



Maureen’s Waltz        pmh; 2001

Maureen Scobie was a passionate reader, gardener, artist, cook, and teacher, and a dear friend.  I like to think of her dancing in the garden of the cottage at Drumrack.



The Year I Turned 14        pmh; 1996

Bob Franke challenged me to join his workshop.  I cried all week and wrote my first song in almost 20 years.  Sometimes you just have to take care of old business.  (Kath, I know you weren’t bad, just wild, but I needed the rhyme..)


The year I turned 14 my mother went mad.

My brother fell silent.

My sister turned bad.

We were aching and grieving and nearly insane

the year I turned 14.


The year I turned 14 I cut off my hair.

I grew six feet tall and we moved to the city

where I started high school – all angles and feelings.

No face was familiar.


I had never considered that you might be mortal.

Like all of the rest of us, your time would end.


Still I think of you often and miss you anew

on Christmas and Fathers’ Day

wondering if you’d agree with my politics and  laugh at my jokes.

So long now since 14.


The last time I saw you we talked all night through.

I knew I was dreaming and yet it was true.

When dawn kissed the morning sky you turned and you held me.

“You cannot come with me.”



Nick’s Tune/ The Gardener’s Reel         pmh; 2000

I woke up one morning sore from working for hours weeding in the back yard, with this tune dancing and staggering in my mind. My grandfather Nicholas was a man of another age: prospector, explorer, wild-catter, a man of endless curiosity.  I never met him but I adored his stories.  It’s from him I got my gardening genes.



Catching Your Breath        pmh; 2001

Yes, Virginia, life is a circus, and the ladder is right here…!


Seems I’m always sitting on the edge of my seat watching you.

Fearlessly you fly through space; there’s no net here below.

Are you really more at home up there, far beyond the madding crowd,

Leaving the mundane behind in your dust, catching our breath?


Here I am.  I’m not you.

Wish I were.

I’d fly too.


There is something just outside the tent, watching there day and night.

I can see its glistening teeth, dancing there, taunting me.

It applauds my every failed attempt, laughing loud, mocking me.

If I ever leave my seat, it might just eat me .. alive!


Here I am.  I’m not you.

Wish I were.

I’d fly too.


Someday I will stand at centre stage, nothing on but my skin.

I will weave a web so strong, stretch it across the ring.

Then I’ll mount the dangling ladder and climb up to my trapeze.

While I sail and somersault you’ll never blink, catching your breath.


Here I am.  I’m not you.

In my dreams

I fly too.



Grasshopper Hymn        pmh; PSGW 2003

Summer camp 2004 we were showing each other our works-in-progress and Leah said,” Let’s harmonise it.”  What joy!  My dears, thank you:  Laura Golden, Cindy Kallet, and Leah Kaufmann


Curtains of rain sweep down the valley,

the storm on my doorstep at close of the day.

Could’ve been ready, hatches all battened

But I was out singing in my grasshopper way.


Somebody told me to move to the high ground

Somebody told me to brace for a squall

The wise virgin readies her lamp for the bridegroom

Ant knows that grasshopper’s courting a fall.


Curtains of rain sweep down the valley,

a clutch in my heart at the sound of the storm.

Echoes of Aesop, could’ve been ready,

Hatches all battened, cozy and warm.


But, singing my heart out, I have a calling

To sing through the storm at the close of the day,

Sing for the light till the advent of morning,

Sing for my supper in my grasshopper way.


Curtains of rain sweep down the valley,

the storm on my doorstep at close of the day.

Could’ve been ready, hatches all battened

But I was out singing in my grasshopper way.



Two Things Fell        pmh; 1999

Charlie Cutten and I cheered each other on to write waltzes at CCMC.  Charlie’s was “Le Valse pour le Petit Prince” and he plays it now amid the stars.  This is mine with the addition of Tony’s romantic viola.



The Wild Dogs of Wakefield        pmh; 1998

Marrying Tony in 1998, I moved south of ’49 and took up residence on Wakefield Avenue.  Suffice to say there was culture shock.


Lying here beside you in the dark

and I’m listening to the sounds of this old house.

I’m feelin’ so alone

Far from my family, my friends and companions,

all I hear are wild dogs

crying to the moon.


Growling out their sorrows

and howling lamentation,

wailing in the silvery shadow and gloom.

Calling to their comrades with a bark

and a chorus,

the wild dogs of Wakefield are crying to the moon.


I’ll sit me down a spell and I’ll mourn for the old days:

the salt chuck, the cedar, the view from my room,

sitting for tea in my garden of roses…

Now all I hear are wild dogs crying to the moon.


Growling out their sorrows

and howling lamentation,

wailing in the silvery shadow and gloom.

Calling to their comrades with a bark

and a chorus,

the wild dogs of Wakefield are crying to the moon.


Lying in this bed in the dark

and I’m listening to the sounds of this old house.

I’m feelin’ so alone.

Far from my family, my friends and companions

all I hear are wild dogs

crying to the moon.

All I hear are wild dogs

crying to the moon.



Southesque        pmh; 2000

Maggie asked me to set her photo series “Four Powers – Four Directions”.  This is a north-westerner’s idea of the Power of South.



The Western Isles        pmh; 1997

Long before reading The Mists of Avalon I knew about passing through the mists to the Blessed Isles of the West.  Often still, riding the ferry to the island, I know that magic lives on.


Soft mist veils sapphire sea

Sunlight gilds silver air

Ferrying you and me

Home


Music fills my nervous heart

moving like the tides

In my arms

fast asleep

you


We can’t see

where we go

how we go

as we go

Home



I’m Not Far Away        pmh; 2001

I wrote this en route to Maureen’s memorial but it is for all the beloved departed, just a little further down the road.


If at the end of every day your heart is aching

and morning weighs too much for you to bear.

Sleep is your only hope of comfort,

catching rides on the dreaming ferry.


This is not the way you planned the final chapters.

Who’d have thought you’d ever feel so damned alone?

If I could send you one last little word

I’d wrap it in clouds like a kiss I’d blow to you:


I’m not far away, turn the corner you will see me

just a little further down the road we travel.

I’m not far away, not that far at all,

just a little further down the road.