Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Holy Crap
He said about the limits to growth,
Or was it the sustainability of resoures
Or lack of good governance
It might have been about
Weapons of mass destruction
Was it about the solution to the Palestinian problem?
I don’t remember now, but it 
Ended in a sigh.
But not of relief.
But of disapointment,
Staggering disappointment
Is this the best that we can do with this great country?
From the oceans, to the prairies,
With highways, and the byways, 
electric lines, telecommunications intact, good plumbing
Feely available food supplies, unlimited gasoline, volumes of natural gas,
Apples on trees, peaches on the ground, tomatoes drifting through the gardens, 
Wading through aisles of dog food, cat food, bird food, guppy food, hamster food, Cocatoo cages,
Sleeping pills, plastic aluminum, folded wrapped artificial food for babies.
Deeply disappointed,
Sorry to see it go,
Watching it fade away,
Tormented by silly commentary, 
upright slick characters. 

Poem by Mary Chamie.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Scarcely A Day Has Gone By

Scarcely a day has gone by 
I do not think of you.
You are my rock of ages, my story, my history, 
my undocumented past, 
My imagined future.  
My one and only
There will never be another one of you, or us.
I know that we are once upon a time and not forever. 
We wonder who will leave first, who will be left behind.
Just in case it is I who goes first, I leave you this celebratory not-so-specific
funny sad happy wistful loving
note of times past and present, contemplating
lost dreams of the future.
The future will celebrate itself without me.
Just in case it is I who remain, I leave this note of times past and present, future
To remember that scarcely a day has gone by that 
I do not think of you.

Poem and painting by Mary Chamie.

Monday, March 6, 2017


It is not coincidental that I find you in my living room.
I invited you in, just this once.
It is not a mistake that we do not argue.
It is a fact 
because we do not speak.
It is not a terrible thing to be bothered by you.
It is simply inconvenient, 
this morning, tomorrow, yesterday.
I forgot why you are here.
Who said you could enter?
It is time for you to go away 
today, tomorrow, forever.
Find somewhere else to peddle your wares.
This silence is not coincidental.
I respect that
 you are gone and 
tell no one that you left.

We lost each other long ago.
Poem and painting by Mary Chamie.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Write Poetry

Poetry was always a part of my life, but never ever posted and declared. I expect that not all my poems will resonate with everybody equally, however having to declare my poem finished is exciting.

I Will Only Do This Once

I thought it would last forever,
Not realizing how long life would go on.
It seemed like a good idea at the time,
We didn’t know any better.  
Yet now, I think
I will only do this once, 
For as many times as needed.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Celebrate Openly

I do not sufficiently show my gratitude for being alive. What an off chance it all seems to be, what a lucky coincidence.  

I haven't yet  sufficiently expressed my appreciation for the beauty and wonderment of raw, wild nature.  

I need to celebrate more openly the pleasures of learning, of conducting research, of reading and writing, of painting a picture, of observing shapes, colors, designs and patterns of life.

Alain de Botton recently wrote about the importance of culture in helping us to develop traditions and rituals for celebrating life's meaning.  

Even in the most dire circumstances, life can be filled with spirit and grace. It can be celebrated. I have witnessed this while living in desolate rural areas and in densely populated urban areas, in villages suffering food scarcity, in places of war, and political unrest.  I have seen life celebrated in many languages and in various ways, through learning in educational institutions, museums and libraries, and in simple community rituals, showing it in the way they line up in meaningful ways on the sides of hills and deep into valleys. sharing traditions of language and culture and song.  

I see ritual and celebration in the way animal herds gallop, the way birds fly in flocks, the way fishes move in the waters.  I see celebration and meaning in cloud formations, and in the many stars that shine in the black night of the sea.

Susan Gubar wrote about ways of seeking the gift of grace by being receptive to a sense of beneficence or loving kindness.  This might be acquired many different ways such as engaging in quiet meditation, through dance or breathing and body exercise, by taking long walks in nature, bike riding, running alongside a road, or while painting a picture, making a craft or playing music,  in the simple act of appreciating literature and the arts.  

It may be felt in the results of a magnificent piece of research, or in the development of a new technology or in the discovery of a new way to do something.  All offer the need for morality, appreciation of spirituality and community; a feeling of grace. 

It may even be felt simply through the execution of routine acts of love and friendship such as a ritual sharing a glass of wine at sunset, or a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise, or hugging a child., patting a dog on the head.

Leaving it at this.  I say, I wish to learn to be positive about all people who celebrate life and who seek to understand its meaning whether they do it through cultural expression, education and learning, scientific discovery and/or religious practices.  


Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Scattered Approach to Dying

"When someone is cremated, can their ashes be strewn around?” I ask. 

“You can place them  anywhere you want” she replied, “after the death is registered.”

“Then in that case," I said, "Scatter some of my ashes into the winds.  Throw some under that apple tree in front of our cottage and drop the rest into the ocean. Don’t bury me anywhere.  I’m too claustrophobic."

Friday, November 18, 2016

Unfinished Official Business

I imagine the work left behind in my old office is still there, some of it piled in the corners, papers spilling over onto the floor, reports clogging up the bookshelves and stacked up in the hall closets, very little of it filed properly, but for some registered items.

Someone picked up the baton where I left off.  Like workers before me finding it always there, never ending, forever needing attention, filling up the desk, spilling onto the floors, clogging up the bookshelves.

The best part of the work day was that early moment in the morning when I took off my coat , sat down at my desk or my workbench and pondered what needed to be done, appreciating the morning quiet before the storm, the steady beat of rain drops on a metal roof,  thunder rolling across the sky, silent slushy winter snowstorm filling up the streets, causing much churning of ice water through guttered curbs, hurried runs for fresh cups of coffee and a sweet roll before the first early meeting.  Quick notes drawn up of ideas to be fleshed out in the coming months. Dreams sketched on chalkboards and paper, typed up in our computers, discussions with a colleague during an early phone call, commitments made, promises offered.

The worst part of the work day was the begrudging moments of administrative matters, pushing for decisions to be unreasonably made by 10am without exception, promptly reporting the irrational results on single sheets of paper and filing them endlessly in alphabetized folders, costing monies that might be better used on people needing real services, rather than to things mattering not at all, but to administration. I'm not sure they even remember why they asked it to be done anymore, once it is properly filed.

I see our results, those steel shards of war, crushed peoples, green phosphorous clogged waters, murderous politics, plague outbreaks, journalistic lies, top heavy unearned wealth.

Work everywhere lies strewn around in offices and on floors, stuck in files, cut into small strips to keep it secret.

It is unfinished. I am not sure that it is yet begun.