Rose and Rising

IMG_4542Bright heat
has me drifting
into dark cool spaces

but this delicate rose breath
evening’s cool breeze
relentless heat
something in me
still breathing

touching me there
I begin a blossom affair

ascending with solstice
your sweet peach scent
sending shivers

lighting me up

your unfolding layers
to pull me in

I see you there


I take a nibble

hurt a little

impressive thorns
perhaps born
of many wounds

yet you dare to share
so much of yourself

I see you

drawing me in
until the sun sets
once again

As I ride the waves
of your aromatic aerial offering
over the horizon

Rilke-Soaked Dreams and a Vulnerable Mountain Heart

IMG_4512A year ago this week I was trekking for 10 days in the Olympic Mountains.

I was struggling over several long, hard days climbing up the side of the mountain, the trail often obscured. Though it was June, winter was still up there.

I was struggling with heartache: my partner and I were estranged. I was struggling with trust and jealousy. I was struggling with my inability to fully receive love. I was struggling with ancient wounds of abandonment. I didn’t understand different kinds of love and connection. I was struggling with meaningful livelihood.

I arrived atop in a lake basin and pitched my tent above Heart Lake. I became stuck there for several days – it was cold and rainy and snowy. I was getting increasingly wet. In the clouds. No sun all day. Fully soaked. Boots undryable. Spending the day in the tent. The only warmth was from a little backpacking stove.

The clouds from every direction merged, climbed, surrounded, hugged the crevices everywhere. I couldn’t see anything. I was aware that I could soon be in danger of hypothermia, so knew I had to descend as soon as possible, if conditions didn’t change.

But I had a deep feeling that I didn’t want to leave the mountain top and the lake until all was revealed. Something was coming.

Finally the sun appeared on the 4th day. Joy! My first real moment of excitement! I was able to get dry. When the clouds opened up, I could get perspective. I could finally see Mt. Olympus. More importantly, the image of Vulnerable Mountain Heart kept appearing inside me. It had appeared a few days before at the beginning of my journey – it was now deepening and speaking.

Vulnerable Mountain Heart. What is it? Deep cosmic heart of vulnerability, source of love and strength. It’s the heart that stays open, that feels what it feels, that rests easy with what is, that doesn’t need to react to save itself, has no fear, that knows its strength in vulnerability, and therefore its wholeness and power.

Vulnerable Mountain Heart is unearthing and resurrecting our archaic connection with the natural world. That connection critical to healing ourselves, our communities, and the planet. It’s about meeting ourselves authentically, with nature not just as context, but as collaborator. A mountain doesn’t care what storms present themselves. It merely accepts and receives them, unphased. Mountain Heart is about embodying our strength and power, overcoming fear, and accepting what is.

Yet at the same time, by being willing to connect with our vulnerability, we allow healing and growth and remain compassionate. It’s about recognizing and feeling our old sacred wounds and finding love and power in that place. And it’s about liberation from unhealthy patterns inherited from our family and culture. Finally, it’s about listening, opening, and resting in uncertainty and change, and unfolding our authenticity layer by layer.

After a week and a half up there, I walked out of the rich, green Hoh Valley a changed person—richer, stronger, and more clear. I knew it was an unfolding story. The day after I hitchhiked out of the forest, I found myself in the city lying on my side getting a needle stuck repeatedly in my arm—I was getting a mountain heart tattoo in Olympia.

It did change me, but since then I have often strayed from that wisdom, sometimes so far off that it’s like I’m in the clouds again. Fear causes pain to ourselves and others. Can’t see anything.

It’s not a one time opening.

It’s choosing love over fear, moment by moment.


IMG_4300I hear a steady melody,
a murmur, soft and strong
sounds a bit like wildfire
inside a mermaid’s siren song

I hear it like the heartbeat
of the cosmic heart above
Written across the dark night sky
a different kind of love

Perhaps it’s a comet
come to destroy the earth
making way for something better
something giving birth

Sounds like the ocean waves
crashing upon the shore
Sounds like a surprise guest
knocking on the door

Sounds like a couple drums
that sets the dancers free
Sounds like a humming thrum
Calling mountains to the sea

Sounds a bit like wagon wheels
Rolling across the hills
heading straight in my direction
At least that’s how it feels

I hear a steady melody,
a murmur, soft and strong
sounds a bit like wildfire
inside a mermaid’s siren song

Apricot Circle


Today we had a tree-planting and poem reading ceremony for the new baby boy of my friends, which inspired this poem.

Wren begins his life to be
around a tree in community

what’s planted here will blossom forth
when cultivated with love and warmth

what’s watered here will surely grow
strong and full with much to show

by many hearts he’ll be taught
by mariposas and apricots
by many hands and many hearts
by garden harvests and plum tarts

from roots to fruit, sugar’s shared
just like love and joy and care

one day he’ll see an impossible bloom
from the window of his room
and know that long ago in May
a tree was planted out of love that day


Photo Credit: Diane Dew Photography

The Woman Who Sings Over Bones

CizZjcGWEAAhy_AShe sees the wounded ones
and gathers up the bones
from the ground below
scattered among twigs
and ancient stones

she gathers the bones
like a bee that roams
collecting pollen from many homes
Then sowing what needs to be sown

Her pockets overflow
with bones from
creatures both known
and unknown

she sets the dead
on the altar above the hearth
and begins her song
of fire and earth

Her cupped hands hold
a delicate warmth
a most precious thing, behold:
a tiny spark forms

she breathes in slow
begins to blow
singing a charm
the red flame grows

it begins with a whisper
and ends with a roar
she sings from her heart
sings to restore:

“this passion is yours
this passion is mine
a spark of earth
a spark of life
be free
be seen
be whole
in awe
in all

some hear her spell
and return to life
their skeletal state dispelled

others have not yet grown
the ears to hear
out of fear
so remain mere bones

She smiles and asks a simple thing:
“what else is there to do,
but to love and to sing?”

Image Credit: From Art of Enchantment


firenadoI’m a man of the written word
except when it comes to her
I manage just a sketch

a sunset, storm, or subtle mood
are much easier to catch

My feeble words,
like crumpled boxes,
fall futilely at her feet
forever in motion

Like a firenado streaking across
a sweet strawberry lovescape
with no horizons

an ever-changing cloud
of playful pulse and purple joy
that sometimes burns
full and bright

a very big berry
on the verge of bursting

a tasty dancing delight
dripping magic melodies
and mysterious music melting
like candle wax
and swaying hips
rainbow swirls
and lovers lips

and yet a sacred wound lives within
the living, loving whirlwind
Hidden from mere mortal things
from which her secret springs