Posted in Essay, Michael Watson, Nature

The Crow

A few weeks ago we posted a Facebook video about a raven asking people for aid. The raven had encountered a porcupine and had quills embedded in its face. A couple of weeks later, we returned from our time in Maine to discover a severely injured a crow (close cousin to the Raven) in our back yard. Neighbors informed us the crow had slowly, with great intent, worked its way from the woods to our yard.

Beach Roses, MaineThe crow appeared to have a broken wing and was having difficulty standing. Upon closer inspection we discovered its foot was caught in a vine. The crow allowed me to release the trapped foot which appeared to help a little. We then offer the bird food and water, which it mostly ignored; it seemed to welcome a little gentle stroking. We then made phone calls. A former bird rehabilitator suggested we provide a box for shelter for the night as rain threatened. We then waited to hear from the crow specialist.

Yesterday morning the crow was still in our yard. Jennie took a neighbor’s advice and offered it some hard-boiled egg. The crow ate a very small portion. It seemed to be in pain so we talked over next steps, carefully weighing our options. Then the rehibilitator called; he could not make it to our house till evening, but suggested we place the crow in a cat carrier to keep it safe until he arrived. I carefully lifted the bird into the carrier and the crow fell on its side. We removed the bird briefly and placed some rags in the base of the carrier to offer some cushioning. When we returned the very large crow to the carrier we realized the bird, given the broken wing, was too large for it. We also realized the bird was not likely to survive, and after consulting the crow specialist, decided to take it to a vet to be put down.

I lifted it once more and placed it in a large recycling tub. As I was about to put the tub in the car, the crow looked me squarely in the eye, squawked loudly three times, and died. My strong impression was that the crow was expressing appreciation for our efforts, and probably chastising us a little for causing it pain. Anthropomorphizing? One had to be there.

We carefully buried the crow, performing ceremony for it. We had seen no other crows since our return, a strange absence given their frequenting of our yard and woods, and the presence of an injured member of the flock. We wondered whether the visiting crow had been ostracized by the flock. During the burial and ceremony I heard a solitary squawk from far away.

We were left with great sadness that we had, in our efforts to aid, caused the crow suffering, yet gratitude the crow had come to us. Today the sadness lingers. We are reminded of Crow’s large spirit, great intelligence and keen intent. We wish this crow a speedy and safe journey into the spirit world.

Michael Watson, Ph.D.

© 2013, essay and photographs (includes the one below), Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a contributing editor to Into the Bardo, an essayist and a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College,. He was once Dean of Students there. Recently Michael has been teaching in India and Hong Kong. His experiences are documented on his blog. In childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing.

Posted in Charles W Martin, Peace & Justice, Photography/Photographer, Poems/Poetry, Uncategorized

while the blind-lady danced…

while the blindlady danced

i asked
the brown bag prophet
if he’d heard
the new round
for justice
he said
why don’t
go sing
another verse of
we shall overcome
any luck at all
you’ can
with the voices
i’ve heard before
and let
be washed away
from these concrete streets
of freedom
washed away
into the ocean
of history
well-intentioned folks
now rotting
in their graves
copper pennies
as their only reward
don’t bother me
with your
these things
i ain’t got time
i got
this corner
and you

Charles W. Martin

© 2013, poem and illustration, Charles W. Martin, All rights reserved

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.phpCHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics.  Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography).  Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles  and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry


“We’re all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass

For Trekker …

Ann, Rob, and I attend his memorial today.




Jamie Dedes


his leathered skin a shroud, crinkled

furrowed from his wild mind and dry

explorations under our California sun

where he wondered with his students


and friends, the outdoorsmen stand

by him as he rests dying by an oak

table, a jelly glass, childhood fave

sits with his preferred gin, taking it


by the spoonful from the kind hand of

a hospice nurse until he rests, sleeps

then walks on, in the doleful blue of

of our tears: a soft fairwell dear friend


© 2012 poem, Jamie Dedes All rights reserved

Photo credit ~ Vera Kratochvil, Public Domain

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry


I’m the Sheik of Araby,

Your love belongs to me.

At night when you’re asleep

Into your tent I’ll creep.

The Sheik of Araby, lyrics by Harry B. Smith and Francis Wheeler, music by Ted Snyder, written in 1921 in response to the popularity of Rudolph Valentino and the movie The Sheik.




Jamie Dedes


Oh yes, I’d say she’s about seven in that picture

Blue-black hair, curls bursting and tied with string

Hands folded neatly, one little foot turned in


With dark doe eyes staring at the waiting world

Long lashed and bright with hope and longing

What future did those clear sparkling eyes behold


What music played the strings of that young heart

She must have dreamt of men and marriage,

Well, she would assume love as young people do


Some standard dreams maybe, the house with

A white porch and rocker, a picket fence and

A back yard of rich dark earth, flowers and fruit


Sweet children would be a part of this fairy-dream

Roses for birthdays, lilies at Easter, and garland in May

Christmas trees and mistletoe and other such …


As she watered rubby beets and greens on the fire escape

And helped her mother with chores and siblings

No doubt she dreamed dreams gifted by movies, magazines


As she tied her worn boots, getting ready for school,

Smoothing her hand-me-down dress, then running

Down the steps and on through the slums …


She must have dreamed then of ocean mists and

Fresh air, streets with trees and well-groomed homes

And well-polished horseless-carriages for transit


When she grew old enough did she wait hopeful

On well-worn curbs under jaundiced street lights

A ghetto-bound Diana waiting for her handsome Sheik


And he, the Sheik looking for his Sheba, did he find her

Did he take her hand as she stood lovely, innocent

And did he soon leave her only to be followed by another


Did each Sheik stay long enough to steal her heart

And riding off take another piece of her, a souvenir

Of yearning and promise, love and gullibility …


Is that why she lies here now, eyes grown pale, heart empty

And a silent wail rising from the sacred depths of her being

“The movies and the magazines”, she says, “they lied …”

Then whispered softly: “When Valentino died, women

lined the streets for his funeral cortége and cried  … “


Rudolf Valentino as the Sheik and Agnes Ayers as Lady Diana.

“Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen. I am merely the canvas on which women paint their dreams. ”
Rudolph Valentino – 1923

Video posted to YouTube by tengirlsag

© 2009, 2010, 2011 Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in Guest Writer, Perspectives on Cancer

PERSPECTIVES ON CANCER #14: With Heart Divided


Excerpt from With Heart Divided



Donna Swanson

What do you say about dying?  Holding a hand that is already like a skeleton with skin stretched over it?  Standing in back of his lounge chair and putting your hands gently on his shoulders for fear of hurting him?  Kissing the top of his head where only a few strands of those once thick curls remain?  Saying, “I love you.” trying to make up for all those times you did not say it before?

On the night before our son, Mac, died, Jacob stopped by his daddy’s chair on his way to bed and said, “Goodnight, Dad” Mac answered “Goodnight, Jake.” John and I and Dennie had been there all day and about 10:00 I went home to get some sleep.  John stayed because Mac had begun to get really agitated in his hallucinations and he was afraid Mac, though weak, could throw himself out of his chair or hurt Shelby.

At 5:30 the next morning the phone rang and Dennie said I’d better come quickly.  By the time I arrived Mac had just won his war.  Satan had played his last card, death, and though he won a battle, he lost the war.  Mac died with his father’s arms around his shoulders and his wife’s arms holding him.  Shelby let the boys sleep until the undertaker had gone, then she sat in her chair with a child held close under each arm and told them their Daddy had gone to Heaven.

When we went with Shelby to make arrangements, the first thing she said was, “I never expected to be doing this at 33.”  Both the visitation and funeral service were held in our Church for there was not enough room in the funeral home.  The Director said he had never held a service with so many people in attendance.  Shelby and John decided to bury Mac in the little cemetery about a quarter-mile from our home.  Arrangements were made and now Mac’s grave is close by.

Of course Mac is not there.  He has changed the landscape of Heaven for us. No longer is it a place just to be talked about in sermons or read about in the Bible.  Now it is where Mac is.  And we wonder what he’s doing today.  We see Heaven through the eyes of sorrow and joy.  And death has truly lost its sting.

My family has lost many members to cancer; two sisters, a brother, my mother and several cousins.  When the battle is done and the tears have dried, the heart regains its equilibrium and life goes on.  But for the poet, part of the healing process is putting into words our thoughts and the thoughts we see reflected in the eyes of our loved ones.  These are written for my son, Mac, and my sister Jackie who died of ovarian cancer.


I step back into the shadow,

beyond the light of my family’s


Storing memories

that must last through eternity.

I watch for the last time

each milestone celebration;

each small moment.

I take in the wonder

of the ordinary:

The smile of the morning,

The uncertain rest of the night

and the miracle of a day renewed.

As eternity beckons

I reach for the temporal,

for one last touch of mortality.

But I watch from the shadows.

© cover art, narrative, and poem 2011, Donna Swanson, all rights reserved

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Donna Swanson was born during the Great Depression in 1938 to an Indiana farm family.Youngest of eight children and a twin, she has lived her entire life in Warren County, Indiana.  A high school graduate, she chose to marry and raise a family rather than attend college; although she took classes in art, Koine’ Greek and psychology after marriage.  She has written nine books: Mind Song, published by The Upper Room in Nashville, TN; Rachel’s Daughters, The Windfallow Chronicles (a double trilogy), self-published; Splinters of Light, yet to be published, and the present autobiography.  A poem, Minnie Remembers, has become a standard tool in the study of gerontology, made into a documentary film by United Methodist Communications, and given the Golden Eagle Film Award.  It has been reprinted in most denominational publications and over twenty-five books. Mrs. Swanson is a Bible scholar and taught adult Bible classes for over forty years.  She began prayer and share groups for women in two area Churches and hosted a teenage “rap” group in her home for four years.  She counts among her mentors college professors, authors and ministers. Donna blogs at Mindsinger.