Wednesday, 29 July 2015


I just finished this picture which is based on a circa 1860 tintype of sisters who lived not far from where I live now.

I don't know much more than the fact that one of them was named 'Aggie' (Agnes), they were fairly well off and that Aggie's elderly granddaughter died a few months ago.

What their hopes and fears were or even how their clothes felt on their bodies, I have no idea.

So solemn and stiff in the tintype and so grey they might as well have already been in the grave.

Even warmed up with a little colour, Aggie and her nameless sister peer out at us - lovely/chilling reminders of our own mortality and the passing of time.


Monday, 27 July 2015

Le Gach Dea-ghuí

One day someone steals your bicycle, eats your 

lunch, insults you and trips you on the stairs.

After a few days of this you  call that person a worm

and a dog and what's worse maybe even say their 

mother wears army boots.

But then you start to feel uncomfortable in your 

skin so even though you consider the sins of the 

other far greater than yours you say, "I'm sorry I 

called you worm and dog and your mother 

actually wears nice shoes."

And surprise of surprises you find being good with 

the other person isn't important, being good with 

yourself is what matters.

Is this feeling of being back on an even keel 


My churchy understanding is that forgiveness means 

that you never again think of what was said and 

done and like a frigging saint you pick up with the 

person as if it never happened.

Fine if your name is Mother Theresa.

It seems to me right now that it isn't churchy

forgiveness that is called for, rather it is

being right with your God(s), loving and 

respecting your own soul and being able to 

gently let the other person go.

One translation of the Irish 'le gach dea-ghuí' is 

"go with prayers".


Sunday, 26 July 2015


The funny thing about saying "I'm sorry" to someone 

is that so often it seems to hinge on the other 

person meeting us half way.  

As if we have a built in mental Geiger counter that

impedes the development of sorry-ness unless it 

detects sorry-ness in the other person first.

But a person can feel sorry or not sorry.

It's existence within can never depend on how

someone else feels.

Sorry-ness should only be measured against one's 

own moral standards.

Being sorry doesn't mean asking for forgiveness.

Saying, "I'm sorry," means holding your head up

and getting right with your own soul.

I learned that the hard way recently.


Friday, 24 July 2015

Sacred Comedy

That is the blood of the lamb

splattered across my new sparkly 

pineapple t-shirt.


I must have looked like I needed

more help than a simple sip would bring.

Anyway, the picture reminds me of an old 

friend who once told me the nuns at her

school said never to bite into the Host or 

the blood of Jesus would come gushing 

out of her mouth

and from there presumably, if she was lucky enough 

to have one, onto her new sparkly pineapple t-shirt.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Leaving Her Bones


Cree girls fishing at Moose Factory

I am awestruck by the journeys of my grandmothers

and often imagine their lives and the places they 

have left their bones.

Most came out of Africa, traveled with their tribes

through Europe to Ireland and Scotland and 

eventually came in great ships to the new world.

But one grandmother was already here.

Three hundred or so years ago my Mohawk 

grandmother left her bones in what  became 

the US.

Her beautiful brown pagan face stands out 

for me right now like shiny new chestnut 

lying in a bowl of fresh bananas.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Honouring the Mother

Many years ago I went on a bike tour of Bavaria.

We cycled through rural communities and often 

found ourselves in dark forests.

And in the darkest parts of the forest it wasn't 

unusual to come across a small grotto dedicated to 

the Virgin.

A burning candle and Her image behind a wire gate.

The whole thing no more than a foot high.

To see it you had to kneel.

Each grotto verdant, 

Smelling of damp earth.

Strangely fecund.

A holy place.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Honouring the Father

Lately I've come to the conclusion that the Christian

Church belongs totally to Yahweh.

In other words I don't change the words to every 

prayer and response anymore, i.e., saying the "Our 

Mother" instead of the "Our Father". 

I've decided that when I'm there, I'm going to 

honour the Father.

The Good Father. 

The Protector, Defender, Lover, Partner

of the Great Mother who is always creating.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Existence of Evil

I don't roll my eyes at the idea of evil entities.

Or the casting out of demons.

Not only do I think that evil exists I believe once the 

door is open evil can attach itself to a person like a 

malignant cancer cell.

The first time I had a drink I was 17. I drank until I 

couldn't stand up. 

In my mid thirties I was a popular, church going 

teacher by day and living a life of alcoholic 

debauchery by night.  I'm skipping a lot here but 

there are no words to describe the ugliness of my 

life at that time so it doesn't matter and I've come 

to terms with it anyway.

After my second blackout I went to the priest.

Vatican II had been blowing fresh air up priestly 

cassocks for awhile, (temporarily as it turned out), 

and he was a good guy.   

That very day, kneeling in church begging for help 

from my God, I actually felt my addiction leave me. 

It peeled away from my back like a 'thing'.

I don't mean that I suddenly had strength to take 

myself to AA meetings every night.

I mean it was gone. 

It would have been silly to go to AA.

I understood then what the casting out of demons 


And I believed.

I rarely have a drink now but I do enjoy a little wine now and then.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015


From a found photo, probably taken in the 1930s.

An old woman sitting in a homemade boat reading

No name, no date, no place.

All I know is that whatever her troubles, right now 

she's in another world, a place where time doesn't 


She's lost in a book.