• Vulnerable Border (Photo - Kathabela Wilson).

      Vulnerable Border (Photo – Kathabela Wilson).


      – 7/25/18

      Hosted by Kathabela Wilson

      It is always on the borders that we are most vulnerable. When we are close to our own beginnings and endings, feeling the edges of life in those we love, we feel endangered, along with the animals, plants and our world shows itself as being resilient and fragile. I think especially of the children:

      ‘I tremble

      with the children as they cross
      the borders

      and with their parents’ age old
      hopes and dreams
      vulnerable, endangered’

      The great art and poems of Toti O’Brien lead us on with hope, tenderness, and insight.

      ~ Kathabela​​​​

      Hannibal's Dream, mixed media by Toti O'Brien.

      Hannibal’s Dream, mixed media by Toti O’Brien.

      Toti O’Brien


      What makes baby irresistible
      is candid decrepitude
      held so gracefully.

      Wrinkled and sagged
      a zillion-year-old skin
      stacked on its tiny skeleton

      yet clear of all attitude
      only wisdom
      that of pretending none.

      Little beast, born a centenarian
      but without a lament
      totters by with unsteady majesty.

      Such conspicuous fragility
      grizzled innocence
      in its meek stare.

      Eyes black corals
      buried by timeless oceans
      submerged by rippling sand.

      (Pachyderm was first published in Zingara Poetry Review, 4/18).

      Ο Ο Ο

      New England painted turtle found in the library's parking lot where I work (Photo - Diane Mayr).

      New England painted turtle found in the library’s parking lot where I work (Photo – Diane Mayr).

      Diane Mayr

      construction site

      smiling town officials
      photographed in hardhats

      migrating ducks inspect
      the precast concrete bioretention
      drain system

      Ο Ο Ο

      Monarch caterpillar feeding on a milkweed leaf (Photo - Marilyn Ashbaugh).

      Monarch caterpillar feeding on a milkweed leaf (Photo – Marilyn Ashbaugh).

      Marilyn Ashbaugh

      labeled a weed
      the monarch’s host plant
      as if we are immune
      to the butterfly effect

      Ο Ο Ο

      Sunset (Photo - Dawn Toomey).

      Sunset (Photo – Dawn Toomey).

      Gayle Sweeper

      people need homes
      land around the city shrinks
      sad koala

      Ο Ο Ο​​

      Ocean sky, Florida Keys (Photo - Pris Campbell).

      Ocean sky, Florida Keys (Photo – Pris Campbell).

      Genie Nakano

      Morning news
      whales belly filled with Styrofoam
      my friends dying
      in an ocean
      filled with tears

      Ο Ο Ο

      Dhulikhel, not far from the border of Tibet China (Photo - Beata Wrzal).

      Dhulikhel, not far from the border of Tibet China (Photo – Beata Wrzal).

      Joyce Futa

      as if blow torched

      my gingko tree
      leaves crisped in July

      and the roses
      I am as shocked
      as if it were me

      Ο Ο Ο

      House, Brisbane Australia (Photo - Peter Sweeper).

      House, Brisbane Australia (Photo – Peter Sweeper).

      Peter Jastermsky

      one blink and gone
      a person who was a rock
      the rocks themselves return to sand

      coming in further each time
      the ocean takes what’s left

      for keeps


      Toti O’Brien, from Los Angeles, is a writer and artist. She says: “On his death-bed, Uncle Nino was given the book—fresh from the publisher—he had written about preservation of ancient buildings and towns. He caressed the cover, the pictures, the pages—almost reverently, as if they were the petals of a delicate flower. Then he sighed with regret. ‘Too bad, he said. I wish I could stay a little while, just to finish the new volume I’m on. It is crucial, extremely important…’ ‘Uncle, what are you writing about?’ He said: ‘Vulnerability’ and then he was quiet, as he had run out of breath. He referred, of course, to endangered architectures, which were his very specialty. But as he was left minutes to live, and because I loved him so much, the word he last pronounced took on an infinite resonance. It is echoing, still.”

      Diane Mayr lives in Salem, NH. She comments: “The wildlife in southern NH has been radically affected by new construction in this area. We are a bedroom community for Boston. The song of spring peepers has been quieted. Turtles wander across parking lots. Ducks end up swimming in drainage ditches.”

      Marilyn Ashbaugh lives in Edwardsburg, Michigan. The monarch caterpillar feeds on milkweed leaves. Because the milkweed is poisonous, its ingestion protects the caterpillar from being eaten by predators. This, of course does not include the human predator who through the use of herbicides has destroyed large numbers of these plants, resulting in the near extinction of the beautiful Monarch butterfly. From Wikipedia: “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”

      Gayle Sweeper tells us: “I live on the outskirts of Brisbane, in Australia, where bush is being cleared for new housing. When we moved here in 2000, every day koalas were heard, (they are very noisy) and sometimes seen. Now they have gone. But people have to have houses to live in. There too, land is becoming scarce, yards are shrinking in size, houses cramped together. More blocks of units going up.”

      Genie Nakano is a poet, yoga and meditation teacher and dancer who lives in Gardena, California. She feels how endangered the ocean and its beings have become, and cares for all living things.

      Joyce Futa, of Altadena, California says: “The heat wave in Southern California has been brutal. When I saw the damage to the plants in my garden, the concept of climate change became immediately very scary.”

      Peter Jastermsky muses: “The theme of Impermanence is the song of Existence. Invulnerable in our Adolescent stage, we grow into our Humanity, and our inevitable Vulnerability. And yet, if we think of our indestructible energy on a spiritual level, we may take comfort in knowing that we’ll be in eternal circulation, as an ocean distributes, and redistributes, the sand.” Peter lives in Irvine, California.

      Ο Ο Ο

      You can add your contribution to our Poetry Corner in the form of a poem, in our comment box below​.

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Kath Abela Abela Wilson says:

        I so appreciate your comments on the Poetry Corner. Poets please continue to post your poems here. Often a new corner can begin with YOU! By posting a fine and thoughtful poem here! Love from Kathabela.

      2. Gayle Sweeper says:

        Thank you Kathabela. Vulnerability made a fertile topic.

      3. Alex Nodopaka says:


        Is the condition
        When the realization
        Of your minuscule


        Becomes so overwhelming
        You want to stop the car
        You are driving and


        Barefoot and feel
        Each grain of sand
        Under your feet and


        The magnitude of your size
        And your imagined


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