Too Late For Refuge

Too Late For Refuge

We take refuge

where there is no place

that waits for flames to inflame logs

yet keep us warm.

Leaving our breath

to play in broken sanctuary

so our oxygen is not used

all at the same time.

A young woman transpires

to make her way, too stubborn to die

behind barricades of fire.

She wore a summer frock

without shoes,

dancing across the road,

reflected in the window

of the baker’s shop.

Departing with two baguettes,

the girl returns to sanctuary

to breath and survive.

Wise poets create magic

- or so they think,

when baguettes morph into space

with red wine the color

and taste of blood.

Worlds bigger than ours

tower over us

with huge anger

and yet a delicate fragility.

They dwarf homo-sapiens

left behind by stupidity,

without knowing how trees cry

about the travesty of barren oil sands

and coal mines.

Trees have a different music.

Their sophisticated internet

creates majestic forests and fires with the

epiphany of inter-connection,

without corporate domination

building the way of destruction.

Cedar forests

know what is not natural,

to be without pain and desperation

required by Mother Earth

to soothe hurts beyond danger.

A new tapestry evolves

to welcome the rising up of mountains,

forests and oceans and the return

of water creatures.

It masters the unthinkable haunted decline.

All of them watch humanity,

who consume without noticing that

animals leave tracks in the mud.

Ian Prattis


Ian Prattis, Zen Teacher, Anthropology Professor Emeritus, peace and environmental activist, was born in the UK. He has spent much of his life living and teaching in Canada. His moving and eye-opening books, essays and poetry are a memorable experience for anyone who enjoys reading about primordial tendencies. Beneath the polished urban facade remains a part of human nature that few want to acknowledge, either due to fear or simply because it is easier to deny the basic instincts that have kept us alive on an unforgiving earth. Prattis bravely goes there in his outstanding literary work. A stone tossed in the waters of life.


  1. We do set ourselves apart from the rest of what lives. We should perhaps be the ones doing the watching.

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