Excerpt for What To Do With Problems by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Title Page

Writings by Sha’Ra On WindWalker

(in collaboration with Sha'Tara EarthStar)

Copyright (©) 2018 Cocoons to Butterflies Publishing

Published by: Cocoons to Butterflies Publishing

Chilliwack, B.C. Canada

Cover pictures by: Top, Dragan Sasic

Bottom, StillSearc

Cover pictures found on

Space Picture: ESA/Hubble

I hope you enjoy these writings. Feedback is welcome.


Title Page


Getting Old

A Cold Night



A Cut Above

A Son's Love

How Rich Is Rich Enough

A Twig

Cruel Life



If Death is Not Death, What Then?

Silent Scream

Empty Hands

To Vote Or Not To Vote

Die From Poison? Hell No!

Solving Problems

I Speak Of Old Things Past

Reflecting Walls

Small Stuff

What to do with Problems?


These books contain a form of free verse poetry, opinions based on observation, and some humour and imagination, engaging the heart as well as the mind. A critical look at many current issues intriguing and plaguing man. Spirituality, interaction with nature and environment, social changes, dwindling resources. Well worn issues now, indeed. But the poetry and other works in these books gives this subject a different perspective. I daresay that here we can find a "higher" vantage point from which to look at ourselves within the cosmos.

Who knows but some of the ideas in the books may get you inspired to do that thing you always wanted to do, even if this comes in a very small way, to make your corner of this world a better place to be in. Who knows but you may realize your little corner is a really nice place to be in after all.

It's all about life, if at times expressing life "outside the box" as the saying goes.

Getting Old

You know you're getting old

when it takes you all night

just to try to remember

what you used to do all night;

when you painstakingly put

your pants on, one leg at a time

and the zipper is on backward;

when you go to brush your teeth

and they're not there

and you can't find them

because your glasses are

in another room--which one?

and you go to bed

only to fall head first

in the closet:

it's only then, you remember

this may not be your house,

and that...wasn't the bathroom:

you think, ...Oh, hey!

Who is that woman

in the bed I was in?

Does it really matter?

But it should: I spent an entire night

thinking about it...

(and on that note, the Laughing Poet

got up and made coffee...)

A Cold Night

Cold and rainy winter's night

turns sidewalks to ice

and neon signs

into impressionist painters:

I walk through the town

in silence

observing the flow of life.

A woman and her son

walk past me

holding on to one another

on the icy walks:

she smiles, as she passes by:

“Be careful, it is very slippery”

and both slip into the night.

There is a sustained belief

that city streets are evil,

that at night

muggers and murderers

hide in dark alleys

stalking their victims...

But our world is changing

and so are its streets:

like it or not, evil, so-called,

is making way for love.

I know, it's not what creates

the harsh, black headlines

but it is the way

I choose to see.


When adversity hits,

and we are put to the test,

what are the thoughts in our mind?

Are we still the same as before?

Whom we thought ourselves to be?

Adversity is deeply revelational.

It forces one to plunge within;

examine those things forgotten,

hidden by good times and fast living.

What comes up now? Fear? Anger? Self-pity?

But a moment ago we were so buoyant,

happy, self-assured, complacent, arrogant even:

“Would never happen to me” we thought,

when a beggar approached - tossing him a few coins,

then joining our friends for drinks and laughs at the pub.

Adversity comes in many guises - not necessarily

a sudden turn of fortune and money gone!

A lover leaves a note on the bed;

an accident leaves us permanently crippled;

cancer strikes and each treatment

leaves us weaker than before

and the only sure end in sight is death.

How do we take these changes?

usually, not so well, not so well at all,

for there is much learning to do now.

But if we had prepared for such?

“If... if... if” we had expected such

and lived a life of detachment and love,

reaching out to others all the time:

adversity would not appear so harsh

but as a means to sharpen our passion.


As I was sitting on a beach

surveying the tossing grey sea

I pondered the saying:

"It's not the destination that matters,

it's the journey."

A young woman walked past

and said with an enigmatic smile:

"Which is most important:

the journey or the destination?"

I replied: they say it's the journey,

not the destination.

"Think about that," she said in a soft voice,

"can you have a journey

if you have no destination?

Is it not the destination

that calls for the journey?"

I watched her as she went on,

looking neither to the left nor right

until I lost sight of her behind a dune.

From that moment, I thought differently

about my life and my goals, and I ask,

what's the point of moving on

if I have nowhere to go to?

A Cut Above

There is a barber in town

who sees the world

in a way most do not:

he talks to his clients

about the horrors happening

everyday on the planet -

and he wonders why these must be.

I saw a man come in

seriously in need of a haircut

but no money -

so this barber says "It's OK"

and he cut his hair for free

instead of turning him away.

I call that


and wonder:

must one be aware

of the Great Suffering

before one can know;

before one can demonstrate,


Can those who care

but for their daily, petty desires;

their need and greed,

ever know, ever understand

this great healing power

that's called compassion?

That is quite unlikely

and explains much

of what transpires

beyond the headlines

on this dark world.

A Son's Love

Vaguely do I remember the times

in the New Brunswick countryside;

the cabin beside a small lake,

the long conversations in the night

and finally, the move out west.

But what I do remember clearly

are summer vacations in Kelowna

and how, at times, you would allow

your stunted love to escape

the steel cage enclosing your heart.

But when you thought this love

might expose your true feelings,

you would return into the shadows,

unable to express the part of you

living in constant fear of being hurt.

Now you've become like the waves

flowing and ebbing upon a long, cold shore:

You hide in some forgotten field

you found at the end of life:

your fear still refuses to let you be.

How Rich Is Rich Enough

I walk down by the sea

and watch the morning sun rise

over a placid pink mirror of water

before the first breeze of the day.

I sense the powerful interplay

of fire and water upon my eyes:

it's pleasant enough to contemplate

these arch-rivals creating

such a beautiful canvas

on this summer morning.

If indeed we live in a world

whose soul is duality

does that not create

a "biological imperative"

whereby opposites must continually

assert their opposition?

Does "duality" -

the juxtaposition of opposites -

endlessly create inequality?

Or should it naturally

create equality of opposites?

Or does it make a difference

to the outcome?

What would happen, I wonder,

should these two ever meet and touch?

Ah, but that's it, isn't it:

they cannot touch, will not, ever -

and that explains the problems of earth;

of man: of rich and poor and injustice.

For the rich insist on touching the poor,

robbing them of life with every touch;

with exploitation and oppression.

And the poor likewise believe

that only upon touching the rich

can they alleviate their own burden -

so we have revolutions, we have wars.

Is this violence a necessary aspect

of creation's concept of duality?

Is there a better way?

A Twig

A twig grew straight and slim

by a gurgling mountain brook

dreaming of the day he knew must come

when he'd be the tallest tree on the hill.

But erosion brings down an old tree

which falls dead centre on the twig,

bending it to ninety degrees, perhaps more:

but does it stop growing?

Does it wait for someone, some god,

to come along and move the offending tree?

It keeps growing, though bent and odd ;

nor does it care, for its search

is ever to the light in each new day..

An old fallen tree; a belief system:

one and the same, and many are those

who cannot go beyond this boundary.

They stop; they think that's all there is;

the last question, the last answer.

Look to that twig! How does it know

to hunger for light in the darkness?

Life does have its strange burdens

but it graces us with some amazing gifts:

the power to change; to adapt:

to forgive all and to move on.

Cruel Life

Ah, life,

would you make me

your slave?

Would you make me cringe

at the thought of losing


Would you pass yourself off

as my greatest lover?

Must I spend my days

panting after you?

Lusting after you?

Fearing your disapproval?

And what of death?

Is that the moment

when you finally say it:

that it’s over for you and I?

Ah, life,

you are a cruel mistress:

you come unbidden

and I am born entangled

in your web of sorcery

and the only way out

is when you decide;

when the bell shall toll for me.


(and experience)

Discernment means knowing what works

from what doesn’t!

if you put a wet finger in a light-bulb socket

and throw the switch

it’s “Pow, zoom, to the moon Alice!”

and perhaps a free perm...

(with luck).

What I’d like to say,

Don’t judge your choice as wrong:

or claim The Devil made you do it.

Condemning your finger doesn’t help either,

‘Cause then it’ll need be sentenced to death,

cut off forever from its brethren

(thus sayeth the Lord and all that)

whether by sword or stoning,

for on Earth every evil act

must have its proper punishment.

(You believe that, don't you?)

Just discern the lesson in the event; just know

you failed to trust your knowing in this matter;

you played with carelessness and silliness

and got the payment you justly deserved.

Is that so hard to understand?


I don't write for money

for notoriety

or whatever else there

might be

to write for.

But it seems I need to say

what is on my mind

compelled to speak

and I know from experience

that few care to hear

those things

which weigh on my mind:

they don't fit the pattern

designed for things

to be properly said:

they don't fit the mold

crafted from ages past

by wizards

who rule the world,

design the things that are:

they are an interference,

an annoyance

ruining many a good time

with thoughts

so carefully excised

from the ordinary mind.

but believe me

I'm not out to confuse

or cause you pain:

heaven knows: there is

enough pain

in this world already

our collective confusion

beyond measure:

But the world is dying.

no longer can it hold

our offset mass

of beggarly idiocy.

Please listen,

just for a moment --

but listen carefully:

Hold the words you hear

weigh them

test them

put them through the fire

of simple reason

then decide -- don't

simply kill the messenger

If Death is Not Death, What Then?

Will death overtake me

in the night?

Will I find myself still alive,

without a body?

There's a considerably wide belief

that asserts this is so:

can that majority be so wrong?

Perhaps I should have a plan

for such a contingency;

a means of intelligent input

should I not die when I “die”

but continue on

interacting with whomever.

Do I want to have some say

in what happens to me?

Or do I wish for the best

and let “them” dispose of me?

Should I assume I won't exist at all

without a body?

Should I assume if I do

everything must be just fine?

Who says

things just motor on perfectly

in the afterlife?

Seems to me after all

life is based on free will;

that whatever happens to me

will be because I chose

or refused to choose -

My final point:

if I prepare for an eventuality

that never comes about,

the doing of which

has made me a better person:

what have I lost?

Silent Scream

Across my void

a silent scream pierces

someone's heart:

is it mine?

How should I know

having been born

O! So many times in time

for who is 'me'?

I do not know, I just remain

the Primal Scream

the Silence that shatters

the glass of time.

What is it?



Fulness or emptiness?

How can I know

when all I can do is Scream

and no one hears...

except me.

Empty Hands

Time slips inexorably

from my empty hands;

life ebbs away;

understanding flees.

Life propels me forth;

I move as blind,

my future hidden

in clouds of doubt.

How will I ever know

if I have found

the river of life

dissipating slowly

in the sea of dreams,

If I cannot dispel

this darkness?

"Life, why don't you stand still

and give me time to think?"

To Vote Or Not To Vote

Comes election time and people say:

You've got to vote!

It's your duty to vote.

If you don't vote, don't complain

if they don't do what you would like.

This gave me food for thought.

First, 'tis obvious people vote

to have something to complain about.

Secondly, if I were to vote

it's just as obvious to me

there's only one person on this world

who'll always do what I want

and that would be 'me'

so put my name on the ballot

and I'll vote

for my majority of One.

Die From Poison? Hell No!

Should I eat that can of stew

filled to the rim

with deadly preservatives?

Hell no: I’ll starve first!

I won’t let those preservatives

twist my gut in knots!

Should I drink that tap water

laced with hazardous wastes

leached casually from the city dump?

Should I ingest that chlorine

intended for the swimming pool?

Hell no: I’m not drinking the water.

Should I breathe in that smog?

Those diesel fumes? The sewer wisp?

My neighbour’s Presto log smoke

Or that deadly, unseen C-Monoxide?

Hell no, that way I won’t go!

And here’s the recipe for extended health,

strong teeth, good lungs, healthy bones:

Eat no food;

Drink no water;

Breathe no air:

You’ll die quickly,



sensibly virginal - no longer incensed.

Solving Problems

Life is a stream all must cross

and we step from stone to stone,

each intervening space a problem to solve:

each secure step a challenge overcome:

Endless decisions, endless choices.

Makes me want to ask:

Where do problems originate?

Do we create them from ignorance?

Do we inherit others' mistakes?

These endless dilemmas:

are they nature's way to select

those more fit to survive the test?

I don't know, but this I've noticed:

There are those who love problems;

who love the taunting of opposition.

who rise to the challenge presented;

who step, jump, vault, from stone to stone

and they make it seem so easy!

Come to think of it:

are we not all a bit that way,

in our own way?

I Speak Of Old Things Past

The poet writes the thoughts received;

forms lines for broken or unspoken words;

grasps at straws flying in the winds

and oft spins them into mighty trees.

He interprets his world, using metaphors

long dried up upon the sands of time

to describe a System in the throes of death...

I too must speak of old things past.

What things, you ask, afraid of the answer -

Oh, those so long taken for granted and believed

yet so short on reason in today's changing world:

need I say it? I, of course, speak of a certain god.

I've encountered the ancient thoughts on a god -

a certain god of great and astounding claims:

all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, it is still taught

and sadly still, I see, unquestionably believed.

But tell me, O Wo-Man who worship such an entity:

what has it done that nothing else could have?

and why this desperate defense for a deity

whose Word spurned is certain to bring death?

For it is said no one shall escape the Wrath;

and every knee shall bow to this Meta Phor

who from nowhere thunders as a wounded Zeus

trapped within the confusion of interpretation?

Behold now, this idolized no-thing which man -

driven by fear has dragged over land and sea

on ships sailing oceans of innocent blood -

Helpless, crucified on a million crosses,

the sacrificial dead.

Reflecting Walls

Staring bewildered

at my swelling walls of pain

exposed by aching loneliness

I no longer wonder why it is

that my flowers droop; their colors fade!

From this sad meditation

I hear the voice of wisdom:

"Intend and co-create; in passion,

desire that which you possess,

or possess what you desire!

Gaze in the mirror of life

expecting to see only

that which you want to see;

cancel all misfit realities

and now see your flowers

spring back with life

and the walls reflect the colors

radiating from your boundless joy!

Small Stuff

A flat tire on a deserted road, no spare;

one's child getting killed by a drunk driver;

losing one's job to down sizing;

stricken by Alzheimer's or Hodgkin's disease

in the prime of life:

modern day prophets glibly claim it's all small stuff.

Don't sweat the small stuff, they say,

and quickly pocket their money

from sales of copy-cat best sellers,

for many wish to believe this “small stuff” stuff

and between tears, buy the placebos

and swallow the bromide.

Were it truly all “small stuff” -

what need of compassion would there be?

Who would care? It's nothing. It's “small stuff” -

the pain, the sorrow, the losses...

no need to get involved: let them work it out -

It's all small stuff, after all.

So: are you in pain? Lost? Sorrowing?

Sing with me:

“It's just small stuff after all,

It's just small stuff after all...

It's all just small stuff.”

Don't you feel better now?

Will you buy my book?

I've got a new and improved title

just for you, because I care:

it's called: AIt's even smaller stuff”

What To Do With Problems?

A pale sun filters hesitant

through a thin layer of November cloud:

It's morning - I'm walking down town;

I meet a man I've known a while.

He carries a host of serious health problems

the combination could certainly

cut his uncertain hold on life any day.

The knowledge does not embitter him;

he does not lash out nor seek to blame

someone, or something

for his many and painful problems.

He still enjoys life it would seem,

and he does not judge anyone

for how they live their share of that life.

He still likes watching the day come alive

as the sun appears over rocky peaks

on a clear morning.

What keeps this man from giving up?

From saying enough is enough?

Is it because he sees his world

from a different perspective than most?

And I ask myself: what can I learn

from this man's passion for life?

Perhaps something as obvious, simple

and difficult as this:

problems are never solved

by running away from them -

they must be faced each day head on

and each day conquered

or allowed to go free so I too may be free.

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