The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Eagle Poetry Corner Number 3


January 2, 2020

The Ravens

By JB Bouchard ©

The ravens are back,

both of them,

this time in a California canyon

above a fledgling river

where I’m secluded by trees,

but they know I’m here,

observing the litter

some idiots left behind.

I’ve seen these two

I don’t know how many times.

Like me they go almost everywhere,

watching for and searching out

whatever’s to be found.

Sometimes it’s late summer’s peaches and plums,

sometimes winter’s first snow.

We’ve seen the desert purple in autumn

and pastures velvet green in spring.

And days like this:

golden and blue, yellow and warm,

the silence a kaleidoscope

of buzzing insects and the water’s rush.

A scene so lovely we cry out in dismay

and then, resigned,

settle for cruising scorching canyons

and sitting by cluttered creeks,

soaring above or merely contemplating why,

why some idiots leave litter.

This Kind of Place

By Robert Michael Pyle ©

At the end of my walk, the mail box

lies bang in the wet grass. Rats,

somebody’s bumped into it. But, no—

the mail lady says it came away in her hands,

post rotted off flush to the ground.

Sad to see that rusty tunnel laid low.

Bought it new and shiny, nailed it down, sank

the post in the valley turf that very first fall.

Forty years it’s stood there, keeping

all those cards and letters sound and dry.

So it’s a five-mile drive to the mail for now,

then a big wet job in the cold rain.

But when I return,

with pipe and strap and maul, I gasp

at what I see:

my old mailbox, UP again, soundly braced

with green wire between two green fence posts.

How did it get that way? I have no idea, maybe

never will. I guess this is just the kind of place

where such a thing can happen.

The Companion

By Dayle Olson ©


the day of your death sits next to you,

a silent presence, patient, wordless

accompanying you to the grocery store,

sitting with you in the sun on a soft spring day,

standing by as you wave to your child on the bus.

It is the thing you share

with every other human being,

this fixed date on a calendar,

a twin bookend to the day of your nativity.

Eating five servings of fruit and vegetables

won’t alter this fact.

Neither will racing around from one meeting

to another.

Like it or not

this appointment exists

and will be kept.

Even by you,

perpetually late and out of breath.

black and white song silenced.

Up to Us

By Dayle Olson ©

Pinnipeds propel pudgy purpose

up coast


up against a web of human disagreement

belly up to the bar.

Salmon swimming silver shadows

up coast


up slough and stream

seeking gravel nursery bed.

Dam death dreamers dance

up coast


uphill battle of broken promises

a thousand years to repair.

Commercial captains chase catch

up coast


up to the financial tipping point

profits evaporating like river mist.

Orcas orate Ocean’s olden ode

up coast

up inlet

up a damaged chain

black and white song silenced.

The Opening

By Jill Ross ©

The pickle momentarily has the last laugh.

Swimming in briny vinegar-

Peering from the jar it sees

Tightened fingers, clasping, turning,

turning hard, letting go.

Hearing then, the jar lid tapped

Hard and roughly with the back end

of a table knife.

Then, feeling a stream of running hot tap water

Showering the entire jar, towel dried, unmoved.

Fingers grasp once more – “Sweet Jesus, release!”


The pickle yields pleasure

As its acidity and crunch meet

My tuna sandwich.


Here’s To Life

“A Self Translating Poem”

With Respect To Mercedes Sosa,

Gracías a la vida, que me ha dado tanto. Ceniza, tierra, lodo, Piedra, arena, polvo.

Compost, dirt, mud, stone, sand, dust.


El verde de limón, hoja obscura, la yerba, el umbral de la falda del sauce

que de la sombra.

Light leaves, dark leaves, lawn, the skirt of the willow who offers shade.


Las flores del Verano – la rosa, geranium, la margarita que toman

Las gotas de la Lluvia.

Summer flowers – rose geranium, daisy that gulps down rainwater.


El himno de los pajaritos, los animals peluches,

Gusanos, las moscas y la abeja que da nos luz

Por miel.

Birdsong, furry ones, worms, flies and the bee’s life giving honey.


El sol, el mar, la luna, el corriente de las horas

Y todos Uds., polvo de las estrellas


Sun, moon the current of the hours and to you,



By Jill Ross ©

Hyku for the Week

By Harve Williamson ©

Weather’s Christmas lull,

Rain’s persistent mist steady,

Calm awaits New Year…

Elegy for the Columbia River

Gillnet Fishery

By Irene Martin ©

All day slate-blue snow clouds have passed high

above our house.

No snow will fall here, as it’s above freezing,

but still, I can dream of snow.

The mountains will get snow, lots of it,

which will melt in the spring

And cause the annual freshet that young salmon

use to propel themselves to the ocean.

We are so used to the fish cycle it shapes

everything we do and observe and think.

But we’re not fishing now.

And the river is lonely without us.

What is Needed

By Sandi Benbrook-Reider ©

My chicken struts along, looking

For tiny morsels among the weeds

Peering and scratching at things unseen.

How could such quick pecks and swift glances

Find all the nourishment she needs

To grow feathers, a comb and make eggs for me.

Identity Politics

By Howard Brawn ©

One grandma was a Hottentot,

another was a Jew

And grandads’ from a diverse stock.

Here are just a few:

A super-calloused fragile mystic hexed

by halitosis,

An atheist Abyssinian monk imprisoned

for psychosis.

And Mother was a Grecian slave who escaped

a Russian gulag,

And Daddy was a Persian pauper she met

in a German Stalag.

And I’m a strong and steadfast man, tending

somewhat gay,

Except when I go trans toward girl, depending

on the day.

My skin’s mixed yellow, brown, and red

– comes out kinda gray,

And I believe in all good things

unless something’s in the way.

So now you see I’m qualified, please vote

for me for King,

Or Mayor, Dog Catcher, Governor,

or any other thing.

Two Little Sparrows

By Judy Bates ©

Two little sparrows in a nest,

both seeming to be blessed.

One searching and wondering all the time,

the other content just to be mine.

I cared for both just the same,

protecting, loving, giving each a name.

They each took different paths,

one in a hurry flying high and fast,

the other slow and easy

not minding being last.

The one in a hurry flew into a storm,

black clouds over his head soon did form.

He twisted and turned trying to escape,

but it was too late; now there is but one

and when I think it, I grow numb.

My two little sparrows, I wanted to protect,

one in a hurry, the other with time to reflect.


By Joel Fitts ©

As I sit here under the western sky

A campfire, some beautiful trees

and a dog sitting by,

I’m feeling kinda lost today and a little confused

So I’ve been trying to pray

‘Cause my Mom died today.

To whom I was born in joy and tears

She lived a long life of almost 86 years

56 of those were partly mine

‘Cause she was my Mom all the time

We lived in the heartland of Illinois

Our heritage was strong

Filled with pride and joy

Our Grandmas and Grandpas worked real hard

They prayed in a church

And enjoyed their backyard

They gave us the strength and wisdom to share

A purpose for life and a chance to be there

Then I set sail to see the world

And sent back home my dreams untold

The lasting peace they had given me

Would some how be my guide for eternity

She said, “Always make the best

of whatever you have

And then go out and lend folks a helping hand.”

Now a cowboy’s life is what I wanted

So after Navy days I became undaunted

I worked on ranches away out west

And my home and family were the best

All from the strength of bygone years

From a family that offered bounding cheers.

She told me, “Son, do the best you can

all your life,

And I’ll be as proud of you as I am tonight.”

She encouraged me in music and fun

And then told me to go out and

Share it with someone.

She was also a mother to my dear wife

And that was a bond for the rest of her life.

My children of four are now on their own

And one by one they’ll be coming back home

And remembering the things

that grandma stood for;

Like sewing and baking

and scrubbing the floor.

The trips to visit, talks on the phone,

Little gifts in the mail,

A smile or song.

The love that came from the heartland soil

I now leave with you, my children.

So thank you to Mom for giving me life

And all the things I’ve enjoyed.

I’m sorry you were blind and could not see

But the warmth of your heart was enough for me.

Your trip to heaven on the golden mare,

The little sign on the gate

that you’re welcome there

A happy reunion with family and friends

Must feel good to be home again.

So Mom, save a place for me by your side

‘Cause one of these days I’ll have me

a horse to ride

And I’ll meet you up there at the golden gate.

So please give Dad a big hug for me,

And tell him how I’m doing

And I’m anxious to see

How this family circle goes around

As it all goes back to that heartland town.


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