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

2022 Eagle Poetry Corner

 

January 6, 2022



In December, The Eagle invited local poets to submit poems for our Annual Poetry Corner to start the new year. Thanks, poets, and enjoy!

Upside Down

When you think of sitting in a chair

You think of sitting on your derriere.

Maybe putting up your feet to relax

After a hard day’s work wearing those slacks.

I know of a lad who sits in a chair

By putting his derriere up in the air!

His strong abs pull both legs up straight

While his head is buried in the real estate.

The visuals must be intriguing this way

For he spends lots of time inverted each day.

Imagining that he walks on the ceiling.

When his legs aren’t stiff, they are pinwheeling.

Once he has had enough of the view,

Down come the legs. For the moment he’s through.

Off he goes, not missing a beat.

It won't be long for the process to repeat.

--Jessica Vik

Island Villanelle

A hundred geese, or more, in formation,

headed South, Southeast, along the river,

under dark, scudding clouds in migration

off the coast range, rain in concentration

gathering in strength, soon to deliver

what the earth needs, weather in formations

changing by the moment, actuation

invisible to our eyes, like the rivers,

only nature’s unceasing migration,

like the flock’s near-constant fluctuation—

now a single V, now several,

groups of geese spread in changing formations,

while below, we watch with fascination

the entertainment nature delivers,

its elements always in migration.

So, our thoughts have their own changing motions,

Flowing silently, just like the river,

Just like the geese, with changing formations,

Like life itself, always in migration.

(after reading Stanley Plumley,

“The Six Shapes of Nature”)

--David Filer

Gaggle Ghazal

Near Christmas, the geese travel in flight south,

Following their normal route in flight south,

Along the river, at neighborhood’s edge,

The river flowing north, geese in flight south,

Honking loudly as they pass overhead,

Keeping flock together in flight south.

We watch them fly from our streets far below,

Amazed how they navigate their flight south,

Wondering if they make it in one flight,

Or if they stop at night on their flight south,

Places where the river widens and slows

And lets them rest a bit on their flight south.

Their long-necked grace and their amazing strength

Allow them to fly miles on their flight south,

And somehow they know when they’ve reached their goal—

Pools that won’t freeze—then they stop their flight south,

And bask in a sort of winter summer,

Mild and relaxing after their flight south,

Nothing to do but drift along and eat

And honk each other for their safe flight south.

--David Filer

Time’s metronome

Time’s metronome ticks incoming fears

Memory triggers passionate tears.

In my life’s winter time reverses.

I look ahead and see death’s surface,

Admit that memories do not last.

Vast appears the solid future.

Disappears the fragile past.

--Irene Martin

Senya’s birth

The hospital clock ticked time’s heartbeat,

Like the electronic monitor measuring

My unborn grand-daughter’s heart,

As she traveled from womb to earth.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub…

For two days I listened to her journey.

Then a cry from my daughter

As Senya’s head appeared, shoulders next,

And she turned and smiled at me.

Time stopped. Time started again.

--Irene Martin

Moonlight

The moon it calls as I lay down,

a silvery voice on wings.

A wedge of light above the town -

how magically it sings.

The window frames its bluish glow,

compelling me to gaze,

upon the cause of tidal flow

and numbering of days.

For eons it has cast its spell

on creatures of all kinds,

the rhythm of our hearts to tell

how quickly time unwinds.

It shines and pulls the river west.

It slips from view, and now I rest.

--Dayle Olson

Certainties

On a winter’s day, eight freighters lie at anchor

off the Oregon side. Their white bridges and red hulls,

all in a line, catch the late sun, shimmer against misty hills

across the river. From the shoreline, purple forest runs

up into sky a paler blue than any eggshell.

Plimsoll lines parallel the surface, calm as it ever gets,

colder than the crews ever know in Singapore, Taipei, Luzon.

As lights come on in the rigging, the sun fizzles into the bar,

and the girl in the panda cap rises from her bench to go, I know

three things. This moment will never come again. The river

(as they say and say, and say again) will never be the same river.

And this can of ale—no matter how I nurse it—

will run out.

It is good to have some certainties in life.

--Robert Michael Pyle

Castle

Through pane of glass

miniature windswept castles of snow

gleam and glisten

Formed on foundation rocky and firm

offering sweet treat for eye

stillness, solace, and sanctuary for soul

Light and bright

white castles beckon thought

toward

purity

clarity

and fresh starts

2022 awaits around the corner

eager

alluring

hopeful

The goal of my soul?

To be

honest

healthy

healed

happy

and mostly…

housed

in His castle of love

Princess of His light

--Lorraine Carson

For Keep’s Sake

Imagine when yer old and grey

Looking back and life, you’ll say

My, I did a lot of things,

I saw the world and tried my wings

I loved a little; I loved a lot

Seems it was hard to find my spot

Then one day I looked at my hands

Something clicked; now I understand

Well I’m not a doctor; I’m not a preach

See, Mother always wanted me to teach

I wanna give; I wanna heal

I want folks to know that life is real

The race was on for a real good cause

To run my best in the Alaskan fog

I ran for months; I sweat and ached

My body toiled; was this a mistake?

My target day was here at last

Run, I would, with a lotta class

For 26 miles; it was a thrill

The last two miles was straight up hill

Now I’m back in Seattle a’going to school

My hands, ya see, have become my tools

I met this guy; he seems to care

My heart says, Nevie,* do I dare?

There’s lotsa stuff that makes me wonder

Gotta be careful I don’t blunder

Now here I am tall and lean

My dad loves me and thinks I’m a queen

Well now I lay me down to sleep

I pray dear Lord for those who weep

I hope to make this world a better place

With a handshake,

some love and a smiling face.

(written in honor of daughter Nevie’s graduation as a massage therapist)

--Joel Fitts

Bitter Meat

I think that I shall never hear

a sound more brutal to the ear

than shotgun blasts at dawning day

that break my heart in every way

Each creature has a family too

that graze or paddle in our sloughs

and live their lives in nature’s grace

not fearing, yet, the human race

Ecclesiastes says in truth

that every cycle has a reason

I wish I could somehow be spared

the sadness of the killing season

All life is sacred don’t you know

I rue that we must kill for meat

as much as I enjoy the taste my

knowing turns it bittersweet

--Grace Ling

Haiku for 2021

After the plague year

a starburst of reunions,

pale promises kept.

--Elizabeth S. Johnson

Winter Walk on Christmas Day

Winter walk across crystalline snow, refraction in

the bright sun.

My neighbor’s fruit tree: all dark branches

except

for twelve apples,

still crimson even after last summer’s heat.

They dangle like Christmas ornaments,

a colorful punctuation within a monochrome

landscape.

They will not last long, but today I rejoice in this

unexpected gift.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

--Elizabeth S. Johnson

Extremity

From the antenna

repurposed

as purple martins’ perch,

the kestrel

eye bars in profile

streaks to the grass below.

In the time it takes

me to stand

and lean toward the window,

has taken whatever

to the ash tree in the field.

Against the tangle of sticks a round beige bird,

a spit of nitrogenous waste.

--Ruby Hansen Murray

Four Acres

At dusk, mown grass threshed in lines

toward six trees indistinguishable

in the peach light, green puffs.

I want to walk barefoot down the rows.

Grandfather in a suit coat,

vest, watch chain at the ocean.

The house he built, three stories tall.

They moved it inside the dike in the 40’s,

sixty years later it travels back across

and down the road.

Prepositions, whatever a bird can do to its house.

At evening, the island breathes.

--Ruby Hansen Murray

Such Sparks

I found it frozen to a branch

ice crystals glistened on its wings

the winter night had been too cold

and leached life from the tiny thing.

Such little birds, like fireflies all

flitter through the evening skies

until the sun had set upon their

downy nests and fragile lives.

Behold the flowers of the field that

care not how their cloth is spun

and every sparrow on its branch

that spreads its wings to feel the sun.

The promise made to them by Spring

sees Summer warm such birds that sing

the sweetest in the dying light before

they nestle for the night.

Such promises grow pale and thin and

break regardless, wrong or right,

for every tiny spark of life that can’t

survive a winter’s night.

--JB Bouchard

Shotgun Shells!

(To the Tune of Jingle Bells)

Dashing through the mud

in a four wheel ATV

through the fields we go

to see what we can see

Hiding in the gorse

and up in every tree

some poor critter’s hoping for

a chance for it to flee !

Ohhhhhh!

Shoot’em down

when they’re found

until the ground runs red !

it’s fun to watch the birdies fly

then shoot’em till they’re dead !

Ohhhhh!

Kill’em all

every Fall

trophies for our walls

There is no better kind of fun

than murdering our fowl!

--JB Bouchard

On the 1516

(A Willapa Hills Logging Road)

The clearcut,

already logged or still laden

with fallen trees,

seemed deserted by wildlife.

I remember:

a garter snake sunning itself on a log,

freaking out the boys from Appalachia

who declare all snakes are poisonous,

a herd of elk exploring the landing

when we arrive just after dawn,

the hunters in the crew

firing a fusillade from imaginary rifles,

a hummingbird waking me

from a lunchtime snooze,

the buzz inches from my nose,

mistaking my red hard hat

for a blossom bonanza,

a squirrel on a log,

scurrying back and forth,

no trunk to climb.

--Rick Nelson

 

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