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!
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.
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”)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
and fresh starts
2022 awaits around the corner
The goal of my soul?
in His castle of love
Princess of His light
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)
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
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
for twelve apples,
still crimson even after last summer’s heat.
They dangle like Christmas ornaments,
a colorful punctuation within a monochrome
They will not last long, but today I rejoice in this
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
--Elizabeth S. Johnson
From the antenna
as purple martins’ perch,
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
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
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.
(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 !
when they’re found
until the ground runs red !
it’s fun to watch the birdies fly
then shoot’em till they’re dead !
trophies for our walls
There is no better kind of fun
than murdering our fowl!
On the 1516
(A Willapa Hills Logging Road)
already logged or still laden
with fallen trees,
seemed deserted by wildlife.
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.