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

Eagle Poetry Corner

 

January 5, 2023



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

Thanks, poets, and enjoy!

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The Drumming Mule

The Bremen-Town Musicians by The Brothers Grimm

Tells of some animals who went out on a limb.

To sing for their supper-they were horrific.

Read their story to see how it turned out terrific.

A donkey singing, well okay.

We know a donkey likes to bray.

But how about drumming, by his cousin the mule?

I happened to see this at school!

At a basketball game, I left my seat

To get my kids a snack to eat.

As we came back by the band

There was a mule with drum sticks in hand.

Tapping his hoof and keeping the beat,

This mule didn’t need no music sheet!

Unlike the donkey who sounded quite grim,

This mules drumming lit up the gym!

His name is Rowdy, I later found out,

And I know this without a doubt;

He’s the only mule I’ve ever saw

Playing the drums. HEE-HAW! HEE-HAW!

© Jessica Vik

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is in play.

Words nor gestures are effective tools

for communication.

Through the looking glass, all is distorted

and nothing can be trusted.

It is a hazy landscape with crumbling earth

that often gives way under foot.

Emerging forms shatter and fall away.

All that seems to be, isn’t.

A desperate mind forms a grid

in a futile attempt to understand.

© Martha Ellen

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Kurt

I drove to Aberdeen today.

Milled around down the ratty streets,

past the pastel-painted cedar-shake-sided bungalows

where Kurt learned all about life,

under the viaduct where the truant boys

smoked dope all day.

To my surprise Lithium came on the radio

and I saw Kurt’s ghost sparkling overhead

above the pick-up boys

who always forget to look up.

Sparkle; sparkle on, Kurt.

© Martha Ellen

Portland Winter Images

In the heart of the city,

an orange-gold leaf floats on a shallow puddle

projecting the last of autumn

into the sky, insisting

its delicacy be admired,

its colors not be forgotten.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Winter takes charge,

freezing the ground

so that nothing escapes—

neither earth nor water.

Amidst this gray prison, a blade of grass

so slim it looks like a crack in the ice,

dares to escape like Persephone fleeing Hades--

the anticipation of Spring.

- - - - - - - - - - -

From his window he cannot see

the northbound train to Seattle

leaving the station.

Nor can he count the number of

freight cars rolling south to sunlit rail yards.

On braced elbows he leans out

to catch the braking shriek of steel on steel,

the thrum of four strong engines.

Recalling the acrid odors

of hot oil and diesel fuel,

he climbs again into the engine cab

and looks down the tracks, gathering

speed, gathering speed, gathering speed.

© Elizabeth S. Johnson

Navios Unite

Impetuous, we barreled down the highway to see

the biggest ship to ply the Columbia.

Everyone else is snug and warm

at their kitchen tables

as they read dire news and drink tea –

but not us.

We are shivering on a riverbank in Skamokawa,

sand in our shoes, gritty and cold,

the octopus-ink sky pregnant with fiery jewels

and the quarter moon spilling quicksilver over rocks,

sliding ashore on each gleaming wave.

Our hands are jammed deep in our pockets,

icy air biting our lips.

Wordlessly we wait,

the night thick with frog song and magic.

We squint upriver at the dark outline of Puget Island

and a green light marking the channel.

A faint hum quivers over the water

as a growing shadow

swallows the sleeping landscape.

Powerful engines drive a massive shape oceanward,

her bow wake luminous with moonlight,

a steel behemoth lit by Orion’s belt

and a shooting star.

© Dayle Olson

Road Hazard

It is January, that drenching soggy month

when flat farmland refuses to drink another drop,

when creeks and streams chart new channels,

when cattle prize high ground over grazing,

when a woman’s water breaks, as if to say:

a little more isn’t going to hurt anything.

It’s that month when salmon swim up streets,

past mailboxes, past sodden hills

as boulder and fir gush down in a torrent of mud.

Contractions by the side of a washed-out road

underscore that children come when they want,

and the river crests in its own time.

The low-lying lanes carry a pumpkin,

a hubcap, Tupperware,

floating along in winter’s current.

These objects and slowly passing cars

are observed with disdain

from the yellow center line

by a sea lion

resting on a fat Steller haunch,

contemplating where to go for lunch.

© Dayle Olson

The Troopers of State Route Four

I.

Driving home from Astoria, late at night. Pulled east

onto the Four in Naselle. One set of lights came up behind.

Passing lane, Salme Hill, drew alongside. Saw he was a Trooper.

Slowed for him to pass, but he stayed right with me, slowed

almost to a standstill at my left, so I did the same: what’s

the deal? I thought I was legal, but still you wonder. That’s when

I saw the big cow elk in both our lanes just yards away.

I hadn’t seen them, but he had, and saved us. I followed

him at a couple hundred yards after that, all the way

over Deep River, past Rosburg, through Gray’s River,

all the way to my road. Signaled my turn, and only then

did his lights come on--just the yellows--in a brief salute

before he disappeared around the bend. In the depths

of the dark night, we’ll gladly take the companions

we are offered.

II.

Road kill by the river is always bad. You hope it’s a nutria

(not native at least) or maybe a big black rat. You hope

it’s not a mink, or a muskrat, or a beaver. Or worse, an otter.

But it was. The biggest dog otter I’d ever seen, right along

the center line. More than a yard from nose to pointy tail-tip,

maybe thirty pounds. Extravagant brown pelt unblemished.

I had to go back to park, walk a ways to get to it. Traffic bad,

shoulders narrow--couldn’t see how I would safely do it.

And just then came the trooper. He hit

his lights, all of them this time. Cars and log trucks

stopped. I gave him a thumbs up and dove for the otter.

I could barely heft him over the guardrail and fling him,

with one arm, down the bank to the waterside. What a thud

he made, before lying there as if sleeping in the grass. I knew

better than to throw him into the water, recalling how angry

the ravens were when I’d tossed a fresh mink into the drink.

“Thanks,” I said “you came along at the perfect time.”

“You bet,” said the trooper, “good work.” Then he killed

the blue and the red and led his little parade

on down the highway.

© Robert Michael Pyle, 2022

Depth Perception

When we fished in Sumner Strait in S.E. Alaska

I used to kneel on the flying bridge of the “Blue Mist”

And look over the rail,

Look deep into the water at the net.

Kent ran the boat along the cork-line.

My task was to count the fish caught,

To decide when to pull the net in.

Sometimes I noticed pairs of fish

caught next to each other.

When we pulled the net in, usually they were coho

Headed home to the Stikine River.

And I wondered: Did those silver swimmers

spend time at sea together?

Did they leave the Stikine together

and accompany each other

during their ocean lives?

Did they remember their brothers and sisters

who died at sea, along with cousins, half-siblings

and other stream-mates?

When did they decide “This is the one”

and become a pair?

Were they brother and sister,

headed for the same nesting place

their parents used?

Did the male start an early courtship,

hoping to pre-empt latecomers

to the spawning beds?

Did they know they would not live

to see their children born?

Science can answer a lot of questions,

But not these.

Years later, I still wonder.

© Irene Martin

My Valley

My valley tells me there’s time

There will ever be sky and twilight

She shows me her seeds of patience

Certain of rain for the sea.

I pass through here trees

and her pastures

Watch her hillsides hold up the moon

I leave her and always return there

To the constancy of her open arms.

© Jessica Schiek

Justice for Trump

The election is over and Biden won.

Trump’s legal troubles have just begun.

Criminal indictments for father and son?

The 45th President has no where to run.

Civil law suits have all been served.

Evidenced gathered is now preserved.

Tax returns are all on file.

Trump’s attorneys: Get ready for trial!

Grand Jury convened and evidence shown.

Witnesses testify to what is known.

Probable cause is all that’s needed.

Beyond a doubt evidence, the DA exceeded

Accused of rape. Accused of fraud.

Accused of being a demagogue.

This sociopathic narcissist,

tells his told fans the election was fixed.

The election is rigged, the news is fake:

That’s the mantra they regurgitate

But Trump won’t in 24,

if he’s locked up for fraud and more!

Indictments are pending as the process goes on.

Trumps getting nervous cause he knows he’s the Don.

Will he be charged? What can he do?

Those are the questions he’s trying to work through.

Trump’s minions, are cowards, corrupt to the bone.

They lied to the children. They lied to their own.

They plotted and planned an American coup,

to steal an election from me, and from you.

They traded their honor. They sold off their souls.

For power and ego they live in a hole.

The oath that that they took meant nothing at all;

for power and ego was all that they saw.

The truth now revealed of the lie that Trump spread.

The treason that followed left six people dead.

Was the courage and bravery of those who stood firm,

that truth and justice was once earned.

Trump’s game is now over, His con now revealed,

As friends and family are starting to squeal.

They’ll turn on Trump to save their sad souls,

Make no mistake, they’re all *.*

© Frederick Lehr

I’d like to nap

I’d like to nap

under the warm blanket,

but

in the gallery

patient behind me

visits with family

using Messenger.

Beyond him,

a social worker explains

course of treatment

to a woman

and talks about

maintaining quality of life.

I’m stuck facing the corner

like a Naughty Boy

so I only hear them.

Somewhere a pump

has finished its infusion

and is beeping.

Nurses chatter further away.

Steel implements clash on a tray.

The social worker is now covering

urination.

My nurse,

Alissa,

arrives for premeds.

Infusion to start “soon.”

And so it goes.

Fellow behind me

is back on the phone:

He’ll take look at it

and call right back.

My phone sounds

its Tchaikovsky Strings

call notification.

It’s my accountant.

Call tomorrow, I say.

Next day, another infusion

and a new nurse.

Gallery is almost empty.

Very quiet.

“Yesterday was interesting,”

Janna says when I ask.

“There were some interesting things

that happened.”

I don’t ask.

I try to nap

but I can’t sleep.

And so it goes.

© Rick Nelson

 

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