poetry watch

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy

Do You Enjoy poetrywatch?

Artwork by Hilary Cole

Want to see it continue? Then please, send your poems to us and let the Whatcom Watch share them with our readership! Seriously, we really do want your roughly 25-line poems though length is by no means a deal-breaker; it’s how you use those lines. Featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch such as government, the environment and media. Send your poems to: poetry@whatcomwatch.org and let’s make magic happen.

Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to What- com County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch (government, the environment and media) will likely get first preference.

Please keep it to around 25 lines; otherwise, we might have to edit your work to fit. Don’t make yourself unprintable.

Send poems and your short, two- or three-sentence bios as a word document attachment to poetry@whatcomwatch.org.

The deadline is the first day of the month.

Please understand that acceptance and final appearance of pieces are subject to space constraints and editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch permission for one-time publication rights in the paper and electronic editions.

Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor



by Margaret Wild

I squat on the floor without shoes on
Between two big puddles of
Sunshine on the rug,
My back against the wall,
Feeling the heat
Near my feet
With a book in my hand.
It feels so grand as
I delve into the story
And forget everything else
For a while,
Especially the pain
Of Russia invading Ukraine
As my hands embrace the book.
I am not off the hook yet.
Eventually the puddle of sun disappears,
The room gets cold and my body is stiff.
I push myself up, stretch a bit,
Then place the book on a shelf
And, being a war baby myself,
End up listening to the evening news.
Heat, feet, hand, grand, pain, Ukraine,
Book, hook, shelf, myself, news, shoes,

Begin again.


Margaret Wild has been a lifelong fan of nature, and is known as an advocate for healthcare reform. The Pacific Northwest has been home for most of her life.


No breath drawn

by Timothy Pilgrim

Darkness separates Dipper handles,
until now allowed no stars —

not even pristine planets dolloped out
as shiny buoys. Suddenly, light

intent on us — kin in our own way
in mid-gorge. Burning white in black sky

shooting toward our carnage.
We pause, still hungry, no breath drawn.

A few look up, some of them kindle
distress signals, small campfires

lit with flint in high Salish meadows,
await the bright molten accretion,

new to deceit, lies, greed.
They fish, pan-fry rainbowed despair,

lie back, wait to be embraced
as naive aftermath streaks home.


Timothy Pilgrim, emeritus associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University, is the author of “Seduced by metaphor: Timothy Pilgrim collected published poems” (Cairn Shadow Press, 2021). His work can be found at timothypilgrim.org.

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