Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor

“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

Artwork by Hilary Cole

Poetry has a voice in our community, and the Whatcom Watch is adding to its chorus. You all love poetry, right? Well, here you go!

Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to Whatcom 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.

      Toad Lake Cycles

                                                                 by Kathleen Sparkes

Late summer,
Heat, no rain, low water.
Algae bloom,
Toxic bacteria thrive,
Danger to animals and humans.
Are the fish surviving?
And the toads?

Early winter,
Cold air, heavy rains,
The lake fills to overflowing.
Waterfowl seem to skate on the mirror surface.
The fish have survived.

Nature’s rejuvenating cycle.
Can we continue to depend on it?
What is its limit of stress?

Kathleen Sparkes writes poetry focused on her observations of nature as she gardens, walks the dog, and hikes.


Erratic tears

by Timothy Pilgrim

Off Oregon, Washington shores,
hulking above cove, beach, forest,
glacial erratics cry in silence.

They don’t take a stance on much
at all, remain coolly apart
from debates of wind, clean water,

global warming, coal. Erratics
don’t give a damn they are called
anomalous plodders, enigmas,

sporadic ho-hums. Seas sinking
Florida Keys, arbors kiwied
on Seattle streets mean nothing

to orphans ripped from Montana
to coast, abandoned for millennia now,
weeping, waiting for a bit of hope.

Timothy Pilgrim, emeritus associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University, has published hundreds of poems. He is author of “Mapping Water” (Flying Trout Press, 2016). His work can be found at timothypilgrim.org.

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