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

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 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.



by Margaret Wild

My friend and I watch a sunset together.
She — is in her condo.
I — am in my apartment.
Together we do this by phone.
She has a front row seat — on the waterfront.
I am in the upper balcony — three miles away.

The stage is due west, for both of us.
It is the same show, of course,
But with slightly different perspectives —
One close up, one far away.

The scene is set, but always moving.
The clouds become characters, with bright costumes.
Faces appear, then vanish.
The action builds, moving left and right,
Sometimes crashing together,
Sometimes slowly stretching apart, like lovers,
Holding hands and unwilling to separate.

There is a pause — an intermission of sorts.
We share our reactions to what we have just seen.
We say how lucky we are to see the show at all,
After being stuck at home due to a pandemic,
As well as being surrounded by severe smoke.

Suddenly a bright light bursts forth,
Through the clouds again.
Out of nowhere, a familiar form appears,
Bigger and bigger, brighter and brighter,
Then sinking, lower and lower.

There is another pause, silence, not even a whisper.
Then our voices come to life again.
Good thing we have season tickets.
We always look forward to the next show.
The cast of characters is never the same.

Margaret Wild has been a lifelong fan of nature, and is known as an advocate for healthcare reform. This poem reflects her concern for the wellbeing of our changing environment.


A Coast Salish clam basket

by Chuck Luckmann

A Coast Salish clam basket
Is like a poem

Twined from red cedar withes
Resting in brackish water

So the words can breathe
Keeping them alive

Until they are eaten



by Chuck Luckmann

You go where the river takes you
Like Huck Finn on a homemade raft
Spring-fed streams of youth
Creeks with snakes
Long portages in middle age
Bear skulls hung in trees
Wild goose cooked on campfire beneath the borealis
Souse holes real and imagined
Mostly run crooked, some straight
Mountains to sea
Again and again

Chuck Luckmann has lived happily in Whatcom County for twenty-eight years, raising a family and keeping a few beehives for honey. 

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