“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


The first question

by Marie Eaton

When I wake these days,
head still on my pillow,
the first question is always
is it still raining?

These past weeks,
a never-ending series of sky rivers,
flow in from the warming Pacific
to dump a month’s worth of rain in a single day.

Storms march up over the Olympics,
barrel down the Strait of Juan de Fuca
right into Bellingham Bay.

Nooksak and Skagit rivers,
fill with rain and snow melt,
overflow their banks to wash out roads,
reclaiming long ago dredged fields as lakes again.

On the Sumas prairie,
acres of unharvested field crops are lost,
farmers on both sides of the border
desperately rescue livestock,
but thousands drown.

Saturated hillsides,
unable to absorb any more water,
collapse and slide across I-5.

And it is still raining,
with more to come.

What have we done?


Marie Eaton, faculty emeritus at Fairhaven College, is the Community Champion for the Palliative Care Institute at WWU. She writes daily as part of an online poetry collective.



by Angela Belcaster 

My son’s dog died, November,
the same day that a man was swept away
by the floodwaters
that engulfed us.

That day, just before Thanksgiving,
when the storm came rearing up
from places fragrant and bright,

winds that warmed us
on the front,
we heard the warnings,
but enjoyed the memory of summer

on our bare shoulders one last time
before the snow.

And the rains came
and the floodwaters rose;

the things of man, no match
for the things of nature
and I wondered,
who had started the fight.

No reason could be found for the death
of my son’s beloved dog. Likewise
the man, found in a cornfield,
after his call to his family that they should seek high ground.

The next day, the sky
opened up as it set
and the water in the flooded fields

became mirror
glowed pink beneath the blonde heads of tall grasses
still not drowned.

The rent that opened within, too,
the sharp intake of breath
that such joy could exist
side by side
touching even, such grief. 


Angela Belcaster lives in Bellingham, where she spends her time with loose and bound pages and six children. Her work has appeared in Florida Review, 80 Split, Rosebud, Tampa Review, Clover, A Literary Rag, and elsewhere.

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