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

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 Nancy Grayum

Coyote sneaks into my stillness
messin on my meditation
leavin piles of “Do! Do!”

Coyote plunders quiet space
diggin up old bones
gnashin her tight jaws.

Coyote paces in worrisome rhythm,
clatterin into my dusty corners
kickin the furies to rage.

Coyote whips up clouds of doubt
stirrin cyclones, spinnin lies
shrivelin my heart with toxic waste.

I stay with coyote.
I screech and wail with her,
waking my wisdom,
feeding my strength.
I lash her flight.
She lets me be.

Nancy Grayum spends reflective moments sauntering amidst rain-blessed forests and along the salty shores of northwest Washington State, usually seeking the right path, or some divergence.


A Poem to You

by Sharon Robinson

I do not need to like your opinions
To like you.
I do not need to agree with your words
To listen to you.
I do not need to respect your ideas
To care about you.
I like your strong arm and big heart
When you reach out to help another up.
I respect the many things you know and do
That I know nothing about.
I laugh at many things
That make you laugh — same with crying.
I honor honesty, courage and beauty
Just like you do.
I do not need to share all your values
To love you.
But can I trust that you believe these things
As much as I do?
Must you understand me fully In order to care?
If you do NOT understand me
Do you need to control me to feel safe?
If I am different from you
Does that scare and offend you?
Sometimes I might fight
For a view that is not yours.
I may hate your actions
Which I do not want to understand.
Will there be room
For both of us?
Do I have to lose for you to win
Or maybe if either wins we both lose?
Can I give you the right to be stupid and afraid?
Can you give me that right too?
Can I give you the space you need to stay alive?
Can you give me that too?
We may never approve of each other
But can we give each other the right to exist?
Can we find things to work for
And rules to do that?
Can we help each other stay decent
And tell the truth?
Can we still find what
Is so much greater than either one of us?
Yet something to hope and pray for in every soul?

Sharon Robinson is a local poet with four published books who finds these troubled times lead her to write very different poems meant to foster more understanding between people.

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