“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 Richard G. Tucker

After the little bird had given the last gold leaf to the poorest family, it flew south down the Kangra Valley to where the Dalai Lama was breaking out a new deck of cards. He waited in a forest clearing, alone but for the critters gathering around.

Soon three old monks appeared from Dharamsala. They sat in a circle with His Holiness and the game began. The cards dealt with slender fingers, smooth from decades of guiding the prayer beads along.

The bidding was a quiet murmur, no reaction to winning or losing, the peaceful smiles never fading. When the Dalai Lama had a weak hand, he thought of the words of Krishnamurti, “I don’t mind what happens.”


Richard G. Tucker has published work of this type before with Whatcom Watch and has several songs published with Peer Intl., for which he receives biannual royalties.


Resist the gutting

by Timothy Pilgrim

Color finds a way to drain
from the living, flow away
where the patient lay. Gone,

like saffron stream in catheter,
no splash, no spray. Sick planet,
delirious, she whirls alone

in starless night, frozen by fear
of scalpels, saws, gloved hands
known for cut, slice. She believes

this is only the beginning
of slaughter, closes eyes,
turns away, readies herself

to accept the gutting. Children
must gather around her, pray —
nothing complicated really — 

please let her breathe again,
deep, on her own, struggle,
revive, find a way. In a circle,

black, red, brown, the innocent,
even the guilty, richly white,
their chant must rise —

hope again, fight. Sing loud,
strong — bring back the earth,
rise up, believe, find new life.


Timothy Pilgrim, emeritus associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University. His work can be found at timothypilgrim.org.


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