What Salmon Know*

July 9, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Judy Bishop

In autumn, fierce salmon know it is time
to leave the vast, deep oceans and begin the upward
journey through narrow, shallow rivers
back to the spawning beds of their birth.

In winter, fearless women knew it was time
to leave the safety of home and begin the upward
journey through prejudice and bigotry
back to the warm womb of human rights.

Facing predators and log jams
over rushing dams and fisher nets,
red-skinned salmon with torn flesh
battle for graveled streams.

Facing discrimination and fear,
over years of rising up and speaking out,
ubiquitous seas of woven pink hats
marched for peace and love.

“What more will it take?” the women cried.
The ancient, fierce, and wise salmon know.
“Nothing less than everything you have.”

. . . . .
Although Judy Bishop taught English and Creative Writing for years, she is newly published, having won a Merit Award for the Sue C. Boynton Contest for the past two years. She has a Doctorate degree in Education Administration from the University of Washington. In her retirement, she enjoys hiking and gardening. Judy is an active member of the Whatcom Art Guild and sells her photographs and beaded jewelry at the Art Market in Fairhaven.

“My inspiration for ‘What Salmon Know’ came from my participation in the Women’s March this past January. I was so impressed by the energy of the myriad women, men, and children standing up for women’s and human rights. Much of my poetry is inspired by Nature, so the comparison between the march and migrating salmon seemed natural. It occurred to me that we can learn much from the natural world if we take the time to observe and listen.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Judy Bishop. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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