The Bear*

January 17, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Suzanne Harris

If grief is an animal, make it a bear
hibernating cold and hard
in the back-cave of your heart.
In the restlessness of spring,
groggy, hungry, it will rise without warning
gnawing its pain straight through.
There will be no escape
for the soft pulsing of your heart
torn and bled by that bear’s sharp incisors.

Grief, the sinner’s corsage —
unresolved guilt, moments which cut like a knife, then
bleed the loss across frozen expanses of forward-time
dancing with shadows from the past.
Memories sharp like razors slice your disbelief
to emptiness, sullen and alone.
The wind, such cool relief, blows
atoms of your loss across the frozen plain.

Some day you will rise above that bed of sorrow,
the sky so blue and bright
all you can see is white, miracle of sun light.
That bear, sated in the warmth
will sit amongst ripe berries on high hills,
at peace, at one, at last.

*Copyright 2020 by Suzanne Harris. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

The Park*

January 10, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By John S. Green

She sat on the park bench with a book, a mug of tea,
and short chic hair—fitness, style, grace—all this in
one glance. But what I loved about her was her
children. The young son and daughter were playing

with abandon. He stood on a tree stump and
proclaimed, “Ahoy mates, the pirates are charging—
get ready for battle!” His play-mates drew their
swords. The daughter straddled a branch high up

in a tree and was singing. She waved to a bird
perched above her, and to a squirrel as it scampered
by. Meanwhile, the brother and his jolly men were
in hand-to hand combat with the pirates down by

the park’s pond. The mother lay on the grass and
closed her eyes. Her daughter, down from the tree,
raced over, and jumped on her mom, who shrieked,
and grabbed her little one—they rolled over and over

with continuous laughter. When they stopped, the girl
grabbed a clump of grass, placing in on her mom’s
head, who said, “A crown! Thank you!” The boys
were now knee deep in the water looking for frogs.

*Copyright 2020 by John S. Green. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

a few more bests

January 6, 2021

The 2020 best-of posts keep showing up, so here are a few more for your reading list:

Outside*

January 3, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By Cristian Gonzalez, Kindergarten

I am playing outside with my brother.
A rainbow,
A sun.

*Copyright 2020 by Cristian Gonzalez. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

last best for 2020

December 31, 2020

While the year’s best-of selections may continue into the early months of 2021, this will be our final post for 2020 and the latest collection of favorites.

Happy reading… and Happy New Year!

on the job*

December 27, 2020


2020 Merit Award
By Randy Flowers

there was a time
when I
wore high topped Keds
dirty
filled with
my feet
and the beach

now my shoes are polished
stylish
but they still get
dirty
I go home at night
empty my
shoes of me
become a boy again
as I look
for sand
between my toes

*Copyright 2020 by Randy Flowers. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Happy Everything

December 25, 2020

Remembering…

December 24, 2020

The Academy of American Poets (poets.org) has put together a lovely remembrance of some of the poets we lost in 2020. Watch In Memoriam 2020 on YouTube. Not forgotten.

. . . . .
Thank you, Margaret Bikman.

more titles

December 21, 2020

Even as the critics and publications are declaring their favorites for 2020, they are still offering up current recommendations, such as:

Northwest Rivers*

December 20, 2020


2020 Walk Award
By Eugene S. Fairbanks

Skykomish, Stehekin, Snoqualmie,
Wynoochee, Palouse, Okanogan,
Queets, Klickitat, Kootenai, Nooksack,
Sauk, Skookumchuck, Quillayute, Skagit —

Gather moisture in the mountains,
mingle rain with summer snowmelt;
fed by streams that trickle downward,
cold and clear, the waters chatter.

Cascade down through twisting canyons,
scour massive granite boulders,
plunge themselves from rocky ledges,
leap and roar like raging beasts.

Wend their way past peaks and ridges,
tumble through the wooded foothills,
ply vast stands of fir and hemlock —
nourish wetlands at their margins.

Drain broad fertile inland valleys,
spread high water over lowlands,
seek out bays and estuaries,
cycle rainfall to the ocean.

*Copyright 2020 by Eugene S. Fairbanks. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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