On Remembering*

January 11, 2022


2021 Merit Award
by Barbara Bloom

I listened to you breathing
I wanted to remember the sound of your breath.
W.S.Merwin

Still dark out, I wake slowly.
Even the cat still sleeps,
a warm lump curled into my leg,
and, having slid into you in the night,
I relish the warmth,
the familiarity of your flesh against mine,
and know the sharp need to hold it in memory,
yes, to memorize it, as the poet I read last night
does the morning — so many
poems about morning
in this book written as he approaches ninety,
nearly blind,
hearing the rain against the broad leaves
of some Hawaiian tree
and remembering his childhood
in a much different place,
those rains, those trees, those mornings —
knowing even memory
won’t hold them steady against time.

*Copyright © 2021 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Congratulations BTV Bellingham!

September 25, 2021

Congratulations to BTV Bellingham, which earned three national awards on September 23, 2021, for videos featuring Bellingham Public Library and one award for a Public Service Announcement from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Walk video, featuring Librarian Suzanne Carlson-Prandini and young poet Haley Van Ness, to highlight National Poetry Month in April, won an Award of Distinction in the Library category.

The Library Curbside Service Behind the Scenes video produced in February, also featuring the Van Ness family and the sustained collaboration of Bellingham Public Library staff to keep materials circulating during the COVID-19 pandemic, won two Awards of Honor in the Library and Editing categories.

“The talented staff at BTV and the quality of their content are a true service to Bellingham, keeping our locals informed and raising the profile of our City alongside communities throughout the country,” said Annette Bagley, Head of Community Relations for Bellingham Public Library.

BTV Bellingham is operated by the City of Bellingham to provide information about publicly funded government and educational institutions through high quality video services delivered via the internet and cable television. It can be viewed live 24/7 on the City of Bellingham website, as well as on Comcast Cable TV channels 10 and 321 in greater Bellingham.

Special thanks to BTV and to the Bellingham Public Library for a long tradition of supporting community poetry in Whatcom County!

See also BTV videos of 2021 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winners Margaux Barber, Barbara Bloom, Marie Eaton, David M. Laws, Jory Mickelson, Janette Rosebrook, and Genevieve Whelan, with one more, by Lynn Geri, to come!

On Becoming Rootless*

December 6, 2020


2020 Merit Award
By Barbara Bloom

Even in winds that shake the house,
the Western red cedar and Douglas fir
stand firm, only their upper trunks swaying
like the masts of ships in a strong swell,
and though the branches whip in the turbulent air,
the trees are solidly rooted, as I have to say
I am not, each breeze tossing me aside
as if, like the dandelion seeds children blow on
to send their wishes into the world, I had become
insubstantial, nothing to anchor me to the earth.

*Copyright 2020 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

video poem

December 15, 2019

With special thanks to Bellingham BTV Channel 10, a number of the 2019 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poets were able to record their poems for broadcast. Today we feature Barbara Bloom reading “Not Yet.”

Not Yet*

June 2, 2019


2019 Walk Award
by Barbara Bloom

Not yet while the blackberries
are still just flowers and the pink bramble roses
hang off the corner of the garden fence
in a heavy tangle no
not yet as I sit in my friend’s backyard
and the image of the black truck
on the wrong side of the road returns to me
speeding toward us
and unseen birds call back and forth
from treetops or the air
while off in the distance
a weed whacker starts up
and even that is a reason to stay
and the eucalyptus fill up the sky
the sun warm on my face
with another morning
not yet
the world outside beckoning
look at me here don’t go

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Barbara Bloom grew up on a remote coastal homestead in British Columbia. She taught English and creative writing in Santa Cruz, California, for many years and recently returned to make her home in the Northwest, where she lives with her musician husband and several rescued animals. She has published two books of poetry — On the Water Meridian and Pulling Down the Heavens.

This poem was inspired by a scary incident while driving and the powerful realization that I was not ready to leave the earth — and gratitude for the things I love about being alive.

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