Woodpecker*

November 4, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Madeleine Joyce Patterson, grade 4

Thump.
Listen, to the soft thump of the expert, knocking on
the inch-thick woody skin, playing a soft rhythm
Thump. Thump.
on the tall old multi-branched drum
Thump.
Dinner awaits in the third spine-striped layer
Thump. Thump.
Peck away, red-cheeked drummer

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Madeleine Joyce Patterson. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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Used To Be*

August 13, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Gary Wade

Used to be
there in that field
a barn half ruined
but still it stood in beauty.

It’s gone now,
shadows of its foundation
erased by plows.

Vacant now, that field,
from it only
a ragged cloud of
blackbirds wheeling, rising.

. . . . .
Gary Wade has been a Bellinghamster since 2005. He is fascinated by farm barns and has photographed many of them. His poem “Used To Be” was inspired by a barn he drove past for many years, then one recent autumn it was gone. There was nothing there but blackbirds gleaning a cornfield.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Gary Wade. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg .

Rain*

September 11, 2016

Rain -  Rick Hermann
2016 Merit Award
By Rick Hermann

On the sidewalk outside the food coop, gray red-footed
pigeons dip their beaks, picking up crumbs from
gluten-free muffins with the speed and efficiency of
a good typist. Discarded cellophane wrappers
scratch along the sidewalk in the dry wind.
The pigeons stride to their next morsel, heads bobbing
back and forth on short necks, expressions dim, poker-

faced. They remind me of the barnyard hens I tended
for Grandpa, Mom’s dad, back in Minnesota. After we
moved west, near Seattle, Grandpa held on a few more
indifferent years, but my mom was reborn, re-spirited.
I remember how she used to feed wildlife outside
our home: raccoons, deer, feral cats, pintail ducks,
great blue herons, even eagles. A decade before her
death, she began to pray for rain during

long dry spells. “The animals suffer,” she would say.
Like St. Francis, she often carried a small bird
in her open palm. She prayed, waited, and rejoiced
when the deluge began. I miss her strength, her
loving ministrations to the earth, her belief
that was deeper than superstition. I miss her in this
moment as I hear distant waters gathering, see pigeons
eating crumbs on another warm, cloudless day.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Rick Hermann. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Creative tourist owl

A poet, a literary scholar, a climate change scientist and an ornithologist walk into a bar…

No. Wait. Not a joke, but a panel discussion: Migratory Birds: Poetry and Perceptions of Climate Change, taking place at Manchester University on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

. . . . .
photo

Expedition Press

On Sunday, May 22, 2016, poet Holly J. Hughes will offer a reading from her brand new chapbook, Passings (Expedition Press). Of her book, Holly Hughes says,

“This is a collection of poems I began years ago with a poem for Martha, the last passenger pigeon. That lead to another and another….with the result that this collection brings together poems about fifteen extinct birds, from the dodo to the O’o. I added a preface to provide context and an afterword with information on what we can do to protect the species that remain. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Expedition Press in Kingston, who published it in two limited editions: a trade copy bound by hand with a letterpress cover on recycled paper and a deluxe copy with covers of handmade paper and an archival slip case.”

Join Holly J. Hughes and friends on the 22nd at 4:00pm at Village Books.
. . . . .
photo

another poetry walk

March 31, 2016

Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge

We’ve mentioned the artist Gordon Young before. His large-scale public art projects often incorporate words or poetry. Here’s another.

Bird Stones is an installation at Mill Road Cemetery in Cambridge, England. Each of the seven pieces is engraved with a poem about a bird that frequents the cemetery and a description of the bird’s call. The standing stone sculptures are also designed to serve as perch, shelter and water source. “House Sparrow,” above, includes a bible inscription and a poem by Andrew Motion.

When Birds Could Talk*

November 1, 2015

WHEN BIRDS COULD TALK by Seth Friedman
2015 Merit Award
By Seth Friedman

When Birds Could Talk

The end is near, said the bird.
It would appear so, said I, since birds
have begun to speak.
The sunlight seemed indifferent, as
The bird cocked its eye:
Come to the river, it said.
Why, said I — and, which river?
But it flew into the blue sky.
Or — was the sky still blue?
It’s hard to remember now,
so much has changed.
If I had known which river,
I might’ve made it.
If the bird had been more specific,
Things might be different.
About one thing, though,
The bird was right:
The end came.
But what he didn’t mention:
Afterwards, it goes on.
What’s ‘it’, you ask —
Isn’t it obvious, I smirk:
The river goes on — and
Don’t ask which.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Seth Friedman. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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