2017 Walk Award
By Richard Widerkehr

Yesterday, the water tossed me on the reef,
jarring my back, scraping my right wrist.

Don’t fall out of the ocean, says Linda.
I line up a break in the coral

with the fifth thatched shed.
Lying on my back, held by waves,

sea held by blue sky, sky held by the earth,
and the universe — it’s held by what?

*

I’m standing in the green shallows.
Whomp. Something hits the water

hard like prop wash. Wings thrash.
A brown pelican’s next to me.

The thing has a bill, big as a thigh bone,
that opens and closes.

. . . . .
“In the last five years, I’ve submitted and published widely. I like to sing and play music at a bar called the Green Frog. I used to be a teacher and a case manager with the mentally ill. I’m retired now. My Boynton poem was written at a resort called Akumal in Mexico and worked on later back in B’ham. My third book of poems, In The Presence Of Absence, will come out from MoonPath Press this fall.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Richard Widerkehr. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Reverie*

July 16, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Marie Marchand

Poems come to me in the dark
when my eyes are healed
when I do not distinguish
my body from the air.
          In a dream the poems come.

When I awake the words fall
from my skin and I forget
the misty-eyed soliloquies
I’d composed like Keats
          though I remember him.

I always remember John Keats
who led me through the forest
to the Emerald inside the rock
our true love carved in stone.
Holding his hand I traipsed in the wake
of his tousled amber hair.
          He wrote odes among the trees for me.

When you believe in reincarnation
anything is possible.
Love can be written
          centuries apart.

. . . . .
Marie Marchand has been a poet full of passion for 30 years. Her love for John Keats, which she imagines to be reciprocal, is what inspired her winning poem “Reverie.” She tries to make the world a better place by doing small things like stopping the resumption of below-ground testing at the Nevada Desert Test Site. She is the board chair of the local affiliate of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and works for the Bellingham City Council. She has a Masters Degree from The Iliff School of Theology. Her poetry often explores and intersects with faith. She and her 16-year-old son have lived in Bellingham for 12 years. Her poetry blog is MarieMarchandPoet.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Marie Marchand. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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.

Untitled*

July 2, 2017


2017 Walk Award
By Robert Stern

the Trojan horse wants to retire
tired even of his appearances in comics
he wants to gallop down to the seashore
and listen to the waves caress the sands
while dreaming that an ancient ship
will sail by and pick him up
and take him back at the very least
to the memory of his home far away

. . . . .
Robert Stern has been writing poems and aphorisms for over 50 years. He has been published in the Antigonish Review, Blue Unicorn, Konglomerati Press, Massachusetts Review, Poets Gallery, and others. The poem about the Trojan horse was written only a few months ago. To write inspired poetry is to be touched by the marvelous.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Robert Stern. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

Salt Fills My Mouth*

June 25, 2017

Kaylee Davenport
2017 Walk Award
By Kaylee Davenport (6th grade)

Adrenaline bubbles over into laughter,
waves try to drag me down,
my brother’s calls drift away,
thundering ocean is the only sound.

Grey skies and sea,
I am becoming numb,
salt fills my mouth,
but my body still hums.

Horizons are blurring,
my toes dig into the sand,
I can’t hear my thoughts,
I don’t remember the land.

. . . . .
“I am a 6th grader at Fairhaven Middle School and I love to read. I think it is one of the main reasons why I love to write. I wrote my poem about a beach I go to because swimming and water is very relaxing and fun to write about.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Kaylee Davenport. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Early Hike with Dog*

June 18, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By David M. Laws

The day hides beneath the horizon
as we wind our way up an unkempt trail.
Possum pushes her taut terrier body ahead,
analyzing aromas of previous passers-by,
quick peek for most but full appraisal
of others. Birds brag of territorial control,
and proclaim to potential mates dual
dreams of domesticity and reproduction.
Errant branches pull at me, sometimes
a caress, sometimes a chastisement.
This is no longer a trail, they contend,
but the fragrance of freshly rain-drenched
forest infuses me with vigor, bringing
new life to my fatigued feet. Arise! Arise!
Move forward! the world seems to call.
One last fallen tree to negotiate, Possum
under, me over, and we burst out of forest
to the summit. Sun rises over Mount Baker,
sets it ablaze, painting frozen glaciers into
fiery lava, red-gold in the new morning.

. . . . .
David M. Laws is a gardener, musician, husband, father, writer, hiker and former musical instrument repair technician who practices all of the above in Bellingham. He graduated from Western Washington University in 2005, at age 58, with a degree in English — Creative Writing Emphasis.

“My poem ‘Early Hike with Dog’ was inspired by a number of hikes I’ve taken with Possum, the Glorious Little Girl Terrier who has lived with us for four years now. Her determination has pushed me through what seemed to be impassable obstacles on numerous forgotten trails, and occasionally rewarded me with something like what the poem describes — a scene of beauty and wonder.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by David M. Laws. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

In-between Places*

June 11, 2017


2017 Walk Award
By Virginia Ferm Herrick

I keep running into my mom
in halls, elevators, and alleyways.
I’m always glad to see her, but we never really talk.

“I came to see Dr. Seymour,”
she lamented in the elevator one morning.
“I ended up with some guy who didn’t know my situation—”

Then my alarm went off, and she was gone.

Another time, she came down the hall
at the transitional house for women and children
where I was helping paint for the Grand Opening.
We were so happy to see each other.
I gave her a big hug before she hurried on,
her bird-like bones as solid as ever.

Even both alive, we only got to talk
when she was busy
doing dishes, changing her shoes, cooking, gardening.
Stands to reason now she’s dead,
she’s even harder to pin down.

Bumping into her like this helps, but I know why
she wanted Dr. Seymour.

. . . . .
An award-winning journalist for more than a decade, Virginia Ferm Herrick is no stranger to seeing her name in print. Her website, Yes! Virginia, includes samples of her poetry and prose; she also has published in magazines and had a poem selected for inclusion in the 2009 poetry and prose collection, Enlivened by the Mystery. She shares her household with two lordly but affectionate cats, a patient dog, and a husband who loves boats.

“I wrote ‘In-between Places’ based on a dream journal and a subsequent rough draft that sat on my computer for two years. Inspired by the contest announcements in April 2017 and the upcoming anniversary of my mom’s death on May 3, I picked up the amorphous draft and wrote the poem. Only in writing it did I realize: I was the one who wanted ‘Dr. Seymour.’”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Virginia Ferm Herrick. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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