Forgive me if I forget*

January 27, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Marie Eaton

Forgive me if I forget to return your phone call.
I have been chasing an elusive melody
across guitar strings,
subtle and swift as a hummingbird
darting through my butterfly bush.

Forgive me if I forget to come in from the garden.
I have been lured by ripening red tomatoes
in my greenhouse,
and blueberry bushes, heavy with fruit,
bending boughs to kiss the brown earth.

Forgive me if I forget to unload the dishwasher.
I have been reading poems,
slowly turning pages
reveling in rhyme and a perfect turn of phrase.

Forgive me if I forget to lock the front door.
I have been tempted
by brilliant washes of color across the western sky,
and the firefly wink of stars
as dusk creeps toward night.

I may forget,
but this forgetting is truest remembering.

*Copyright © 2021 by Marie Eaton. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Poet’s bio:
Marie Eaton’s writing has taken many forms — “stories to gather in memories of earlier years, songs to capture images or emotions, laments for our sweet planet, academic research papers, and proposals to inspire us to create a palliative community of excellence.” She taught writing in all these forms at Fairhaven College at Western Washington University for many years, and now as Professor Emerita she is the Community Champion for the Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University. She loves helping others find the tools and strategies to find their own passions and the voice to express them. Most of Marie’s creative work has been as a songwriter, marrying melody and lyric. With the singing group Motherlode she has produced nine albums, each featuring Marie’s writing.

workshop reminder

January 24, 2022

Just a quick reminder that Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest will be offering an online poetry workshop this coming Saturday, January 29, 2022. Enrollment is limited, but there are still a few spots available. The workshop, called “Pulling Poems from the Ends of Our Pens,” will be held 10:00am to Noon on Zoom and a complete description is available on the Workshops page.

Registration is required and all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. TO REGISTER, submit your payment of $30 via Venmo (www.venmo.com/SueC-BoyntonContest ) OR by check (made out to Sue C. Boynton Contest) mailed to PO Box 5442, Bellingham, WA 98227-5442. Please be sure to include your name, email, phone, and the title/date of the workshop(s) you wish to attend. Zoom links will be provided after registration.

Hunchbacks*

January 23, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by David P. Drummond

We launched where
pioneer cabins gathered
long, glass and resin craft
of ancient organic design
Hidden ruby-colored bark
in their alder shoreline stance
Hangs of strobili and catkins
unto a river mirror move
Tar paper flaps, spirit bird
and whistle-call from eagle
Southpaw slough steerage
past woody debris, of flood water

A rest on cedar springboard
grey-blue feather dreads
trench coat trundle
after scale-leg and bare toes
Whisper paddle alerts
his golden-eye, sabre-
beak stare, at ‘yakers
Vanguard sentinel for
shaggy-squawk flock
of Jurassic fly-a-ways
Nooksack nobility flushed
from sleepy longhouse hide

*Copyright © 2021 by David P. Drummond. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Poet’s bio:
David P. Drummond gives attention to insights from Our Universe and shares them in poetry, classes and discussion. You can read him in: Clover, Whatcom Watch, and the Noisy Water and Solstice anthologies. He also enjoys fresh perspectives with open-hearted people via WWU/ALL, WA Department of Ecology, Coastal Forest Merlin Project and beyond. Inspiration for this poem: “Seeking a shared outdoor odyssey, we kayaked the slow-flow of the Nooksack River to its confluence with Bellingham Bay. Here is a ‘slice of my senses’ experiential on our Time-Space Continuum.”

untitled*

January 19, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Ty Colson, 1st grade

Mama…made me son
I love how she handles things
Wishing upon stars

*Copyright © 2021 by Ty Colson. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Poet’s bio:
Ty is in first grade, doing school from home and on the road this year, and looks forward to returning to Alderwood Elementary in the fall. He loves art, food, jokes, Lego, and riding his trick scooter. He is currently traveling through the Wild West with his family, collecting stickers to put on his helmet.

Lately, Ty has been creating haiku poems with his mom, Ally, as a way to connect and wind down at bedtime. “My mom is very special to me, and this poem is for her.” This is his first published poem. And, yes, Ally’s heart has indeed melted.

Still Life: Geneva Pond*

January 15, 2022


2021 Merit Award
by Kathleen Byrd

I make my self in the nature preserve
a home to taste names in silence —
Miner’s Lettuce, Stinging Nettle,
Bleeding Heart, and — hear deet, deet
of an unseen Chickadee and tap
tap, tap of a Sap Sucker’s red head.

Geneva is a rename, a claim
of place — of Salmon Berry, Heron, of Owl.
Geneva is a gilded city, a Juniper
Tree, a Euro-myth. The trees here hold secrets
close and still. Thuja Plicata, I roll a
taxonomy of botany on my tongue — Western
Red Cedar — not cedar — after all.

At the edge of the pond, I see —
not see, really — but glimpse
what was there and gone —
the black eyes of a frog on the surface.
I focus to capture a look, a name,
but it’s already gone, letting go
the trace of its being
circling the surface of Geneva pond.

*Copyright © 2021 by Kathleen Byrd. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

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.

Seagull*

January 7, 2022


2021 Merit Award
by Margaux Barber, 2nd grade

I walk out of the portable
pulling the lunch cart down the noisy ramp
I see a seagull, black-eyed, its feathers beautiful.
I walk into the school
pulling the lunch cart behind me.
I walk out to the schoolyard.
I see the seagull again, the same one black-eyed.
I wonder if I will see it again at recess.
I do not.

*Copyright © 2021 by Margaux Barber. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
“I like to read.”

Where I’m From*

January 3, 2022


2021 Merit Award
by Rylie Anderson, 6th grade

I am from the coral dahlias in full summer bloom
from the Norwex rags and messy room
I am from the jam-packed garden,
kale, radish, lettuce, tomato
I am from the half-read book
That two months later, I pick back up
the rocky bottoms, that once belonged to the chinook
I’m from the sticky rolls and big smiles
I am from many years of school,
That I too, want to pursue
I am from Gramps who fought in the war
And Ma’ma who can still play on the floor

I’m from the mad not bad and “won’t you stay little?”
I am from the with Him I shall fear no evil.
I’m from the four-hour drive through winter wonderland.
The sun kisses on our cheeks
I’m from Glendale and 500sq feet
I’m from the Jeep that was stuck in the mud
and the Cabin complete in a week
I am from wooden slippers and Stroopwafel
and six in a golfcart, lucky we didn’t topple
From the finally, someday, never, forever. And the now.
All the moments, all the people,
they shape me and make me into who I am.

*Copyright © 2021 by Rylie Anderson. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

placards!

December 30, 2021

Due to unanticipated delays, we’ve been remiss in posting the illustrated placards for the 2021 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems. That’s about to be corrected. Over the coming weeks, each of the 25 winning poems will appear in this space and also be linked to the Winners page.

The Contest is deeply grateful to this year’s illustrious judges, Robert Lashley and Elizabeth Vignali, and also extends thanks to the four artists who have added their vision to the poets’ words: Angela Boyle, Megan Carroll, Christian Anne Smith, and Kimberly Wulfestieg.

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!

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