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.


Taste for Poetry 2013

April 19, 2013

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest held its annual fundraising event, Taste for Poetry, this week. David M. Laws regaled us with poems and stories and Ciao Thyme dazzled our palates with five courses of amazing food.

In the spirit of the evening, table groups of diners collaborated on “exquisite corpse” poems. Each group started with a line of poetry about food, each person adding a line with only the immediately-preceding line visible. Here are the resulting poems and links (where available) to the full text of the opening line poems.

first course

How easily happiness begins by | dicing onions*
Aromatic bulbs divide for your tears of joy
For sweet and bitter, both make you cry
Warm tears rolled down my cold cheeks
Winter: what’s in you, even sadness, is warmer than what’s out.
Spicy condiment, good for what ails you
but don’t worry – ailments are 10 to 6
dozen just like Rhode Island reds
Eggs broken – layers do not lie
Truth spreads out invisible to all

*from “Onions” by William Matthews

Mattaio and Jessica prep

Brussels sprouts are Siamese | twins joined at the spine*
lightly salted, they taste divine
and who you eat them you feel most fine
and you can also drink to feel fine
or eat to feel even better, enjoying life’s subtleties
But there’s nothing subtle about eating –
especially in such good company as this.
Alas, subtlety is soooo overrated!
Ditto, modesty, simplicity, etc.

*from “Brussels Sprouts” by Lorna Crozier


The World begins at a kitchen table*
Salt and pepper shake each other
Do the cha-cha
Ah ha
He thought to himself I must have her
But he bought the old beer.
Time to go to the woods and out of sight.
With dog by your side & hubby behind
A ray of light shine through a curtain of one thing
we’re still not certain…

*from “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Jo Harjo


“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said | “is what we chiefly need:”*
A glass of wine with be just fine the harbor seal read.
Morning, noon and night the train clanks by
The sound of the whistle brings a smile to my eye.
But the crossings cause us to stop and wonder.
It’s the hooting of the engine, the cry of the gulls that awakens
The wind that whispers ‘migrate’ to the sleeping soul;
A palmful of ocean, running meager currents over galvanized flesh; the sun, bedded down between sheets of rain; &
The turquoise merged with seafoam, then to silver before the sun disappeared.

*from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll

Ciao Thyme preps

Sometimes I would like to turn and live | among the vegetarians*
where the safety of the plants
Guard, protect against the elements
with the wooly feelers of a scarf poking inwards
clasping, grasping, wrapping me warmly in words
And then the sudden, shocking, shattering burst of icy cold
oooh wicki woo shoo wip wip zowie yum yam boom!
Spice me in your skillet, baby, va va voom!

*from “Among the Vegetarians” by Nancy Pagh


I love the sound of the bone against the plate*
but the sound of the ocean is bright
so bright it overwhelms all my senses
My toes tingle thinking of the white
beast talking after my feet in the broccoli
Its shadow becoming more umbrella like
A penumbra to benumbya comes over us all.

*from “Osso Buco” by Billy Collins
. . . . .
Photos of Taste for Poetry 2013 food and prep with special thanks to Kat deVaney and Nancy Canyon


July 6, 2012

David M. Laws ~ Miscommunication

2012 Walk Award
By David M. Laws


Raven rasps crooked counsel
from an evergreen branch;
I croak back, but he reads
my mimicry as mockery
and flaps away, flinging
a final wisecrack
over one bright dark wing.

*Copyright 2012 by David M. Laws. Placard design by Egress Studio.

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