Spring Walk*

April 11, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Giorgiana Vignali, Grade 6

The morning sun is out
Walking with friends to school
Birds tucked in trees sing
Flowers sprout from sidewalk cracks
Tomatoes and carrots and peas grow
From the yards of old ladies

dogs tied up
as we pass
a little boy waves as we walk by
his face pressed up against the cold glass

the grass glistens with dew
making our shoes and socks wet
up ahead is the school
kids, some yelling and others half asleep
wait at the doors for the bell to ring
another day awaits

*Copyright 2020 by Giorgiana Vignali. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

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.

If you happen to wake up this last day of May in Kalamazoo, Michigan, don’t miss this evening’s Dog and Poetry Show: Poets Unleashed! to benefit the Kalamazoo Humane Society. Donated copies of To Unsnare Time’s Warp: Stories and Poems About Dogs will be for sale (the title, by the way, comes from Mark Doty’s poem Golden Retrievals). Featured poets include Kit Almy, Margaret DeRitter, Kathleen McGookey, Mark Nepo, Jennifer Clark, Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Gail Martin and Lynn Pattison.

dog walking*

July 3, 2016

dog walking by Lucas Nydam
2016 Merit Award
By Lucas Nydam

every stranger out
being walked
by their dog

wears the same
uneasy smile
that tells me,

“we are powerless
in being pulled
by the things
we love.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Lucas Nydam. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

working poets

April 21, 2016

poets at work

Get the dog and the cat and take a National Poetry Month break, courtesy of Michael Dylan Welch.

Recognizing the similarities between poets and pets, he has created a page of altered quotes, Let Sleeping Poets Lie, in which the words pet(s), dog(s) and cat(s), as well as puppies and kittens, are replaced with poet(s).

When you’re ready for more, visit Look What the Poet Dragged In, where he’s given similar treatment to idiomatic expressions.

Watch out, Michael Dylan Welch, the poetcatcher is after you.
. . . . .

To Rizzy*

September 27, 2015

To Rizzy by Thomas Boyle
2015 Walk Award
By Thomas Boyle (4th grade)

To Rizzy

Rizzy, oh Rizzy,
how I love you.
Your face lights up my day.
That smile of yours, ahhh it’s beautiful.

Your eyes are diamonds sparkling
in the midnight sky.
Your fur is as soft as a new cozy blanket,
your big wet nose is as wet as a big puddle.

You give the best alarm clock “kisses.”
It makes you feel like a big black thing dropping oceans on you.
(I love it though.)

Rizzy, oh Rizzy,
You make my day as bright as a hot sun.

I hope you always remember…

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Thomas Boyle. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

That Time*

September 20, 2015

THAT TIME by Natalee Markowski
2015 Merit Award
By Natalee Markowski (4th grade)

That Time

That time when I was
watching a show and he
wagged his tail in my face.

That time I figured out that
my dog was a black lab,
not a dog covered in dark chocolate.
That time he saved me from a squirrel.
That time I was playing fetch with him.
That last moment with us.
. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Natalee Markowski. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Sheila Nickerson - Harnessed to the Pole

This evening, Thursday, July 10, 2014, at 7pm at Village Books in Fairhaven, poet Sheila Nickerson will read from her latest nonfiction book, Harnessed to the Pole: Sledge Dogs in Service to American Explorers of the Arctic 1853-1909. A 2012 Boynton Walk Award winner, 2010 Merit Award winner, 2014 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest judge and former Poet Laureate of Alaska (among her many other achievements), Nickerson focuses in this book on the seldom-credited partnership of sledge dogs in Arctic explorations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The reading is free.

My Dog Barks*

July 7, 2013

My Dog Barks by Betty Scott
2013 Walk Award
By Betty Scott

          In memory of Mona Lisa
          the family dachshund

She’s an old lady now,
our silent talks and walks numbered.
Soon I will miss her long stretches:
the arc and arch of her spine,

her struts to the back door, tail up,
curled nails against sliding glass,
black nose pointed toward grass,
her return, the scrape and scamper

and later, her warm body
against the middle of the night,
even her littering rights.
Exigencies of living—with the art

of her in starts and stops,
her leash and release of me.

*Copyright 2013 by Betty Scott.
Placard design by Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, flyingdodopublications.com.

Sheila Nickerson ~ December Dusk: The Stables off Smith Road

2012 Walk Award
By Sheila Nickerson

December Dusk: The Stables off Smith Road

Behind me, in the arena, horses play.
In front, across the field, coyotes yip and howl.
The dogs run out, barking.
I call them back, call and call.
Finally, the small ones come,
but the large one stays, holding his ground.
And who would dare to cross, either way,
where barking melds with howling,
stubble stiffens with cold,
and a winter night steps out of the woods?

*Copyright 2012 by Sheila Nickerson. Placard design by Egress Studio.

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