Water by Salmon*

August 18, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Phelps McIlvaine
After Emily Dickinson’s “WATER IS TAUGHT BY THIRST”

As life is taught by death,
and the Sun by Space,
So, Clouds are taught by Land
and Rains by Place.

As Mountains are taught by Plains,
and Rivers by Lakes,
So, Trees are taught by Soils,
And Elements by their Weight.

As Deserts are taught by Shores,
and Ocean Waves by Wind,
So, Depth is taught by height,
and Tides by Celestial Spin.

As Sound is taught by Silence,
and Insight by Reason,
So, humans are taught by Water
and Water, by Salmon.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Phelps McIlvaine. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.


the awful days*

August 11, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Adam McClusky, Grade 11
after Lord Alfred Tennyson

he clasps the crag with crooked hands close to the sun
in the lonely lands far away from everyone’s beef
enjoying the time alone from the people that annoyed
him the most not craving each pestering pitch that
came out during his day and the odd but pitiful
repeated days wondering how they’re going on with
their Day from the selfishness insecure ways with the
weird vibes given off each day crying for one of his
friends to ask him about his day but that won’t change
so he’ll just stay clasped with his crooked hands close
to the sun in the lonely lands not forgetting a bit
but smiling and laughing about those awful

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Adam McClusky. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

. . . . .
i go to Squalicum high school. I play football i also wrestle and went to state for wrestling. I didn’t really like English but now i like it a little more.

i got my inspiration from the guy in the office that no one likes like in the movies. So he just isn’t noticed and just wants people to notice him.

Statement of purpose*

August 4, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Carlos Martinez

Because my skin becomes a part of the sky
when the sun begins to go down and is gone

halfway beneath the horizon, and the moon
when it appears becomes my one eye looking,

I allow myself to shiver when wind blows,
that shivering a vibration that makes no sound

and allows me to vanish into darkening hues.
Because I disappear, I am not to be feared

though I remain in the darkness, assuming
the guise of a shroud or a sheet. I prefer

to say that I become bed linen, a cover, a blanket,
a quilt covered by a duvet, heavy but not,

washed both by the coming of day and its going,
made worn by their washing, that leaves an aroma

that comforts and allows sleep to come, for sleep
to become deep and for something like movies

to rise from anyone’s darkness within.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Carlos Martinez. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

placards on view

July 26, 2019

The beautiful illustrated placards of the 2019 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems will be on display in the Whatcom County Library System over the coming months. Drop in to your local library to see the complete set of Walk Award and Merit Award placards. Here’s the schedule:

  • July 2019 – Deming Library
  • August 2019 – North Fork Library
  • September 2019 – Everson and Sumas Libraries
  • October 2019 – South Whatcom Library
  • November 2019 – Island Library
  • December 2019 – Ferndale Library and the Bookmobile
  • January 2020 – Lynden Library
  • February 2020 – Blaine Library
  • March 2020 – Point Roberts Library

The placards will also be displayed inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses throughout the county.

Raised Goat Forest*

July 7, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Sally Hewitt

Here in the raised goat forest
we’re looking for anything, everything
our grandmother’s lost ring
the youth we left behind
farm animals gone before us
our intact hearts in the prelude
the way water was pure
as we drank from mountain streams
the way our hearts were pure
yours before the wanton women
wanted your money, status, and soul
mine before the brazen betrayal
seesawed toward my bolder instincts
but still, we always viewed
life as a lark, manna from heaven
the fairy tale that led us here
how we laughed at our naiveté
a trail through raised goat forest
led straightward up blackberry hill
to an open field and golden sunshine

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Sally Hewitt. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

. . . . .
Sally Hewitt holds degrees in English literature from the UW and fine arts from WWU, is the next editor of The Rockford Review in 2020, and is the author of Confetti Wind (available at Whatcom County libraries). She’s also the managing editor of Whatcom Watch. Her poems have been published in The Rockford Review, Plainsongs, and Whatcom Watch.

Nestled in the forest near Glacier, listening to the river hum outside my office window, I feel inspired daily and am reminded of growing up on a 60-acre farm in Issaquah, where our home sat high above Issaquah Creek. “Raised Goat Forest” combines my memories of our farm, my love of the natural world here in the Pacific Northwest, and nostalgia for bygone times. It also pays homage to my beloved brother, who was always my closest friend.


June 30, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Gaia Garza, Grade 6

a flower
sitting in a pot
after it was planted
because it was so beautiful
it had to be shown

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Gaia Garza. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

. . . . .
Gaia Garza is a sixth grader at Whatcom Middle School. She likes drawing and animals. She has a hamster named Ponyo who is orange like the other family pets. She is inspired to learn to play piano.

Duet in Five Haiku*

June 23, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Anishka Duggal, Grade 11

At the piano
My hand crosses over yours
I don’t play the notes

Keys: our witnesses
Silent black on white eyelids
Closing at first light

Two bodies counting
Time as it moves forward now
Breaking on each beat

Our metronome wants
More than our rippling skin
As it waits sidelined

Move over now the
Practicing bench is too warm
Not meant for us both

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Anishka Duggal. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

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