2020 Walk Award
By Kate Miller

I hold the dresser scarf you embroidered
with hands that once embraced me even
as they surrendered me. Roses, stained
blood on crisp white linen, green threads
vining around each flower, such delicate
beauty, this artifact of your life outliving
you even now, as do I, holding on to this
fabric, proof of your existence. I in your
womb once, you in my hands now, the
thorny connection of us pierced through.
First mother, you carry me back, I carry
you forward, faces wet with wanting,
this moment as close as we will ever get.

*Copyright 2020 by Kate Miller. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

The Invitation*

September 30, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Ellie Osterloh, grade 9

Oh Death, come in and sit down by my side
Though your elusive white dress may deceive
You’re the Queen of Sorrow, changer of tides,
Not as the masses of people perceive.

I dare your subsequent waves to tempt me
Your presence inspires a fiery rage
Walking the dark road, your white light I see
Some declare you villain, few call you sage.

You riddle me, and know I won’t answer
But I can’t keep myself from wondering
Where’s hope with diagnosis of cancer?
And yet, the confusion is comforting.

I curse you, bless you, and know you will stay
But Death, for now, I send you on your way.

. . . . .
This poem was inspired by the loss of my mother to cancer two years ago.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Ellie Osterloh. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Possession*

July 30, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Marlene Chasson

Tall, gaunt, sharp shouldered
She stood there on the porch.
Her face mirrored her years
And her hands made it plain
That those years had not been easy.
They gripped the porch railing
Once freshly painted
It was old and chipped
Like the house itself.
But it was her house now
And she would tend it like a child
There was plenty of time
With him gone.

. . . . .
At age 85, I am one of the oldest poets in the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest. As an amateur poet I have been writing poetry since I was in grade school. Over the years, a number of my poems have been published in a poetry anthologies, school and college newsletters, and a some contests. My husband and I moved to Bellingham four years ago from Raleigh, North Carolina. Before I retired I was a teacher and social worker and from 1989 until 2001 I served as the executive director of a state advocacy organization for older adults in long term care.

The poem “Possession” was written about my father’s stepmother. She raised my father and three of his brothers and was also the caretaker for his father when he became sick in his later years.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Marlene Chasson. 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.

Rain*

September 11, 2016

Rain -  Rick Hermann
2016 Merit Award
By Rick Hermann

On the sidewalk outside the food coop, gray red-footed
pigeons dip their beaks, picking up crumbs from
gluten-free muffins with the speed and efficiency of
a good typist. Discarded cellophane wrappers
scratch along the sidewalk in the dry wind.
The pigeons stride to their next morsel, heads bobbing
back and forth on short necks, expressions dim, poker-

faced. They remind me of the barnyard hens I tended
for Grandpa, Mom’s dad, back in Minnesota. After we
moved west, near Seattle, Grandpa held on a few more
indifferent years, but my mom was reborn, re-spirited.
I remember how she used to feed wildlife outside
our home: raccoons, deer, feral cats, pintail ducks,
great blue herons, even eagles. A decade before her
death, she began to pray for rain during

long dry spells. “The animals suffer,” she would say.
Like St. Francis, she often carried a small bird
in her open palm. She prayed, waited, and rejoiced
when the deluge began. I miss her strength, her
loving ministrations to the earth, her belief
that was deeper than superstition. I miss her in this
moment as I hear distant waters gathering, see pigeons
eating crumbs on another warm, cloudless day.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Rick Hermann. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Mother*

August 2, 2015

MOTHER by Devin Zook
2015 Walk Award
By Devin Zook (11th grade)

Mother

Halting at the first sight of danger
Like a school bus approaching train tracks;
Advancing on new environments
With an utmost amount of caution.
Convincing yourself nothing is safe,
Searching for a way out of the trap
That has only been created in your mind.

Finally spreading your wings
to take one leap of pure faith
Conquering your fears and worries
Carving a new path for yourself
          Like a boat freely sculpting water
          You stare danger in the eye
Celebrate the fact that fear can be triumphed.

Offering your newly freed self
to all who come near.
. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Devin Zook. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

untitled*

September 28, 2014

Michelle Ballou - untitled
[untitled]
By Michelle Ballou
2014 Walk Award

Summer roses
blown open —
my son calls home from Iraq

*Copyright 2014 by Michelle Ballou. Broadside designed by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, Flying Dodo Publications.

Women of Valor*

September 7, 2014

Konrad Kocsis - Women of Valor
Women of Valor
By Konrad Kocsis
2014 Walk Award

God gave us Mothers and Wives
To comfort and complete our lives.
They come in different packages.
Many are good, and most are wise.
Though sometimes misunderstood
For their convictions,
Their hearts are filled with compassion
And do not intend friction.
These women have focused
On their families for so long,
That is why God has made them
So responsible and so strong.
We salute our Mothers and Wives.
We will Love, Honor and
Appreciate you
For the rest of our lives.

*Copyright 2014 by Konrad Kocsis. Broadside designed by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, Flying Dodo Publications.

My Best Friend

June 8, 2014

Cassondra Dick - My Best Friend

My Best Friend
By Cassondra Dick, 11th grade
2014 Merit Award

Mom,
Mountain of desire,
River of passion,
Fighting to stay on her feet.
A woman of elegance and wisdom,
Showing the world her bravery and confidence.
Mom,
Pocket of anxiety and sorrow,
Hiding emotions in a bottle,
Until the bottle bursts and breaks.
Mom,
Book of journey,
Highway of stubbornness.
Living life with her head up high.
A woman of humor,
Making days brighter.
Mom is my best friend.

*Copyright 2014 by Cassondra Dick. Broadside designed by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, flyingdodopublications.com.

Azygous*

May 29, 2011

2011 Merit Award

Laura Boynton - Azygous - 2011 Merit Award

By Laura Boynton

Azygous

A sharp shard of a word
To lodge in every unmated, unmatched soul
Swans, red-tailed hawks, eagles, owls
Can sustain lifelong partnerships
Is it because owlets fledge
And cygnets swim away?
And human mothers are left
Picking up
A rubber band a hairbrush a Lego
A pair of scissors a slipper
A library book a marble a fork
A sweatshirt a cartoon
And then
Washing up
A counter a floor a table
A dish a load of clothes
A car seat a pan a window
A dog a child
Is it because the biological imperative
To mate
Withers inside the husk of routine
Rattles, infertile
Mateless mother
More alone for keeping three aloft
Wax wings dripping, ruined.

*Copyright 2011 by Laura Boynton. Placard design by Egress Studio.

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