Virus mourning*

March 16, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Timothy Pilgrim

I resolved to cease grieving
once every trace of her was gone.

I donated hats, scarves, skirts, coats,
stowed her perfume, rings, Kindle,

phone. All spring, gathered strands
of hair from sofa, afghan,

chairs, placed each beside her urn.
My plan — heal during summer,

bury everything deep beneath aster,
cosmos, rose. Watch their blossoms

sway final farewell in wind —
until fall, when frost took hold.

But as the winter dark set in,
I stumbled upon her cache.

Vinyl gloves, goggles, masks
breathed my grief to light again.

*Copyright © 2021 by Timothy Pilgrim. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
Timothy Pilgrim’s life-story booklet in sixth grade included his first poem, and since then, over 500 others poems have been accepted by more than 100 different publications. A native of Montana and resident of the Pacific Northwest for all but two years of his life, he loves to garden, hike and snowshoe with his wife, the novelist and former WWU professor, Carolyn Dale. He taught journalism at WWU from 1992 until he retired in 2013 and has published two books of poetry (the latest, Seduced by metaphor: Timothy Pilgrim collected published poems, published in 2021).

“Virus mourning” emerged from a shower of grief — including a long bout over suffering and death of so many during this Covid plague and then the death of his 93-year-old mother-in-law in mid-March. “I’d held it in, and months passed without us being able to visit until shortly before she died a few weeks ago. Then the grieving piqued, and my imagination served up this poetic manifestation.”

Wrong a lot*

October 30, 2016

Wrong a lot by Timothy Pilgrim
2016 Walk Award
By Timothy Pilgrim

Lake’s plenty deep, dive off the cliff.
She’s crazy about me. Those jeans
will fit. I’ll be there for her

if the going gets tough. No chance
it will rain, I know when to shut up.
I don’t need directions,

they adore me at work. I’ve studied
enough, no doubt I’ll be rich.
We have plenty of gas,

she doesn’t like gifts. Our love
will survive. We don’t need cash,
I’m sober, can drive. It’s just fine

to speed. I will never get caught.
I know she’ll call, she wouldn’t leave.
I won’t miss her at all.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Timothy Pilgrim. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

let it flow!

April 22, 2016

Mapping Water by Timothy Pilgrim

Flying Trout Press invites you to a free poetry cabaret and book launch on Saturday, April 30, 2016, 7:00pm, at the Mount Baker Theatre (Encore Room), in Bellingham, Washington. In addition to Timothy Pilgrim, reading from his brand-new book of poems, Mapping Water, readers will include Flying Trout poets Paul S. Piper, Chuck Luckmann and Georgia Johnson. There will be a cash bar and plenty of festivity to wrap up National Poetry Month.

Bellingham Poems flyer

This is a guest post by Chuck Luckmann.

Bellingham Poems

“Poetry is a good way to be in the world,” my friend the poet Emily Warn once said. When I think this way, I’m a better poet and writer: more observant and mindful. When I’m in the world as a poet, nothing is ordinary.

Some poets are born poets; others are made. I’m in the latter category. I’ve worked at becoming a poet, but often in a haphazard way. To help me become a more disciplined writer, in October 2001, I started looking for another poet or two who would be interested in meeting regularly to share drafts.

At first Jason Graham and I met at the Old Town Café, but he took a job in Seattle. Shortly thereafter, in 2002, I met Paul Piper and Tim Pilgrim. We began meeting once or twice a month, at 4:00 PM on Thursdays, at The Black Cat, Nimbus, The Temple Bar, and when the weather was pleasant, on the outdoor decks at La Fiamma and Nicki’s at Squalicum Harbor.

Having to send to Pilgrim and Piper a poem every two weeks was good discipline. Our feedback to each other helped clarify and improve all of our drafts. Every poem went through this collaborative process. We’d meet, drink beer, and collectively try to solve our poetical problems. The writing group has helped me write and revise maybe a 100 poems; I’m sure it was the same for Tim and Paul.

A couple years ago we noticed that we’d written a significant number of poems about Bellingham and its surrounding landscapes. We decided that the collection would make a fine book. We chose 32 poems, and a few days ago, Flying Trout Press published Bellingham Poems.

We’ll be celebrating our poetry group and publication with a party on Saturday, December 6, 2014, from 3:00 – 6:00 PM at Brandywine Kitchen, 1317 Commercial Street, Bellingham. We’ll also be reading at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, at 4:00 PM on Sunday, December 14. Please join us.

. . . . .
Chuck Luckmann received his M.A. at Western Washington University and currently teaches English at Skagit Valley College.

Breathing Snow*

August 17, 2013

Timothy Pilgrim - Breathing Snow
2013 Merit Award
By Timothy Pilgrim

You can do it awhile. Air pockets remain,
locked around ice crystals. But not forever—
just long enough to replay the avalanche

rolling over life, sweeping love downhill,
leaving you flattened in white,
no way to reach for sky. If your ears still hear,

eyes are not frozen closed, hand trapped
near face can clear a bit of space,
you may have sufficient time

to listen for swish of metal probes
slicing nearby, promising beams of light.
If tempted to sleep, imagine

a new lover finds you, scoops a place
by your side, lies close. Together,
you breathe hope into deep snow.

*Copyright 2013 by Timothy Pilgrim. Placard design by Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, flyingdodopublications.com.

Painting Lesson*

May 24, 2011

Timothy Pilgrim - Painting Lesson - 2011 Walk Award

2011 Walk Award
By Timothy Pilgrim

Painting lesson

Onyx spider drawn to spin
from frond on fern to fence,
and back again, lost control

as I thrashed by, let silk out fast,
spiraled wide, around, splashed down
near brush dipped deep

in white paint tin. My ruthless youth,
Genghis Tim to arachnid kin
dunked this way — some forced to swim,

others stroked latex on window trim —
this time, I grabbed a twig,
dipped it in, scooped coated spider

to cupped palm of withered hand.
Garden hose set on drip, I rinsed
her whiteness black again.

*Copyright 2011 by Timothy Pilgrim. Placard design by Egress Studio.

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