Still Life: Geneva Pond*

January 15, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Kathleen Byrd

I make my self in the nature preserve
a home to taste names in silence —
Miner’s Lettuce, Stinging Nettle,
Bleeding Heart, and — hear deet, deet
of an unseen Chickadee and tap
tap, tap of a Sap Sucker’s red head.

Geneva is a rename, a claim
of place — of Salmon Berry, Heron, of Owl.
Geneva is a gilded city, a Juniper
Tree, a Euro-myth. The trees here hold secrets
close and still. Thuja Plicata, I roll a
taxonomy of botany on my tongue — Western
Red Cedar — not cedar — after all.

At the edge of the pond, I see —
not see, really — but glimpse
what was there and gone —
the black eyes of a frog on the surface.
I focus to capture a look, a name,
but it’s already gone, letting go
the trace of its being
circling the surface of Geneva pond.

*Copyright © 2021 by Kathleen Byrd. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

On Becoming Rootless*

December 6, 2020

2020 Merit Award
By Barbara Bloom

Even in winds that shake the house,
the Western red cedar and Douglas fir
stand firm, only their upper trunks swaying
like the masts of ships in a strong swell,
and though the branches whip in the turbulent air,
the trees are solidly rooted, as I have to say
I am not, each breeze tossing me aside
as if, like the dandelion seeds children blow on
to send their wishes into the world, I had become
insubstantial, nothing to anchor me to the earth.

*Copyright 2020 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

In the Forest*

November 15, 2020

2020 Merit Award
By Miakoda Baughman, Grade 3

When the Mountain glows
And the River shines
And the trees speak to me
In the forest
There is magic
In the forest
With me

I think the moon is watching
Over me
And the sun shines
With me

In the forest
With me
I think the spirit
Is watching
Over me

*Copyright 2020 by Miakoda Baughman. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

merry & happy

December 25, 2019

Have a very fine Christmas,
whatever, wherever, however you celebrate
and even if you don’t.

. . . . .
J.I. Kleinberg collage

Willow Trees*

October 23, 2016

Willow Trees by Winter Gariss
2016 Walk Award
By Winter Gariss (11th grade)

Wandering willows weep and wallow with wonder,
Idealistic breeze indigenous to the infamous trees.
Nature nurtures their nostalgic leaves while new
Trees become tied together throughout
Endless roots entangled under ebony earthen soil
Rounded rough bark reaches up and royal
Green leaves gallantly gleaming in the
Atmosphere. Almost aligned with the
Round radiant stars romantic in the night.
Icy and incapacitating beauty of
Snow softly slipping sideways in to the willow’s arms
So soundly sleeping, the world will stay.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Winter Gariss. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree

April 22, 2016, marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of that occasion and in celebration of National Poetry Month, the hour-long video “W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree” will air on PBS stations nationwide over the next two weeks.

W.S. Merwin moved to an old pineapple plantation on Maui, Hawaii, in 1976. Since that time, while continuing his prodigious output of writing, serving twice as U.S. poet laureate (1999-2000, 2010-2011) and winning prizes and awards too numerous to mention, he has worked steadily to restore and regenerate the rainforest that once occupied the 19-acre site on the island’s north shore.

Read more about the film and see a nationwide broadcast schedule at The Merwin Conservancy, or check your local PBS station’s schedule for details. (In Washington, KSPS/Spokane will air the program on Sunday, April 17, at 4:00pm and KCTS 9 will broadcast it on Saturday, April 30, at 8:00pm and again at 3:00am on Sunday, May 1.)
. . . . .
photo: Cicala Filmworks


December 25, 2015

tree words © j.i. kleinberg

tell it to a tree

July 17, 2015

The Atlantic - email a tree

This post has nothing to do with poetry. But it could. The city of Melbourne, Australia, appreciates its trees. Planners carefully mapped the urban forest, identifying each tree by type, longevity and ID number. Taking this one step further, they issued an email address for each tree, the hope being that if a tree was damaged or needed attention, local citizens could easily report it. Instead, as this article in The Atlantic explains, Melbourne’s trees received thousands of love letters.

While the article doesn’t mention poetry, the project (worthy of duplication) certainly seems to offer a forest of prompts.
. . . . .
“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer


July 16, 2013

stillness by Luther Allen
2013 Merit Award
By Luther Allen


bare alder:
we think
in this frigid dark
it is waiting
for spring.
no, it is

as still
as the patient
in the alder’s
wrestling roots.

*Copyright 2013 by Luther Allen.
Placard design by Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle,

Indian Plum*

June 6, 2012

Kari Galbraith ~ Indian Plum

2012 Walk Award
By Kari Galbraith

Indian Plum

You are the talisman of spring,
a soft euphonic solo,
wind’s lithe dancer

Lacey camisoles
of cedar and maple,
under-story stars
randomly sprinkled,

Pendulous prayers
clustered, cloistered.

Winter’s tears lost to spring
in drifting blossoms
and timid dreams

Ivory carved
between the breasts
of seasons, you are

spring rains’ lover,
harbinger of warmth,
a delicate and tenacious


*Copyright 2012 by Kari Galbraith. Placard design by Egress Studio.

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