these Sundays

December 23, 2018

For the past 25 Sundays, this space has featured the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems and the beautiful placards designed for each poem (now circulating in Whatcom County buses). We’ve completed the round of 2018 winners, but if you’d care to re-visit them, or any of the Boynton winners since 2006, go to the Winners page and click on a poem name.

The 2019 contest will be open to Whatcom County poets for the month of March and the guidelines will be posted as soon as the judges have been confirmed and the details have been finalized by the contest committee.

Meanwhile, thanks for your poems, thanks for your visits to The Poetry Department, and Happy Holidays!

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Woodpecker*

November 4, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Madeleine Joyce Patterson, grade 4

Thump.
Listen, to the soft thump of the expert, knocking on
the inch-thick woody skin, playing a soft rhythm
Thump. Thump.
on the tall old multi-branched drum
Thump.
Dinner awaits in the third spine-striped layer
Thump. Thump.
Peck away, red-cheeked drummer

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Madeleine Joyce Patterson. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

I am Not a Quiet Girl*

October 21, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Emma McCoy, grade 11

My opinions are not muffled,
my thoughts bubble up like boiling water.
Words practically explode out my mouth
like cherry Pop-Rocks,
fizzing and sparking
among boring cough drops.

I like to hear wave after wave
of clashing cymbals and volatile violins,
the music fuels my auditory audacity,
my vocal velocity intimidates
the dominating narrative, step down,
I get the mic.

If you’re used to a passive audience
don’t fall in love with me,
you’ll hear some killer decibels
and defiant declarations. You’re
not ready for my degree of resonant reverberation
so don’t expect some shallow sound. If you
like your dates on the muted side
don’t fall for me
I am not a quiet girl.

. . . . .
My name is Emma McCoy and I’m a junior at Squalicum High School. I’m 16 years old and have been writing poetry for two years. I have a poem published in the Forest of Words poetry contest, so this is my second published poem.

This poem was inspired by my desire to tell the world I won’t stay quiet, it doesn’t matter if I’m standing up for myself or others, or if I’m declaring my opinion on cakes.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Emma McCoy. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

untitled*

October 7, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Izetria Grace-Lind, grade 12

i’ve known rivers,
big and cold and intimidating
yet teeming with life and trust and promise.

i’ve known rivers sparkling with fish scales,
with rubber boots and fly fish castings.
as big brown mother bears protect and feed their young,
tiny white seagulls pick at fish skeleton bone
and roaring boats riding wave and foam skid past,
filled with whooping fisherman.

i’ve known small rivers, with
slick mossy green pebble underneath flowing crystal
so cold to fingertip’s touch and always moving.
small bullhead fish spasm about under rock and shell
and neon seaweed float and tickle over shriveled palm.

i’ve known rivers that seep into the holes in my boots,
whispering stories of the ancestors into my ears
with every watery sweep,
sending my every harried thought downstream,
past reeds towards the sea and into the yellow horizon.

i’ve known all these rivers —
seen them grow, recede, and thrive,
i’ve known those rivers.
and i miss them.

. . . . .
I will be 18 once the poem is read, but am currently 17 and a senior from Bellingham, born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in Kodiak, Alaska. My family moved up here during the summer of 2016 and this will be my second published poem.

The poem is about my life and experience in Alaska as well as my connection to the environment and to my Alaskan Native cultures. It’s based off of a prompt based on the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes, given by Jourdan Keith during her short two-day residency in my poetry class taught by Amy Cushman at Squalicum High School.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Izetria Grace-Lind. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Meditations on Love*

September 23, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Marie Eaton

What do I eat when you’re not in love?
Dry stick pasta.
Unsalted vegetables and
ten-day old carrots gone soft in the vege drawer.
No crunch. No bite.

All the lean, mean, cuisine,
standing by the sink with a plate for one.

Stones and sorrow.
Empty eggshells. The bird of love has flown.

I eat the words that closed your door.
I eat crow to say I’m sorry.

What do I eat when I’m not in love?
Solitary salmon at that white-tablecloth restaurant.
A glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Savoring silence and no conversation.

Laughter served with linguine and lemon zest.
Big, boisterous dinners with friends,
filling the heart.

. . . . .
Marie Eaton, a retired faculty member from Fairhaven College, currently directs the Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University. She also teaches creative non-fiction writing and songwriting at the Northwest Writer’s Weekend. http://www.nwwritersweekend.org

This poem began with a jump-start prompt in a writer’s group “What do I eat when I’m in love?” I had fun turning that prompt inside out.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Marie Eaton. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

The Perfect Cover*

September 9, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Felicia Clemmons

Cover your head,
so no one touches your hair.

Cover your body,
don’t tempt anyone.

Cover your skin,
so they don’t know you’re not white.
Wouldn’t want another tragic accident.

Cover your tears,
with a smile.

Cover your sadness,
with no eye contact.
Because then, they’d see it.

Cover yourself completely.
Become invisible.
Clothe yourself in darkness.
Become smaller, less intimidating.
There, now you’re perfect.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Felicia Clemmons. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Hologram*

August 26, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Mason Cash, grade 3

Projected image
A cool hallucination
Seen but not solid

. . . . .
My name is Mason and I am 8 years old. I go to Beach Elementary on Lummi Island and this is my first published poem.

I came up with the poem, Hologram, by flipping through a dictionary and randomly picking a page. I decided the word I chose would be the title of my poem. I then thought of the characteristics of a hologram and used those to write my haiku.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Mason Cash. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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