Whale watching: San Juan Islands

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Moving slowly through the natural world,
trying to remember everything before it goes.
We count pelagic cormorants, auks, murres—
migrant seabirds down from Alaska for the summer,
watch the cormorant nursery, arranged along shelves
of a gently swinging bell buoy,
bald eagles lined up along crags
on the opposite shore.
Young auklets—swimming like amateurs—
divide, as we plow through them
and there are dolphins,
But not the killer whales
we’ve come to see.

From the tour boat,
video cameras scan the shore,
trying to get it all down—
the San Juan Islands,
Mt. Baker, Mt Rainer—
a polluted haze swirls around the summit
of the scalped mountain behind them
like a scarf covering
the hairless head of a cancer patient.
The scientist on board says
he doubts the same cataclysmic event,
creating the same bacterial scum
that become us and our whole world,
will ever happen again.

·       ·       ·

When I first wrote this poem, I had just moved from Boston to the Northwest and fell in love with its natural treasures—eagles barely saved from extinction, Puget Sound, the mountains, its forests, and the wonderful stock of wildlife.

Now as spring approaches after the long monsoon- like weather, leaving us in the rain and the dark, I am beside myself with happiness and sorrow wondering if we can keep this
Shangri-La and for how long?

The last lines of the poem speak of what that loss would mean to our children and grandchildren. Dedicated to Earth Day, everyday.

http://marilynzuckermanpoet.com

PNA Swoosh

The House V

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Instead of photos, these poems use words to tell of the phenomena while I sit on the deck drinking it all in.

Silence
For Pico Iyer, whose thoughts about silence and the sacred I have borrowed.

In the distance
someone is beating a rug
or wet laundry,
children’s voices shouting
then fading away,
their cries muffled
as though under water.
Overhead a silent plane
its lights flickering like stars,
insects,
a crow cawing,
a train whistle.
Everything flowing
within this irresistible silence
while I lay splayed on the lounge chair
like a TB patient
when suddenly the sound of traffic
soars like the growling of a storm cloud
far away—
and the deep silence returns
that first empties your mind,
then brings you to the true self
that lies trembling beneath your heart.

Sunset by JMW Turner (Tate)

Pictures at an Exhibition

Sunset,
like a Turner painting.
The sky’s afire
and we are looking
into the hot heart of a furnace.

Thick clouds streaked with Blakean light
streaming through, as the sun slips down
to the other side of the earth,
leaving a rosy shadow of itself
silhouetted behind the mountain
as black-cloaked night falls

·    ·    ·

These poems form the fifth installment in a sequence about the construction of my home—read the first hereRead the second here, the third here, and the fourth here.

 http://marilynzuckermanpoet.com

PNA Swoosh

Thread

  

Poem by A. B. McFarland

There is a thread

that reaches back

through the needle-eye of history

around

and forward

toward tomorrow’s beyond.

It connects all those present

in the now

with the ancient people

who wanted so very much to help us

   become

our best selves

that they left pages and sayings;

   instructions

for us children.

Now grown, we feel how close the thread’s end

is to our fingertips.

We wake up —

   for

now we know

why our elders spent nights telling yarns by candlelight,

and sunlit days showing us how to tie knots.

Consider how you might take the hand of someone

newer to this world than yourself

and be a guide

for the benefit of

   others

before the end —

worn and frayed

slips through the hole where you once were.

·    ·    ·

A. B. McFarland is a PNA Village member and volunteer. She has recently written a novel, Pieces of Home, in which a poet loses her home to a house fire, ends up living with a family she barely knows, and lives are changed in the process. It is available at Couth Buzzard and Amazon.com.

Poem originally published on A. B. McFarland’s blog here.

PNA Swoosh