Poetry Watch

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry re­minds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy

by Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor

Poetry has a voice in our community, and the Whatcom Watch is adding to its chorus. You all love poetry, right? Well, here you go!

Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to What­com County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch (government, the environment and media) will likely get first preference.

Let’s try to keep it to around 25 lines; otherwise, we might have to edit your work to fit. Don’t make yourself unprintable! Send poems and your short, two-to-three-sentence bios, as a word document attachment to: poetry@whatcomwatch.org

The deadline is the first day of the month. Please understand that acceptance and final appearance of pieces are subject to space-constraints and editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch express permission for first-time publica­tion rights in paper and electronic editions of current or future volumes of Whatcom Watch.



by Jim Milstead

Its bones now artifacts, segments of a data set
that flesh out our dreams of planetary dominion.
This whale once moved through wild waves,

resonating to the curve of voices,
calling out its watery expectations,
clinging to a magmatic existence
that expands, falls away, changes form,
adapts to the liquid choreography
of the moon’s insistence.

This elusive being, this eternal wanderer,
articulates the dark interior
of our adventurous imagination.

Remaining true to its synaptic alliances,
abandoning the land, subscribing
to the pulse of oceanic time,
it penetrates phantom voids,
that we have long ago forgotten,
this creature now fallen prey
to chaotic change, its long voyage
abruptly ended on this white wall
of silence.


Jim Milstead is a member of Independent Writers Studio and Village Books
Poetry groups.



by Karen Vande Bossche

Sloppy wet flakes fall
on tiny emerald spikes
standing confused
by spring-like
These first bulbs
are early up
in the lasagna pot.
They keep a low profile
as if trimmed daily
by a barber
or mother trying
to get it just right.

So premature,
they need worrying,
babying, coaxing,
so they can forewarn
the others who still
sleep soundly,
unaware the seasons
have started to shift
Hyacinth are optimistic
but cautious,
leading the way.


Karen Vande Bossche writes poetry to remain sane. She works as a middle
school teacher, answering such questions as “Aren’t you too old to have a