Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor

“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

Artwork by Hilary Cole

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.

Please 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- or 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 permission for one-time publication rights in the paper and electronic editions.


by Rick Hermann

The self-guided-tour map’s
sunny optimism

Wind swings around to NNE
the delta lands suddenly cloudy and colder.

Icy rain stipples the windshield
I am trying to drive closer to the
which dreamily keep
their distance,
quickening my sense of urgency
and fear at never arriving.

Snow geese are here,
mute and somehow diminished.
Could the geese be Nature’s last hope?
Or the new plague vector?
Every direction I look, yellow
in the middle distance,
moving slow as a retreating glacier
away from me.


Rick Hermann lives and writes in Bellingham. Usually, he is okay with that.

Ruth Creek

by Charlie Kyle

Flows down from Ruth Glacier on Ruth Mountain
near Mt. Shuksan and eventually into the Nooksack River.

I know this because I stopped and pulled up my mask
to let another hiker go by on the Hannagan Pass Trail.

I asked him the name of the stream filling the valley with sound.
He said Ruth Creek and described her flow.

I’d been listening to her sound for most of the day,
the rush of water amplified by the steep rock walls.

On the trail, I remembered Old Jim telling me to find my sound.
I asked how. He said never mind, just listen, and I did.

One day I heard the sound of rushing water, a stream, a river, a creek.
White water. And I knew the sound brought me home.

That was over 40 years ago and I’d forgotten
what it was like to feel home and soothed by her sound.

Today in the midst of Covid-19 and the presidential election,
I remembered that sound as I walked along Ruth Creek,
and remembered too, Ruth was my mother’s middle name.


Charlie Kyle is a writer who lives in Bellingham, Washington. He worked for almost 40 years as a technical writer for companies such as Motorola, Fujifilm Medical Systems, and Microsoft.