Poetry at 15

When I was fifteen, I began collecting poems in a handmade journal my mother made for me.  The journal has been tucked away for over 40 years in a beautiful, wooden, “hope chest”  my Grandfather made for me.

A hope chest, when I was growing up, was a place to primarily collect household linens, such as embroidered pillow cases, in anticipation of becoming married someday, and having a dowry of sorts to begin that marriage.

I never filled mine with household linens.   Instead, I chose journals, memento’s, love letters, and a dried corsage or two.

I seemed to know in my fifteen year old heart, it was poetry that I would stay married to the longest.


Yours in poetry,



April is National Poetry Month

On day one (yes!  April Fools’ Day!) I performed at Boundary Bay Brewery in one of my favorite poetry towns, Bellingham, Washington.

After reading both prose and poetry about my foolish young self in love, I was awarded the prize for “most eloquent reader”, by author Tom Robbins, which sort of made my evening.


What made this night extra special however, was that it was a fundraiser to benefit Rooted Emerging,  which is a Nonprofit whose mission is connecting caring professionals & mentors to youth of puberty age in a community-focused rite of passage.

As a former middle school counselor who understands how important it is for this age group to be supported by adults who can help navigate all the scary and beautiful changes happening in their lives, I was truly impressed with not only the program, but as usual by the community support Bellingham provided.


In honor of Tom Robbins, I wore my “cowgirl” dress.  Though these cowgirls don’t have the blues!

Anyway, it was a great way to start National Poetry Month.  More later on what I will be doing the rest of the month.




Yours in poetry,




Clover – Summer 2016

I am honored to have two poems, Math That Doesn’t Add Up and Wash Day with Grandma, published in Clover – A Literary Rag – Summer 2016, Volume 11.   Clover is a literary journal published by The Independent Writers’ Studio in Bellingham, Washington.  Thanks so much to Editor Mary Elizabeth Gillilan and Co-Editor Norman L. Green for including my work.


Below is me reading, Wash Day with Grandma.


Yours in poetry,


Ars Poetica 2016 at the CVG

Yesterday I had the honor to read my poem “After A Summer Of Wildfires” (with so many other wonderful poets from this beautiful place we call “The West Sound”) at Collective Visions Gallery in Bremerton, Washington.

Ars Poetica is now in its fifth year and is a poetry contest whereby poets from Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties submit their poems to a jury for consideration.  The poems that are chosen are then read by gallery artists from Collective Visions Gallery in Bremerton and Front Street Gallery in Poulsbo.   Artists then choose a poem or poems they would like to interpret visually.

Artist Bill Walcott selected my poem and painted Mt. Constance in the Olympic Mountains from a photo he took.   He than added his interpretation of the remains of a wildfire on its flanks inspired by pictures of wildfires at Yellowstone.   The painting is amazing in its detail and I was really astounded with its realism.  With Bill’s permission I am including it below with my poem.  Enjoy.






The sky is not ablaze.
Flame has gone from high to low.
Hills still smolder.
Beneath cauterized earth
soft melt of flesh will erupt green.



Mt. Constance is a stunner.
A bridal veil peak at seven thousand feet.
In the car, I am like a groom, not wanting
this white moment to be over
or to be fooled by a name—
but to inhale


Yours in poetry,




Ars Poetica 2016

I will be reading one of my short, short poems at this event.  I am so looking forward to seeing what the artist interpretation will be.  What a great way to celebrate poetry and visual art.

FSG 5X5 AD April.indd

Two Drops of Warmth

The leaves on the trail I walk are dry—a jig-saw puzzle in shades of orange, red, brown and yellow.  The air smells sweet with heavy-breasted blackberries still clinging to their vines.  The light is softer. The is air cooler, and I finally begin to slow down after the hectic energy of summer.

My husband wrote a sonnet for me in the Fall the first year we were dating and somehow in the mess of moving to eight different homes it was misplaced.  This weekend he found it, while once again organizing a new garage.

As I read it again this morning, I am grateful.  Grateful we have weathered well the different seasons each marriage contains.  Grateful I chose him.  Grateful he chose me. Grateful we are entering this season of change together.  Grateful we have made a life filled with warmth.

Grateful we have poetry to express what so often gets unsaid.

Two Drops of Warmth

The silent, dusky streets I tread tonight
Were warm with evening sun a month ago.
The autumn sunset sheds it meager light,
And distant windows through bare branches glow.

Familiar smells of leaves and smoke return,
And crystallizing in the eastern sky
The Pleiades with icy brilliance burn
To punctuate the loss of years gone by.

And yet the wind seems warmer as I roam
Despite the chill of winter in the air.
The Earth seems less aloof; more like a home,
The lonely evenings easier to bear;

For in this world two drops of warmth abide,
And in your eyes the green of summer hides.

Charles Taylor

Yours in poetry,



I have been following a blog by Ali Edwards for about four years.  It has been a delight to watch her evolve both personally and professionally.  She shares her life and encourages others through a variety of mediums to record theirs.  I appreciate her honesty, her creativity, her vulnerability, her realness.

Today she shared a post on her blog that included a poem by Victoria Erickson.  I loved the simplicity of the poem, the focus on connecting with nature to fill our empty places, especially in a world where it is easy to be distracted by things that don’t encourage our growth, our relationships, or the caretaking of our souls.

I decided to read the poem as my way of sharing it with you.  I hope you enjoy it and that each of you walk your own stretch of ocean.




In poetry,


First Poetry Books

When I was ten years old, my cousin Cindy gave me my first poetry books.  A major highlight of my childhood summers involved “cousin time” with both her and her sister.  Our summer days were filled with childish fun and laughter and some of my fondest memories of growing up include my cousins.


On one summer visit, Cindy gave me her 14 volume collection of orange “Child-Craft” books, published in 1945 by The Quarrie Corporation.  I don’t recall why she gave me these books, but some 50 years later, Volume 1-Poems of Early Childhood, and Volume 2-Narrative Poems and Creative Verse,  still stand proudly in my poetry book collection.


The pages are well worn and in some places torn and when I open them up and inhale their muskiness, I am transported to my childhood bed, where I spent hours reading aloud “The Jumblies” by Edward Lear:

They went to sea in a sieve, they did;
In a sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
In a sieve they went to sea…

or “The Sugar-Plum Tree” by Eugene Field



When I Grow Up” by Rupert Sargent Holland

When I grow up I mean to go
Where all the biggest rivers flow,
And take a ship and sail around
The Seven Seas until I’ve found
Robinson Crusoe’s famous isle,
And there I’ll land and stay a while,
And see how it would feel to be
Lord of an island in the sea…

When I grow up I mean to do
The things I’ve always wanted to;
I don’t see why grown people stay
At home, when they could be away.

Reading these poems again, I better understand how poetry shaped my formative years.  I see now how poems instilled a early love for language, how accessible that language was through rhyme, and how the repetition of reading aloud was soothing.  I imagined exotic worlds beyond the one out my rural front door, and wonder if my wanderlust ache began in those first readings of poetry.

I never imagined those slim volumes would stay with me through adulthood, or that someday, I would be writing my own poems to understand my place in the world, but I am grateful they were given to me and I am thankful I had the sense to cherish them.

So, as part of my contribution to National Poetry Month, which begins today, I am giving away four books of poems for children.  If you are interested in free poetry books, for your kids or your neighbors kids, or your grandchildren (you get the idea), comment on this blog post during April, and include your name, email address (to notify winners) and if you have a childhood poem memory, or a favorite poem you read to a child, or a anything about poetry you love,  please feel free to share that too.

My plan is to put the names of everyone who comments in a jar, and then randomly pull out four names at the end of the month.  I will then contact each person by email May 1st (so don’t forget to leave your email in the comment section) and ask you where you would like me to mail the book.  Just think how fun it will be to open your mail and have a lovely book to share with a child.

The book and shipping will be entirely provided by me in the hope that four more children grow up loving poetry as much as I did.  Happy National Poetry Month!

In Poetry,