Willawaw Journal Spring 2020 Issue 9
Willawaw Journal Spring 2020 Issue 9
Notes from the Editor
COVER ART: Claire Burbridge (see Pack Page for artist statement)
Table of Contents:
Page One: Hugh Anderson Susan Ayres Frank Babcock Nan C Ballard
Page Two: Claire Burbridge Sarah Bigham Dale Champlin Joe Cottonwood Steven Croft Barbara Daniels
Page Three: Claire Burbridge Shannon Finck Irene Fick Dan Gallagher Suzy Harris Marilyn Johnston
Page Four: Claire Burbridge Tricia Knoll Dana Knott Bruce McRae Francis Opila John Palen
Page Five: Claire Burbridge Emily L. Pate Vivienne Popperl Bill Ratner Sarah Degner Riveros Kim Stafford
Page Six: Doug Stone Paul Suter Samuel Swauger Guinotte Wise Nicole Zdeb BACK PAGE with Claire Burbridge
Kim Stafford, Oregon’s Ninth Poet Laureate
Some say he followed in footsteps,
wore hand-me-down boots or learned
to pull up his bootstraps at breakfast.
When you let him teach you to sew up
tiny notebooks to carry in a pocket
so you never forget one good word,
when he searches for the power words
in a student’s just-birthed poem, or
you’ve heard him recite his poems by heart
through tears that he says don’t
make sense to him that day,
or you’ve heard his family stories
as words never said, tales that take
a fourth or fifth telling to make sense
even to him. And you’ve followed
his accounts of camping in the rain
or pitching a tent where ghosts
wander out of the coast fog.
You’ve witnessed grace a foot,
kindness in slippers,
humility in a leather sole,
you know the rightness
of following this man
on his singular and ambling
walk of love.
Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet, formerly of Oregon. She considers Kim Stafford one of her greatest teachers. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. Two of her poetry collections focus on poetry of place in the Pacific Northwest: Broadfork Farm about a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington and Ocean’s Laughter about change over time in Manzanita, Oregon. Website: triciaknoll.com
Something has nested
above my heart
Its musical notes
rise up like sighs
then fall like fledglings
trying too early to fly
I broke the bird
out of my ribcage
but it refused to leave
Dana Knott’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Bitter Oleander, Emrys Journal, and Parhelion. Currently, she is the Library Director at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Bury Me Standing
We’re all dead. We’re all lying in the clover,
black-eyed with regrets and ‘tectonic grievances’.
We’re all turning the colour of time,
each breath a century, each heartbeat a lifetime long.
We’re all tunneling towards an imperceptible something.
Where we’ll find under the earth urns and raw uranium.
Under the ground run motherlodes and the spunk of glaciers.
Down in the pits, the earthen bowels, the mythical hollows,
we’re all dog-dead and petition resurrection.
In the house of mosses we lie. In the ruins of our era.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple
Pushcart nominee with over 1,500 poemspublished internationally in magazines such as
Poetry, Rattle, and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets
(Silenced Press); ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press), ‘Like As If”
(Pski’s Porch), and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).
November 5th Tuesday 1805
a Cloudy morning Som rain the after part of last night & this morning. I could not Sleep for the noise kept by the Swans, Geese, white & black brant, Ducks &c. on a opposit base, & Sand hill Crane, they were emensely numerous and their noise horrid.
—William Clark (Lewis and Clark Journals, edited by Gary E. Moulton)
We hide under the old oaks.
A glimmer of setting sun
reveals wings in flight.
They come in threes, fives, a dozen,
flying like arrows,
they bugle, chortle, and rattle,
their calls older than cave art.
The Sandhill Cranes cruise in
from corn fields,
shift course when they spot us,
parachute down into Sturgeon Lake
perform their primal dance,
choreographed over eons:
leaping, dipping, flapping, bowing.
They join the gathering hundreds,
a roost in the shallow marsh
where they are stained cinnamon red,
where Coyote does not venture.
Their song lifts and falls
answered by the calls of hundreds
of Canada Geese,
dozens of White-fronted,
but no Brants.
Ghosts of Multnomah Indians
gather here, chant with the cranes,
dig up roots of arrow-leaf wapato.
Today they are gone—
wiped out two centuries ago
by epidemic fever.
The red sun dips into the Coast Range.
We stay into the darkness,
the cranes sail in by the score,
their crescendo pulses.
It’s our last night
before the gate is locked
and hunting begins.
We walk out slowly in the dark
avoiding cow pies,
the grass nibbled to the ground.
We hear the deep hooting
of a Great-horned Owl,
its black shadow glides over us.
In a nearby field,
a coyote howls.
Among Lava Flows
Newberry Volcano, Oregon
Our paddles dip in the frigid water,
the blue canoe glides effortlessly
across the caldera pool
where the volcano collapsed,
we float among Western Grebes,
rafts of buffleheads and coots,
shoals of kokanee salmon.
We reach the shore—
pyroclastic flow, young lava,
young like raven fledglings,
discharged only 1300 years ago,
lava that surged over basalt
over alluvial deposits
over sediment from Missoula floods.
We met some years ago
on a nearby trail
among Ponderosa pines,
the play of Clark’s Nutcrackers.
A flock of Oregon Juncos followed us
until we wandered into the lava tube,
where in the faint glow
Flows of rhyolite rock—
boulders of obsidian,
blacker than ebony,
edges of midnight silver
that cut through ice,
knives, scrapers of buckskin.
The earth shudders—
horizons quiver and spin
icy waves crash over the bow
the canoe rolls—
we brace on the gunnels
our boat rights itself,
we await shock waves,
eruption of fire and ash.
like hours. In slow motion
we paddle doggedly,
come ashore on the beach,
rolling white pumice stones.
Our feet slip-slide,
we hold each other close
the earth stops trembling,
sky reflects deep blue.
Francis Opila has lived in the Pacific Northwest most of his adult life; he currently resides in Portland, OR. His work, recreation, and spirit have taken him out into the woods, wetlands, mountains, and rivers. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Parks and Points, Soul-Lit, Windfall, and Clackamas Literary Review. He enjoys performing poetry, combining recitation and playing Native American flute.
All winter the tools hung in neat rows
in her cold garage:
saws, screwdrivers, try squares,
among them her father’s old hammer,
the handle spattered with paint,
the head so rusty
she doesn’t use it anymore.
He had a temper, and she was frightened of him,
but she liked to go out to his wood shop
in the machine shed next to the barn,
watch him build simple furniture,
and to hand him screws and washers
from rows of dusty jars.
Spring has come, her garage has warmed,
she’s cutting half-laps and mortises.
She’s forgotten about the flaws
in last year’s projects,
and when it’s time for lunch
she leaves everything where it is
so she can pick up where she left off.
A marking tool, a mallet and three chisels
face every-which-way in the curled shavings
like five horses grazing in a windless pasture.