My poem for the people of Oso

Click on this link to Tumblr and read my poem for the people of Oso, Washington here.

After the devastating landslide, I felt compelled to write a response — in hopes that my writing would offer comfort and solace. I wrote “May We Now Do Great Things.”

I’m grateful that ArtsWA approved my post for Art with a Heart.

Blessings to the people of Oso: the victims, the survivors, and everyone affected by the devastation.

I know that need is great everywhere. If you can help the people of Oso, please do. Thank you.

Sincerely, Andrew

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NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Final Thoughts

I’m delighted that I participated in NaPoWriMo 2014. It’s my third year in a row.

I followed the NaPoWriMo prompts one year. That year I found the prompts to be interesting and challenging; I definitely stretched my capabilities as a poet and writer.

This year I decided that I would use my own prompts. More importantly, I decided I would choose a subject I would write all the poems on, or the bulk of poems on.

I chose to write about Padden Creek, a small creek here on the southerly side of the city, and its surroundings.

I’m happy with my output of poems: thirty-five or so poems in thirty days, all Padden Creek-related! I’m generally happy with the quality of these poems, too.

(Additionally, I have several more poem starts to work with — later!)

Whatever series of prompts we use, NaPoWriMo is valuable. It allows us to revisit and renew our commitment to our writing on a daily basis. NaPoWriMo is a valuable strategy in defeating writer’s block. The quantity of work we produce during NaPoWriMo
is valuable, too: we have a block of new poems that we can and should return to for editing, revising, and rewriting.

If we post our NaPoWriMo poems on our blogs or other blogs, we must then exercise care in identifying literary journals and editors interested in publishing this work.

One literary journal I admire greatly doesn’t consider work published on personal blogs or any work previously published electronically. I was quite disappointed, because a couple of my NaPoWriMo poems (“Easter Service” and “An Easter Poem”) seemed to be a good fit — until I examined the journal’s submission guidelines.

(This is why I decided NOT to post my Day 32 poem, “Birding Along Padden Creek,” on my blog. It’s one of my favorites from this month; I’d like to work on it some more and find a good home for it. A good home — not here!)

We should not work for NaPoWriMo; NaPoWriMo should work for us, and it should work for us in meeting our writing goals.

Thank you to everyone who read my NaPoWriMo poems and my blog. I’m especially grateful for your comments and feedback.

Do you write? What inspires you as you write?

Press on with YOUR writing! See you next year!

Cheers, Andy

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Notes on the Literary Life, Poets | 2 Comments

I Reflect on Padden Creek Estuary

On some maps “estuary,” on others “lagoon.”
Isn’t this where the conflicts begin, in maps

and language, semantics and word choice?
Isn’t this where the warring begins,

in denial of common waters and sacred ground,
as if water and land could truly be owned

or sold, apportioned to victors or buyers?
We are mere custodians, and we are failing.

What, exactly, is human nature? Yes.
Is war in our nature? No; war is a choice,

a narrative marketed and sold. Human
activities in bulk constitute a war on nature,

a war on the very underpinnings of life,
a war ultimately on ourselves.

Which is most important, nature or nurture?
Let me tell you a story: nature nurtures me,

serves as counterpoint to my struggles
with low self-esteem and despair,

longing and belonging. I could be wrong.

Lagoon or estuary — you know my preference —
this is where it all begins for me now:

the meeting and commingling of fresh
and salt waters, secret histories jostling

for daylight, the cycles of histories,
conflicts, and wars. The warring continues

everywhere. In myself, too: between
self-esteem and despair, desire and repair.

I am comforted by ecstasy and reverence
and by the knowledge of death’s certain

and confident approach.
But I’m not afraid. Why be afraid?

Death is and always has been
part of life. Warmongers and those

who profit by war would have us
believe this of war, too.

But war isn’t and has not been
part of life, not always. War must end,

and war will end. On some blessed day
in the future, peace will prevail on earth.

Our descendants will be astonished
at how long it took, will be astonished

at the carnage and horrific waste.
Humans will have, and know, peace.

I know this. There is enough for all
of us, if we begin simply —

with this understanding — all water
and all land is a common trust,

and sacred. All life is sacred.
On some blessed day in the future,

Padden Creek will be daylighted,
will be unobstructed by manmade barriers.

Padden Creek estuary will fill and empty,
nourish and nurture as it always has.
Padden Creek estuary will celebrate.

~*~

Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 34

Posted in Activism, Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation | Tagged | 2 Comments

Cat, Padden Creek Trail

Shouldn’t you be inside,
napping? Scratching the furniture
or carpet, climbing the drapes,
trashing the mini-blinds?
Asking for catnip and treats?

You, with the pale gray
and white fur, the vaguely
Saimese markings: you’re
a domesticated short-hair cat.
Housecat, as in inside a house.

I fear your hunting prowess,
fear for unwary squirrels and birds
even if you’re well-fed. They’re
no match for you. I can’t see
why you’re outside, not inside.

~*~

Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 33

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation | 2 Comments

Please consider following this blog

Dear followers, thank you so much for following and reading my blog.

Are you following this wonderful blog? It is delightful, colorful, and from a talented poet, writer, and teacher.

Follow and read here.

Blessings to all, Andy

Posted in NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Notes on the Literary Life, Poets | Tagged | 8 Comments

Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Winners

Read about the 2014 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winners here.

I am honored and thrilled to find my name in the list of winners, and of a Walk Award! Wow! My poem is titled “I Love My City in Snow.” Stay tuned for a future post after the awards ceremony.

I’d like to thank the Contest judges and the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Committee members.

Blessings to all.

Sincerely, Andy

AKA Andrew Shattuck McBride

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Notes on the Literary Life, Poets, Samples, Transformation | 7 Comments

¡Viva Padden Creek!

1.

¡Viva Padden Creek! — a line in a response
to one of my blog posts — reminds me

of Viva Zapata scratched into what
was briefly wet concrete close

to where a trail spur meets the bend
of Donovan Avenue curving into 10th Street.

Curious: here, so far north in el Norte.

Unmistakable and defiant, if hurried:
no exclamation marks. Viva Zapata.

Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican revolutionary,
contemporary of Pancho Villa. Zapata,

assassinated and dead for nearly a hundred years,
still invoked during street protests in Mexico.

Zapata still inspires: take Zapatistas,
for instance. Who will be worthy

of being remembered? Who will be recorded,
and remembered?

What will be recorded, and remembered?

2.

¡Viva Padden Creek! Padden Creek
is not a message, carved or uncarved.

Padden Creek is alive. Despite burial
for several city blocks, underground

in a brick-lined pipe, Padden Creek
continues to carve its gorge below

its starting point east of Lake Padden
and above its final slow and winding meander

to the estuary and sea. ¡Viva Padden Creek!
Padden Creek is alive, a reminder

that the world isn’t all concrete
and asphalt, steel and glass, train air horn

and screeching tortured metal, diesel engines
and particulates, mowers and compressors

and blowers, fans and air conditioning units.

¡Viva Earth! Earth abides, lives and waits
for a revolution in our thinking

and actions. Revolutionary, even to think
of bending governments, institutions,

corporations, and leaders to work on behalf
of earth and all people.

Still more revolutionary: earth waits
for reengineering on behalf of all creatures.

3.

We seek to make our mark, engrave
ourselves on the world. Whether we

are successful or not, the earth —
patient — waits for each of us.

The earth waits to welcome us home.
¡Viva la tierra!

~*~

Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 31

Posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation | 2 Comments