Piercing trill of some songbird,
a second one answering.
I can see my breath —
it’s chilly, still early spring.
Mary Oliver’s poem “The Dipper”
is a superb poem. I’d love to see
a dipper flying, then swimming
the rush of a mountain stream,
swimming underwater for its food.
This is why I’m on my way
toward Padden Creek this early
morning — in illusory hope.
However, if there are dippers here,
it seems likely they are dipping
and weaving air and water
along the upper reaches
of Padden Creek or Whatcom Creek.
Ornamental cherries in blossom —
more leaves and more petals
in drifts on the ground. The scent
of gardenias last night heavenly,
not overpowering. The scent of her
last night heavenly but faint.
A light rain, drizzle really.
I should pick up some olive oil
at that new place downtown.
What’s it called? Drizzle?
There’s that pale gray-white cat
again. Why can’t its human
keep it inside where it’s safe?
Before I leave the apartment
complex parking lot, I can hear
the creek, louder than normal
due to the rains. Why creek?
Why not stream? In her
biography of Montaigne,
Sarah Bakewell wrote that
“stream of consciousness”
was coined by Henry James
in 1890. 1890 — wow, that’s
during the first Fairhaven boom.
I step through the curtain of trees
onto the trail and into a wide
ribbon of green. There must
be fifty shades of green here.
Why trail? Why not path?
Am I on my right path?
Train air horn —
freight train or coal train?
No matter, it’s so loud
I can hear the damn thing
from up here near 18th Street.
Silences between the trains
can be exquisite. Padden Creek’s
muted roar down the fish ladders
below culverts. Not as loud
as Whatcom Creek falls
above its estuary.
Now that’s loud!
A slow bend of creek,
and the creek water is shallow:
this is where I’ll scatter
Bigglesworth’s ashes next January.
I think I learned accidentally
where a mallard’s nest is
last night. This is precious
knowledge; mallards, don’t worry—
I won’t tell anyone,
not a cat, not even
a Great Blue Heron.
I’m worried, though: I think
the Great Blue Heron knows.
An American robin on the trail,
a crow’s set of three loud caws
above me. So many dandelions —
I think of the poet Ken Warfel —
dead for over two years now —
and his advocacy for dandelions,
his mentoring, his kindnesses.
Remember? I wonder if he knew
how much he meant to us.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 29
Blessings to the memory of Ken Warfel.
Hey — if you’re a resident of the greater Pacific Northwest, and if you’re making a difference in the lives of poets in your state, apply for the Kenneth Warfel Fellowship from poetrynight.
If you know someone who is making a difference in the lives of poets, urge that blessed person to apply. Check the poetrynight website for details, including eligibility details.