Stream of Consciousness

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.

Sincerely, Andy

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Authors, Books, Books Authors and Book Reviews, Can We Talk?, Kenneth Warfel Fellowship, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Notes on the Literary Life, poetrynight, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Stream of Consciousness

  1. Superb stream-of-consciousness writing, Andy! I love how much you pack in here.

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