In celebration of spring, poets from around the region shared some of their work. Many of these poems celebrate nature and life on the North Coast. Others focus on difficult situations the writers have experienced. All provide a small glimpse of spring along the coast.

Rippet Road

By Reba Owen, of Warrenton

Rippet Road runs through a boggy pasture.

It was named by numerous frogs

who lived and sang along its swampy edges in the spring.

Did the frogs think such a name would warn

off pickups from spraying sheets of gravel

on their smooth green heads?

Or did the croakers believe that children would be encouraged

to murmur over and over a similar sound that frog

themselves invented?

The county did not want to have amphibians naming roads;

but the web-footed ones hired an attorney

and prevailed, in court, over the Commissioner’s proposed

“Clatsop Boulevard.”

Because Spring is Here

By James A. Tweedie, of Long Beach, Washington

Because spring is here

My forehead starts furrowing;

Because every year,

The moles begin burrowing.

How quickly they make piles of dirt on my lawn.

Without intervention my lawn would be gone.

So, hail and farewell my petite furry friend;

With pellets of castor your feasting will end.

The smell of the castor will leave you disgusted,

I’ve caught you, I’ve got you, so beat it, you’re busted.

So, leave me alone; go away and keep going.

It’s spring, and with crocus and daffodils showing

My lawn’s turning green as the grass begins growing

Which means that, too soon, I will have to start mowing.

HAIKU SPRING TRIPLET

By Jan Bono, of Long Beach, Washington

Microcosmic small

dots of fresh baby green leaves

resurrect our hope

Mature foliage

will follow, as chlorophyll

surges through branches

Deciduous trees

awaken, restoring faith

in a forest form

Spring Love

By Qin Shi Lian, of Astoria

Hearts flutter to love

Vibrational songs sang

Look, the signs of Spring are here

Yellow daffodils whispers love

Here and there

Synchronicity of the earthly souls

Nature’s music soothes souls

Pink lilies and roses

Tuned frequency with love blossoms

Pilot boat

A flower and a bar pilot boat.

Echoes Of The Wind

By Qin Shi Lian, of Astoria

Echoes of wind

Windy parade alley

Love birds gathering, it is Spring

Echoes of wind

Nature song beckons

Come closer it’s time

Echoes of wind

Rumbling, wailing, swirling romance

Calming earth’s heart

Echoes of wind

Rumbling, wailing, swirling romance

Calming earth’s heart

Echoes of wind

High tides, low tides surging energies

Non-stop

Echoes of the wind

Bringing joy to the soul

Like a burning fire, raging hot

Water Spring

By Qin Shi Lian, of Astoria

Water spring, rain drops cease to end

Coastal views, chinook winds to come

Earth, all in rapture of nature’s love song

Wet and moist

Fire heat, spring love no resistance

Water spring of love

Wind, bellows and roar

Romance of the souls

Unite in secret pleasures

Naselle Dusk

By Sarah Johnson, of Naselle, Washington

Stand by me a minute, you won’t get cold

And it’s almost dark anyways,

And see the night drop, slate and blue.

Listen; do you hear the strong bird calling

Loudly to another, from one alder

To the other, from black branches in the dusk,

“I loved you all the noisy day

But I could not say it.”

Now is the time for speaking,

Now is the time to sing the dark in,

And ask the bent moon: “Why are you

Emaciated, on this joyous hour?”

But oh, how bright and true its curve

Bright as the frogs’ song, true as the meniscus

Of a moment brim-full.—Stand by me a minute,

See the night come lovingly,

Thrust its great arms between the trees.

Soon It’ll Spring

By Grant Carleton, of Seaside

Soon the morning birds will salute—

Their rising cadences will ring—

Soon the green will be absolute;

Soon it’ll spring!

Soon the washing waves will warm—

Such that sandals will seem inviting—

Soon the sun will calm the storm;

Soon it’ll spring!

Soon the day will usurp the night—

A sunny outlook it will bring—

Soon dawn and dusk will extend their light;

Soon it’ll spring!

Soon the throngs of life will return—

Oh, how my heart will sing—

Soon the ice will melt and the sun will burn;

Soon it’ll spring!

Soon the seedlings will take root to grow—

As buds will soon be blossoming—

Soon everything’s fresh nature will show;

Soon it’ll spring!

Recharge My Heart

By Grant Carleton, of Seaside

Sunbeams showering hopeful warmth,

Gray days pierced by shimmering rainbow forms,

Old Man Winter dies as Baby Spring gets to start,

All these things recharge my heart.

Swirling eddies collect cherry blossom petals,

Fitful skies change mind from blissful blue to deadly gunmetal,

Searing winds become gentle again as Resilience does its part,

And this energy does recharge my heart.

The cycles turn as the waves return and churn,

As new air is expectant to dream and to yearn,

Endings need beginnings and from this polarity I would never want to be apart,

And the seasons will always recharge my heart.

Up and down, left and right, forwards and backwards, past, present and future,

Summer thrives, Autumn falls, Winter wounds, and then Spring heals to suture,

Who am I to upset God and Nature’s apple cart?

Higher powers in charge do recharge my heart.

Bridge

Jennifer Nightingale’s poem ‘Walking the Wireless’ is inspired by walking along Wireless Road and Old Youngs Bay Bridge.

Walking the Wireless

By Jennifer Nightingale, of Astoria

A beautiful Bascule bridge stretches out across the bay.

Over the century its stood guard on thousand different gill-netters

Its pilings washed by constant whirlpools and eddies

The currents of its estuarial destiny

Battered by one hundred years of winter storms.

Built for the constant push and tug of tidal demands

Walk across the Old Youngs Bay and take a sharp right onto Wireless Road.

The noise of traffic drops off and you can

Hear the fresh staccato of the black capped chickadee.

Out across the across the verdant fields, tiny Spring lambs

Gambol towards you because they are curious

Cry out and poke their heads through the wire fences.

Mud-streaked daffodils spill sunlight in the muck

Follow the Wireless Road along the bay

So many mysterious landmarks and rusting things

Make you wonder why

A round barn has been filling with tractors and forgotten things.

It’s been there before the bridge was built.

You want to know its story but there’s no one there to ask.

Refrigerated trailers used to haul fish, now they sit in the mud going nowhere.

A family of cattle cluster together with a tiny black calf,

Mud splattered and curious, she calls out to you.

You slop through the mud to touch her soft muzzle.

While a cormorant dries his massive wings a top a long-forgotten piling

You witness the world waking up as you walk the loop of Wireless Road,

In the Springing of the year

Autumn Pear Hangs On

By Florence Sage, of Astoria

Buffeted hard at Smith Point on the bay

by westerlies off the ocean and piercing blows

rushing from the Arctic through the Gorge,

a lone pear hangs from a long thin branch

on my front yard tree.

Branches brace

for the next big storm to snatch from the tree

most of its dainty white blooms

and reduce the harvest again next Fall

to just a few, six last year.

This one pear has persisted from September

to April Fool’s, a little brown in spots, getting soft,

determined to make it to Spring

to witness this year’s white array

of petals spread over the arms of the tree.

In punishing gusts the pear swings in wild arcs

like the hummingbird feeder hooked nearby

that has been known to fly horizontal

and empty its nectar on the ground.

The suet holder has taken off to some other yard.

Still this last pear refuses to let go.

I’ve almost stopped looking, just a glance,

afraid for the little round pear, so hopeful,

the way you watch the hapless characters

in a horror movie through spread fingers,

no, no, don’t fall. Not yet.

I’ll never eat from the pear when it finally drops.

Maybe bury it by the garden in the flower pot

holding the ashes of my old dog

and let them share their epic stories

about being brave and holding on.

Nature’s Dance

By Ed Leinenkugel, of Astoria

Spring appeared between bands of piercing rain.

The “gang of four,” black-tailed deer, grazed by the Alders and Firs;

One deer, in particular, groomed Chubby Cheekers,

The local rabbit, whose visits are a welcome habit.

Another deer, however, apparently felt otherwise,

Pawing at the animated rabbit, as if to say

“Enough is enough, we don’t wish to play.”

Instead, the rabbit circled around the friendliest doe

While she curiously studied nature’s dance below.

Random sunbreaks sliced through menacing clouds,

Billowing objects tinted with blue, grey, black and charcoal.

The darkness appeared darker, and the brightness seemed brighter,

And the long grass, freshly wet, waved while it glistened,

Inviting nibbles by the four-legged creatures,

Kindred spirits enjoying community sustenance.

And then the rabbit leaped on the deer in the shadows

Ready to lead a charge against the predators who dare

To threaten this pastoral neighborhood affair.

A Story About Astoria

By Ed Leinenkugel, of Astoria

I peered through the wide end of my telescope

And studied a flamboyant past, not quite forgotten,

Of working canneries and colorful Victorians

Hugging craggy hillsides that slope toward the Columbia.

This is a story about Astoria’s fascinating past,

About forests and furs, salmon and ferns,

Fins and Swedes and tall trees that spread like weeds,

About Tribes and tribulations of fighting weather,

Where relentless rain is always in play.

Assume you will get wet, and never forget,

Umbrellas are useless and capes often disappoint.

Light houses and lightships project angels of light.

The terrors of the Pacific escalate the fright,

Above the lure of graveyards that threaten the night

Where shipwrecks litter the bottom of the ocean.

Always in perpetual frothy motion

The waves at the Mouth crash against the jetties

And the Bar confounds with foggy sounds.

Misty mysteries slicken the ladders

That bob and sway and provide the way

To safety and guidance and pirate’s parlance,

And point to a destiny that may lie North.

From ferries to bridges, and cabins and forts,

In one state or the other, to a protected port.

A history one could never make up.

Garden

Pea plants sprout and begin to wind their way up sticks.

Paradise Lost

By Marian Chinn, of Astoria

You are entering unceded territory

So proclaims the sign

Just across the Megler bridge

In Washington State

As I head north

I think about the tribes

Living along these shores

Three hundred

Five hundred

One thousand years ago

Awaiting spring

With vegetation budding

Days become longer

Air becoming warmer

A seemingly ideal life

Altered forever

By those who came by sea and land

And never left

Spring

By Marian Chinn, of Astoria

I can see a path through the trees

Today and for awhile

But the willow and alder are

Returning to life

Soon to be an impenetrable thicket

Through which I can neither walk nor gaze

For it is newly spring

On the Long Beach Peninsula

In Pacific County

In the state of Washington

A GRACIOUS GIFT

By Randy Van Dyke, of Ocean Park, Washington

Who is the mother of my children

What is she like

This is who I see

This is what I know

She gives love like no other in the world

She’s like the love only God has to give

She’s like that and comes from that

A Gracious Gift

She gives kindness of a caliber

Which eludes my understanding

Her kindness comes from far away

And resides in her heart as part of her

A Gracious Gift

Her self sacrifices cannot be counted

Blessed are my children whom

Often encounter them unknowingly

A Gracious Gift

I am confounded by her wonderful qualities

The consistency of her ways

Her patience, uncanny wisdom

And natural intuition

Caregiving beyond the call demanded

The depth of her eyes

Leading to the expanse of her heart

The depth of her love

This is who I know

This is what I see

A Gracious Gift

SPINNING WITH THE UNIVERSE

By Randy Van Dyke, of Ocean Park, Washington

I guess I should have stopped in

When I was passing by at first

Since you’re just around the corner

From the universe

But I was compelled by my star to keep going

Because a moonlight night was glowing

And if I stopped a minute right then

I would have missed a lot by not going

Then I followed my star and went

When taken by complete surprise

I felt as if I’d been there once

Light years before I arrived

And now some colorful cosmic rays

Create rainbows to a new path my way

So I’ll be around the corner

From the universe today

This time I’ll make time

To stop in along the way

And say hello while on my search

Just around the corner

From the universe

Seven Months After the Echo Mountain Complex Fire

By Lauren Mallet, of Warrenton

The ridges and pits of the mushroom’s brainy top,

the trees creaking open,

the tee ta da of the birds.

The brushing aside the twigs and leaves where the hollow

stem meets the dirt.

The pinch rather than the pull,

the messy tear of morel from mycelium, the treasure

set in the mesh bag

secured to my hip.

The faith that this transport liberates spores and divines

mushrooms for years to come;

this trail I hear myself on—

then where are my lands and what is there for me to eat?

Once Emerged

By Linda K. Hoard, of Lake Oswego

It starts with a groundhog lumbering out of a cozy sleep

to search for his whiskered shadow, then waddle back to his dank den.

Six weeks or sooner, Spring emerges. Even if we get late frost

on the snowdrops, or the puffy-cheeked North Wind blows

an arctic blast through the pear orchard, the cold won’t last.

Once skunk cabbage seep up from the thawing mud, and purple crocus

poke through snow crust, there’s no pushing them down.

When daffodil stems stretch up through soil and dried leaf,

there’s no stuffing them underground. Tulips and hyacinths won’t slide back

into their bulbs any more than paw-soft pussy willows will hide again in buds.

Ever try to talk a skein of northbound geese into circling aloft an extra week?

Convince the migrating redwings to stay in Florida a little longer?

No use telling robins to cease their singing come March.

They’re hell bent on slapping some sticks and mud together

for a lovely arrangement of light blue eggs.

Tissue paper cherry blossoms, frill-edged daffodils, yellow forsythia.

Once Spring makes up her mind, there’s no turning

back to tight bud casings, brown-husked buried bulbs.

Life, in all its persistence, is going to sweep us through the seasons,

no matter how hard we hang onto the last pile of melting snow,

the brittle edge of lake ice, the mittens in a coat.

And yet, just as quickly, tulips wilt. Petals curl and drop one by one,

exposing pollen-heavy stamens. Forsythia litters the ground with gold.

Fledglings, plump with worms, fly the nest. Soft green leaves fully unfurl.

Spring, once so dang determined to be, disappears quietly

under the maple’s shade one bright June day.

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