Summer has arrived on the North Coast. In honor of the sometimes sunny season, local writers shared summer-inspired poems.

The Wave

By Dan Marvin

Writing assistance by Kimberly O’Bryant

We’d started the trip one afternoon before,

Spent the night drifting about 20 miles offshore

We awoke to a large and long ocean swell,

Now all that was needed was the Northwest wind to turn

All into a floating hell.

Captain Ned said we should head back in,

Give it a few days and then we’ll try it again.

When we reached the Whistler, we discovered we were not alone, there was a Coast Guard 44 and six more all circling and listening to the horrible groan.

The motor lifeboat went first, made it across.

She then turned and faced the bar, her crew prepared for a loss, then one by one the little fleet slipped on in.

Every captain knows when crossing the bar, a place where there is no turning back

You line up on the ranges, the adrenaline starts to flow, and your only thought is to

hold a strait tack.

The six boats before us caught the right sets,

But like the eye of a hurricane, it wasn’t meant to last,

The waves stacking up behind us, towered over our mast.

The bow dropped and the stern began to rise,

Nothing to do but grab on for the ride of our lives!

First, she tried to roll, then she tried to pitchpole,

At one point I could almost see straight down into the hole!

Her heavy wood-spoked wheel could no longer be held tight,

She spun wildly to the left and back to the right.

When we finally hit bottom,

There was a tremendous roar,

The 50-year-old boat couldn’t handle much more.

Water shot into the wheelhouse, seeped through

every crack and I’m sure the deck was buried,

If I’d been able to look back.

Then in a defiant tribute to the long-gone boat- wrights,

who built her “Hell for Stout” in 1923, she twisted and turned,

And finally, broke free of the wave that held her.

She launched out of the foam and was pointed straight,

For home, and nothing was going to stop her.

The 44 came alongside and the coxswain said we’ve never seen anything like that, almost impossible to survive

You men are lucky to be alive

As we continued in, I turned back with a grin and thought to my 20-year-old self.

Nice swing, and that’s a miss Satan,

The one you just took at me,

But I made no deals with you and I draw

My power from the Sea!

July 2020. Summer in the Plasticine

Ode to the Killer Hornet

By Sue Skinner

Lush shades of all kinds of different green. Plumes cups bells of

painted flowers. Berries blushing color ... Deer eat (some of) the

strawberries, clipping them clean and straight, leaving the stem.

Lettuce grows so fast you can barely keep up with it. And basil!

So quiet without birdsong in the garden. Lawnmowers, weed eaters, leaf

blowers bellow, usually morning to late in the day. Even in the rain

An occasional collared dove coos on the telephone wire. Our scrub jay

family in the rhododendron tree did not return this year. Every once in

a while, you can hear a hummingbird’s remarkable energy, by the feeder

over in the huckleberry bush, sprung up on an ancient spruce nurse stump

in our backyard

I scan the blooming thyme and hyssop and sage eagerly, watching for

flying insects, hoping for gentle pollinators.

Thoughts on Beach and Bay

By Lee Thompson

They say wait 30 minutes

If you want a change in weather

In Surfside, Ocean Park

There is daytime weather

And there is weather after dark

You walk the beach against the breeze

You watch it pushing beach grass

See it bending little beach pine trees

In the dark you smell a passing ship’s gas

A freighter diesel moving south with cargo

Hoping the pilot knows the river’s bar

Knows where the ship must go

To not run aground after coming this far

Walking along the daytime beach

Marveling at the giant cedar stump

Getting closer it’s now within reach

Oh! It’s not cedar but a huge sea lion lump

Nighttime lanterns far out with low tide

Shovels and clam guns and pockmarked sand

Yellow lights winking far and wide

Social distancing and clamming go hand in hand

Lost along the daytime stretch of beach on a hike

Am I north or south of Oysterville Access Road

No landmarks or signs and this I do not like

Oh, two tall poles: drive north and you might get towed

I go to Nahcotta Boat Basin to watch oyster transfer

The arm of the crane swings and loads the truck

At the precision as a crewman moves like a dancer

My attention is diverted by the antics of a diving duck

I could go on but ...


By Reba Owen

In a drawer the bracelet of sea grass

you made for me

is silken with time,

as is the memory of that summer day

between the hummocks in the dunes,

the breeze sailing the sea grass,

their tips making

repetitive arcs

on the sand.

The sun was rich on our skin.

The sea clouds were spinning images

of nymphs and serpents and dragoons

in the cumulus thunderheads.

The bracelet still has specks of silicate,

small flashes of light,

a microcosm of sunlight sunlight sunlight,

scattered on salt water.

A Rare Day

By Janice Thompson

Sweet comfort breathes into the eaves

Imbuing all who dwell

Within this gentle hostelry

With peaceful ease as well.

A subtle breeze begins to tease

The window’s wispy veil

While white waves breach the sunlit beach

And otters ride their swell.

Enveloping and nurturing

Composed to sooth and quell

This all too precious rarity

Consumes me with its spell.


By Diane Hankins

Summer fog blends into ocean waves

Muting sound, making lonesome

The calls of gulls.

Firm sand gleams darkly wet against

Softer shades of driftwood.

At peace in solitude, I walk the beach,

Breathing the ocean wind.

Itching for Summer

By James A. Tweedie

When spring has sprung and days are warm

Is when mosquitoes like to swarm.

There is a wetlands on my street

Where skeeters, with their tiny feet

And tiny wings, emerge and fly

Straight over to my house where I

Get bitten on my face and hands,

Which every person understands

Is one of the few minor bummers

That spoil our else-wise perfect summers.

Gardening is Grand

By John R. Benson

Gardening is healthful, or so I’ve been told.

Then why in the heck does it make me feel old?

My hands are arthritic, my back is a wreck.

Getting up off my knees is a pain in the neck.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just stay in my chair,

Let nature do what it wants and not have a care.

But though I am aching and often perplexed,

I’ll keep on in my garden to see what pops up next.

Oh, gardening is fun, gardening is grand.

It helps bring more beauty all over the land.

And though it gets harder we don’t mind at all,

We must tend our gardens, for that is our call.

When I was young, my gardens were great!

The neighbors would come and peer through my gate.

I could spend the whole day, down on my knees,

Then could stand back up straight as sure as you please.

When I matured I’d slowed down a bit,

I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t as fit.

But my gardens did well and still won the prize;

My flowers so bright they’d dazzle your eyes!

Now that I’m old, I’ve slowed down a lot.

A very small garden is all that I’ve got.

But don’t you feel sad, for I still feel the joy!

The wonders of growing, you can never destroy.

Oh, gardening is fun, gardening is grand.

It helps bring more beauty all over the land.

And though it gets harder we don’t mind at all,

We must tend our gardens, for that is our call.

Someday I know my gardens will end,

I will get to the point where my body won’t mend.

And when I am gone, I want you to know,

I’m happily pushin’ up daisies from six feet below.

Oh, gardening is fun, gardening is grand.

It helps bring more beauty all over the land.

And though it gets harder we don’t mind at all,

We must tend our gardens, for that is our call.

Astoria Memory 1961

By Kathy Laughman

I was lying in the grass

on a summer afternoon,

My face turned to one side.

The touch of cool green.

The smell of earth.

The grass tickling my nose.

A little creature out for a stroll,

Shaded by blades of green

that parted,

as he sauntered by.

I was Gulliver

visiting another world.

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