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Poetry by Local Poets

After Afghanistan’s Deforestation -2000
“The world lives in hope.”  an Afghan saying

Sometimes — when you’re hungry —
someone offers you
for the precious tree grove
that serves as windbreak
and fuel store
for your farm.
Thousands of years
of being long-sighted
and sensitive
to the natural world
come crashing
into an empty rice bowl.
So you
gamble away
to live for today.
And in the mountains the snow leopard cries.
And in the marketplace their soft pelts dry.
And drought diminishes wetlands.
And flocks of birds
become a lone chick
at the edge of a dead sea.
And Nomads sell their herds.  Settle —
pray, hope.
But the wind buries the farm,
and the rice bowl
blows away,
and people wonder
what happened here?

Frog Song

It’s a funny thing about frogs
in spring, when you go to sleep
at night. You lay there with no
choice but to listen while
rhythmic croaking
floats through the window,
relaxes, makes the mind
wander calmly.
But suddenly,
Deep, expansive, silence that catches,
pulls you from the world of dreams,
pricks up the ears, and causes
you to search, search
through the darkness.
Far away, in another world
a single croak sings. Then another,
and another, and finally the choir of frogs again,
to sooth, to cover you
with images of rippling water, giant lily pads,
and weeping willow shade.
Breath slows, and once again
the edge of sleep draws near,
and once again sleep is denied by
quick silence—
In and out, back and forth
you travel through pre-sleep chaos
until the croak and the silence
unexpectantly form a chant
that sings a lullaby
and takes you away.


Go out to the edge of the world

and hug yourself

Great blue sky to bathe your back

Sweet toes curled under pink

and your eyes sleeping

on the bridge of your nose.


I am your sister from the blond tribe

Our fathers gathered in the pre-hunt huddle

Fires crackled with pine nuts, north and south


Skies blue with the cold of northern days

Winter passing into heaven.

               Tamara Jenkinson

Last Ride Before the Rain

               From a poem of Rainer Maria Rilke


Am I falcon, storm,or great song

whose wings, whose winds, whose words ring

peal sounding brass

whistling lilt of lines?


Am I flight

or swept along

in vacuum vortex

truck tail

sail sail

from whose heart

does this melody unfold?


The hum of motors

whine of tires

bugsplat on my fat cheeks

winter soon.\


tamara Jenkinson







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