Poet’s Corner: Summer Reality, Denial, El Camino de la Sed

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

Summer Reality

Summertime and the
living is easy.
balmy, serene, cloudless skies
colorful landscapes
many shades of greens and blues
rainbow of flowers.
bountiful harvests
sweet juicy fruits,
crunchy, delicious veggies
lazy, idyllic days
fishing, camping, boating
beautiful, tranquil sunsets
cheery campfires warm cool evenings.

Summertime and the
living is arduous
under scorching, oppressive sun
farmers watching anxiously for
perfect balance of sun and rain
sweltering migrant workers picking crops
for our easy living
hotter, dryer summers

campfires hazardous
wildfires increase
exploding from tree to tree
across forests, grasslands, farms
tempestuous winds
jump fires across miles
a catastrophic, destructive path
blackened hillsides, rivers brown

fire fighters in overwhelming danger
disaster for all creatures in its path
smoke filled air spreads hundreds of miles
particulates create spectacular sunsets
skies increasingly dark
air quality drops dramatically
respiratory distress fills ER’s.

I dreamed of rain and the rain came
welcome, steady rain
cleaning air
ending fires for now
autumn comes and earth breathes again

Marcia McLaughlin

~ ~ ~ ~


Selma, Alabama, March 1965
peaceful marchers for voting rights
confronted by police with tear gas and billy clubs
Bloody Sunday

June 1965 moved from Massachusetts to Louisiana
parents and 3 youth – 21, 18, and 15,
(I won’t even call myself an adult)
brats rebelling against parental decision
oblivious to unrest in our nation

Disbelief at sight of Jim Crow signs
as we crossed Mason-Dixon line;
we’d seen the news
why such disbelief?

Civil unrest grew
race riots across the nation in 1967
Viet Nam war began in 1965
protests increased in frequency and size

July 1967 race riots and fire in Detroit
August 1967 marriage in nearby suburb
celebrated with little thought
for unrest and loss of lives

December 1968 draft notice
as we celebrated graduation
job possibilities
pre-empted by Uncle Sam

August 1969
orders to Viet Nam
first child born
while her dad in Nam

2022 uprooting racism team
looking back with disbelief
at my younger self
Was it denial? Oblivion?
White privilege
I simply walked away
eyes, heart, and mind closed

Marcia McLaughlin

~ ~ ~ ~

El Camino de la Sed

saguaro tower over desert floor
one hundred years old or more
even in death
their bones tower
as home for many creatures

jumping cholla
devil’s club, barrel cactus
bare skeletons strewn
tools, building materials
for native peoples

Gila woodpecker’s old nest
creates saguaro boot
fallen on ground
used by birds, insects, rodents
beautiful Sonoran bones

migrant workers
thirsty, hungry for justice
ducking border guards
trek across desert
led by coyotes

only skeletons
reminder of
our injustice

Marcia McLaughlin

~ ~ ~

Marcia McLaughlin

I am a retired spiritual director who enjoys photography and writing poetry – and seeing where the combination takes me. I am an ekphrastic poet, meaning poetry based on visual arts. I am particularly interested in the natural world, how we interact with it, and the messages it has for us. I’m panentheistic; I find God or Spirit in everything. Justice is an important part of my life and my writing.

My love of poetry developed from a life-long love of choral music. I was a longtime resident of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. I am now living in Lacey in a vibrant retirement community. The pandemic has given me much more time for writing!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.