Poet’s Corner: Place of Serenity, Listen, Morning Prayers

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

Place of Serenity

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
— Jacques Cousteau

Winding my way down the steep hill,
the Olympic Mountains towering
over the sparkling waters of Puget Sound,
impart recollections of life’s journey.

As I park my car, the smell
of salt water in the air
evokes memories
of childhood Atlantic beaches.

Across the bridge over railroad tracks,
as a train roars by underneath,
down the paved sidewalk
onto the sandy hillside.

Take a deep breath,
let it out,
Another deep breath
let it out.

Find a driftwood log seat
Allow warmth of the sun,
rhythmic sound of waves
to bring me back to serenity.

Many memories float by
as I sit and watch
dogs chasing balls, children
building sandcastles and dams.

Easter sunrise services,
huddling around a campfire,
as birds proclaim dawn
and spring’s resurrection.

Beautiful sunsets,
spreading red, gold, pink, orange
across the snow capped
Olympic mountains.

Days of fog blanketing the water,
insistent, eerie foghorns
warn ferries and freighters
to keep a safe distance.

Long walks as low tides
uncover beached sea stars,
anemones, scurrying hermit crabs,
tiny tidepool sculpins.

Heron patiently fishes
on incoming tide,
Eagle ignores
harassing, noisy crows.

Stomp on the sand beside
a clam’s hole. Feel squirt
of water on your leg
as it burrows deeper.

Tantalizingly tempting sandbars
drew us out to sit a while,
until the tide surrounded our refuge.
My dog didn’t like wading.

Heat of the sun pulls me
towards the stinging cold
water of Puget Sound,
wading is enough to cool me off.

With a thirst-quenching drink,
memories arise of the delicious taste
of hot cocoa on cold
Easter mornings.

Returning to my car,
irritation of sand in my shoes
is a small price to pay
for a time of serenity.

 Marcia McLaughlin

~ ~ ~ ~


Thoreau asked, “Who hears the fishes when they cry?”
standing by a creek bed on a cool, rainy autumn day
as salmon swim upstream to begin
a new generation of salmon,
simultaneously dying

yet in their dying, salmon
provide life to bears, eagles, otters,
invertebrates, even the forest itself
as they bring nutrients from the ocean

salmon symbolize
renewal, abundance,
strength, willingness to
fight against all odds

yet will salmon survive challenge
of climate change
warming oceans and rivers
pollution of waters

maybe we need to go down to the riverbank and listen.

Marcia McLaughlin

~ ~ ~ ~

Morning Prayers

Have you ever stepped outside at dawn?
Songbirds fill the air with psalms of praise
before the sun appears over the horizon.

melodious, whistling,
sometimes raucous,
all welcome the rising sun.

Robins, Mourning Doves, Common Yellowthroats, Song Sparrows, White-Crowned Sparrows sing all across North America.

Tufted Titmice, Eastern Towhees, Gray Catbirds,
American Redstarts join the chorus
in Rhode Island.

Great Crested Flycatchers, Warbling Vireos,
Northern Cardinals enter the choir
in Wisconsin.

Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, Bushtits,
Red-breasted Nuthatches, add their voices
in Washington.

Come near a marsh or a lake.
Red-Winged Blackbirds, Wood Ducks, Tree
Swallows, Barn Swallows, Marsh Wrens add

melodies while Mallards, Great Blue Herons,
Canada Geese, and Great Egrets noisily
trumpet in the dawn.

Varied Thrush, Clarks Nutcrackers,
Gray Jays and Ravens
greet the mountain morning.

Birds trill, whistle, quack, croak
their morning prayers.
How can you keep from singing?

Marcia McLaughlin

Marcia’s love of poetry arose from a life-long love of choral music and of nature. She is an amateur
photographer and it’s sometimes hard to tell whether the poem sprang from the photograph or the
photo from the poem. She is especially interested in the natural world, how we interact with it, and the
messages it has for us. Her poetry also speaks of the injustices of our world. She self-published a poetry
book, Nature’s Messages, in 2022. You may contact her at seaotterspirit@gmail.com. Marcia lived in
the Shoreline/Lake Forest Park area for 50 years and now lives in Lacey with her spouse, Beth Seacord.

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