School Colors

for the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1951

 

Verses 3 & 4:

Sophomores with an award, however

minor, cashed summer earnings, begged

parents or borrowed from the bank, for a

purple sweater to show off their golden prize,

strut high school halls and downtown streets

to the envy and admiration of those without.

 

No matter how many years have passed,

no matter how faded the purple or dulled

the gold, how weathered and shapeless, each

sweater, with shadows where emblems were

carefully stitched, is unveiled for reunions,

stretched over torsos, but does not button.

                                    Concrete, WA (2001)

Chak-Chak, the Skagit

Bald Eagle

 

Perched in an old-growth forest,

Chak-Chak rouses. In morning light,

Scans the river with piercing eyes,

Searches sandy bars for dying chum.

 

Chak-Chak breaks silence,

Soars from Sauk Mountain,

Drifts Washington Eddy;

Glides the river’s course.

 

Chak-Chak skims shimmering water,

Clutches a floundering salmon,

Settles on a backwash beach,

Feeds on his catch.

 

Perched in barren cottonwoods,

On the south bank where the wild Skagit bends,

Chak-Chak, in stoic dignity,

Basks in warm afternoon sun.

 

Chak-Chak calls his mate.

Wings extended, talons interlocked

In descending flight, they tumble,

Somersaulting earthward, breaking skyward.

 

Before evening shadows deepen,

Purple hues of dusk chase the day.

Chak-Chak catches an ascending draft

To his nightly roost—and slips away.

 

Upper Skagit River, WA, (1993)

 See PREFACE/BACKSTORIES
   

Here's My Two Cents 

 

Looking down as usual,

counting cracks in the sidewalk,

walking to my car.

 

In grass at the edge,

was a penny, heads down,

propped against the trim.

 

I stoop over,

pick it up,

turn it over,

rub it clean,

glance at the date.

 

Nearby,

is a newer one.

 

Once valuable,

now only good for sales tax.

It cost one point

two-three cents to make.

 

Please, God:

No more pennies from heaven,

just dirty old dollar bills!

 

Bellingham, WA (2008)

Richard Lee Dick Harris

II. Moments (excerpts)


Surface Tension

 

Above accessible views of

panoramic Liberty Bell,

is a switchback, a rock ledge,

less than a foot wide (my foot, that is),

 

cantilevered between two boulders

nestled in the fractured face

of a geologic fault that drops

two hundred feet to Washington Pass.


I climb on a braced leg and neuropathy-numbed feet,

a back weakened by surgery and age, paralyzed with fear;

a spiritless walking stick, a camera swinging on a string,

minor impediments on sidewalk treks.

 

My senses blurred with visions of

rock scrambling in the teens, I inch to

the midpoint of the rock’s radial arc.

The guidebook says look up

 

to magnificent Silver Star.

I reach in reverse embrace,

moist palms grasping the boulder’s face,

stare at my stock-still stumps.

 

                    North Cascades Mountains, WA. (2009)