Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Country

image by Julie Taylor

© Bob McKean 2008

Born here, raised here, probably die here
The Northwest coast, my country
Grays Harbor, it is called. Home of Grayland and no wonder.
Gray skies meet a gray sea crashing on gray sand

Temperate West Coast Marine, the geographers call it
Mild, dry summers, cool, wet winters
They don’t mention the length of those winters
But we are spared shivering in blizzards

Evergreen trees, some third generation, soaring to the sky
Douglas fir, Red cedar, hemlock, the occasional pine
Plant anything here, likely it will grow
Though some like it hot. We don’t do hot.

Salt water in my veins, webs between my toes
I could never live long away from the ocean
Emerald islands across open water
Waiting patiently for residents to return

Creeks and rivers that are gentle streams usually
But raging torrents after a Pacific storm
Occasionally flooding. The locals just rebuild
They don’t want to move anywhere else

Fish and game in such abundance
The indigenous peoples didn’t have to migrate
Unusual sea creatures, some found nowhere else
Visitors come from afar to watch the whales

Prone to earthquake, tsunami, eruption, wildfire
But not to hurricane or tornado; we give thanks
Looming volcanoes, some dormant, others not so much
Verdant valleys with rich soil left by receding water

Where else can you ski in the morning
Then golf in the afternoon of the same day
Here, I tell you, they are both right here
Less than an hour apart

Born here, live here now, likely die here
God’s country
My country

Bob McKean participates in the monthly Poetry Jam in Enumclaw.

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