Through a Distant Lens Travel Poems

Thru a Distant Lens

Through a Distant Lens: Travel Poems

Through a Distant Lens is Write Wing Publishing’s latest poetry anthology featuring 46 poets who describe travel epiphanies hiking in Peru and soaring aloft in a tornado. South Whidbey poet/educator Sheryl Clough edited this collection that she says, “…demonstrates that the physical body has no monopoly on movement.”

You have to admit that the going out and the coming back have an inexorable pull. If you’re in the area, celebrate it and join us next Monday, April 14th, at the Coupeville Library at 5:30 pm to share in these “lively, lilting works of wordcraft” or order the book at


Lorraine Healy’s new chapbook

Abraham's Voices

Healy’s “Abraham’s Voices”

Lorraine Healy mentored our South Whidbey poetry group for countless Monday mornings, so we are excited about the publication of her new poems and photographs in Abraham’s Voices. The story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac floats in our Sunday School memories, perhaps alongside the takeaway that here was a guy we definitely wouldn’t want to know personally.

Channeling its characters (including the ram), surprised Healy as well. “I don’t know where they came from,” she said. “They are unlike my usual poetry and are more fragmentary, with a different style of syntax. It was just a wild ride.”

If you’d like to hop on and order a copy for $10, contact Lorraine at her Web site at the link above.

Dylan Thomas liked apples too


Welch poet Dylan Thomas

Larry reminded me that he could never think of apples in poetry without recalling Dylan Thomas’Fern Hill. What a pleasurable and timely reminder that was, this being the Thomas centenary. Consider the third stanza’s fire green as grass or an interval of time like all the moon long. Not many poets today would dare to begin so many lines with a word as weak as And, but it plays to the music.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

apple lore

one perfect honeycrisp

one perfect honeycrisp

As a child, my father would bring me a cored, peeled apple at bedtime. Sustenance with my bedtime story. So apples spelled love to me.

I began thinking about them recently — all the lore surrounding this luscious fruit. Dangerous and compelling simultaneously. So, of course, a poem is emerging. Two stanzas below…

prescription fruit

in the beginning
Eve and Eden     Adam and apple
that sinister snake who
seduced with knowledge

so simple round and red
perfect symbol for
rosy cheeked health     iPhones
minus only one bite

Patrick Lane in Sooke


Patrick Lane by Wintergreen Studios

Three poetry friends and I are off to Sooke on Vancouver Island’s west coast next week for a 4-day workshop with Canadian poet Patrick Lane. Mr. Lane will be celebrating his 75th birthday with us — a generous act. I’m hoping his wife, Lorna Crozier, might stop by for that event. Her poems leave me giggling, swooning, crying at their whimsy and clear-eyed intelligence.

And his poems leave me startled, facing darkness, fearful about their honesty. We’re asked to choose two lines of his poems for our first night together. Knowing they will likely be reassembled into a collage poem.

I’m looking at Apples in the Rain, seeing the lines

only to find a child, apples in his hands ,
finding what he can of his own way home.


Lt. Col. John Darin Loftis made people smile. He knew he could bridge Afghans and American military forces. He studied Pashto and even selected a Pashto name for himself – Ehsaan, which means beholden. He would introduce himself to people on the street using his halting language skills. You can see the bemusement in their faces in Micah Garen’s film Call Me Ehsaan, from The New York Times. Loftis even memorized Pashtun poetry and often recited Rahman Baba’s work with a Kentucky lilt.

Along with another soldier, the Lieutenant Colonel  was executed in the Interior Ministry one cold February day in 2012. Another green on blue killing. My poem from the Collateral Damage collection is a tribute to his care and kindness. A section reads

softness in his smile
signals the little boy
executed in February

adventure of learning Pashto
hearing the music of its poetry
reciting it imperfectly
executed in February

whimsy of picking a name
for himself out of a hat
Ehsaan beholden
back of the head as snow fell

You can reserve your copy of Collateral Damage at the Finishing Line Press Web site, Orders received before March 14th ship at reduced rate.

Collateral Damage Cover

Cover design: Buffy Cribbs

Here is a courageous book, one where men pray to rain, where men are executed in “retaliation for scorched words” that “are sacred.”When the word “heat” becomes a moving elegy and “Traffic” a boy’s name–the reader realizes that poetry’s power, its impulse, is to name the world anew despite all the sorrows–or maybe because of them.   Ilya Kaminsky

As our agonizing engagement in Afghanistan winds down, some reflection seems timely. My connection with a friend posted in Kabul and my concern for his safety led me into that turmoil. It focused my attention on the war’s actors, its reporting, its mean failures and small successes. Lesser known individuals with amazing stories riveted me. Sgt. Lynn Hill flew Predators from her base in Las Vegas, while Mohammedullah guided heavy trucks over Afghan passes with his Pepsi bottle baton. Robert Bales’ name seared our national conscience after that Panjwai massacre, and who could help loving Lt. Col. John Darin Loftis for his halting recitations of Pashto poetry.

     Collateral Damage is a scrapbook of poems, of personalities who confront us with unanswered questions. What have we accomplished after 12 years in that blue land? Is it enough that we did our best to offer Afghans a chance at self-determination? Were the countless heartbreaks of loss and estrangement worth that effort? Is the effort, itself, the ultimate reward?

You can reserve your copy of the chapbook online at Finishing Line Press,

My thanks.

Linda Signature