The Practice of Presence: Responding to Inner & Outer Landscapes Field Notes and Poems (Part Three)

SWW 2015 Mike
North Cascades Institute hosted a class called Sit, Walk, Write: Nature and the Practice of Presence. Participants began their days with a sitting meditation, followed by writing and sharing poetry and short nature essays, walking meditation, and exploring the woods around the Learning Center. Here are some participant poems that came out of this unique weekend in the North Cascades. Other pieces from this year can be found in parts one and two.
Poems in Response to “Voices from the Salmon Nations” by Frances Ambrose
A Fire
By Mimi Gorman, dedicated for those who witnessed fires along the North Cascades during the summer of 2015
Wind carried sorrow
through flame illuminated skies.
Devoted hearts ache.
Waterfall Haiku
By Kurt Hoelting
Sound of mountain stream
Cuts all the way to the bone
I am water too
High ledge waterfall
Barely any flow today
Too long since it rained
Clouds swallow mountains
Big leaf maples luminous
Fresh air fills the lungs
Fancy Fall
By Holly Hughes
Vine maple leaves hang
bright yellow against green firs
becoming the sun
The sun leaves each day.
Days shorter, nights lengthening.
Look: leaves still hold the light.
SWW 2015 Looking Up

Critter Notes
By Holly Hughes
Creek’s muffled bass notes.
Douglas squirrel chatters high
aloft. Symphony.
Woodpecker’s long tongue
curves round to cushion its brain.
Bird brain? What do they know?
Hungry for Poetry
By Frances Ambrose
When your friends ask,
“What do you do with poetry?”
I offer you this:
I keep a poem in my purse
ready to calm and please
when stuck waiting
with no book to read
or beauty to contemplate;
ready to read to a friend at lunch;
ready to give away.
If I had no purse
I could still carry
a poem in my pocket
to pull out and memorize the lines
to hold them in my heart/mind
then offer up to
flowers, birds and bushes,
snails and slugs,
crabs and clams.
You never know who
might need comfort and joy.
You never know who
is hungry for poetry.

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