My Country

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

copyright Bob McKean

Bob McKean retired from public school teaching in 1998. He now works as a real estate professional and instructor at City University in its master’s program. He has always been a lover of poetry, learned to read it aloud in college and is now beginning to write his own original material.

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Poetry Jam is an open event at 7 p.m. the second Friday of each month in the Arts Alive! Gallery, 1429 Cole St., Enumclaw. All are welcome to read their poems or those written by another.

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