Words in Silence Speak

In recognition of The Poetry Pole, (1995 to present).


When westerly zephyrs tease roses, and

hummingbirds hesitate their nectar search

to hear silent voices on the wind;


when the south wind moistens

earth’s vagrancies in fog and mist,

these voices travel beyond;


when east wind rustles leaves,

golden tinder sparks the air,

passersby read the posted words;


when north wind blows men and treasure

to the depths of the sea,

I listen for these voices;


when the rhythms of wind and sun

are in moments of harmony and peace,

slips of paper—words—silent voices,


old, new, experienced and being, are

pinned to weathered faces of a cedar stylus

with heart and spirit in an aura of love.

Yakima, Washington


The Poetry Pole was planted in a rose garden by the sidewalk in residential Yakima, WA, in 1995. There it stood until last winter when Jim Bodeen, its caretaker, moved to Selah, WA, and planted it by the sidewalk of his new residence.

According to Jim—poet, English teacher, Viet Nam veteran, advocate for young Latinos, and founder of Blue Begonia Press—the idea of a poetry pole came to

him in a vision. Encouraged by friends, he a planted a four-sided cedar post “along the path of the mailman and the butterflies.”

Egalitarian and democratic, The Poetry Pole is accessible to all ages, life-styles, races and cultures. Poems may be personally pinned to the post or sent to Bodeen by mail or e-mail.

I first learned about The Poetry Pole last spring, when Terry Martin , co-editor of Weathered Pages: The Poetry Pole Anthology, read from her own work here in Bellingham. Last summer, my wife and I visited the original site, unaware the pole had moved. That was OK; I still felt its presence and was inspired to write “Words in Silence Speak.”

For additional information go to http://bluebegoniapress.com.

From Selected Poems: Alaska & Northwest

Richard Lee “Dick” Harris

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