Poet's Perspective

Poet's Perspective banner

2024 is the third annual Poet's Perspective program featuring short poems celebrating and connecting the reader to our unique Northwest region. Seventy poems were submitted for consideration this year. Submissions were reviewed anonymously by a panel of four judges who selected 6 poems by Puget Sound area writers. In addition, twenty-five poems by students in the Edmonds School District were submitted. The review panel selected 3 to include in the program. All the selected poems are displayed April 2024 through March 2025 here in this web gallery, as well as posters in the Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds Library, various Edmonds Parks fences, and on sign boards on select City-owned properties.


Agate: An Edmonds Wandering

By Tonya Cunningham


Find a tide tumbled stone
plucked from a kaleidoscope of sand.
Stash tenderly in a soft pocket.

Walk up to a sun splashed library
fingertip to pages
identify your stone as: agate.

Take home
hone, guild, and
string with silk cord.

Sell at a market
street crowded with generations linking arms
hefting lemons and tomatoes
palm to palm with promises.

Wander uphill,
agate cradled around her neck,
a concert’s crescendo splashes notes
through unlatched art deco doors
out into this Salish Sea city
where wonder washes in with the tide.

Tonya Cunningham is a poet, a preschool teacher, and a parent. All of these bring her joy. Most recently her work can be found in "We'Moon." She enjoys poetry readings at the Edmonds Bookshop, wandering along Sunset Avenue and hunting for treasures, such as agates, on the beach.


By Danielle Hayden


What led me to this land was love,
but far more rooted me:
sounds of the Sound, salmons' swim,
strolls on sidewalks rain-soaked & coffee-stained

sweet melodies of blending:
dialects drifting past my ear,
disparate charms of mountaintop and marketplace.

ferries that comb through water,
Dawn's rays dripping like candle wax
the regal bow of a blue heron
the hummingbird's blur a soft percussion

tulips raised by rain later renege their promise of bloom.
That peculiar beauty of ephemera
The familiar ache of transience

sunsets, soft. Quiet as
the kiss of curtains closing

Danielle Hayden is a multi-genre writer and a current Resident at the Seattle Public Library. She also teaches with Golf Pencil group, which serves incarcerated women, and through the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. Danielle was a 2022 Jack Straw Writer, received a literary Grant for Artists' Progress Award from Artist Trust, and was granted fellowships from Anaphora Arts and the Martha's Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. Danielle lives in Bothell with her family.

Once Upon a Time

By Ruth Marcus


Canadian-born logger George Brackett
was blown ashore during a storm, near
what is now Port Edmonds. Purchased
the land in 1872 for $650— imagined a
wharf, general store, post office (known
as Brackett’s Landing).

Stand at the edge of now and then,
do you hear the thrilling sound from the
1920s—the sound of Seattle and
Montana Railroad. Stagecoach lines,
Kingston ferry, a stroll along the fishing
piers and sand-covered beach.

Five miles of shoreline, downtown
known as the “bowl”—views of
Puget Sound and snow capped Olympic
Mountains. There is a dance between
Edmonds life and commuters who love
arriving at home at days end.

Ruth Marcus had a 30-year career in design arts and has a master’s degree in clinical psychology with a doctorate in religious studies. Ruth was a columnist for the “Sequim Gazette” and “Living on the Peninsula”. She wrote one-line daily encouragements for a national email audience and her book, Inspiration, is a collection of those encouragements. Her essays have been published in “Northwest Magazine”, collection of which are published in Good Grief: 58 Ways to Manage Your Life. Her publication, Haiku & Mandala: The Wedding of Ancient Art is a collection of her haiku and mandala drawings.

Sonnet for a Cedar

By Sylvie Nemeth


At eight or nine I once beloved a cedar
Her branches thick and strong enough to scale
When maples stood too high, I did so need her
Safe, swooping limbs assured I could not fail

The lowest trunk dipped inches from the ground
Bowed gracefully, a faithful horse's seat
My mother promised that my friend was bound
Someday to wholly touch the earth beneath

I'd dread the day her claim would come to pass
And hoped my bough might turn her to a liar
"Hold still, Dear Tree! Stay firm above the grass!"
—for if she dropped, I'd need to climb yet higher

I visited today, just shy of thirty
Her upper limbs, I learned, were just as sturdy

Sylvie was born and raised in Seattle, and her love of Pacific Northwest nature inspires many of her poems. Her work has been featured in several literary journals, including “Poor Yorick” and “Sheepshead Review”. She is particularly fond of rhyming poetry and lists William Shakespeare and Edna St. Vincent Millay as influences.

Owl Sketch

By Sarah Rehfeldt


You –

Swiftly behind tree or shadow
glide down steeply,
spreading out as darkness into hillsides.

In silence, as fog,
you hunt the edges.

I trace you winged and solitary,
gray against a blue-black sky.

In the ink of twilight: a rush of feathers –

How easily you vanish.

Sarah Rehfeldt is a writer, artist, and photographer from Issaquah. A Pushcart nominee and author of two collections of image poems, she has poetry appearing in over 50 publications, including “Appalachia”, “Weber–the Contemporary West”, and “Fungi Magazine”. You can visit her poetry, art, and photography web pages at pbase.com/candanceski

Sing To Us, O Spring

By Cathy Warner


Sing to us, o Salish waters
and chattering glacial creeks,
join raucous rain-filled rivers
as you crescendo on the beach.

The melody of maples meets
the cedars’ newly-needled choir,
and tulips tipping up the earth
shout out life’s green desire.

Maestros of the thermals,
bald eagles glide through clouds
while tone-deaf great blue herons
take one-legged bows.

Cathy Warner is author of three volumes of poetry: Difficult Gifts, Home by Another Road, and Burnt Offerings; and editor of three poetry anthologies. She lives along the shores of the Hood Canal where she writes, photographs landscapes and the night sky, renovates homes, and leads writing workshops. Find her at cathywarner.com.

Poet's Perspective Youth Poetry

Poet's Perspective program includes a Youth Program for writers ages 8 to 17 years who reside in the Edmonds School District. Twenty-five entries were submitted and anonymously reviewed by a panel of four judges. Three poems were selected.

Mermaid Tears

By L. Knudson
Meadowdale High School

The coarse sand crunches
beneath my feet, guiding
Me along the coast.

My mother halts, leaning.
A shard of glass glistens,
Still immersed in the salted waters
that have weathered
its jagged edges over time.

"Mermaid tears,"
My mother calls them,
Adding her newfound treasure
to her ever expanding collection.

I marvel at the name.
The discarded glass,
Worn and shaped by the tides,
into something as beautiful and tragic
as the longing weep
of a Mermaid.

Low Tide

By D. Lynch
Meadowdale High School


I love low tide,
things uncovered,
a curtain drawn back to reveal
previously undiscovered worlds
there is joy in walking around on wet sand,
finding curious-looking creatures hidden in rocks
violet starfish wedged in shadows,
tiny crabs scuttling under feet
the cacophony of seagulls soaring above heads,
the hum of conversation pierced by a child's shriek
what a delight to be a part of this world
even for a day

Sinking Waves

By L. Sinnes
Meadowdale High School


The waves crash against my skin,
freezing and numbing my lower body,
sending ripples down my back.
The water doesn't stop rising at my legs,
It reaches my gut,
It reaches my chest.
My lungs collapse against the cold water while it fills my body.
Stuck like dried cement, sinking like a ship.
Gasping for air,
watching the light leave.

Left standing there,
Alone, empty, with the presence of the cold water still clinging to my skin,
At least I can move again.
Anxiety is a high tide.

Questions about the Poet's Perspective program? Email the arts commission: [email protected] or call 425-771-0228