“She Who Shines For All”

Snoqualmie poetry pole

In May I travelled to Snoqualmie to the Black Dog Arts Cafe home of the Black Dog Arts Coalition to dedicate their poetry pole. The sun was out that afternoon for the first time in a while engaging in spectacular fashion the light greens and deep greens on either side of I90. As I climbed up to the pass, leaf, branch and bark seemed to rejoice, as I did, in the lovely spring light.

It could not have been a more perfect day to celebrate the value of words and the importance of community. Inside the Café I read poems and said a few words that the existence of this carefully chosen log, would over time serve as gathering place for thoughts and sentiments lovely and otherwise, thoughts articulated with care and deliberation. After the remarks, those of us who chose poetry over sunshine went outside, sat on the deck and one by one read the poems we’d brought to offer the pole. I include two of the poems down below.

In the meantime, I know of a few other poetry poles in the state: on Vashon Island,  in  West Seattle and the mother of poetry poles, the one who has inspired others in Selah, WA. This pole is the work of Jim Bodeen, founder of Blue Begonia Press Poetry Pole

“The Pole is energy, She Who Shines For All, from nine kinds of flower, the singlepoetic theme of life and death, the question of what survives after the beloved.”

Jim Bodeen


Poems From Snoqualmie’s Poetry Pole dedication: 

there is a charm in verdigris

my breastbone shatters
against the memory
of you.
you — of goldfinches
in the backyard who
once were chickadees —
you crack me open
and i weep
as you make a
of me.

– Lily Renner



The tune blows hauntingly from my soul

The exhalation of life’s young breath spent

Tender ears hear the beauty of sorrow incarnate

Weaving of melody with heart’s pained yearning and learning.


Each refrain calling

Drawing inner world to sound

Exquisite ache reaching down

The poignant frailty of strength

Knowing – flowing through the simple clay.


Each chorus building

Mightily shaking with grounded emotion

Ebbs like the ocean, mounts a wave

Spirit grows luminous, years and tears

Pushed out in a breath, released to the ears.

-Sheri J. Kennedy

Please let me know if there are poetry poles in your community that I may add them to this blog post.

Snoqualmie Poetry pole dedication

2 thoughts on ““She Who Shines For All”

  1. Claudia,

    Thank you so much for helping to make The Black Dog Arts Coalition and Café’s Poetry Pole Dedication Ceremony so wonderful and for writing about the Dedication here. My hope is that many poets and poetry lovers will make the journey out to Snoqualmie to visit our beautiful Poetry Pole and then extent their journeys to the other poetry poles around Washington, the U.S., and the world.

    Looking forward to more of your inspirational visits and readings.

    Warm best,

    Director of Literary Arts
    The Black Dog Arts Coalition

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