‘For the Place Where the Ancient Tree Now Rests on Ebey’s Bluff Trail’ by Martha McCartney || Whidbey Writes April 2015

Posted in Literary, Whidbey Writes

April 1, 2015

Congratulations to Martha McCartney, our featured writer for April in Whidbey Writes. We’re pleased to be able to share her work of poetry with you. Whidbey Writes is a collaboration between the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (NILA) and Whidbey Life Magazine (WLM). Its purpose is to give WLM readers an opportunity to enjoy short fiction and poetry by writers who have a connection to Whidbey Island.

We look forward to publishing the original work of selected winners at the beginning of each month as part of Whidbey Writes. NILA and WLM congratulates Martha and thank volunteer editors Heather Anderson, Mureall Hebert and Chris Spencer who review submissions on solstices and equinoxes and pass on the work they enjoy most to Whidbey Life Magazine for publication online and in print.

The next submission deadline is June 21. To find out more about Whidbey Writes and the submission criteria, visit the NILA website. To make a submission, use this page.


For the Place Where the Ancient Tree Now Rests on Ebey’s Bluff Trail
by Martha McCartney

Stand and look out here
by this fallen weathered tree
after you’ve rested from the climb
and leaned your head upon its limb
relieved to reach an end of uphill struggle.

Breathe in soft brine air
from that low lagoon.
Look to the tall cedars, there may be eagles nesting.

Over the water, the Olympics rise
Over the water, white clouds drift.

Watch for ships and ferries crossing.
Listen for a lone crow calling, late bee buzzing,
distant dog barking, over the sound of the Salish Sea.

When you are rested and calm–as you will be–
either continue
or turn back,
neither choice is wrong–
but know–there is still an uphill climb.


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1743459_10200766129114967_1896203870_nMartha McCartney is an award-winning poet and photographer. She relocated to Whidbey Island to find a new ground and found boundless beauty and an amazingly supportive arts community. During a time of transition and, always recognizing poetry as a lifeline, she started a company to bring together all her passions on one front porch. Lillie Savage, Creativity Liberated is now a successful venture that Martha hopes will inspire others through rough passages of life. Creating a line of all-soy candles labeled with bits of her own poetry and lines from her favorite poets while continuing to write and do photography has allowed her life to become her art.

To see more about Martha and Lillie Savage please visit www.Lilliesavage.com and also on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/savage.lillie.

Photos are courtesy of the writer.


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  1. Or head straight downhill toward that lagoon and find the wild cactus, which used to grow quite close to that tree but now seem to have been trampled. I remember when that tree wasn’t fallen. Things change — but wild cactus on Whidbey always amaze me.

  2. Hmm. I wonder if it’s that prickly pear cactus my songwriter friend down in Texas found out about when he heard I was moving to Whidbey. You’re going to have to take me and Sarah there sometime.

  3. I remember sitting on your couch reading this poem in your home in Coupleville. What a fine night that was and it has been, indeed, uphill since then and we’re still gaining altitude, aren’t we, one step at a time.

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