Robin Reynolds Barre || Whidbey Writes, October 2015

Posted in Literary, Whidbey Writes

Oct. 7, 2015

Congratulations to Robin Reynolds Barre, our Whidbey Writes featured writer for October. We’re pleased to be able to share her poem 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 congratulate Robin 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.

To find out more about Whidbey Writes and the submission criteria, visit the NILA website. To make a submission, use this page.


The Leash 
By Robin Reynolds Barre

The dog and you
walk out the front door
of the green chambered house
onto the road, down and up, here to this place, and now to that place.
To the dog, the world is all scent, fragrance, and exhalation,
redolence of dog piss,
perfume of deer musk.
The dog’s world is four feet squared on the earth.
He sees the years’ springs, summers, autumns, and old winters
through the leafy tang of humus.

You watch the dog, hold the leash, taut
from the tension of up and down, here and there.
You wait for him to know the history of this fescue,
to take a reading on where the dew came from
and what night carried it here.
You wait. And you hold the tension.

You wait and you know the world spirals out from this place.
It winds out from your stance
like the ferns’ unfurlings; from dog to grass to road to creek
to crow to flight to bay to island to mountain
to horizon.

And if you stand still long enough, wait long enough
for the dog to untangle the mysteries he can never reveal,
you will feel the world
spiral back in, pulled as if on a leash,
until it is there before you,
bramble, dog, nose, earth.

Robin has worn many hats over the years—teacher, psychotherapist, wife, mother. But her first and foundational identity is that of Writer.

Double Bluff beach

Double Bluff beach   (photos courtesy of Robin Reynolds Barre)


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