Haiku Sunglasses in Seattle

First published on Kathabela Wilson’s “Colorado Boulevard” Poetry Corner blog on 11 October 2017. Prose originally written in October of 2017 (poems written previously).

Although the Seattle area is known for its winter rain, it has a huge secret—wonderful summers with lots of sun, but not super hot. Shhh, don’t tell anyone! Usually from about late May or early June into late September, we enjoy long stretches of sunny skies. It’s all great weather for hiking, family trips, or being a tourist in our own back yard.

                unfurled awning—
                the café crowded
                only in the shade

The preceding poem could be anywhere, but it’s really from Seattle—on one of our many warm days in summer. There’s been a long-standing claim that more people buy sunglasses in Seattle than any other major American city. Even though that isn’t actually true, this rumour is a way of hinting at how wonderful our summers often are. The mountains around Seattle offer lots of hikes, often with patches of snow at higher elevations, well into summer. The forests offer deep shade and picturesque lakes. And the islands are like no others in the world.

                July sun—
                cedar chips still cover
                the Christmas tree lot

Another distinctive attraction in the Seattle area is our ferries. They ply across the Puget Sound to the Kitsap peninsula, all around the San Juan Islands, and across to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Amid the islands, we can often see glacier-clad Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, or the Olympic Mountains rising in the distance. Ferry trips are a treat at any time of the year, but especially in summer, when something about the light, especially in the San Juans, makes these boat trips magical.

                inner harbour
                the fog lifts
                my spirit


Michael Dylan Welch has served two terms as poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, where he has also curated two monthly poetry reading series for more than a decade. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies in at least twenty languages, and he runs National Haiku Writing Month. His latest books include Jumble Box, Seven Suns / Seven Moons (with Tanya McDonald), and Becoming a Haiku Poet. Michael also enjoys racquetball, skiing, hiking, travel, and photography. His personal website is Graceguts.