Event: Read-In World Peace Poets

You’re invited

2015 poetsforpeace 8x11 poster Final
poster by Shannon Laws

 

Musicians, poets and lovers of peace please join us for the 3rd annual Read-In!  This is a FREE and public international event.  Sign up today via email at worldpeacepoets@gmail.com for a five minute slot to share what peace means to you.  The read in ends when the last poet speaks.  A light supper and refreshments will be served.

 

Facebook event page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1483419105294481/

 

Learn more about World Peace Poets Bellingham chapter here:

https://shannonplawswriter.com/world-peace-poets/

Event: Read-In! Write-On!

Some local poet and writer friends are organizing a World Peace Read-in! and Write-on! It will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 2 PM to 8 or 9 pm. at 910-14th Street (St. James Presbyterian Church). There will be an opening and welcome reception at 2 pm. People will be welcome to come later in the day and evening, but we want a crowd at the opening.
It is open to everyone. We are planning a special Young People’s hour that features their writing from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. We are hoping that young people (through high school) will come and share poem/stories about peace…living peacefully or whatever they might like to share. They can speak from 1 to 5 minutes.  Please sign up young people sending us an e-mail at worldpeacepoets@gmail.com we’ll confirm the time and answer any questions.
At 3:30, we are planning a time for international poets (speakers and writers in more than one language).  Most of the international guests will be from British Columbia, but local international voices can choose to read now or later in the day. 
For the World Peace Open Mic held after 5:00 pm, five minute slots of time are open to poets and writers from everywhere. The sign up for this time period is at Village Books.  
Musicians ! Musicians are welcome. We’d especially like musicians included who have song about peace that young people would enjoy. This sign-up is done at: worldpeacepoets@gmail.com. For times after 5 pm musicians can sign up for a five-minute slot at Village Books. These will be musicians who can perform using one voice mic and one instrument mic, with no additional setting up required. (questions go to worldpeacepoets@gmail.com)
Other activities will be posters for peace, Information about world peace initiatives and a space will be provided for meditation and writing.
This a free event, no one is getting paid. It is part of a world-wide “poetathon for peace”  to be launched October 23, 2013 by World Poets Canada (friends in New Westminster, BC).

-Event coordinators,
Carla Shafer, Betty Scott, Shannon Laws

Whatcom Creek Fire

On June 10, 1999 around 3:25 P.M., a 16 inch fuel line owned by the Olympic Pipe Line Company ruptures spilling over 277,000 gallons of gasoline into Whatcom Creek.  The volatile fuel explodes killing three people.  The massive fireball sent smoke 30,000 feet into the air, visible from Anacortes to Vancouver!

One and a half miles of earth was scorched, and 25 acres destroyed in the explosion.  It was witnessed that the river was so full of gasoline, it had turned pink.
Residents nearby called into 911 complaining of an overwhelming smell of fuel, but by this time it was too late.  At 4:55 P.M., approximately and hour and a half after the estimated time of the pipe rupture, the river was set on fire!
Map of Whatcom Creek’s path (in red) that flows
through downtown Bellingham, and into the bay.
The fire ignited half a mile before the I-5 underpass
just to the east of downtown.

Two young boys, lighting off firecrackers nearby, as it was close to the Fourth of July, were playing near the river.  These innocent children are heroes!  If they had not accidentally set the fire off when they did, the gas would of continued under an interstate highway, directly into downtown, spilling into the busy Bellingham Bay and marina, with potential deaths and injuries in the thousands. (see map, above)

On June 18, 1999, Bellingham Mayor Mark Asmendson said, “The cause of the fire was the fuel released from the Olympic pipeline. The fact that it was ignited was inevitable. With the thousands and thousands of gallons of fuel that were proceeding down Whatcom Creek, had the ignition not taken place where it did and at the time it did, the damage to this community and the loss of life would have been far greater. These boys completely, without notice or any awareness, were involved in an action that ended up being heroic for the city of Bellingham.”

FOURTEEN YEARS LATER
Hiking the Whatcom Creek trail today, it’s hard to believe that such a hellacious event happened here.  If you look for it, you can find burn scars on the trees and see the restoration efforts by the city to bring back salmon and other species to this precious stretch of land.
Nature finds a way to heal and recover.
Smoke Rising from the Creek

The creek is a special place for me, as are most rivers, and woodland areas.  I find the forest such a peaceful location for a “technical detox”; a place to clear my mind and sort things out.  I feel fortunate to live in a city that makes nature trails such a priority.  Thanks to this trail system I am an easy walk to Whatcom Creek.  Although I have only lived near the creek for a year, I am encouraged by the recovery efforts the city has made.

This last Saturday at the Writers International Network Literary Festival in Richmond, B.C., I read my poem “River Ink” inspired by Whatcom Creek.  The Festival’s theme this year is “Peace”.  I shared this history of the creek with the audience.

before/after

William Wordsworth, a Romantic poet, said it best, “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”

 The creek is green, luscious with all types of trees, bushes, wildlife, and fish. Nature recovers, finds a way.
Now, simple folk like myself, who just want to recover from a hectic day can stroll along this peaceful river
with the encouraging visual reminder that life continues, even after it seems all is lost.
***
My thoughts today are with the family members of those three lives,
lost on that fateful day, in June 1999.
May your hearts recover from the lost of such young life.
Rest in Peace

Liam Wood, 18, and Wade King and Stephen Tsiorvas, both age 10.

***
A Falls Along the Upper Portion of Whatcom Creek

City of Bellingham restoration update:

http://www.cob.org/services/environment/restoration/cemetery-creek.aspx

History Link Sequence of Events:

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=5468

#

Event: WIN Canada 2013

Please consider attending the second annual Writers International Network 
March 23rd, at the Richmond Cultural Centre, Richmond, Canada
WIN is about promoting peace through understanding.  
Ashok, the founder, shares the groups vision
in this statement:
‘An artist’s gift to the world is a poem, story, painting, sculpture or dance. WIN will seek, nourish and recognize all sorts of artists so that together they can make this world a better place to live.’
‘Writing is an art that is deeply rooted in self-reflection. Self-reflection is the human capacity to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about our fundamental nature, purpose and essence. In other words, self reflection is who we see when we look in the mirror. Self reflection is also about taking the time to figure out who we are, both as individuals and as leaders.’
‘WIN is created to fulfil the need of an environment where the work of an artist is appreciated and recognized no matter what background, what language or what cultural heritage that artist belongs to.’
Ashok BhargavaFounder, Writers International Network (WIN)

If you want to hear writers from other parts of world, are excited by new voices and points of view,  and/or are looking to expand your writer-friend network, then I recommend this event for you.

I am also pleased to announce, although I am not a finalist, I have been asked to read my poem “River Ink” at the event.  It is an honor to be among so many wonderful writers.

***

Poetry: River Ink

 
 
River Ink
Went to the river looking for a poem
I found my familiar trail
Winding woods that hug the bank
Whatcom Creek in August
Bushes high and
Full of berries,
Birds and spider’s webs.
Grass sways underwater
Moving in sync with the river
This what peace looks like,
Melted into movement
Tree branch dips over the drink
Desiring more of plenty
Is water from the root not good enough
Do you cool your leaves in the noon sun
Down by the edge there’s a place to sit
Two dead trees have slumped across
I dip a stick into the stream
Like pen into ink
To write my name on the
sun bleached wood.
The sun grabs my letters
Throws them in the air
Birds ride the upward current
Did I just disappear?
This poem and others by Shannon P Laws
are available in a paperback book
Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy
published by Chickadee Productions
***

Poetry: River Ink

River Ink
Went to the river looking for a poem
I found my familiar trail
Winding woods that hug the bank
Whatcom Creek in August
Bushes high and
Full of berries,
Birds and spiders webs.
Grass sways underwater
Moving in sync with the river
Is this what peace looks like,
Melted into movement
Tree branch dips over the drink
Desiring more of plenty
Is water from the root not good enough
Do you cool your leaves in the noon sun
Down by the edge there’s a place to sit
Two dead trees have slumped across
I dip a stick into the stream
Like pen into ink
To write my name on the sun bleached wood
The sun grabs my letters
Throws them in the air
Birds ride the upward current
Did I just disappear