Today's poetry for today's world

Mark Thalman 


Mark Thalman's book Catching the Limit is published by Fairweather Books (2009) and is part of their Northwest 

Poetry Series.  Thalman's poetry has been widely published

over the last four decades.  He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon, and he teaches English

in the public schools.  Thalman is the editor of poetry.us.com.  

He lives in Forest Grove, Oregon.






Click on book cover to buy Catching the Limit.




MOVING INTO NIGHT                




After dinner dishes have been washed and put away,

I walk down to the dock.


Clouds hover against snow-capped peaks.

The sun, already below the horizon, turns glaciers pink.


Shadows stretch across the hills

like blankets being drawn up for the night.


Along the distant shore,

one last fisherman trolls for kokanee  .  .  .


Below my feet, trout meander between pilings--

glide over dappled stones.


The moon rises.  On the water,

it is shattered by each wave.


With cupped hands, I scoop up a brilliant shard

and wash my face with wet light.


Soon, the wind dies, and the moon is again whole.

Pale stars, floating lanterns, dot the lake.


I untie my boat, shove off,

and lifting the oars, row across the heavens.




-- from Catching the Limit Fairweather Books (2009). 

"Moving into Night" was first published in Poetpourri

and later reprinted in Verse Daily, and davejarecki.com.    










Wading thigh-deep,
I cast a fly
which I tied last winter,
and let it drift
below the riffle.

There, a steelhead lies,
weighing the current,
balancing in one place,
the mouth slowly working
open and closed.

While eyes that have never known sleep
signal the body to rise,
slide steadily forward,
shadow flickering
over mossy stones.

In a smooth flash of motion,
deft as a blade, the fish strikes
and the surface explodes.

Trembling violently in air,
amid spray and foam,
the steelhead blazes like a mirror catching sun,
falls back, extinguishing the fire,
only to lift again,
a flame out of water.

In a long meteoric arc,
cutting a vee across the surface,
the fish unable to dislodge the hook,
dashes instinctively down stream.

Zigzagging back and forth,
fighting the current and line,
it is only a matter of time,
until this miracle of energy
rests on its side,
gills flaring.

She's fat with roe,
so I work the barb out
and let her go
on her journey
from which
there is no escape.

-- from Catching the Limit Fairweather Books (2009).
"North Umpqua, Summer Run" was first published by
Gin Bender Poetry Review
and later appeared in Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon, Ooligan Press,

Portland State University, and davejarecki.com.







Thick and green, the hills rise

on each other’s shoulders.


High ridges disappear in fog

make me wish I was born of water.


At the divide, I taste the cool ocean air,

the way a deer finds a salt lick,


and roller-coaster down a narrow road

that does not believe in a straight line.


Blackberry vines

crawl through barbed wire fences.


Small towns occur like a whim.

As if in a coma, they merely survive.


I tune in the only station

and listen to country-western.


Static gradually drowns the singer out.

Rounding a corner, he pops to the surface


for another breath,

simply to sink back still singing.


Fir shadows lace the road.

Bracken cascades embankments.


At the next curve, a farmhouse is half finished--

boards weathered raw.  Chickens roost in a gutted Chevy.


Scattered among these hills, families

rely on small private lumber mills,


the disability or unemployment check,

the killing of an out of season elk.




-- from Catching the Limit Fairweather Books (2009). 

"Highway to the Coast" was first published in Caffeine Destiny

and later appeared by Deer Drink the Moon by Ooligan Press -

Portland State University Press, davejarecki.com, and yourdailypoem.com.




Writer's Tip: "Write about what is uniquely yours and out of that world

which only you can create, stake out your territory."




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