Under the Harvest Moon

The Big Tent Poetry prompt this week was to write a cascade poem. Immersed as I am in the Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge, I was hard pressed to write a cascade poem, until I realized I wrote one a few weeks ago for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge. I decided that it was recent enough!

About the subject: For 15 years, my family and I attended the Salmon Festival at Oxbow Park the second weekend of October, which celebrated the return of the fall Chinook salmon to the Sandy River to spawn. It was a wonderful family event, with kids activities, salmon viewing walks, horse-drawn carriage rides, educational booths by many environmental groups, a fish “school”, educating people about how salmon fit in with our local watersheds, and native American dancing. Oh yeah, and a salmon barbecue. For me it was an affirmation of the cycle of life, paying tribute not just to the salmon, but to the native people who have a long history of deriving their sustenance from the salmon runs. Alas, the festival is no more, a victim of budget cuts, scaled back to simply two weekends of guided walks. The salmon runs are likewise diminishing, and I fear it is only a matter of time before a way of life is irretrievably lost. My poem is in tribute to the amazing migration of the Chinook salmon.

Under the Harvest Moon

Windfall apples strewn on the lawn—
under the harvest moon, again
Chinook salmon find their way home.

The steady insistence of rain
thrums a tattoo on sodden leaves—
windfall apples strewn on the lawn.

A leaf, a branch, a silhouette—
who now hovers in shadowy dark,
under the harvest moon, again?

Swimming upstream, always upstream
(how can they know which way to go?)
Chinook salmon find their way home.