I won the King County Public Poetry contest.  

I am ridiculously pleased.  Here is my poem of 50 words or fewer, as required.


Shilshole, oh Shilshole, you’re my bike trail of choice.
I’m a rolling oldie, who lives nearby, hoping you’ll hear my voice.
I want to roll bumpless by the canal, with boats and the seagulls’ squawks, 
And not divert to Leary, on my stroll to the Chittenham Locks. 

I won an online mention

which limits my fame to those few of my Landmark colleagues with a smartphone and/or laptop, and those even fewer who know how to use them.  

Better yet, I won having my poem on a bus or light rail car, 

which is especially fine because my City Councilperson is dissing the Shilshole Avenue route to fill in  the ‘missing link’ [the last 1.4 miles of the 27 mile Burke Gilman [bike on rail] Trail] which we, who love the outdoors and want to live healthy and longer, prefer.  He is pushing, instead, dangerous, busy, unappealing  Leary Avenue, an appalling  diversion, which runs right in front of my Landmark.  A bus with my poem favoring the Shilshole Avenue route that passes by my City Councilperson’s Ballard office  could be the sandwich-board from Hell.      

Charlie hinted I might be eligible for Diva-dom.  I happily agreed to a month of being spoiled.  He  said, ‘Ten minutes’, and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee.  I said,’Yes’, and relished my short-lived  Diva-ness.  And Charlie.  But I always relish Charlie. 

Duck with hat and Poet look at Ships’ Canal and think  of Shilshole trail.

Then what should appear in my morning’s read, but a perfect poem for all, or at least many, purposes.   It is amendable.  [See italics.]   It infers that librarians and libraries matter, that well-thought people are more likely to do good, to be hopeful, to see possibilities with prospects, and to VOTE. Did I mention well-informed people are more likely to VOTE? 


“O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,” by Philip Appleman, 
from Selected Poems (University of Arkansas) with italicized amendments by Colleen Coghlan

O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will, & wit,
purity, probity, pluck, & grit.
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimme great abs & a steel-trap mind,
and forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice—
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:
make the bad people good—
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.

Go to the library and search the shelves
Where helpful librarians look like elves. 
Develop ideas, then enter the fray,
VOTE for DEMOCRACY and save the day!

With my contest winner poem [she said un-humbly] of 50 words or fewer, and only 27 words in the amended poem, not counting the ‘TITLE’ words.  I may have found my metier.  All I need now is a keyboard with diacritical markings that my short-fingered, non-dominant hand can manage.  

Coming next, some questions for those of you – and I know you are legion – who are thinking of becoming a librarian and still uncertain.  Stay tuned.

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13 Responses to NOTEWORTHY NEWS

  1. Sandy Lauritzen says:

    You WIN in my book any day !
    I am not so great at checking your blog! I have been collecting smooth rocks and painting them. When I have a bunch, my caregiver Heather comes and we do
    a walkabout and place then for people and children to find. If you find on, it will say sandy and Seattle on the bottom. She comes on Monday from 8-10. talk about getting someone up and at um early!

  2. Pam says:


    WOW!! I, who can’t imagine creating poetry myself, am mucho impressed.

    Enjoy the ride…

  3. Marcia Pankake says:

    A smart woman with the name of Colleen
    Wrote a poem that’s everywhere seen.
    It was read in a hush,
    And put on a bus
    For it’s pointed but not at all mean.

    Someone said that all language is political.


  4. Astan Crowe says:

    What pleasure you’ve brought me today — beauty, spirit, goodwill and love. Thank you.
    Asta (Maine Roseledge memories)

  5. Asta Crowe says:

    What joy you’ve brought me today. Memories from Roseledge in past days. Beauty and joy and hope and love, thank you! And always, so good to see your beautiful face, you are one of my inspirations in my aging life!

  6. Leah Harvey says:

    A poem written for Colleen years ago.
    Colleen, Colleen, she’s the library queen.
    She taught us all
    to get on the ball
    to use the library
    to find the resources that marry
    us with the knowledge,
    we need at this college.

    Colleen, Colleen, she’s always had a dream
    to sell books in Maine.
    Our loss is her gain.
    She will leave us without
    a certain entertainment, no doubt.

    Colleen, Colleen, she is so keen.
    Her unusual thinking
    is always linking
    thoughts so creatively,
    we follow them belatedly.

    Colleen, Colleen, the library queen,
    we hope you find retirement serene.
    When you are gone, all of us will practice
    trying our best to talk the fastest.

  7. It does not surprise me at all that you are now a published poet. Your ability with words in any situation speaks of the clever way you put words together for all of us to enjoy. Saint Paul, Minnesota has a sidewalk poetry contest every spring. Winners get their poems written in concrete around town for everyone taking a walk to read. Your success encourages me to give it a try!

  8. Roxanne Markoff says:

    Millie has introduced me to your blog, Colleen! I have been your fan since my early days at Metro State, when you came to my classes and enchanted us all. And then you left us for Maine, my second most beloved place. Thank you in advance for the pleasure you will bring!

  9. colleen says:

    Hi Bev, I love the ‘legend’ in concrete idea. Reminds me of my 2-year-old footprints in front of our new house in 1942 or my footprints in nw concrete by the swimming pool, 10 years later. Could be a new form of publishing. Definitely go for it. I miss you, Colleen.

  10. colleen says:

    Hi Leah, I loved this and all the memories it evokes. All these years later, I’ve decided I was trying to prepare autodidacts, whose ability to keep learning, through the library, of course, would equip the curious to adapt to change, see through today’s information nonsense, live longer, and make the world better.
    I applaud your keeping, then finding, memorable gems. Good times, for sure, Colleen

  11. colleen says:

    Hi Asta, And you made my day. I’m blessed with the best memories ever, and you are part of what makes that so.

  12. colleen says:

    Hi Marcia, I love this and you. Colleen

  13. colleen says:

    Hi Roxanne, Lovely to reacquaint. Just another reason to thank Millie, a good friend of many years.
    With you, my blog readership just moved beyond twelve. I hope you have as much fun reading it, as I do writing the posts.

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