voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...

Tim McNulty



Tim is a poet, essayist, and nature writer. He is the author of three poetry collections, Pawtracks, In Blue Mountain Dusk, and Ascendance, and ten poetry chapbooks. Tim is also the author of eleven books on natural history, including Olympic National Park: A Natural History, and Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park. Tim has received the Washington State Book Award and the National Outdoor Book Award. He lives in the foothills of Washington's Olympic Mountains.















Tim's website is

Turtle Love


While visiting her girlhood home

in Oklahoma,

my friend Kelly always stops

to help slow-moving box turtles

cross the highway.


So many turtles

in summer, seeking out beetles

or roadkill or whatever.

Most seem intent on crossing roads.


Her partner, Russ, who

tells me this,

complains that the turtles,

overcome with fright,

pee all over her.


Couldn't she

keep some raingear

in the trunk, he wonders,

or not be so kind-hearted

toward these poor stranded souls...


But then he thinks again.

two poems by Tim McNulty



Orondo, 1973


Decades now since we bumped north

in the back of a dusty van. Orondo,

Entiat, the small appletowns bunched

along the banks of the slack green waters

of the Columbia,

and the tawny flesh-colored hills beyond them

freckled with sage and creased with arroyos.


We hoped for a few more weeks

of harvest work, but the crop was thin

that year, and the last flatbed loads

of apple bins rumbled past us,

down 97 to the sorting yards at Wenatchee.


By Chelan, we gave it up.

A raw wind chafed over the lake,

and the deepening overcast marked an end

to the blue sunlit harvest days

and brilliant dawns of autumn.


It was late in the day, your birthday,

and we didn’t know

where we would spend the night.

We didn’t know a lot of things then,

but it was this—sharpened by what we both knew

about us and the end of another season—

that left you quiet and hurt.


I can’t remember where we did sleep that night.

I do remember coming home

to the damp cabin and empty woodshed,

and the pain of those last weeks.


But left to its own, memory wanders

beyond that, to the still-green and apple-red

days of harvest, when we’d return

to our pickers’ shack under the trees,

and you’d wash in a white enamel basin.


I remember your beauty as you stood

by the glimmering warmth of the gas burner

brushing leaves from your hair,

and my sadness, as our small window

darkened on the rows of neatly pruned trees

and burnt glow of the sage hills beyond them,

that I’d already lost you.


from Ascendance, Pleasure Boat Studio, 2013 is a non-commercial project, an online anthology, to share a poetic vision of the land we love.

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