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Coast Mountain Valley
Linda K. Thompson



I leave the yard in the August dawn.
Gun the knocking Rambler up the driveway.
Only the horses notice, nodding their noses
over the twisted planks of the pasture fence.
Potato fields stretch from the road to the mountains.
A dark, ripe green you can almost taste.
In a month the tops will be killed. 
 Lie burnt
and lifeless, ready for digging.


Seven miles from farm to town.
We rode in the back. 
 Would close our eyes,
chant the route, yell it into the wind,
voices of girls who were not afraid:
Uncle Robbie’s, Ryan Creek, First Rockslide, Curve
by the Slough, Miller Creek, Uncle Morgan’s
Double Turn, Lundgren’s, Taylor’s Corner,
 Second Rockslide, Stop Sign in Front of the Bank, Town.


By ’68 I’m ready to go.  Work the early shift at the hotel.
Buy myself Judge Decker’s car, after he dies.
And one October day, the cottonwoods alight,
drive south on 99, past the fields, the river,
aching mountains, the blackbirds in the green gage.
I don’t know then, but the place will follow me:
old dog who won’t turn back.

From Four Small People in Sturdy Shoes (Hot Tomato Studios, 2013).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Linda K. Thompson calls herself “a plain spoken poet.”  A long-time resident of Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island, she grew up on the mainland in the Pemberton Valley, an experience which has been the basis for many of her poems. Linda loves traveling and writing, and indulges those twin passions by attending poetry retreats whenever she can. Her chapbook, Four Small People in Sturdy Shoes, was published last year. Learn more about Linda at



Post New Comment:
I love the phrase 'voices of girls who were not afraid'. Very nice poem!!
Posted 08/24/2015 04:10 PM
Hi Linda, Love, love, love your poems. Your friend in WI.
Posted 08/24/2015 12:34 PM
Very evocative! Good poem.
Posted 08/24/2015 11:49 AM
I love that last line too.
Posted 08/24/2015 08:38 AM
Sondy Squirrelly:
Even though it's Thompson's detailed and unique's not unique, change names of places, turns, landmarks, substitute corn for potatoes... Her plain spoken style evokes memories for our generation of country kids ready to go & see the rest of the world, beyond the bend.
Posted 08/24/2015 08:34 AM
Love the last line.
Posted 08/24/2015 08:03 AM
Oh, those "aching mountains". Thanks for this poem that will follow me.
Posted 08/24/2015 07:00 AM
I loved reading this poem from this "plain speaking poet". In fact I've gone back to it three or four times this morning. It rings so true.
Posted 08/24/2015 04:06 AM
Ross Kightly:
'Home is where your hat falls off the peg' as the saying goes! Go on speaking plainly, Linda!
Posted 08/24/2015 02:21 AM

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