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Poems from Netul

Reflections of the past

By Cynthia MudgePublished 3 years ago 2 min read
Netul River (photo by Cynthia Mudge)


By Cynthia Mudge

These poems are my reflection of the once booming logging yard along the Netul River, near where Lewis & Clark spent the winter at Fort Clatsop in Oregon. Many of the terms are those used in the logging industry, though I’ve taken some poetic license to weave this together.

Boom: A floating frame (usually made from timber) designed to contain logs as they are sorted/prepped for shipping.

Rafts: A collection of sorted logs tied and ready for shipment

Dolphins: In this reference, refers to several rafts tied together – usually in groups of three or six.

Broncs: My poetic reference to Buckers who cut timber into manageable pieces but in this case refers to the boom sorters as I imagined them as riding bucking broncos.

Boomsticks: More commonly called boom pokes, pike poles, or boom cats, the stick used by boom tenders to sort logs.

Fit to be Tied

Stiff booms, now with skeletons strewn

Where raft builders and their pike poles once pushed and pulled

Dolphins twisted together, by three and six

Binding their strength against the rising tides

Old time broncs riding these boards

Slack-tides, low tides, work tied

To these rotting bones

Boomsticks and rafters, toggled shut

Fitting across the raceway

Rigged and ready for show


A floating heirloom

Set adrift

Once pulsing with pride

Forecasting good fortunes ahead

Now these timbers

Moss soaked, lean-to

Another tide


Slipped into the water

It was transformed

On land, a hollowed vessel

Resting from its last journey

But a new day and new blessing

Sends her gliding through rippling tides

Sleek as any whale

Cutting gracefully past the bow of the land

This poem is specifically about the canoes built by the Clatsops and Chinooks, whose homeland is at the mouth of the Columbia River located along the north Oregon coast and southern Washington coast. These canoes glide through the water as elegantly as that of a whale or dolphin. Lewis & Clark were impressed and fascinated by the beauty and functionality of their canoes. So much so, they “stole” one as part of their return trip home. The canoes made by indigenous tribes were superior to the cumbersome log canoes used by the expedition. *Kənim is the Chinuk Wawa word for canoe.


The Chinuk Wawa Dictionary Project (2012). Chinuk Wawa, As our elders teach us to speak it. Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. University of Washington Press.

nature poetry

About the Creator

Cynthia Mudge

Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Cynthia is an avid reader and explorer of historical fiction, paranormal, and environmental tales that examine the world around us. Her writing explores these themes as she finds her Skookum Spirit.

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