The Pacific Northwest Forum
Volume II, Number 4, Pages 16
Fall, 1977

August on San Juan Island

R.B. Smith

Embroidered birds with cardinal wings
Enlivened the white of our picnic cloth
As we gave the place some mixed reviews.
The pig war there was a thing of smiles,
With no deaths at all except for the pig.
Still, it might have been grandly worse.
The American camp was a lethal spot
Just a grassy knoll and a salt breeze
To rub the grapeshot smartly in.
But the British camp was miles away
And the redcoats never spilled uphill.
Now plaques and tourists litter the ground
Where royal marines may well have died.
The pig war there was a piece of cake,
Twelve long years of holstered steel
While twice a day the blue tides came
To soften the edges of tempered rock.

At the time of the original publication R.B. Smith was a professor of English at Eastern Washington University (2008).