Featured OPA Contest Winner: Lisa Baldwin

Out West


It was your silence that turned me
Out and away from the hollowness
Resounding through this empty place
We sometimes felt was home.
Along the beach road, walking away,
I know one bird on the wire
Is less alone than two
Perched yards apart.

A silent sea stack divides the Pacific
On the fulcrum of its presence,
Cuts a single swell into
Two urgent, shore-bound surges,
Movement rushed by solid stillness,
Water curved by rock,
Rock carved by moving water
Into the shapely hips of Earth’s
Ripe daughter posing in the shallows alone.

I long for a pelagic life, unbound,
In the company of sooty terns
Alone to drown or rise
On some airborne mercy.



Lisa Baldwin: My poem, “Out West,” comes out of an awareness that loneliness has little to do with being alone. I began working on this poem after a trip to the Oregon Coast, a place with deep emotional significance for me but one I had not visited in the seven years following the death of my father. Here I began learning about the beauty of solitude and the sounds that run under and carry silence. “Out West” is the result of this lesson.


Lisa E. Baldwin is a full-time teacher and writer who believes poetry is necessary for a good life. A fifth-generation Oregon native, her poetry draws on the beauty, diversity and history of our place. She lives on a little farm in Southern Oregon with her husband and honeybees.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top