Reviving her love of poetry

August 09, 2013 10:44 pm

Georgia Cockerham The Pilot/Don Iler
Georgia Cockerham The Pilot/Don Iler
After her son was killed by a driver who ran a red light 10 years ago, Cockerham stopped writing poetry, something she had done most of her life. 

She did not write again for five years. But she eventually picked her pen up again, determined to leave something for her grandchildren.

“It was not only a labor of love for my grandchildren,” Cockerham said. “It was also therapeutic.”

Initially, when Cockerham began writing poetry again, the poems were grief related as she worked through the loss of her son. But eventually she began writing poems for her grandchildren.

Georgia Cockerham will be signing her book, “Wildlife Friends,” at A Wildbird and Backyard General Store, 1109 Chetco Ave., from 4 to 7 p.m., during the Second Saturday Art Walk. But writing again, and especially writing and publishing a book, was not easy for Cockerham.

“I wanted them to evoke feelings of joy when my grandchildren read them,” Cockerham said.

The book contains nine poems about animals found on the Northwest coast, accompanied by watercolor paintings by Cockerham.

The whimsical paintings show animals at play, rest or on the move, and span species from the land, air and sea. 

“I wanted to leave something for my grandchildren when I’m gone,” she said.

Having researched each of the animals, their habitats and habits, the poems not only entertain, but are educational as well. 

A poem about the river otter takes its inspiration from an otter that lives near Cockerham’s house, which is right on the coast. 

She says the otter lept out of the water and wiggled on the sand, drying itself off just like a dog would. The otter walked toward her, but then went under the rocks nearby.

She describes the otter’s gait “like a slinky let go down the stairs” in her poem, bringing her observations on the animals into her poems. 

Cockerham has written poetry for decades, but only began painting watercolors three years ago, once she retired from her work as an investment advisor and insurance broker. 

She writes her poems by longhand in her studio that looks out to the ocean, but she may decide to write anywhere if the feeling strikes her. Sometimes she may sit down and write the whole poem in one sitting, other times it might take her days as she makes changes and rewrites drafts. 

With one book done, she is already at work on a second book.

Looking forward to the Second Saturday Art Walk, she said its a fun social gathering and one of Brookings’ features. 

“It’s fun at this age in life to do something creative and be recognized for it,” Cockerham said.