Centrum, Day One

Bill Ransom 2009 More than 30 years ago Joe Wheeler invited Bill Ransom to Port Townsend to help create the what would later become the Centrum Foundation. Bill founded The Port Townsend Writers' Conference, today one of our most successful and exciting residential learning experiences.

Bill just completed a short residency and left us with this poem… a memory of a grand idea, not yet named. Thanks Mr. Ransom!


One dusty desk, one box of books, one
portable typewriter with a bad “O” and
one window layered gray with mill-dust.
Despair. “What are we thinking?”
Fog swirls the parade ground and there,
There!  One muddy-bellied red fox,

mallard in its teeth, parts the waist-high grass.
I lift the sash and she stops still, eyeballs me

for one long breath, then trots up the trail
to her den behind the peeling JFK hall.
Now those other settling buildings, their
smashed windows, the overgrown fields
and overwhelming blackberries look like
potential again.  “Just you wait, Sister Fox.
This will be something to see.  This
will be something!”  Quick call to Wheeler:
“Joe, we need a name!”

Bill Ransom
Residency Apartment “A”
Fort Worden
26 March 2010