Marilyn J. Sandall: 1942–2015

Seattle, Washington

9 July 1942 – 12 September 2015

Marilyn Sandall grew up in Oregon and lived in Seattle for many years. Her haiku appeared in Brussels Sprout, Woodnotes, Chiyo's Corner, The Heron's Nest, and Haiku Northwest anthologies. She collaborated in an online haiku flash animation for Licton Springs Review. Her haiku also appeared on the King County Metro Poetry and Art Buses. Marilyn was born on July 9, 1942, and died on September 12, 2015. See her Seattle Times obituary, which is also reproduced below, published in the October 4, 2015 issue.

nest hole

waiting a wren moment

before it reappears

morning mist—

wind shifts

the mountain peak

bones beneath

hospital sheets

my father smaller

her memorial service—

in the silence

his deep bow

Marilyn J. Sandall

Marilyn J. Sandall, psychologist, award-winning environmentalist, accomplished nature photographer, and published poet, passed away at home in Seattle on September 12, 2015 at the age of 73. Marilyn was born on July 9, 1942, in Eugene, Oregon. She earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Washington in 1982. She served as a counselor and teacher at Seattle Central and North Seattle Community Colleges from 1969 to 2000 and maintained a private therapy practice as well.

Following her retirement, Marilyn extended her longtime activity in Seattle Audubon Society, serving as a member of the Seattle Audubon board and of the conservation and urban habitat committees. In addition to her dedicated work in the field, she spent countless hours preparing for hearings on urban habitat and state forest issues. She was passionate in her advocacy for environmental sustainability and wildlife protection, often expressed in artwork.

She was a talented photographer, combining her interest in bird life with graphic art to produce spectacular images of birds in the wild and other subjects in the natural world. Marilyn was also a gifted poet and a master of the haiku form. She was an avid member of Haiku Northwest. Her poems appeared in several publications and were selected to be displayed on King County Metro buses, as well as presented aloud at Seattle Center.

In 2013, Marilyn received the Seattle Audubon Conservation Award, the highest honor given to an individual in the greater Seattle community who has made a unique and significant contribution to the protection of birds and wildlife habitat, using creative means for engaging and inspiring the public.

She is survived by her loving sister Julie Barlas and brother-in-law Arthur Barlas of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and by numerous longtime friends and colleagues. All will miss her great wit, luminous presence, and brilliant smile for many years to come.

Donations in memory of Marilyn Sandall may be made to Seattle Audubon: Martin Miller Fund, 8050 35th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

Haiku by Marilyn J. Sandall

Compiled in loving memory by Connie Hutchison, September 2016, for a memorial reading on October 28, 2016 at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway

prairie sky

clouds scattering

snow seed

upturned garbage lid—

robin’s noisy bathing

stilled by my gaze

Echoes Across the Cascades, 1994 Anthology

band-tailed pigeons

sounding like helicopters

arrive at my feeder

Brussels Sprout 11:1, 1994


yellow slickers whirling

in the rain

Brussels Sprout 12:2, 1995


spits in my hand

and leaps free

The Swinging Grasshopper, workshop anthology, edited by Bob Major, 1995

collecting sea shells

and a lottery ticket . . .

a chance to stay

the ripe scent

of fallen apples

beyond the fence

Sudden Shower, 1995 Anthology

ducks following

the curve of the river—

how fast they fly

a blue heron      spreads its wings

               six feet of flight

Unbroken Curve, 1996 Anthology

her husband gone

my neighbor moved away

this empty spring

wood ducks!

in the photo blind

my camera jams

roots on the trail

change the rhythm of our feet

and the camp songs


ragtime jazz band on the square—

        homeless man dances

in  out

out  in  out  in  out

rainy cat days

raucous crows

covering winter branches—

hoarse cacophony

Sunlight Through Rain, A Northwest Haiku Year, 1996

squirrel-proof cover

makes a nice umbrella

while he feeds

the waiting room—

catching up

on old news

Cherry Blossom Rain, 1997 Anthology


by the silence

first snow

To Find the Words, 2000 Anthology

among the stones

polished bits of glass

dress the beach

a crow

picks at barnacles

the drum of the surf

gray sky   gray water

fishing boats and scoters


headlands fade

the fog leaves no trace

of the city

Sand Water Sky: A Ginkō at Alki Beach, 2001, produced by Marilyn Sandall

       this grey morning

a friend brings two ripe kaki

             and gossip

On Crimson Wings: Centennial Anthology of the Japanese Consulate of Seattle

edited by Kathleen Decker, 2001

petal drop

star magnolia’s

white shadow

Illustrated Haiku Sheet: Ginkō of Northwest Poets at Bellevue Botanical Garden, 2002, produced by Ruth Yarrow

   winter fog

the full moon

 out of focus

Box Anthology, designed by Francine Porad and Marilyn Sandall 

for the 2002 Haiku Society of America meeting

weekend athlete

learning anatomy

ache by ache

Wind Shows Itself, 2004 Anthology

Marilyn was a member of the editorial/publication team of the following Haiku Northwest publications:

Marilyn created photo-haiga postcards, which included these haiku:

a crow’s caw

cracks the morning fog



after heavy snowfall

this morning’s power surge


morning fog

the heron’s unhurried



cold snap

carolers ring in the season


Photo by Sheila Sondik, taken at Seabeck, Washington.