Winning Poems for October 2009

Judged by Majid Naficy

First Place

Rain

by Anna Yin
Pen Shells

You don’t pray for rain in mountains.
It comes and goes as if to home.
The soil is forever soft to preserve its depth.
Leaves unfold themselves to hold each drop.
Sometimes rain wanders in clouds,
others it runs into rising streams.
At the end of each cycle, you always hear it singing
all the way home, kissing leaves, tapping trees.
Still, some drops stay longer on the tall branches
until the sky clears.
All of a sudden, a wind blows,
they let go –
A light shower surprises you
sitting motionless
under a phoenix tree.


When I read this poem, I immediately knew that it would be my first choice. That's how beauty presents itself. The poem begins with a strong statement that rain frequents the mountain as if the mountain is its home, and ends with an unexpected experience caused by the rain. --Majid Naficy

Second Place

Forbidden Lullaby

by Walter Schwim
Mosaic Musings

Let my thoughts tonight caress you
as the moon does to the sea
with a rhythm slow and ancient
in a flowing liquid glee.

May the cycles of the cosmos
herald rising of a tide
that will float us off together
on an everlasting ride.

Hold me tightly as we venture
on our voyage though the skies
so my warmth will still surround you
when tomorrow you arise.

For by daybreak I must leave you
to atone a life of sin
until turning of the heavens
drops a key to let you in.


This is a smooth satirical poem about a "forbidden" love. To understand the poem, the word "thoughts" in the first line is crucial. The image presented in the last stanza leaves us with a sacrilegious question: Who is living upstairs? A generous God in the heavens or the narrator who wishes to drop the key for the lover awaiting downstairs? --Majid Naficy

Third Place

Without salt

by Mandy Pannett
The Write Idea

It’s about waking up
to the sound of a bird,
a bird for all birds
in the tree outside,
with snow on the sill,
an air that is easy to breathe.

And I’m still back
in that favourite time –
that crummy old flat
in Washington Square,
squatting with poets
on cold brown steps,
bright as the stars but hungry
for syllables, words
with a passion and meat.

But it’s winter in Paris and years since that
and they’re all long gone,
those rebels are dead.
I’m missing the salt,
need words that are tough,
am tired of courage,
go on.


This poem rests on memory. The bird that awakes the poet brings back the memory of the poet's youth, hanging out with fellow poets in Washington Square. I think the poem does not need the last stanza and should end with the line "with a passion and meat". --Majid Naficy

Honorable Mention

Bills and Yet More Bills

by Christopher T. George
FreeWrights Peer Review

Bills arrive uninvited at our doors
predictable as death or, erm, worms.

Bills! Don’t like ‘em! Take
‘em out to lunch–we’ll go Dutch!

Bills on ducks and platypuses,
the joke my grandma told about
Bill Sticker. . . or was it Bill Poster?

Will Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill,
Bill Clinton. . . the bill you paid
for that Knickerbocker Glory.

Bill Bailey, Bill the Bailiff, the Old Bill,
Portland Bill, Bill the Cat,
Bill Bixby, Bill Blass, Bill Cosby.

Mein Gott! Tot up the bill for that lot!
Rat-a-tat-tat, empty billfold.

Hey, Bills, I’ll take a raincheck, ha ha ha!
Oh, mmmmm. Hi, Mr. Death, Bill Collector.

plastic cut-outs of Elvis. “Blue Hawaii.”
How will I ever pay the bills? Aloha!
Her facility sits south of Loch Raven:

Donna and I on our wedding day in a Rolls
chauffeured round the reservoir, under massive
pines; 40 years before, my family arrived from

the UK: huge gray fish nosed beneath the dam.
Catfish, bottom feeders, corporate clowns.
Deeper depths. What’s the answer–to drive

Mom and myself into the deep of Loch Raven?
Yet, how quick would the end be? I gnaw
my lower lip, pour another whisky, drown.




  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

  • June 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu