Winning Poems for April 2013

Judged by Linda Sue Grimes

First Place

Requiescat in Pace

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells

I have made him no marker; his name twists
in silence beneath a granite rock laid above his sleep.
To anyone who did not love him, he rots anonymous –
only a dead horse, scooped under and gone.

From this new grave, edged with springtime clay,
a ribbon of melt water leaks and wends its slow
journey to his fence, the alder copse, my house-
shadow sharp and pointed across a forsaken pasture.

He’s been running these fields for thirty-three Junes
burning his coat to ginger; Octobers falling cool over
his starry head. At the end, I slipped him treats – molasses
and grated apple – which he chewed from duty and perhaps,
because he knew this was our last gift to each other.

The trickle shrinks and stops. Out on the road, a black
pickup kicks up more dust for his blanket. It is the morning
of the third day and his stone sits heavier than I ever
imagined it would.


Requiescat in Pace” dramatizes the despair of losing an animal friend, yet it also celebrates the gratitude of having experienced that relationship. The parallel of the melting ice and melting presence of the horse infuses this poem with its stunning vision, while the third stanza crystallizes the history of the dignified animal’s life. The final image of the “stone sit[ting] heavier than I ever / imagined it would” captures the speaker’s sorrow with beauty as well as clarity. --Linda Sue Grimes

Second Place

Nevada, U.S. Highway 6

by Kim Cassidy
Wild Poetry Forum

Almost home. New Jersey to California
in four days with the promise of divorce
at the end. This new road seemed to go forever,
nothing but brown and dust and brush–
miles and miles, hundreds behind us,
hundreds more up ahead. Love takes these treks
and sometimes strange things happen, like the cow
that appeared, steadfast as a ship’s anchor
claiming her spot dead center as if to say:
Slow down. What’s your hurry?
It worked, because when you’re speeding
down the highway like somebody’s fury,
black and white coming up sudden against
a deep magenta sky makes you put on your brakes.
You get hungry driving, thirsty too,
and sometimes you have to pee. Basic needs
kick in when there’s so much nothing,
not even a radio station to dial in.
The sign was innocuous enough. There’s a lunar crater
up ahead. Well, I’ve never done it in a
moon crater and I figure, here’s my chance.
What the hell. One last go for the sake
of prosperity. No remorse, but life
likes to teach and I learned that day
that while marriage may be hard, craters
are hard and pointy.


In “Nevada, U.S. Highway 6,” the speaker deftly juggles emotions as he completes a long road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast. Bearing the heavy burden of an impending divorce, he dramatizes a light-heartedness that promises to keep him in balance. Image choices such as “the cow / that appeared, steadfast as a ship's anchor,” and “craters” that are “hard and pointy” help create in the piece a rich texture that complements the confusion of an uncertain future. --Linda Sue Grimes

Third Place

The rising song of you

by Jude Goodwin
The Waters

The sun comes in like a quiet cat
one paw print on the wall,
one on the piano,
it purrs by my slipper
as I write this morning hymn
to you, an anthem
to the way you lift the coffee
to your lips, the way you turn
when I speak.
And when morning
begs at the window
we laugh,
the cat and I,
all spread on the coverlet
warmed by the rising
song of you.


“The rising song of you” playfully portrays not only the creative process but also the delight experienced by a lover for a beloved. The “quiet cat” that subtly insinuates herself into the piece as she represents “the sun” adds magic to this little musical drama. --Linda Sue Grimes


  • August 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The World Is Moist in the Morning
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Epitaph
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      I kissed a tree
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

  • 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