Winning Poems for April 2015

Judged by Lesley Wheeler

First Place

27 Rue de Fleurus

by Laurie Byro
Babilu

Prying fingers rattle a fastened door,
she left me her face at the house we both lived in.
Attic secrets itch and claw, in the kitchen, endives
cleaved the broth, melon for a soothing end.

She left me her face at the house we both lived in.
Being a genius took all her time.
Cleaved the broth, melon for a soothing end.
Warned the intruders, warmed love’s pipe and slippers.

Being a genius took all her time.
Attic secrets itch and claw, in the kitchen, endives
warned the intruder’s, warmed Love’s pipe and slippers.
Prying fingers rattle a fastened door.

A skillet filled with steam, saffron, wife-servant whore.
Outside the house, Godiva silent and ready.
Smells summon vixens to the window, hounds to the door.
Owls begin their forage, a giant throws his marbles of light.

Outside the house, Godiva silent and ready,
Poem is a poem is a poem is a poem.
Owls begin their forage, a giant throws his marbles of light.
In the farthest part of the yard, a dog becomes the bone.

Poem is a poem is a poem is a poem.
Smells summon vixens to the window, hounds to the door.
In the farthest part of the yard, a dog becomes the bone.
A skillet filled with steam, saffron, wife-servant whore.

Rabbits ribs ache from all their blissful hiding.
Afterwards, it is generally a blue or rose period.
Baby artichokes, asparagus tips, bouillabaisse,
Puss ticks off her list, licks froth from her mouth.

Afterwards, it is generally a blue or rose period.
The simmering onion weeps and wafts.
Puss ticks off her list, licks froth from her mouth.
Trees gather around the house, the muffled keening.

The simmering onion weeps and wafts.
Puss ticks off her list, licks froth from her mouth.
Trees gather round the house, the muffled keening.
Afterwards, it is generally a blue or rose period.


This fine pantoum is also an elegy for Gertrude Stein from the perspective of Alice B. Toklas. Vivid sensory detail often evokes Toklas’ cooking: the scent of saffron, onions simmering and weeping. The repeating form also gives certain phrases, such as “a dog becomes the bone,” an eerie resonance. --Lesley Wheeler

Second Place

Storage Lockers of the Insane

by Peter Halpin
Wild Poetry Forum

Storage Locker #3: Briddlewood Asylum.
Sgt. Alfred Winterbloom, committed: Sept 3rd 1922.
DOB January 23rd 1896. Placement: Ward 9,
Diagnosis: Pervasive Neurasthenia.
N of K: None. Regiment: Manchesters; 2nd Batt.
Died: March 4th 1979. Buried: Potters Field.
Locker cleared out by: P Haines . RMN. Nursing Officer.
Queenswood, April 6th 1979.

His neatly folded clothes—never removed from the suitcase—
showed the taint of time. Two faded collarless shirts, two,
still starched, detachable collars and two brass studs.
One pair of yellowing long johns and three yellowing
vests resting on top of a pair of corduroy trousers.

Below them were four pairs of wool socks
and a never worn pair of dark brown brogues.
Stuck into one of the shoes was a cut-throat razor
with a scrimshawed bone handle and tempered
Sheffield Steel blade, and into the other,
a horse hair shaving brush.

Stuck down the side was a neatly pressed hankie
folded around a sepia picture of a dog, collie
with white paws and a white patch over its left eye.
It held its head slightly to one side as if perplexed
by the occasion.


This poem offers evidence that a fairly simple list can become intensely poignant. I especially admire the emotional deflection in the ending. --Lesley Wheeler

Third Place

Politics

by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Writer's Block

I would vote for the moon
and its policy of receiving and giving
without attachment.

The sun for its power and leadership
raising up all the green
talent of the earth.

Stars get my vote
for their untiring optimism
in the darkest of hours.

My cabinet would be the trees
who stand firm in their roots,
holding to the truth

in the stiffest winds,
but reaching ever higher
for more light.


The opening stanza of this timely meditation is stunning. --Lesley Wheeler


  • November 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Hope Springs Like a Panther from a Large Boulder Overhead
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Lullaby
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Love Story
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

  • October 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      The Day of a Girl
      by John Riley
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Night Thoughts of a Mottled Songbird
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      The Art of Not Being Descartes
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum