Winning Poems for August 2017

Judged by Tim Mayo

First Place

Seasoned with Love

by Eira Needham

Emerging sun is draped in lazuline
and chariots amidst the clouds. We dance
until Selene conjures up romance
with umbra shade. We rumba in between

magnolias to our floribunda shrine.
Southwester squalls destroy tranquillity
and offshoots fracture. Yet beneath our tree
vast roots are firm. As temperatures decline

vermillion tresses tumble; dogwood’s bare.
Celestial orb reclines on nimbus pillows.
Shivering, as breath of autumn billows,
we entwine, repelling gelid air

prepared for icy crystals, drifting deep,
humming a threnody until we sleep.

The compressed language of this poem is also “seasoned” with assonance and a number of internal rhymes. The poet has imagined to capture the changes of day to night as well as the movement through the seasons from spring through summer, autumn to winter, an entire life cycle from emerging or awakening to sleep and death all in one sonnet. --Tim Mayo

Second Place


by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea

I’ve been ill-used, no other word will do;
pristinely packaged, sanitised and new
a month ago I stood upon display
till someone paid to carry me away.

Once home, he placed me in a cup whose rim
was chipped and whose interior was grim.
Upon a shelf, inside his smallest room,
I stayed, alone, to contemplate my doom.

Next morning he adorned my head with gel –
my bristles had a fresh and minty smell.
But then he raised me up into his mouth
and brushed from east to west, from north to south.

I rubbed against decaying slabs of brown,
deep cavities, raw gums, a tarnished crown,
till finally he scrubbed his furry tongue,
an organ as malodorous as dung.

Each morning since, I’ve gagged upon his breath,
that rancid cavern’s stench is worse than Death,
with plaque and gummed up lips that dribble goo –
I’ve been ill-used, no other word will do.

I love the conceit in this poem. It is well thought out and well executed. The rhyming couplets accentuate and underline the comedy of the poem. --Tim Mayo

Third Place

A Note for Perilous Times

by Fred Longworth

You’re never ready when
it comes. This time it’s a voice mail
from Cohen’s dry cleaners on Fern Street
that the Levi’s jacket you had custom altered
only a month before
by Qui, the Vietnamese seamstress,
because it was a bit too long in the sleeves,
has been absolutely, irretrievably lost.

Suddenly, there’s a stirring
in the wild places of your mind.
Surely, you should let the monitor lizard that lives
in a nodule at the tip of your spine
have his way with Sam Cohen.
Or maybe not—it’s only a stylish jacket.
“I’m civilized!” you repeat to yourself,
in a mantra of forbearance.

Your fantasy of blood-revenge
over trivia reminds you that an apex predator
lurks in all of us, even those who proclaim:
“Peace and love!”—or else!
On streets and screens, competing reptiles
parade their sharpened teeth. These are times
when even ostriches hoot and screech,
and raise their small heads to a darkening sky.

Haven’t we all had our lizard brain react to an incident in our lives which in the grand scheme of things has little significance in the greater world, but, nonetheless, touches something dear to us? “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,” as Yeats said.

Suddenly, there’s a stirring
in the wild places of your mind.

The poem echoes Yeats’ poem without actually imitating it. “These are times / when even ostriches hoot and screech, / and raise their heads to a darkening sky” are spot on, pitch perfect lines to end the poem. --Tim Mayo

Honorable Mention

Whatever Glorious Else It Is

by Guy Kettelhack
Wild Poetry Forum

Divine mist of happiness – a fine
gold silt – an entourage of tiny

sparkling particles which follow
light as if light were Apollo:

then the sun as it obliquely hits
and swallows several pearly

swatches of translucent curtain
now ignites the thing to fire: soft

probity, desire – and the sweetness
of the state of mind that this

engenders: tender and replete:
like baby Mozart, chubby fingers

flick pink toes into a syncopation
as he gurgles three-part harmonies:

this infantile art with its surpassing
subtleties: this jubilant involuntary

gasp! – so cowed by the enormity
of fleetness that it breeds a brief

and bleeding sadness: makes you
wonder if this isn’t, here –

whatever gloriously else it is –
the root of human madness.