Winning Poems for February 2018

Judged by C. Wade Bentley

First Place

Nebraska, Summer

by Greta Bolger
The Waters

Like tar, she softens in the heat,
a would-be hazard elsewhere.
Her father, careless sentry

stays hidden under the truck
that’s never not in need of fixing,
soles of his beat-up boots

keeping watch. Not many lunatics
this far out anyway, no cars, nights so dark
every star can be seen and counted.

Listen. Soft radio clear as glass
all the way from Lincoln, love songs
rhythmic as she rocks, wood kissing wood.


I love the way the feel of the poem is as languid as a summer day, one line slipping easily into the next, alliteration and assonance doing their job but without bravado. The last stanza, in particular, commands that we listen, and then doesn’t miss a note. --C. Wade Bentley

Second Place

Goldback Fern

by Bob Bradshaw
The Writer's Block

Under bay laurels we looked up
at insects flitting

through a lemony light.
In the distance sunlit clouds

brushed the grassy hills blond,
the way the goldback fern’s underside

leaves behind a yellow dusting.
You pressed one against my jeans,

a golden handprint on my right thigh.
We lingered, hiking slowly,

the moist fingers of ferns
stroking our wrists,

our arms. With narrow trails
I found easy excuses to brush

against you, carrying your scent
home with me.


I’m a sucker for a poet who wows me with close observation, who makes me see old things as new. Sex is heavy in the air, here, but it’s handled delicately, it’s understated, alighting on us as lightly as pollen. --C. Wade Bentley

Third Place

Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)

by John J. Williamson
PenShells

t’s dreich ootside agin this morn,
whit a bloody surprise.
I widnae mynd bit a’ ah see
floatin’ in disguise,
are wisps ‘n’ baws o’ fluffy doun
to haunt mah bloody eyes.

I’m shiverin’ cauld this drookit morn,
whit a bloody surprise.
The heatin’s blawin’ wi’ a’ it’s got,
mah wee lad’s rubbin’ ‘is thighs,
and a’ ah hear frae dusk till dawn
comes brattlin’ oot th’ skies.

It’s floodin’ ower th’ lawn this morn’,
whit a bloody surprise.
The watter’s fallin’ doon th’ steps,
the gnome’s boat micht capsize,
and a’ ah ask, if teem it maun,
let’s reach a compromise.


This poems feels true to its origins. I think old Burnsy himself would have smiled at the language, the rhymes, the unfortunate gnome paddling madly to stay afloat. Otherwise, there’s nothing gang agley, here. --C. Wade Bentley


  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)
      by John J. Williamson
      PenShells