A Quieting

by Michael Harty
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, August 2010
Judged by Ruth Ellen Kocher


Every day she spoke of the wind,
always the wind, constant as her presence,
molding every tree to point
a steady northeast, scouring paint
from the south wall, decorating
barbed wire with tumbleweeds,
mesquite with candy wrappers and rags.

Familiar as a bedtime book:
the chinks never sealed,
dustmopping twice a day, still the skids
on powdery linoleum, still the jokes
about grit in the sandwiches.

Every day, until the day
you walked through a house full of silence,
stepped out a screen door, leaned
into a wind that wasn’t there,
staggered, almost fell.


The poem pivots on the notion of suspension and the open ended signification of what is familiar and so yet unknown. We find ourselves as readers settling into the poem, into the poem's language, such that the elusive pronouns, "she" and "you" seem not so much untethered but mysterious and inviting. The poem slips into the fantastic utterance and yet, we do not question being led by each successive image. The marriage of disparate objects and references serves the magical feeling of the poem and allows it to hover between a moment of true recollection and a moment of dream. --Ruth Ellen Kocher

  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters