Beethoven Dying

by Bob Bradshaw
The Writer's Block
Honorable Mention, December 2019
Judged by Laurie Byro


I held my old friend’s trembling hand
as he spoke of better times.

He hummed an unrecognizable tune,
and spoke of a work that would be like no other.
For weeks he had wrestled with it, never
writing any of it down.

Gripping his pain-wrenched gut,
Beethoven fell back into a sweat.
My wife mopped his brow, and he smiled
before closing his eyes.

That was the last time he was aware
of others around him…

Legend has it thunder
rumbled outside his window
two nights later,
when he defiantly raised his fist

at the darkness awaiting him,
but then his hand fell to his side,

his hair
a gray and black storm of curls
strewn across his pillow,
and his jaw set, as it always was
when he had work to do
and a long night
ahead.


"Beethoven Dying" needs to be given a nod as I love persona poems. Beethoven's gray and black storm of curls is well observed and satisfying. This poem made me want to read more, I wish the writer could have brought some of the weird facts (as for example Beethoven may have lost his hearing because he liked to immerse his head in water before a long night of work) but the important thing is the poem leads us to want to know more. --Laurie Byro

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block