Browse

by Bernard Henrie
poets.org
Honorable Mention, July 2008
Judged by Tony Barnstone


Sunburned
water lilies,
a dozen birds
fly up
stunned.

The cat moves
room to room,
stops.

Plums
flicker out.

Shiftless
radios turn off.

Afternoons
fall deaf.


I enjoyed the poem's small ambitions---just a little sketch, some atmosphere, some sound pyrotechnics, spare words and no words to spare. The cat and the plums and the ambition evoke William Carlos Williams in his Imagist/Objectivist phase, but the atmospherics I think recall more the small, gorgeous poems of Jean Follain. It's hard to write a good Imagist poem. A Chinese shi hua (poetry talk) says it best:

Plain and Natural: First master elegance, and then strive for the plain style. Nowadays many people write clumsy, facile poems and flatter themselves that they've mastered the plain style. I can't help laughing at this. Poets know that simplicity is difficult. There are poems that illustrate the rigor the plain style demands:

Today as in ancient times
it's hard to write a simple poem.
by Mei Yaochen

The lotus flower rises from clear water,
naturally without ornament.
by Li Bai

Plain and natural lines are best.

from Sunny Autumn Rhymed Language

--Tony Barnstone

  • August 2021 Winners

    • First Place

      Time Portal At Fenchurch St. Station
      by Ieuan ap hywel
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Still Life With Woodpecker
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Hospice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

  • July 2021 Winners

    • First Place

      The Three Fates
      by Laurie Byro
      The Waters

      Second Place

      If I Needed Someone
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      free spirit
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block