Changing Seasons

by Peter Halpin
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, January 2016
Judged by Lee Slonimsky


A while back my sister told me
my dad couldn’t dance,
he would hobble around the living room
with a broom trying to foxtrot,

When the leaves of autumn fall
I move the patio chairs inside
not wanting them to get leaf full
and then of course there are the geese.

I couldn’t imagine it, him dancing
with a broom, not the tight-arsed
paragon I remember. She also said
he didn’t believe –just went along with it!

I know that before Thanksgiving
it will snow and the lagoon will freeze,
it always does but sometimes it will
thaw again before Halloween.

All this time I thought he was that person,
rat-catcher for the morality police,
the unassailable Paddy of virtue.
Sometimes it’s hard to know someone.

Last year just before Christmas
I ran across a coyote on the path.
He had tip-toed over the ice
and crawled under the fence.

Perhaps there is room to reconsider,
maybe even see a glimmer.
But I don’t like my memories
shaken— I lose bearing.

I enjoy the predictably of winter days
flattop prairies snow covered.
I could stare out at them forever,
the sameness –distant and comforting.


This original poem, with such diverse refrains, puts forth astute observations on character, stability and nature, inside a lilting musicality that is most entertaining. Details of seasons move from the basic (“not wanting (chairs) to get leaf full/and then of course there are the geese”) through the dramatic (“a coyote…tip-toed over the ice/and crawled under the fence”). Meanwhile the recalled father wobbles in memory from a “tight-arsed/paragon” through “the unassailable Paddy of virtue.” A constancy in nature reassures, even while the wavering of human memory unnerves. --Lee Slonimsky

  • May 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      I think of the colour purple
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Swimming in Twilight
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      In another country with strangers
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

  • April 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Furiously Overcome by Stars
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Ides of March
      by Rachel Green
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Natural History
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters