Corona Borealis

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells
Third Place, November 2016
Judged by Richard Krawiec


Ariadne’s Lament

I raise your halo to my thinning hair,
no longer bright with youth – but only this
stellate tiara, winking like your kiss –
you: faithless god I loved when I was fair.

Born under Taurus, still I bear the whorls
from whence my horns were taken long ago,
whose scars a crown concealed. That astral glow
lured you, my sweetheart, with its gems and pearls.

Yet here I drift in loneliness and shiver,
then cast your circlet to the stars, while you –
my faltering admirer, whom I knew
as Theseus – abandon me forever.

A nighthawk rasps and dances through the cold,
but I – your Ariadne – just grow old.


This attempt to match heightened language with a classical story is dangerous, because it can easily slip into something overblown. I think the writer is just able to pull it off, not least because of the understatement of the last, rhymed line. --Richard Krawiec

  • 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