by Peter Halpin
Wild Poetry Forum
First Place, January 2022
Judged by Garol Graser

These are challenging times
with little room to spare
for thoughts of the twelve
days, or auld lang syne.
Covid prognosticators have us
wallowing under the sway
of a new star, as they dabble
in astronomy like county fair seers.
atmospheric rivers pouring down
from the heavens, forest fires scouring
the earth black and human refuge
clogging our seas, there is no news
like bad news as straws pile up
on the camel’s back.
But this morning’s sun glistened
off hoar-frost cherry trees. Deer
from the park wandered in
like an early Christmas parade,
northern flickers aligned along
columnar aspens in a cacophony
of little drummer boys, and I,
humbled by this beauty,
fell to my knees in joy and prayed
to mother earth for forgiveness.

It’s difficult to handle topics like climate change, pollution, Covid etc and I feel like this writer did an admirable job of it. I like how this poem pulls the reader through a flow of issues, of bad news, then takes us to a grounded place of beauty. There’s a nice symmetry between the beginning and end of the poem as well. --Carol Graser