Hidden Room

by F.H. Lee
The Write Idea
Second Place, October 2018
Judged by Jeanette Beebe


there is a place
in my distant memory
often accessible without
my knowledge or consent
it swamps me still

bug bites
shallow stream
wooden plank bridge
water-spiders for company

my father’s old plastic comb
fine prongs scraping through bushes
of over-ripe elderberries dangling from
branches in cloistered dark purple shadow

stained fingertips for days
an open window with pie on the sill
the unequalled rare aroma
my mother’s satisfaction

the effort
the reward
the lesson


The title "Hidden Room" feels like an echo of "memory palace", a way of imagining how we remember (and keep remembering). The structure of the poem supports this idea: each stanza stands on its own, a distinct fragment, a vignette. The strongest point might be "It swamps me still." Set against the rest of the poem — a lesson in careful, honest description — the phrase is a gesture of confusion. It reverberates through the poem. --Jeanette Beebe

  • 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