Hope Springs Like a Panther from a Large Boulder Overhead

by Andrew Dufresne
Wild Poetry Forum
First Place, November 2017
Judged by Michael Larrain


Drums. More drums. We’re drifting up this lazy river, headed
upstream to kill the king. He’s gone insane. So have we.
We have no friends and our enemies are everywhere. The dreaded
news-borne disease takes hold of us. It’s a misery.

We babble at anyone who will listen, “Darkness, horror, grief.”
But no one will listen. The jungle is full of vanity and death.
We tire of standing guard over valuables, just give them to the thief
who hovers near our shoulder. We smell his fractious breath.

I used to wear clothing made of butterfly wings, a bitch to clean,
but light, you know. Now I wear cast-off skins of the rattlesnake.
I’ve stored my kindness in the mud. In a tortoiseshell canteen.
Maybe I’ll retrieve it when there’s much, much less at stake.

Hope springs like a panther from a large boulder overhead,
spitting joy, clawing happiness, bringing life, and all is well.
There’s bread and there are circuses. Ah me. At least there’s bread.
And always, always, we’re allowed to rot right where we fell.


Part of the reason I love this poem is that it reminds me so powerfully of Warner Herzog’s movie, “Aguirre, the Wrath of God.” There is a dark and altogether delightful sense of humor at work here. And I love the reference to “news-borne disease” which reinforces my refusal to ever watch the news. The colloquialisms are very American (“a bitch to clean”), but hiding behind them is Joseph Conrad, ever-watchful. I wish the author would substitute some other word for “fractious,” but apart from this one minor quibble, this poem deserves nothing but praise. --Michael Larrain

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

  • June 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu