In Limbo

by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea
Second Place, March 2016
Judged by Lee Slonimsky


i find her rucksack
in the ice fall
half buried protruding from a snowdrift

inside are cleats
and crampons
coils of rope
a photograph
of smiling children
and a proud husband

i spot her below
lost in a deep crevasse
a solo climber
culled by the mountains

cocooned in a light-blue anorak
she’s statue-solid
rimed with frost
wearing a mask of mild surprise

the river of ice will embrace her
absorb her carcass
carry her beyond these time-lapse rapids

she’ll go with the flow
for decades
emerge at the glacier’s snout
as pristine as the day she fell
younger than her time-wrinkled children
more enduring than a long-dead husband


The terrible frozen image of a woman at the core of this poem is transformed by a philosophy of time (inspired by a glacier) to a near state of immortality. The fallen victim is preserved in a way that suggests permanent immunity to aging and death, unlike that experienced by her husband and children. Elegant lines like “culled by the mountains/cocooned in a light-blue anorak” and “the river of ice will embrace her” give the poem a sense of elegant tribute that suggests a very cold immortality bequeathed by ice. --Lee Slonimsky

  • April 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      (how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game
      by John Wilks
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      A Legacy of Sorts
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Waiting for a bus at Armarnath Temple
      by Ieuan ap Hywel
      The Wriiter's Block

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum