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

  • 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