Longfellow

by Bob Bradshaw
The Writer's Block
First Place, August 2016
Judged by Lee Nash


Henry awoke to you racing towards him, Fanny,
your summer dress a fury of flames.

He would rather be mauled by wild dogs
than face that night again,

and blames himself for not saving you,
his wounds minor: hands burned,

his neck disfigured. To this day
he hides his facial scars

with a beard, rough as horse hair.
Friends no longer bring that night up,

and at times Henry must feel
like it never happened.

Yet, when he least expects it,
his beard will envelop him

in a scent of thick
smoke.


"Longfellow" is the clear winner for me. There were so many fine turns of phrase and much to praise in many poems this month, but this poem stood out as one where the poet has succeeded in his/her craft in creating a whole and polished piece. Clarity and simplicity are the order of the day, and less is more. The form, with its gradually diminishing couplets, echoes the fading away of a memory, although as we see in the last lines, one never really forgets a traumatic event. --Lee Nash

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