Longfellow’s Wife

by Ken Ashworth
The Waters
First Place, June 2021
Judged by Sarah Carleton


For years, she choked back
the dust of domesticity, the
indignity of birthing six children,

the annoyance at strangers
in her parlor with gifts of
gold, frankincense and myrrh.

She was only a woman after all.
And when she had enough, she
erupted in flame, charged up

the stairs and would have taken
him with her but he beat back
the fire with his hands and face.


"Longfellow's Wife" flares like a lit match. The poet conveys, in a few well-chosen words, the suppressed fury of a woman relegated to the role of helpmeet. Within this spare narrative are auditory gems—particularly, "dust of domesticity" and "…enough / erupted in flame, charged up." And Longfellow's desperation in the last line hits the reader hard because it is so understated. --Sarah Carleton

  • August 2021 Winners

    • First Place

      Time Portal At Fenchurch St. Station
      by Ieuan ap hywel
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Still Life With Woodpecker
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Hospice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

  • July 2021 Winners

    • First Place

      The Three Fates
      by Laurie Byro
      The Waters

      Second Place

      If I Needed Someone
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      free spirit
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block