Lullaby

by Ken Ashworth
The Writer's Block
Second Place, November 2017
Judged by Michael Larrain


She bore the days
trailing from her waist
like a child’s paper chain

the way the moon
indentures the waves:
night after night
dragged by the hair across
a sea that rocks
its dead like a mother.

When she’d had enough
She slipped into the tub,
and closed her eyes
For the last time against

The same mad grief
they say made God
drown the world.


This poem is no less painful for being so very gentle. Its tenderness is conveyed in short, beautifully broken lines, a tide rising and falling within it. A man could grow a maternal instinct, could almost become a mother merely by reading it. I lost my own mother early on. She died by her own hand. So might perhaps relate to this piece more readily than other readers. But I cannot imagine anyone encountering it and not being moved. The author has accomplished one of the great purposes of both poetry and prose fiction: to widen the range of our sympathies, and deepen our sensibilities thereby. --Michael Larrain

  • May2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Burying My Brother
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Second Place

      The Asian man who walks past the balcony
      by Daniel J. Flore III
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      Third Place

      Five Hundred Yards from Home
      by Richard Moorhead
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • April 2020 Winners

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      In the next life we were married
      by Ken Brownlow
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To a Wayward Son
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Separation
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      The Writer's Block