Migrations

by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Writer's Block
Second Place (tie), August 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


I roast words
over the fire,
warm my feet,

soles to flames,
get down to hear
the earth breathe.

You drink
cowboy coffee
late, the mug

warming fingers,
feel the moon
close to your face.

I can’t stop laughing
until I cry and
don’t know why.

Your body rises
in the sleeping bag.
The moon settles

in the trees, a great
white bird migrating
horizon to horizon.


Splendid last image on which a great deal depends. I am not sure what to do with the intensity of emotion in verse 5, or why the words are being roasted in line 1. I don't mean I cannot guess, it's just that the emotions seem to be generated from outside the poem and that can make the reader feel like an intruder on the I and you. And I cannot feel too secure in my guess. I am left looking over my shoulder in case I have missed something. I like everything in this poem, particularly the end. Maybe I just want a little more context for the feeling. It is a very difficult issue because indicating that context is not the same as explaining it. Maybe one more verse of three lines, somewhere near the beginning would do it. --George Szirtes

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters

  • October 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The Emails Go Unanswered
      by Lois P. Jones
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Hidden Room
      by F.H. Lee
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      The Penitent
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      You Can Call Me a Tough Cookie, But It Really Doesn’t Matter
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum