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

  • February 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Grand Central Station
      by Christine Potter
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Back Stage
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      VFW
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block

  • January 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Glint
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Chicago
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Training to Be a Star
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      Chewing the Fat
      by James Fletcher
      The Waters