by John Riley
The Waters
Second Place, September 2018
Judged by Kathleen Hellen

The past is buoyant and soft,
billows a sail full of charm
if you’re alive—but we dead
have past as present, no time
raises a head to say “I’m
the current and this day should
course through you like a breeze.”
Stones fly, fire excites each hour,
suffering can never be surrendered.
We walk along the ridge suspended
without support cross the bay
that lures the passing ships
to dock with their doom and unboard.

A collective of the dead---the “we” of “no time”---addresses the living in the tight syllabics of this poem, buoyed with references to water/wind (time is the “current,” day is the “breeze”). They remind us through the culminating metaphor of “ships” that we are passing through “stones” and the “fire” that “excites.” They tell us suffering can “never be surrendered” and wait for us to “dock” and “unboard.” --Kathleen Hellen

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      by Kenny A. Chaffin

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

  • 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

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters