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

  • March 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      September Heat
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      At the Cancer Center
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Third Place

      At Last Ghazal
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Died Last Fall
      by ieuan ap hywel
      The Writer's Block

  • 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

      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block