My Father’s Family Tree

by Anna Yin
Pen Shells
Second Place, November 2008
Judged by Hélène Cardona and John Fitzgerald


It all started from an ink spot,
my father took it as a sprouting bud.
Sucking on his smoking pipe,
he drew his long narrative
on a piece of paper.
I can sense his smile,
as leaves spread their dense fragrance:
always his favorite,
now highlighted by a brush –
son: a high-ranking officer,
daughter: a respectable scholar,
(my father decorated each with details
like my mother’s Christmas tree)
then me, the would-be poet.
My father has never known poets,
and, to him, “would-be” worse than the rough bark.
(I can feel his pause)
then, a tinted soft orb beside me:
“engineer abroad” perfectly mirrored.
My father ensured his final touch
to free me from starving.
I roll up this glowing paper,
and place its warmth on my chest –
Someday at harvest,
out from the chrysalis of my heart,
I shall start a new scroll.


This poem also tells a great story, unique, yet universal. The piece is sure-handed, and captivates the reader from beginning to end. Both this poem and the first have a strong beginning and a strong end. --Hélène Cardona and John Fitzgerald

  • October 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      The Day of a Girl
      by John Riley
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Night Thoughts of a Mottled Songbird
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      The Art of Not Being Descartes
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • September 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Rodent Ulcer
      by Jude Goodwin
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Wild Beasts
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      The Two Windows of My Room
      by Sivakami Velliangiri
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Giving Thanks
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum