Natural Selections

by Michelle Beth Cronk
Poetry Circle
Third Place, August 2010
Judged by Ruth Ellen Kocher


There are things to be earned
by stone, hard reasons, work.
The same are often bruised by
our necessity,

but there are other things soft
and unhurt, existing separate
from our leaning, taken or shed
before our efforts begin.

There is a blueprint, the start of
buildings and rooms, prior to
the breaking of indicated ground.
Those are the scrolls I want

you to reach for before night.
I want you to have both the spoils
of the fight and the ease of what
is certain and elementary.


The poet here has taken a risk by investing in the 'unsaid'. To keep from the reader the articles of inspiration in the beginning of the poem would result in a piece not yet grounded if it were not for the definitive moment that begins mid-poem. While the turn doesn't represent a true volta, the shift represents a moment where the speaker seems to succumb to the sharp pang of specificity and so, the personal. The end of the poem serves as a revelation of the speaker, not for the speaker, and so allows the slowly building and subtle dynamic of the poem to transcend into an resolute, definitive quietude. --Ruth Ellen Kocher

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      Second Place

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      Third Place

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      Honorable Mention

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