Not a Natural Disaster

by Siva Ramanathan
The Writer's Block
Honorable Mention, March 2014
Judged by Robert Lee Brewer


Lounging in a racing Lancer
I see distant trees darken with night,
a bracket of serial bulbs – coming

closer – the outline
of a long hooked nose; suddenly
lights magnified on the mountain
blazing a ‘v’ in the running hand,

and I respond, “How breathtakingly beautiful.”
My husband retorts, “No, how sad,
no helicopter there to douse those flames!
You’re witnessing a forest fire,
how towering trunks collapse
into carcasses of charcoal.

Some rapacious trader set
the first spark.” “Rascal,”
the driver interjects:

“Trees three hundred years
in a flash like undone inner skirts.”


I enjoyed this poem about something beautiful to the narrator that is ultimately proved to be tragic. Three voices are heard, each provides a slightly different perspective, and the poem accomplishes it all in only 18 lines. Impressive--and beautiful--to be sure. --Robert Lee Brewer

  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      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