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

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block