November

by Antonia Clark
The Waters
Second Place, December 2016
Judged by Richard Krawiec


I love the way you come to us—
tentative, slow, in your threadbare
dress, muted, undone, hands
cold, eyes warning of snow.

I love your dwindling, the whisper
of sadness in your passing.
You give us pause, brief stillness,
respite before madness.

I love your hymns and pilgrims.
Your frost moon, high and fair.
Your mackerel skies. Morning rime.
The winter in your hair.

I love your ballots and flags,
rows of white crosses, a clasping
of hands, every bowed head
thankful, despite our losses.

I love your wet gravel, bare
branches, damp bark. The last
chrysanthemum. The gathering dark.
Hot chocolate, toddies, cider, rum.

I’m frazzled and ragged. You’re
woodsmoke and rain. Welcome
home, old friend. Sit here a while.
Wrap me in your soft gray coat again.


The personification of a month - one that, for many, has brought sorrow and death - into something warm and comforting is well developed through strong imagery. The poet tells us she/he “loves” The threadbare dress, dwindling, whisper of sadness...then we move on to more obviously loveable items - hymns, frost moon, morning rime. Through the events(ballots) and harvests(cider) of the season, the poet comes to recognize the warmth in this old friend, the woodsmoke with the rain. --Richarc Krawiec

  • 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