Still Life With Woodpecker

by Jim Doss
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, August 2021
Judged by Bruce McRae


Alone
inside four walls
made of southern pine
a twelve by twelve by eight box
this diminutive universe of solitude
without a road running past
without any wires strung overhead
or buried underground
with windows that look out
onto fir branches
and brambles of raspberries

Alone
with a bowl of apples
blushing on the table
a battery powered radio
the feral darkness encroaching
like a villain ready to steal
whatever beauty remains
the blue cybernetic eye
of a paperweight weighing down
my thoughts of a past
that may or may not have existed

Alone
with a rotary telephone
plugged into nothing
but the spirits of friends and family
their silent voices
on the other side whispering
unhearable secrets
of the burdens they bear
from this life into next
the graves they’ve dug
for themselves and their loved ones

Alone
with so much I want to forget
to relive differently
as distant stars spiral into a cosmos
of swirling nebulas on the ceiling
these encyclopedias of images
arriving randomly like the tap tap tap
of a woodpecker’s beak
against a rotten tree
the treat always hidden from plain sight
but unforgettable when found


Intelligent and musical, I found this poem to be nicely balanced. Although the title suggests looking outwardly, the poet easily veers into mindfulness and reflection, the mind's eye seeing beyond the temporal. This seems to add an extra dimension to what could have been simply descriptive. --Bruce McRae

  • March 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      September Heat
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      At the Cancer Center
      by Terry Ofner
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      Third Place

      At Last Ghazal
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      Honorable Mention

      Died Last Fall
      by ieuan ap hywel
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  • February 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Grand Central Station
      by Christine Potter
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      Second Place

      Back Stage
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      VFW
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block