The Battle of Lac Baptiste

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells
Second Place, August 2012
Judged by Troy Jollimore


On the stillwater, two loons are baiting an eagle.
Their hoots and wails ripple over the current
until I am tangled in sound, like an ondine
drowned by the weight of her own hair.

The raptor swerves in his search and hangs there,
fans the mist, thinks mostly about himself,
bored by that woodwind chorus from below.
He gathers his anger – vain lord with a knife

in either fist. When he drops, his pinions cry
thinner than a reed the wind riffs through.
People tell me how eagles scream, although
I know we hear only the air’s edges.

A whistle-fall from cruel heaven slices
each of us. Some other bleeds in our places.


What really won me over here were the final four lines: “I know we hear only the air’s edges” is extremely good, as is “Some other bleeds in our places.” There is good stuff in the rest of the poem too – “woodwind chorus from below” is nice, and the fact that this chorus bores the raptor doubly so (how many bored raptors do we encounter in literature, anyway?) – and the overall impression is somehow both pretty and menacing. There might be parts of this poem that are still waiting to happen, but I like what is here. --Troy Jollimore

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

  • June 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu