The Day the Egrets Came Calling

by Christopher T. George
The Writer's Block
First Place, July 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


As ever I sought a glimpse of the blue herons nesting
in the woods east of the Anacostia River as my train
drove into D.C., but today there were three white

egrets heads bent among the roosting herons. Or perhaps
they were snowy herons. Do snowies associate with blues?
White-robed Holy Men! Prophets! The Dead! The Wise,

perhaps the spirit of my late Father. Don’t laugh. Wipe
that smile off your face. Wipe that face off your face.
I may be wrong, but I’d be wrong to express no regrets.

Father, forgive me for my neglect of my aging Mother,
your widow. You died far too young, in your sixties,
and I am sixty-one now. O, cruel world, embrace us

with your savagery! Sweet Embraceable You — Life!
How I loathe you for the pain you deal me but I need you.
I saw a blood red-leaf on an ornamental pear tree

at New Carrollton Station in dark green foliage,
the same tree clothed in white blossom weeks ago.
One spot of blood. Oh, Savior! Be the saving of me.


"The Day the Egrets Came Calling" takes even more risks than "Bereavement" does. And they are very big risks. The list of apostrophised figures in line 6. The use of "O, cruel world" and "Sweet Embraceable You". And that last line that could have sprung out of Herbert or Hopkins. I was fascinated by a poem so balanced on a knife edge. If it held the balance it was terrific. If it did not, it fell into bathos. I didn't think it was bathetic at the end. There is something terrific and edgy about it. --George Szirtes

  • 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