The Marsh at Dusk

by Steve Meador
FreeWrights Peer Review
Third Place, May 2009
Judged by Duncan Mercredi


I enter the marsh
with a rabbit’s foot,
a four leaf clover
and knowledge that evening
arrives from the west.
When the sun rests on the tallest reeds
I turn and carry it on my back.
My senses, stropped by adrenaline,
will lead me to the fleece of safety.
I taste thunder before it coagulates,
smell rain as it gathers in clouds.
A moccasin’s yawn rivals the bellow
of a fire-breathing bull. Gurgling,
from a gator’s nostrils, magnifies through
valleys of cattail stems, reaches my ears
as harpie screams. If scraping happens
along tectonic plates, I will feel it.
Every splash and swish of the paddle
whips up a tornadic whirlpool.
Dusk evaporates. Fear bubbles
like magma, hardens in my kayak’s wake.
Once the plane to open water is broken
I turn the bow toward the sulfurous
throat that wants to swallow me
and laugh, like an Argonaut come home.


Coming from a small northern village before the advent of modern conveniences, a line such as " when the sun rests on the tallest reeds, I turn and carry it on my back" resonates within me and I remember walking in the reeds as a child seeing only the sun and sky above me. This work stirs those feelings and I travel back to those innocent times and that magnificent gift we've been given, imagination. --Duncan Mercredi

  • August 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Seasoned with Love
      by Eira Needham
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Ill-used
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      A Note for Perilous Times
      by Fred Longworth
      PenShells

      Honorable Mention

      Whatever Glorious Else It Is
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • July 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Corton Beach Holiday Camp, Great Yarmouth
      by Marilyn Francis
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      Still Waltzing with You
      by Allen M. Weber
      Desert Moon Review

      Third Place

      The Aging Magician Speaks to His Reflection
      by Laurie Byro
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Seeking Duende
      by Richard Chase
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Dr. Seuss’s Guide to Manly Health and Training
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Honorable Mention

      Resonance
      by Sylvia Evelyn
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      celebrating the 45th anniversary of Father’s Day
      by Michael Virga
      The Writer's Block