To Patrick

by Sylvia Maclagan
Babilu
First Place, April 2022
Judged by M.B. McLatchey


                    my son, who died aged 29 of ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I’ll just dream these lines, since you’re no longer here;
your voice, your laughter and your soul
are sunflowers in the summer air; I know you stole
their light to fill my waking hours with Irish cheer.

My love for you is wedded to the morning’s
elemental time, a coffee cup and friendly chat.
I spy the raindrops sparkling on your jaunty cap
my heart recalls each time the doorbell rings

three times. I hear the lively flute you’d play
for many radiant years; and in the knowledge
that you were going to die, I prized Commencement Day,

the youngster in the park who sketched your image
on artist’s paper. I know God shows the way,
absence, instants in life’s troubled pilgrimage.


What draws applause for the most celebrated elegies is a control on emotional chaos: the heart’s restraint so that art can commence. This control is what we experience in this carefully crafted elegy for a son. The loss of a loved one alters our daily lives – and, as this poem portrays, the most ordinary sights and sounds can become an unending requiem: “my heart recalls each time the doorbell rings/ three times. I hear the lively flute you'd play … and in the knowledge/ that you were going to die, I prized Commencement Day.” Plenty of room for sentimentality here –and yet, in verse lines that attend to a measured form, this poem achieves a beautifully-measured portrait of enduring love. --M.B. McLatchey

  • May 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      All in Time
      by RC James
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Safety Net
      by Ray
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Phone Of The Wind
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

  • April 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      To Patrick
      by Sylvia Maclagan
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Cancer
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Grandmother in Heaven
      by Jim Doss
      Babilu