tower

by Dale McLain
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, March 2014
Judged by Robert Lee Brewer


I am pared down to river and light,
a remembrance of pine, coin pearls scattered
like fallen moons, the scent of almonds.
Here is the inevitable open hand,

rose petal stained, white as snow
shrugged from the shoulders of slighter gods.
Joy is a stone bruise. I feel it
when I move. Even the needled path

is a sonnet, every metered step,
a strophe. Breath is all that matters now.
Who thinks of me when all is quiet?
Not even I. Not even I.


So much I love about this poem: the repetitive final line, making the abstract concrete ("joy is a stone bruise"), the meditative tone of the whole piece--that still feels very immediate, which is the trick, right? I think the opening line explains why this poem is so strong: "I am pared down to river and light..." But the poem is wrong in one respect; I will think of it when all is quiet. --Robert Lee Brewer

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