What Have I Done to Thee O Muse

by Peter Halpin
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place (tie), November 2019
Judged by Laurie Byro


As I try to write a good poem
my mind wonders off on its own
following little bits of odd thought
down rabbit holes or out to mountains
where it perches itself on an overhang
and without fear, jumps into a snow deep valley.

But here I sit in my bedroom gazing out
at bending trees and whirling leaves
as the reluctance of autumn dances
around the rage of winter.
What’s the point, I think, I am undone,
not a poetic thought in my head, I am
as the alabaster duck on my wall, stuck
always in mid-flight and going nowhere.

Write what you know they say
to the sad realization that I know nothing.
All my days spent accumulating a well
of useless information, suppressed emotions
and little insight into anything other than
the need to go ostrich and bury my head.

O for a Grecian Urn or a Snowy Wood,
the muse to see beyond the black and white
of everyday. But here I squander in a bed
of dead daffodils, waiting for enlightenment
to take me to the shores of Byzantium
on the back of a compliant dolphin.While inside
the periscope to my brain I crave coffee,
toast and marmalade.


What Have I Done to Thee O Muse, with its sly nod to craft and block with a conversational Billy Collins tone deserves a chance at POTY.  "A bed of dead daffodils" is a hoot, as are the other literary references. We all could use a good chuckle, an occasional left or right jab at our muse. --Laurie Byro

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block