Winterset

by Bernard Henrie
The Writer's Block
First Place, April 2007
Judged by Bryan Appleyard


Your dwarf Tangelo
is frostbitten,
rigor brittles the pulp;
a re-planted Nagami
kumquat lumbers
in a terracotta pot.

Myrtle shrivels
beyond the porch
and the birdbath
is still iced;
Spring empty handed
and brown.

I pull on heavy gloves
and clear debris;
Later, we begin a card game,
we discuss a travel book
but break off and then stop.
Someone telephones.

The aimless evening
falls on the house
and like widow weave
folds along the chair
stopping at the lamp.

When did I cross
an invisible line
and never
find my way back?
A palsied old man
tapping the steep stair.


The first stanza is a showstopper. The first two lines signal at once that this writer feels poetry. I'm not sure about the one line short fourth stanza--though I can see why it is lopped. This poem does much with little. --Bryan Appleyard

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