Wintry Peacock

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
First Place, August 2014
Judged by Suzanne Lummis


As if they were three frail boats, opening their feathers like ragged sails.
–D. H. Lawrence

Each day I walk through a forest with somebody’s name
carved on a tree. In the winter, I had seen peacocks

and hens, and like the old story, birds flew before me: feathers
wet with snow. Each of us alone unafraid were trespassing

through cemetery trees. Tomorrow it would be
someone else walking and listening to the forest.

I whisper the blind man’s ashes, powdery and grey
a chimney of mist leaves my mouth, forms

a dull sentence. Forest deer ramble on their way,
never a sermon or a regret. The trees clutch their green

prayer shawls, tremble in the snow. My footprints fill.
The forest becomes an unblinking eye, silver and blue,

cold and fearless. It is yesterday, yesterday still.
A deer dreams of my strangeness, smells my winter skin.


In a series of hushed images that unfold, one out of the other, the poet draws us into a hypnotic, trance-like mood, but a mood that rises from an environment so specific, so physical it seems both landscape and dreamscape. Nothing in this language feels false or forced, the precise, declarative sentences clear but never ordinary. I find the line"...It is yesterday, yesterday still" especially wonderful --"still" in both senses of the word, continuation and frozen in stillness. --Suzanne Lummis

  • November 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Rapture
      by JJ Wiliamson
      Babilu

      Second Place (tie)

      Red Spider Lilies
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place (tie)

      The Big House At Mambalam
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place (tie)

      What Have I Done to Thee O Muse
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place (tie)

      World Affairs
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Morning
      by Mary MacGowan
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      A Can of Grandma Figlioto’s Pasta Sauce
      by Daniel J. Flore III
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  • October 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      We Could Use an American
      by Mignon Ariel King
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Dante’s Outer Circles
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Time of Move
      by RC James
      Babilu