Winning Poems for March 2020

Judged by R.T. Castleberry

First Place

What Children See

by Sivakami Velliangiri
The Waters

My Appa who had to take my Amma to Triviandrum
when I was a ten-months-old baby. . . .

There were no relatives there, no one who knew them.
In my convent days I saw them as a perfect couple
till they dreamed up my brother.

What happened post-delivery sent her to an asylum.

Have you heard the story of Sri Ram?
I doubt he loved Sita as much as he loved his honour.
Our Appa was also Ram, stoic Ram, loyal Ram,
his love for Amma we could see through.

He gave her the corner room so she could pray
to the three golden pagodas. He occupied the front room
to read his Times Weekly at midnight.

As children we saw this as ultimate love.

A rueful look backwards to a complicated adult relationship. --R.T. Castleberry

Second Place

Caroline Danced

by John Wilks
The Write Idea

At last, her muscles lose their memory,
she forgets the cakewalk and the swivel,
the sequined flapper dress, the blistered toes,
the bruises that adorn her legs, the sprains,
the sweat stains, the Russian’s hands that hold her,
then set her free to flourish, in the tat
and glitter of teatime TV, the four
perfect 10s, the trophy that reflects tears
shed too soon…
……………… pictures of a bloodstained room,
where love is an island on which she lies
marooned, the music ends, the credits roll,
before the final dance can be rehearsed,
her last steps criticised as a stumble,
her line, her frame, her moves, cannot be judged.

A grimly powerful exploration of the demise of a dancer. --R.T. Castleberry

Third Place

The Windsock

by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea

In her bright orange garb
the windsock startles the pre-dawn dullness.
She’s a rare jewel
set in the dun desert flatness,
her tapered body wriggling in the currents of the sky
like a newly-hatched grub.

Secured atop a steel mast,
she revels in her flag-waving freedom
and the liberty of isolation
offered by the expanse
of a fenced-in prison.

When dust storms bowl across the plain,
filling the air with scouring grit,
she flaps and flops and flails,
as helpless as a landed fish
gawping in the throes of suffocation,
worn out and wearied by the frenetic airflow.

At other times she’s limp and still,
beset by the humiliation of aerial dysfunction.
Like an impotent old codger
she fades away
in the grip of endless sunshine.

And yet,
pale and ragged as she is,
she seizes the attention of a lost pilot,
guides him to the ‘H’ of a nearby helipad,
whispering in his ear
the wind direction
and the wind speed
as she brings him home.

An amusing, extended--to great height, metaphor. --R.T. Castleberry