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> IBPC Winning Poems, 2013, Congratulations Poets!
Cleo_Serapis
post Apr 16 13, 18:56
Post #1


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for January 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen


~~~~~

First Place:


Down the Street
by Fred Longworth, of The Waters Poetry Workshop


The kite slings upward into the wind,
and for a moment the two boys shout
like pole vaulters clearing a higher bar.
Then it dives hard toward the grass,
and the boys look her way because they want
to holler things she would scold them
for saying. And faintly out of somewhere
only she can go, she hears two pairs of shoes
crunching caramel-colored sycamore leaves
along a riparian trail. One runner chases
the other, and she can feel the hammers
of their legs against the anvils of the path,
and taste their salty newborn sweat.
She marshals her mind back to the yard
and to the plastic laundry basket
on the table by the dryer, with its molting
cotton towels and wrinkled garments
that she's been folding and unfolding,
and folding and unfolding again,
so that the boys won't think she's watching.
And in a part of town she never goes to,
the father of the boys retreats
to a barstool farthest from the jukebox
with its chance encounters, and closest
to a nook of shadows. He licks the salt
from the rim of a cocktail glass,
and wonders if he has the gumption
to go home, or resign himself
to sleeping on the sofa at the office.
As he taps his fingers on his mobile phone,
miles away a second phone is waiting—.
Maybe it will join the first in voice,
or share with it the void of silence.
The liquidambar trees are dancing,
and the boys are running with their string.
The wind is picking up, and the kite
will either lift off, or it won't.


"Down the Street" brings to mind a Hopper painting with its dark vision of American family life, or perhaps lack-of-family life. Reading the three scenes [the boy’s kite run, the mother’s clothes folding and the father’s drinking] I was struck by the feeling that although nothing is working quite right in the relationships portrayed, there remains a connected dis-connectedness among the players. The closing lines are perfect – a truism that you cannot argue with, but one that gives no comfort. --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Second Place:


for what is given
by Dale McLain, of Wild Poetry Forum


I saw the fallen stars in the orchard yesterday,
well not an orchard but a stand of pear trees
bent and knobby as that jazzman from Metairie.
I walked there to give my thanks up to the wind,
but looked down and saw them there, stars strewn
like charred jacks, thorned and dead amid the pears.

I wore love like a treasured broach, my children
the sapphires and the pearls, worn close to my throat.
Then I saw your eyes, no, I mean the sky, but blue
and impossible. In Texas winter is a drifter that comes
to sleep in the barn. He leaves things behind, a crease
in the hay, a sprinkle of ash, stars burnt like bones.

I remembered my blessings, these boots, this ridge
where someone thought to plant some pears.
I thought of all the days gone past, a tree in bloom,
a song, a cry. There are stars hiding in the bright sky,
glittering stones set fast in gold. I lack for nothing
save a voice clear and true enough for this quiet joy.


"for what is given" is either prayer or odd explanation, perhaps both. The voice of the speaker is compelling and rich (“charred jacks, thorned and dead amid the pears”) even while it is conversational, interrupting itself to tell us what it meant to say. How to resist a poem that says “Then I saw your eyes, no, I mean the sky, but blue and impossible.” --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Third Place:


An A-Z of fruit: A for Apricots
by Marilyn Francis, of The Write Idea


It was Monday and the grandmother was buying apricots
from the stall in Church Street market. She squeezed the fruits
between her thumb and first finger, testing for ripeness,
feeling the whiskery skins brush the flesh of her hand.
She chose three fruits to be wrapped.

Later, the child opened the wrapping,
unveiled the unfamiliar fruit,
and refused to eat.

She smoothed out the paper,
saw a map traced in brown ink,
fingered its contours and pathways,
but couldn’t figure a way through the
wastes of marshland, and the land where
there be dragons.

The grandmother ran a blade around the fruit,
tore the halves apart.
The child still refused to eat.

She took the three discarded stones
wrapped them in the crumpled map
buried them in a secret place.



"An A-Z of fruit: A for Apricots" creates a small but marvelous world, at once storybook like and strange. There is a clear sense of ritual and an ambiguous sense of identity – who are these people — gypsies or the boring neighbors in the next apartment? If the child is a girl the ambiguity is increased. Is the “she” in this poem the child, or could it be the grandmother? Finally, the poem’s sound effects are great – e.g., “whiskery skins brush the flesh.” --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Honorable Mention:


Christmas, Connecticut, 1960
by Christopher T. George, of Desert Moon Review


I was in school in Connecticut that December of 1960,
“The Little Drummer Boy” hung on the brisk air.

I was eleven—I identified with the song about the boy who had come
to honor him and its insistent chorus, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Our hero of the moment was John Kennedy, the clean-cut New Englander
who'd be our new President. A new leader and a new Pope: John XXIII
—advent candles following a long darkness.

Even now, fifty years later, I thrill to that song
thrumming in my ears—pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Witnesses said the noises did not sound like gunshots—
unforeseen—like hammerblows—pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

So many bullet holes, so many nail holes—
Black crepe and muffled drums—

Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. . . pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. . .
pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.



"Christmas, Connecticut, 1960" is a vivid photo of a time and a weirdly accurate portrayal of the way kids, perhaps all of us, re-constellate events in ways that make a particular sense given our vantage point in the world. The merger of the Drummer Boy song with the Kennedy assassination is exactly the kind of thing an eleven-year-old would do. --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Apr 16 13, 18:58
Post #2


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for February 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen


First Place:


Gretel Grows Up
by Teresa White, of Wild Poetry Forum


I never wander far from home
while the sun peels paint from twenty-year old
siding or the blood of rust trickles off
billboards over on Cheney highway.
Everything changes these old markers
year by lonesome year – the cocoon
of marriage fattens itself with more binding
with no hope of the silk splitting
not even when the morning glory wags
its blue trumpet and then is gone.
Forgetting greedy birds, I try bread crumbs,
bits of colored paper as I forget the brisk wind
in this dry season. The numbers on the houses
never look the same coming back. You’ve given
me a map, a compass, a goodbye kiss and once
I traveled all the way to the river and back.
I bake gingerbread in my spare time,
mix frosting for mortar. You helped me install
windows of spun sugar. Soon, I won’t
have to venture out. Already, people stop.


The poet’s use of the fairytale here is enhanced by both local imagery that rings true (“billboard over on Cheney highway”) and odd statements like “The numbers on the houses/never look the same coming back.” There is something here I want to question, even argue with, but the poet acts out Gretel’s refusal to engage with the sureness of the penultimate claim, “Soon, I won’t/have to venture out….” --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Second Place:


Parable
by Allen Weber, of conjunction


Uncle fell for a migrant girl,
as hard as an Alcatraz rose,
then perished with the harvest moon.

So wading through the wait-a-bits
at the edge of a freshly turned field
Grandma searched sad furrows of earth.

There’s no competing with Sorrow,
Child.
Still unschooled in transience,
I asked if she meant to say, Love.

Don’t become what happens to you.
When the springtime plow turns loose
a bone, remember why it’s best

to keep a girl who knows how deep
to put the beast that winter killed.



Here is another poem that invokes an ancient story mode (“Uncle fell for a migrant girl,/ as hard as an Alcatraz rose,”) to say something current and biting (“Don’t become what happens to you./When the springtime plow turns loose/ a bone….”) --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Third Place:


The One
by Kendall Witherspoon, of The Waters Poetry Workshop


I was just sixteen that eight-track March
thaw when I lied to your face, jumped
a Michigan highway fence with my red-eyed
friend Tommy, the one with the golden
thumb, the one with Edgar Winter’s hair,
the one who taught me about casting seeds
upon the ground, the one without a mother
to lie to and a drunken father whose backyard
beagles bayed along runways while his only
son hitchhiked under the trails of jets.

In Ft. Lauderdale we slept under bridges
with the adept girl from Athens, Georgia.
The one with a woven palm crown,
the one in the fluorescent orange bikini,
the one who called William Calley a hero,
the one who stole the sweater you knitted me,
after she did that guitar-boy for a song.
Later you said you dreamed of me sleeping
under cars, or abducted at a Winn Dixie
adopted by homeless Vietnam vets.

I reminded you of your brother then.
The one who ran to that Louisiana town
without his third wife and his lucky red truck.
The one who drank coffee in his vodka.
The one who owned the laundromat
with the peeling sign on brick, shouting
whites and coloreds welcome here.
The one who played piano by ear, you said.
The one I met when he was dead of cancer.
The one I take after, everyone says.


The rhythm, the pace, the dense imagery kept me reading about this difficult and unresolved coming-of age. This is the one that made me love the repetition of “the one.” --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Apr 16 13, 19:02
Post #3


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for March 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen


First Place:


Altoona
by Dale Patterson, of conjunction


From boiler maelstrom, rivets
and bucking bar, he walks
onto Fourth Avenue. Cinders
crackle each step, ten paces
per-puff on a Chesterfield.

His home is an hour away,
down through the valley,
past shop-after-shop, butted
brown boxes, corrugated:
their seams drawn in
fiery red-orange, exhale
a noxious gray smoke,
pushing gondolas, tankers,
muscled locomotives, all to be
stripped-to-their-skeletons
and rebuilt again.

Apart from the rail yard,
a copper wheel spins, buffs
yellow highlight on Brush Mountain’s
ridge, marks tallies in frost
on tarpaper houses.

His pockets share warmth
with his clenching white-knuckles.

The day-shift is fresh-
out-of-bed, mugs
down its beans,
then hammers the sidewalk.
He nods as they pass, takes
one last precious hit from a spent
cigarette, then strides
to his door.

His wife sparks a match
on a kerosene burner, sizzles a pan
of tough meat and bone.


What Hopper brings to canvas this poet brings to the page, a moment both precise and stylized that calmly confronts a human paradox: that even our solitary natures connect us. The language is as dense and durable as the self-contained subject who seems to be another “muscled locomotive…” as he saunters past “shop-after-shop, butted brown boxes” on his way home to the “tough meat and bone” that sizzles in a pan. --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Second Place:


Hansel Ties the Knot
by Laurie Byro, of Desert Moon Review

For Teresa White


It never happened the way you imagined, celebrity was worth
the loss of stuffed dogs. Sis and I made big news after our

abduction, front page of People Magazine, that Oprah interview.
Gretel was never entirely free of it, her maid-of-honor dress

sized Zero, not an easy accomplishment for a girl with Teutonic
eyes and tightly woven pig-tails. Still the old witch taught us

the merits of binge and purge. For a time, I dated only women
with cauldrons and warty noses, a chin-hair or a mole would start

an itch deep in my hosen. Finally though, I fell in love, comforted
by the stability of a baker’s daughter. Her perfume is yeasty,

like the loaves her father bakes; pumpernickel, whenever
we wanted. Auch, you should witness the skills she has

with fondant. Our windows might melt with the first blast
of a summer sun, but if living on love runs out, there is always

the rush of sweet sugar. Did we turn out alright? Ja, there is no
residual terror. Gretchen is expecting; already, there is a cake

in the ovens. I cannot wait to diaper and spank the rump-roast
hiney of our first-born child. Instead of bread crumbs,

my Beloved tosses rose petals before us and they curl
into sunbursts that lead the way out of a dark forest night.


With an opening that mixes modern lingo and age-old myth this poem seems at first like an exercise in being both light-hearted and witty. But there’s a question we all want to ask the victims of bad experiences and Hansel asks it: “Did we turn out alright? Ja, there is no residual terror.” We want to believe him but he speaks again: “…already, there is a cake/ in the ovens. I cannot wait to diaper and spank the rump-roast/ hiney of our first-born...” My blood ran cold. --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Third Place:

Tool Shed
by Arlin Buyert, of Wild Poetry Forum


The smallest building
on his eighty-acre farm
was an unknown cave:

one window dead center
over the well-oiled workbench
with wrenches, hammers and post-hole diggers
hanging in disarray from rusty nails.

Grandpa's twenty pound sledge
leans into the corner
next to his wood chair
where, when rain pelted the tin roof,

he would sit,
watch me clamp his handsaw into the vise,
then slowly stroke its teeth with a file
while he rolled a cigarette,
waiting for the sun.


This poet understands that restraint and economy can find the compressed power of a small moment. A simple terse description (almost a list poem itself) supports the palpable tension between the speaker and the grandfather as one attempts to get the chore done right while the other sits rolling a cigarette,/ waiting for the sun.” --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


Honorable Mention:

And Maybe Sleep
by Fred Longworth, of PenShells

There is never enough of it,
the pattering of lambent sunshine
on the balcony jutted over a canyon
of chaparral and Hottentot fig,
with the urgencies that dog you day by day
relaxing at your side on tiny deck chairs,
their little feet propped on miniature
ottomans. Everything is still.
The crows that rule the trees
are still. The wind chimes dangling
from the eave are still.
The cars on the roadway across the canyon
have lost their voices. And if you were
a clock face, you would lower
your arms from three o'clock or four
and fold them gently in your lap.


I was entranced with the ending; “And if you were/ a clock face, you would lower/ your arms from three o’clock or four/ and fold them gently in your lap.” Any poet would give a lot to have written those lines. --Deborah Bogen


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Apr 16 13, 19:10
Post #4


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for April 2013
Judged by Linda Sue Grimes




First Place:


Requiescat in Pace
by Brenda Levy Tate, of PenShells

I have made him no marker; his name twists
in silence beneath a granite rock laid above his sleep.
To anyone who did not love him, he rots anonymous –
only a dead horse, scooped under and gone.

From this new grave, edged with springtime clay,
a ribbon of melt water leaks and wends its slow
journey to his fence, the alder copse, my house-
shadow sharp and pointed across a forsaken pasture.

He’s been running these fields for thirty-three Junes
burning his coat to ginger; Octobers falling cool over
his starry head. At the end, I slipped him treats - molasses
and grated apple - which he chewed from duty and perhaps,
because he knew this was our last gift to each other.

The trickle shrinks and stops. Out on the road, a black
pickup kicks up more dust for his blanket. It is the morning
of the third day and his stone sits heavier than I ever
imagined it would.


Requiescat in Pace” dramatizes the despair of losing an animal friend, yet it also celebrates the gratitude of having experienced that relationship. The parallel of the melting ice and melting presence of the horse infuses this poem with its stunning vision, while the third stanza crystallizes the history of the dignified animal’s life. The final image of the “stone sit[ting] heavier than I ever / imagined it would” captures the speaker’s sorrow with beauty as well as clarity. --Linda Sue Grimes


~~~~~


Second Place:


Nevada, U.S. Highway 6
by Kim Cassidy, of Wild Poetry Forum

Almost home. New Jersey to California
in four days with the promise of divorce
at the end. This new road seemed to go forever,
nothing but brown and dust and brush--
miles and miles, hundreds behind us,
hundreds more up ahead. Love takes these treks
and sometimes strange things happen, like the cow
that appeared, steadfast as a ship's anchor
claiming her spot dead center as if to say:
Slow down. What's your hurry?
It worked, because when you're speeding
down the highway like somebody's fury,
black and white coming up sudden against
a deep magenta sky makes you put on your brakes.
You get hungry driving, thirsty too,
and sometimes you have to pee. Basic needs
kick in when there's so much nothing,
not even a radio station to dial in.
The sign was innocuous enough. There's a lunar crater
up ahead. Well, I've never done it in a
moon crater and I figure, here's my chance.
What the hell. One last go for the sake
of prosperity. No remorse, but life
likes to teach and I learned that day
that while marriage may be hard, craters
are hard and pointy.


In “Nevada, U.S. Highway 6,” the speaker deftly juggles emotions as he completes a long road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast. Bearing the heavy burden of an impending divorce, he dramatizes a light-heartedness that promises to keep him in balance. Image choices such as “the cow / that appeared, steadfast as a ship's anchor,” and “craters” that are “hard and pointy” help create in the piece a rich texture that complements the confusion of an uncertain future. --Linda Sue Grimes


~~~~~


Third Place:


The rising song of you
by Jude Goodwin, of The Waters

The sun comes in like a quiet cat
one paw print on the wall,
one on the piano,
it purrs by my slipper
as I write this morning hymn
to you, an anthem
to the way you lift the coffee
to your lips, the way you turn
when I speak.
And when morning
begs at the window
we laugh,
the cat and I,
all spread on the coverlet
warmed by the rising
song of you.


“The rising song of you” playfully portrays not only the creative process but also the delight experienced by a lover for a beloved. The “quiet cat” that subtly insinuates herself into the piece as she represents “the sun” adds magic to this little musical drama. --Linda Sue Grimes


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post May 20 13, 05:35
Post #5


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for May 2013
Judged by Linda Sue Grimes



First Place:


A Trail of Bodies
by Billy Howell-Sinnard, of The Writer's Block


I've always wondered if she survived.
It was dark. Thirty miles from town.
Maybe a rancher or two lived out there.

My brother and I had brought our rifles
to the mountains, hiking, half-heartedly
shooting at a coyote or antelope, chasing

the sounds of elk sharpening their antlers
against trees, never seeing one. We got
to the paved road not long after sunset.

There was no moon. The old Jeep's over-
sized tires thumped the pavement, caused
the cab to vibrate. The headlights poked

into the blackness, discovering the now
visible aerial world outside. From force
of impact, nylon insects sounded like two

pound creatures splattering the windshield.
Carroll and I sunk into the well-worn bucket
seats, exhausted, lulled by the drone of tires.

I saw her dark, startled eyes, big ears, black
nose, both of us moving so fast, the thud
on my side instantaneous with her image,

then the sound of the road and nothing else.
We stopped within fifty feet or so, examined
the damage: a broken mirror and the side

glass cracked. Arms dangling at our sides,
we stared into the scrub. A tumbleweed rolled
slowly past. The doe dazed, looking for her

family, hopefully, or dying in the juniper bushes.
Still, to this day, her bones crying in the wind,
lost in time–everyone I've ever left behind.


The haunting narrative of “A Trail of Bodies” offers vivid images: “the sounds of elk sharpening their antlers / against trees,” “The old Jeep's over- / sized tires thumped the pavement,” “Arms dangling at our sides,” “A tumbleweed rolled / slowly past.” While only one potential “body” dominates the poem, its possible ghost recalls to the mind of the speaker other bodies that the speaker has over a lifetime “left behind.” The long-term wondering if the deer survived gives pith and mystery to the poem’s urgency. --Linda Sue Grimes



~~~~~



Second Place:


For the men
by Judy Kaber, of The Waters


who lie stretched upon the table,
hearts stopped, blood pumping
through a machine that kisses

it with oxygen, how much faith
they have to give themselves
up to the knife! Eyes fixed

on some inner world, a deep
chill settles in them, carries
them over the thick plateau

of the dead. One long slice,
bone saw cuts sternum, heart
lifted in someone else's hand –

who can match this feat? Trust,
not in some oddly named god,
but in a surgeon, some simple

man who goes home, looks
at furniture on Craigslist, checks
his daughter’s algebra, fixes

the value of x. Don’t you wonder
what he sees in his dreams? All
those hearts! Like partners

he has danced with under
streamers of colored lights, each
one matching his step, each

a swathe of delicate cloth
beneath his hand. Always intent
on beat. But it is the men

on the table that I applaud,
led in the dance, eyes closed,
chests still for the moment,

believing, the way a woman
does, that through this magic
somehow this man will save them


In “For the men,” the speaker dramatizes the singular relationship between heart surgeon and patient and concludes that the man lying “stretched upon the table” is the one more deserving of applause for their metaphoric dance. The patient has to entertain belief boarding on “magic” like that of a woman who “somehow” believes that a man will “save them.” --Linda Sue Grimes



~~~~~



Third Place:


The Atheist's Demise
by Fred Longworth, of Muse Motel

after both Dylan Thomas and Wallace Stevens


In the last hour of Billy’s dying,
his brow took on the gnarls of fear.
What had seemed so clear as he lay
on the warm grass of contemplation
grew murky on the tundra of a deathbed.

“A priest,” he whispered. “Get me a priest.”

So little time. We called and called.
We were sirens in a ghost town.
No one was available,
even the 7/24 outcall minister.

It was up to us to make believe.

We searched Billy’s house and found
a tarnished silver cross on a lanyard,
a black windbreaker, and a dusty Bible.
Jillian was blood, Michael friend.

I was the unfamiliar.

I donned jacket and cross. Bible in hand,
I read the 23rd Psalm and John 14:1-6.
It was like lying to a child to soothe
his night-fears, and let him
go gentle into good sleep.


“The Atheist’s Demise” gives a nod to Rev. William T. Cummings’ claim, “There are no atheists in the foxholes.” A friend, a relative, and an “unfamiliar” of a dying heretofore-professed atheist perform the semblance of last rites for the lapsed Catholic, sending him into that “good sleep” with the benefit of clergy as the dying man had, seemingly against his own belief system, requested. The living liken their benevolence to “lying to a child to soothe / his night-fears.” --Linda Sue Grimes



~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Jun 12 13, 17:22
Post #6


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for June 2013
Judged by Linda Sue Grimes



First Place:


Yellowknife
by Helm Filipowitsch, of Babilu


To my nephew, David Hare,
resident of Yellowknife,
who passed away in an airplane
accident, Resolute Bay,
August 20, 2011; survived by
his wife, three young daughters,
love and dreams.


Having gone to Yellowknife, though not
above the tree line and having walked
in Yellowknife on streets bisecting
the now and then and having seen
the scraping of the earth’s carapace
against a sky with clouds, water with
boats and planes two-legged at exactly
the demarcation point between
earth and air, I wonder how anything
can exist there that is not a playing card
flipped down on a table piled with chips,
an open bottle of vodka, a primed rifle,
the promise of an unborn child, chill
northern lights, a hand reaching for
a hand, the winter cold that cauterizes
pain, a desire extended beyond the snow,
into the conflagration of a ferocious love.


“Yellowknife” speaks to the mystery of how love and pain comingle. The things of this earth that catch the eye also resonate in the heart as this speaker remembers, “having walked / in Yellowknife on streets bisecting / the now and then.” The elements of earth, water, fire, and air provide the admixture that results in the turmoil felt in the human body, and that corresponding turmoil is dramatized in both the town and poem of Yellowknife as the speaker observes, “water with / boats and planes two-legged at exactly the demarcation point between /earth and air” and later engages a Whitmanesque catalogue featuring “an open bottle of vodka” and the “chill / northern lights.” The final image of “the conflagration of a ferocious love” comes to resemble “the winter cold that cauterizes / pain,” for which readers are grateful. --Linda Sue Grimes


~~~~~


Second Place:


Folk Remedy
by Allen Weber, of FreeWrights Peer Review


You boil white willow to relieve my grippe.
Sassafras, horehound, and pennyroyal teas
can calm a cough; and dogwood bark kills fleas.
Feed cornsilk, steeped, to our bedwetting imp.

Poultice that wound with common summer weeds;
yarrow or jimson seeds should do the trick.
Press hard an iron key against your neck,
if unprovoked your nose begins to bleed.

A rhubarb necklace quells my bellyache.
Rhododendron cools Gran’s rheumatism;
on her shingles, rub blood from a chicken.
If moonlight darkens your beautiful face,

I’ll share your lips with passiflora vine,
a three-way kiss with bitter medicine.


The delightful “Folk Remedy” plays out in a finely structured Elizabethan-like sonnet that cobbles together the various uses of herbs and plants for their healing properties. The slant rimes in the quatrains highlight the nod to the traditional form, while providing just the right dollop of skepticism about the efficacy of the herbal remedies. The couplet featuring a sight rime that yields “a three-way kiss” juxtaposes passionate sweetness and the bitterness of medicine. The speaker completes the texture of familial closeness by bathing its miseries in soothing balms. --Linda Sue Grimes


~~~~~


Third Place:


Describing Blue to My Colorblind Friend
by Teresa White, of Wild Poetry Forum


Blue is standing in the ocean up to your breastbone,
the surging base of the wave moving over you.
It is the scent of rain and rain itself.
Blue is the color of a black lab’s eyes
or the smudge of a bruise on your inner arm
that has no explanation.

Blue is lobelia cascading from a porch planter;
the color of leftover instant mashed potatoes,
the color of choice.

Blue is the complement of yellow,
the sky and sun. Blue is the stain
that won’t come out when the crime is done.

Blue is born with the pluck of a string
across an old cigar box. Blue is the color of company,
the three-piece suit, the taffeta dress.

Blue is the knitted cap for the male preemie,
the rubber stopper at the end of a feeding tube,
the color of hospital sweats, the sound of goodbye.


The speaker in “Describing Blue to My Colorblind Friend” translates the color “blue” into emotions called forth by the color. Blue can be soothing to the skin like “standing in the ocean up to your breastbone,” yet it can be the result of pain “the smudge of a bruise on your inner arm.” The speaker uses not only tactile and visual images to explain the color but also auditory, “the pluck of a string / across an old cigar box,” olfactory, “the scent of rain,” and gustatory, “leftover instant mashed potatoes.” The final image of “the sound of goodbye” being a feature of “blue” waxes consummately appropriate. The colorblind friend can be grateful for this montage of blueness that offers a useful sensory dictionary of this fabulous color. --Linda Sue Grimes


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Sep 22 13, 19:07
Post #7


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for July 2013
Judged by Robert Sward



First Place:


The Portrait of Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin

by Alex Nodopaka, of Muse Motel


I acquired the painting at a major discount from a dealer of antiques
on account of the housing market collapse of 2008 and began research
into old archives for portraits of the Bolshevik with a white goatee.
After browsing through a multitude of portrayals, I could have drawn

the man blindfolded, yet could not find a single one with a white goatee!
The lower right corner of the painting bore two fat initials: R.G.
and the back of the gessoed panel sported some illegible pencil scribbles
and a glued tag identifying a framer from Frankfurt. Anyone could have

bought a frame there and affixed the painting but the masterly stroked
oil on board was thumb tacked by a peculiarly styled pin head perforated
with two diametrically opposite small holes. The painting was not dated,
which sent me trying to put a time frame on the masterpiece.

Now, if anything, I know much about push pins and who invented which
and when. At that point I still had no clue as to who the painter or
the poser were. Frustrated I researched the owner of the painting who kindly
had himself identified on the back of the artwork with a neatly typed label:

Eigentumer: architekt Stefan-Blattner. When I discovered who he was
my mouth dropped open in awe at his reputation. Here I had some
documentation as to the painting’s provenance though did not relish
the individual being associated to Joseph Goebels. Then I remembered

the Germans identified all their belongings, especially the stolen paintings,
and meticulously documented their misdeeds, thus martyring their hostages
while also disposing of their gold dental contraptions. I only wanted to
document my purchase even if it was of dubious provenance. In the end

I convinced myself it was not the authenticity of the portrait that mattered
but the architect or some guru of the same Bauhaus school because further
down the article I could not help notice references to Le Corbusier, G. Candilis,
G. Godefroy and A. Nodopaka. That last name by no accident was my father

who surely knew Lenin at least by sight. Driving home with my purchase
I smelled a revolting odor of stale cigarette smoke coming from the canvas.
I comforted myself with having some knowledge of artwork restoration
and that by rubbing a fresh onion over the face of the painting would

remove surface grime but since the waft would remind me of a cheap pizza parlor
I would do a final rub with a fresh lemon and use the rind in my Vodka.
At last I could toast Trotsky’s hammer and sickle bitter sweet assassination
and Lenin’s mummification aromatised with a mouth puckering affair!


I like the energy of PORTRAIT OF VALDIMIR LENIN, the liveliness of the piece, the "telling" of a story, the narrative sweep, the humor and ambition of the poem.

I admire too the poet's attention to detail ("a peculiarly styled pin head perforated with two diametrically opposite small holes...") and that the details are in keeping and in rhythm with the rest of the poem. And I'm drawn in by the wry humor of lines like "Now, if anything, I know much about push pins and who invented which and when." Seemingly "flat" as poetry, that line and others like it, are in harmony with the voice and rhythm of the rest of the poem.

Though not a great fan of "prose poem," PORTRAIT wins me over, convinces me of the virtues and value of the form. It strikes me, too, that there's a rightness to the choice of the prose poem form over other forms this poet might have chosen. In fact, the more time I spend with PORTRAIT, the more I like it. And I like the sense of "truthiness" of the poem, it feels right, it feels real. And, yes, fellow fans of Stephen Colbert, truthiness can be used in a positive way. Beyond "truthiness," I want to ask if there's such a thing as a nonfiction poem? I think there is and PORTRAIT is a good example.

And I like too that the poet apparently has some "real" knowledge of the craft he describes, as when he/she writes, "I comforted myself with having some knowledge of artwork restoration and that by rubbing a fresh onion over the face of the painting would remove surface grime..." Yes, in context, I think that's an entirely necessary and compelling line of poetry. It's a choice detail and one that helps put PORTRAIT over the top. It's a winner of a poem! Congratulations. --Robert Sward



~~~~~


Second Place:


awake Yeshurun!
by Daniel Abelman, of conjunction


where the heat-maze meanders and fossils
cobble the fata morgana between
wadis beyond Yeshurun’s hills - the cave

of the hidden Lion, whose shimmering
Crown-Keter of ten butterflies trace gold
sphirot, and entrance in he(i)lical rings

Yeshurun braids secrets in Lion’s mane,
blessing the clouds for the month of Tishrei
talks to butterflies about This-and-That
and Ams-what-they-Am and of Other-Things

and the mountain clouds of Heshvan coil in
bind the above-waters with those below
and the full moon scurries, cloaks her beacon

behind the bleak shrouds of low Kislev sky.
Yeshurun kindles an olive-oil lamp
from Ararat’s sprig pressed in a dove’s beak

come the month of Tevet, four, see the glow
skirt the maze to the cave; dodge butterflies
while emanating slipknots through a mane

as Lion rumbles, and roars echoes of
creation from his maw. Sinai horn-blasts
fan whirl-fire chariot wheels, teamed to
Jacob’s ladder and Yeshurun’s reverie.

from the cave - that jaw - three emerge. one is
deranged; one realizes This-and-That
and Ams-what-they-Am and Other-Things; one
is changed. the fourth remains devoured by awe

midnight, the hidden Lion unlaces his
macrame’ed mane with a purr; Yeshurun
rests on a proffered paw dreams to flutters
of a butterfly snore. of Hermon’s springs;
of Shvat, when feral almonds blossom pink


It would have been helpful for the poet to have included an epigraph that somehow identifies Yeshurun (sorry, this reader should know who Yeshurun is, but... in fact, he needs a little help.

Still, the poet communicates well his (or her!) love for language, for the "sound," for the sheer delight in the English language. There's more than a hint of Coleridge and the old Testament and, to my ear, Romantic poetry and the Book of Revelations.

But it's a send-up, I believe, and yet one is drawn in, drawn in in spite of oneself to the lushness, the mystery, the humor ("the This-and-That-and Ams-what they-Am and Other things." There' s something of the comic in this and that doesn't especially detract from the whole "Romantic poet quality.

And the poet's speaking of "butterfly snore." I confess, I haven't heard that expression before. Nor "feral almonds blossom pink." Feral almonds? Blossom pink? Go for it, my friend! --Robert Sward



~~~~~


Third Place:


The England I love
by John Wilks, of The Write Idea


is a land of boredom,
of early closing and Sunday observance,
where women’s work is the weaving of sorrows
into stronger cloth, while the weekly wash flaps
in back gardens as if they were harbours for
a fleet of galleons bound for the Empire’s
farthest isles. My children do not walk if they
can run, do not run if they can skip. Their school
is a bombsite overgrown with weeds, not yet
become a New Town’s concrete henge. Strong men weep
dry-eyed over a handful of silver coins clutched
in calloused palms. The grease and grime of honest
toil etches cheiromantic lines deep in flesh,
to fix the future as firmly as a black-
and-white photograph. Mother tunes the wireless
to Workers’ Playtime, polishes the walnut
veneer as it warms up with the yellow glow
of valves and sings along to patriotic
songs as if the War was never won. My heart
weighs more than our ration of meat, yet simple
fare as love seeks to provide is sustenance
enough for families content to survive.
I know my place, know my role by rote within
that place. No more do I need than certainty.


Yes, the title's ironic, but the poem expresses deep affection for the place, however "boring" he or she might find it. In truth, I believe only a Brit could speak so fondly of the "grin and bear it" quality of the country and admire the spirit of the place and speak in favor of the "grease and grime of honest toil." Yes, THE ENGLAND I LOVE comes alive and cuts through the "gloom" and oppression, praising what his/her countrymen hold in reserve.

There's more than the ring of truth to the poem and one of its virtues is author's ability to conjure up if not name whatever it is that the Brits hold in reserve. For this reader, THE ENGLAND I LOVE comes alive and finds expression in the last two lines "

"I know my place, know my role by rote within
that place. No more do I need than certainty."

There's something emotionally satisfying, a certain inevitability, a "rightness" to this ending. --Robert Sward



~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Sep 22 13, 19:32
Post #8


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for August 2013
Judged by Robert Sward



First Place:


The Grail Is Both A Cauldron And A Spear
by John Wilks, of The Write Idea



Mum makes us tea: two cups on two saucers
from four separate services jingle
in her palsied grip like sleigh bells. Can’t beat
proper china for a decent brew. Mugs
aren’t ladylike.
Out come garibaldis
and fig rolls, soft from the rusting Peek Freans
tin of long gone Cream Assorted. Thanks ma,
but I’m on a diet. Don’t be daft girl,
you don’t eat enough to feed a sparrow.


Our drinks are dilute milk, scalding with mere
hints of tea-bag. Auntie Ellen would be
mortified: without the leaves, the patterned
dregs to read, she could not shape our future
with her dread pronouncements. I take a pinch
of salt with each cube of sugar. How’s tricks?
mum asks. Mustn’t grumble, says I, blowing
steam like a rolling haar around the rim
of a porcelain shore. Same old, same old.

I take a noisy sip and am a child
again, yet feel no younger. Touch my tongue
against the back of my teeth and expect
to taste metal. Frown as my forehead tenses,
as if from pigtails pulled back tight. Most nights,
I dream this is still home. Dream of strange paths
that trip my questing feet. They say the Grail
is both a cauldron and a spear; chalice
of vajazzled gold and wooden vessel.

In all its forms, a woman is not pure
enough to touch, or even look upon,
the holy cup of blood.


Sod it. I dunk
a biscuit in my tea and let its sweet
sacrament melt in my mouth. The body
of Christ.
Bless me father, for I have not
confessed a single one of my sins. Nor
will I ever. Bless me mother, instead.
Ah! The cup that cheers. She smacks her lips. Bliss.


Without question, the #1 spot goes to author of "The Grail Is Both a Cauldron and a Spear."

There is an authenticity here, a ring of truth that holds the reader's attention from beginning to end. I like, too, the effective, the wonderful and compelling use of dialogue, the mother's voice clearly different from the daughter's so the drama, the tension between mother and daughter, such as it is, stands as a playlet. And certainly one gets to know something about each of the two women, the mother and her cups and saucers "from four separate services." And the daughter becoming a child again in the presence of her mother ("yet feel no younger.")

"How's tricks?" Mum asks. "Mustn't grumble," says I. "Same old, same old."

Relaxed as it is, utterly offhand, there's an underlying iambic pattern to the exchange and indeed to the poem as a whole.

Prosaic seeming, yes, it's true, yet poetry enough for the moment. Even an exchange as mundane as the above can have rhythm, drama, a crystal clear "now," the predictable, the "ordinary" becoming unexpectedly memorable. "Heightened speech," it's called, and, yes, here we have one definition of poetry.

So there's a transformation taking place here, a transformation culminating in the earned breaking out of charged speech, what one hears in the poet's ringing last four lines,

"....The body / of Christ. Bless me father, for I have not / Confessed a single one of my sins. Nor / Will I ever. Bless me mother, instead. / 'Ah! The cup that cheers.' She smacks her lips. 'Bliss.'"

--Robert Sward



~~~~~


Second Place:


1929
by Bernard Henrie, of The Waters


I came to New York City a young, unpolished
South African diamond; handsome as David
Prince of Wales when first meeting Wallis;
debts of a sun god in shops along 5th Avenue.

Cheated a little on Wall Street — front running
for large banks against small banks, learned
enough French to pronounce parfums sprinkled
over dancing girls and somnambulant debutantes.

Sped in taxis yellow as South American bananas
and drank in Spanish Harlem; anonymous girls
with eyes black as storms kissed me, Tanqueray
and crushed ice on rouged lips.

Half-draped blond bodies, silver bodies beside
mauve tea lamps and RCA phonographs;
Brownstones along Lexington Avenue. Tarot
card readings and séance reconnections
with the lingering dead;

played poker like a maniac, bet the Yale-Harvard
game, sat ringside at Yankee Stadium
for the Sharkey vs. Tommy Loughran fight.

My mother visited and for five days I stopped
drinking.

Became engaged to Glenda Tilton, but she dived
off the pier at Far Rockaway Beach, they found her
three days later wrapped in sour green sea weed,
show girl legs albino white and nibbled at the edge.

I smoked all night above the East River, vodka
the color of snow I imagine at Moscow’s Bolshoi.

A margin call on US steel cleaned me out. Falling
wheat prices in Kansas made certain I was poor.

A Santa Fe took Glenda’s coffin to her parents,
the train stole away like a guest leaving a party.
I was too hung-over to recall the rhyme scheme
of a villanelle.

I wore white shoes. It was that long ago.


Second place goes to the gifted author of the poem "1929," which I like for its poet-musician's voice, its details, images that are at once "real" and that ring historically true. I like, too, the sense of the speaker whose voice grabs you right from the beginning, "I came to New York City a young, unpolished / South African diamond..." I personally find it hard not to want to read on... "Cheated a little on Wall Street---front running / for large banks against small banks."

I feel I should know who Glenda Tilton is ("became engaged to Glenda Tilton, but she dived/off the pier at Far Rockaway Beach..."). Is she the lover of a famous musician? I try Googling the name, Glenda Tilton, but that doesn't help in identifying her.

It's true: The more things change, the more they stay the same. There's that and the sense the author is writing "naturally," that is, in a particular dramatic voice, which the poet sustains throughout and does so without forcing the material, without artificially striving for effects.

Because the poem concerns a young man who came to New York in 1929, well, going by the title, one would imagine the poet is writing in the voice of a famous "personality," perhaps a jazz musician.

Just a hint of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" in the speed, the conjuring up of New York City in a series of flashes ("Brownstones along Lexington Avenue. Tarot / card readings and seance reconnections / with the lingering dead..."

Love the energy of the poem, and only wish I knew more about the Glenda Tilton reference and how, dramatically, she figures into this poem beyond the facts and/or clues we are given.

--Robert Sward



~~~~~


Third Place:


Flash in the Pan
by Walter Schwim, of Mosaic Musings cheer.gif Congrats Wally!


In wartime, lights in the night usually signify something bad is about to happen – somewhere!

Breaking the stillness; a bump in the night!
Is that the start of an Eighty-one’s flight?
Payload of chaos to no one knows where
till H.E. and shrapnel light up the air.

Bursting in splendour, bright star in the sky,
Icarus riding a thousand foot high.
Just for a minute she dazzles the eyes
then swinging in circles, gradually dies.

Lazy green fire-flies, starting out slow
floating through darkness – all in a row.
Lazy green fire-flies rapidly change
to green killer-hornets streaking up-range.

Flickers of lightning! (A storm’s overdue?)
Katyusha’s big daughter, the one-twenty-two
shrieks overhead like a flaming banshee;
the zone near her grounding you’d rather not be.

Lurking in shadow, as patient as Jobe,
mine waits a victim to press on its probe,
renting the soul with a blast out of hell;
a few have survived their story to tell.

Of battle aurora commanding the night,
nothing’s as heinous as one out of sight.
Tiny hot flash of a rifle well aimed
could modestly signal “Your life has been claimed!”

Notes:
“Eighty-one” – 81mm NATO calibre Medium mortar. The Russian version had an 82mm bore.
“Icarus” – Hand launched parachute flare, also known as “thousand foot flare”.
“Katyusha” – Russian nickname of the older 82mm artillery rocket also known as “Stalin’s Organ”.

It was superseded by the powerful 122mm projectile with a range of up to 30 km.
Other references are to; machine gun tracer fire, mines and booby-traps.


Third prize goes to author of "Flash in the Pan" with its effective use of rhyming couplets (and four-line stanzas) to describe a night-time artillery battle with mortar shells, hand-launched parachute flares (also known as "thousand-foot flare") and Katyusha, AKA "Stalin's Organ."

"Flash in the Pan" is an "action poem" that opens with a frightening exchange of fire, "a bump in the night? / Is that the start of an Eighty-one's flight? / Payload of chaos to no one knows where..."

A scene experienced from a distance before the camera, so to speak, zooms in close on a soldier, a single individual, at least as I read it, "Tiny hot flash of a rifle well-aimed / could modestly signal 'Your life has been claimed.'"

Hats of to a poet who can write about war (possibly in Afghanistan?) and doing so in rhyming iambic pentameter lines, i.e., ten-syllables to the line, two rhyming couplets to each stanza. There's a slight sing-songy quality that actually works for the poem, momentarily lulling the reader into a relative quiet, a dangerous quiet which, moments later, will be shattered by "shrieks overhead like a flaming banshee..."

Ambitious, a poem suggestive of a war veteran author, a poet with battle scars, and I like, too, the appropriate references to "Job" and "Icarus" which, in this context, feel right, that is, they seem to me "earned" and function as something more than decorative elements.

--Robert Sward



~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Nov 1 13, 17:07
Post #9


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for September 2013
Judged by Robert Sward



First Place:


Wards
by Penguin, of Wild Poetry Forum


Lady Jane Grey was little more
than a holiday home, a brief change of air;
Elizabeth Woodville was Long Stay –
students dreaded placement there.
Hers was a thicker atmosphere: moon-fogged
with menace throughout the year.
It’s the Western Australian Blue Mist, Doctor,
or else I’m going blind.


When a man said he wanted to meditate
it meant he wanted to murder.
Each patient had his own chair to throw
and a needle drawn up in the clinic.
In emergencies we called on
George Eliot and Jane Austen.
It was every man for himself but
you couldn’t confront a delusion.
Alice believes that I’m John the Baptist—
we’ll just hide all the knives and forks.

Everything signalled something else
that the staff spent hours deciphering
while sat underneath No Smoking;
the former boxer fractured nerves
and the failed actor reeled off verse
after verse of counterfeit Shakespeare.
I could spot functional psychosis
there’s a johnnie stuck up my arse, nurse,
and show empathy at ten paces.

We learnt the types of schizophrenia,
how to defend against knight’s move thinking
and the lineage of English monarchs.
I’m digging up Charles I today
and replanting The Wars of The Roses.

Any accretion of insight
was offset by a lack of remorse.
Nobody could bury the hatchet because
we’d forgotten the word for spade.


I like the use of rhyme, the grace and bitter humor of WARDS,

"Lady Jane Grey was little more
than a holiday home, a brief change of air;
Elizabeth Woodville was Long Stay -
students dreaded placement there."

We seem-- the poem has a setting and that setting would seem to be a teaching hospital, a mental ward, "moon-fogged / with menace throughout the year."

One reads on:

"Each patient had his own chair to throw
and a needle dawn up in the clinic."

What I don't understand are lines like:

"In emergencies we called on
George Eliot and Jane Austen.
It was every man for himself..."

As a reader I'm not sure how the author's private knowledge, private associations are going to be understood.

"Everything signalled something else
that the staff spent hours deciphering
while sat underneath No Smoking..."

And the sense of brooding and mental discomfort, of cleverness, and ultimately despair, culminates, it seems to me, in the final lines:

"Nobody could bury the hatchet because
we'd forgotten the word for spade."

Author wins the day with this great parting line! --Robert Sward



~~~~~


Second Place:


Why I'm not a Monk
by Laurie Byro, of Babilu


I like to talk. I contemplate while I talk and people say
I sleep-talk. I like the appealing collar, the lace around
the sleeve. I love Epaulets. I like the little details. Once,
while I was about to climax (in the wrong place, a closet,
don’t ask) I stood among the shoe horns, the winter

coats and bit my shirt to stop myself from crying out.
I worried (not that we’d be discovered) but that I would
ruin a lovely Nehru collar with drool. How is this possible,
I asked myself, knowing I was not a contortionist and
impressed with such detached determination. I covet sound.

I repeat the phrase inside my head; I love the taste of words
rolling around among my molars. Listen: persimmon, catalyst,
katydid, polliwog, drool. I love bargains and paying pennies
for cool shoes. I have stood inside a closet, my boots filling up
with blood. I have thought about this. Face it, I have more

than thought, I have spoken this out loud. Can a wind chime
equal a sacrament? Can a butterfly be worth the same
as a seashell? How do we measure thrift against desire,
passion against compassion, lie against thievery, incest against
adultery? Can a temple bell fill the air with language or is it only

noise? How many orchids does it take to topple a wall?
If it were up to me to build a bridge, I would ask a stranger
to pass me a stone. Once in New York City I begged a cop
to help me parallel park. Instead, he issued me a summons.
Take my advice, know what you do and cannot do but

do it out loud. Set the world on fire with wooden matches.
Listen: cinnamon, wolverine, clementines, audacious,
anemone, puck. A man huddles on the sidewalk and I am
unable to give him more than a nod and a compassionate five.
Here, take my words. Rub together my sticks of love.


I like the humor of the piece, the "easy" pace of the narrative, I like the gentle self-deprecation and the "flow," which strikes me as natural as opposed to contrived. I'd like a little more about the why of the title, "Why I'm Not a Monk." The poem opens with the line, "I like to talk." and that's followed by "I contemplate while I talk and people say / I sleep-talk..."

Then, also in stanza #1, one reads, "Once,/while I was about to climax..." so there's something of the confessional about the poem, in short, much that the poet believes would serve to discredit his application (should he make one) to serve as a monk.

Five lines to the stanza, an easy working with the formal limits he sets himself. And, yes, there's a jaunty quality to lines like "...persimmon, catalyst,/ katydid, polliwog, drool." and "Can a butterfly be worth the same/ as a seashell?"

In answer to the poem I'd say a love for language, a sensuality, a delight in the play of the imagination, a hint of compassion... none of these would in themselves disqualify the poet from a place in the monastery. Oddly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn at some point in the future that the author of these lines chose indeed to spend some time in a monastery.

The poet offers in parting, "Take my advice, know what you do and cannot do but / do it out loud." --Robert Sward



~~~~~


Third Place:


The Call
by R.C. James, of Babilu


In a quiet reversal
the beautiful Chinese primary teacher
asked me for my phone number
after I’d finished a half hour of
visiting native English speaker class
and was packing up to leave.

I immediately began anticipating her call;
by evening we’d married
and were expecting twins,
one American and one Chinese.
I was sure she’d call within the week,
that we’d stroll through town
her hand edging toward mine
and to end up firmly clasping confidence.

Then, our first meal together
in someplace of her choice,
where Chinese was more Chinese than Ming.
I, of course, impressed her
with my near mastery of chop sticks.
When She asked where I’d learned.
I told her Chinatown, New York City.
She asked me about the food there.
I said ‘nothing like this,’
affirming the rightness of everything,
of us, her eyes, her effect
on everything dormant in me for years
that I brought to her in a package
she was unwrapping slowly,
sensuously, without wiles,
pretense, anxiety or insistence.

She’d had the paper off
and the box unsealed
with her first request for my number
and now my soul was looking
for some protective wrapping
as it had not been this exposed
since the first pink sweater,
leaning elm tree days
of my 12 year old romantic emergence
with the blond haired, soft-voiced girl
who had captured me.
This was countries
and many yearnings away
from those blushing, sweaty
hand-holding days
of Saturday matinee
Doublemint aroma’d kisses,
Elvis’s first romp through
pubescent girls’ swooning psyches
and YMCA dance nervousness.

This, on the other side of the world,
was another beginning, another start.
As we left the restaurant
she asked me if I liked China
and I could only say
‘China contains something
I am beginning to love.’
She asked what that something was,
and I felt as unable to answer
as I had been unable to seize
anything like the moment
back there under the elm tree.

I said I’d found it
but there was a long way
between finding something
and calling it your own.
She said, ‘I know that feeling,
I’m still looking for what might be mine,
but there is one thing I’m sure of,
I think we’re both searching
in the right place.’
‘You mean China?’ I asked.
She answered with four fingers
to her heart.

She hasn’t called;
it’s been weeks.


Admirable working with narrative, though I believe THE CALL could use some judicious editing. I like the poem, but can't help thinking, "less is more, less is more!" The poem tries to cover too much ground. Still, I found myself engaged in the "story" and the author's self-deprecating, tongue in cheek humor is welcome.

For all its length (a page and a half, single spaced!) I don't feel we get very much sense of the object of the poet's fantasy. There's much more info about the author and his fantasy romances, romantic reminiscences... that is, too much about what's gone before, and not enough about what's going on in the present moment. Too much of the poet's inner "meanderings" and not enough about the front and center object of his affection, the "beautiful Chinese primary teacher."

If the poet is so struck by this woman, why not make more of an effort to describe her, to "evoke" a sense of her beauty and her personality? What is it that makes the teacher so beautiful that he fantasizes about her in this way?

Again, I like the poem, don't get me wrong, but I respect and take the author seriously enough to say 1) I'm drawn into the piece by the offhandedness of the narrative and the jaunty humor; 2) my primary reservation is that the poet's narcissism and sustained focus on himself, works to the detriment of the matter at hand, i.e., the Chinese teacher who has excited his romantic interest; and, 3) apart from being an engaging anecdote it falls short of delivering what, for this reader, is the narrative promise.

The last two lines, "She hasn't called; / it's been weeks." could be cut without harm to the poem. --Robert Sward



~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Nov 3 13, 14:20
Post #10


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for October 2013
Judged by Kelly Cherry


First Place:


Sunday Mourning
by Brenda Levy Tate, of PenShells


An eye tarnishes; motes drift
from webs and air, to stick
where the shine is fading.
No glaze - only a dustfall.
Death holds its own gravity.

His grey coat stretches dry
over old bone; his rib-rack
heave has ended. In the corner,
a bucket squats where thirst
will never visit again.
On the sill, a mercy bottle
sits drained of its poison.

His last bed is straw, hard
boards under mane and shoulder,
turf bits fallen from hooves
when he dropped down.
He cannot feel our hands now.
His name, tossed among
the rafters, comes back empty.

We scuff in the aisle, waiting
for his absence to solidify.
Something needs to leave;
we have to let it out.
All we understand is a door
into the next room.

The barn cat steps lightly
around us, knowing
this is not her business here.
In the yard, a blue backhoe
purls and shudders.


I'd change the title, since Wallace Stevens's "Sunday Morning" is so well known and so stunning. And I hope the poet might consider deleting the first stanza and the poem's last line: the first stanza is so abstract that we have to return to it later, when we realize that it describes a dying horse. The last line, by animating the backhoe, subtracts from the horse's centrality. The rest of the poem is marvelously moving, especially in the way the horse is allowed to retain his dignity. That "[s]omething needs to leave" is a perfect line, referring us to the spirit or soul of the horse.

There is a nobility about horses that this poem acknowledges and defers to. Of course, we can read a poem about a horse as if it were a poem about a person, and that heightens the emotion, but here the details of "turf bits," "hard boards" and "straw"--the actual life of a horse--lift the poem above sentimentality. I like it very much! --Kelly Cherry



~~~~~


Second Place:


Tireless Hunt for Food at Safeway
by Bernard Henrie, of Muse Motel


The tomatoes are turning geriatric,
cantaloupe this late in the season
near cardiac arrest; the deaf plums
purple as a king’s robe.

Food bins to ransack; kosher cheese
strips delivered by jet plane
from Jerusalem, I spy on Kleenex
sunning under fluorescent lights.

My image appears in the meat case,
red cap on sideways, long hair, gold
and yellow Hawaiian shirt, Navy ship
tattoo on my bicep;

I am an aborigine gathering food
for a wife in her tweed business suit
and my child, nose-deep
in algebra.


Humorous and touching, this poem is a humble self-portrayal of a husband at the grocery store (I wonder what Randall Jarrell, who wrote about a woman shopping, would think. That times change, for one thing!): that makes it charming, first of all, and second of all, the description and details of both store and speaker are exact (except perhaps for "I spy on Kleenex," which moves us from hunting to spying). The working wife in tweed deepens our idea of this family, this husband, and the "child, nose-deep / in algebra," lets us know what a loving family it is. The poem is impossible to resist. --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


Third Place:


Debussy’s Music
by Guy Kettelhack, of Wild Poetry Forum


Full of un-deciphered crimes,
Debussy’s music makes you sad sometimes,
with all its poignant dreams of chimes

and body scents, chromatic climbs
and schemes and indigent emotion.
We don’t know how anyone can stand

his notion
of polyphony
all nakedly

exposed
and played.
He should have stayed

to tell us how to parse its mist,
or how to clear it.
In his absence, all that we can do is hear it.


I am not a fan of Debussy, but I enjoyed this poem, which, itself, "chimes" a la Debussy's music. There is a quickness, a lithe lightness to the line's rhythms and rhymes, and "to parse its mist" is an accurate--I mean dead-on--assessment of what needs to be done when listening to Debussy. "Mist" is a splendid word here, capturing in a single stroke both what is good and what is bad about Debussy's music. --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post May 12 14, 18:05
Post #11


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for November 2013
Judged by Kelly Cherry


First Place:


The Legend of the Green Man
by Christopher T. George, of FreeWrights Peer Review


The Green Man persists through the lies, the obfuscations,
the pretentious accents and the newspaper pirate hats crafted

from today’s headlines. The Green Man peers at you from behind
the tree trunk entwined by the yellow-eyed luminescent serpent,

just as he spied on the Persian archers, the Roman pikemen
who tramped through the forest leaving their dead slumbering

under the fall leaves. Still, we earn our salaries as did
those soldiers rewarded with salt and never look back; we

pretend we are in receipt of generous donations, largesse
of the gods — golden leaves that mound up in attic chests.

The Green Man is watching you through each day’s relentless dreck,
the never-ending commercial static. Something that you can’t control,

despite all the newfangled inventions: something primal and obscene.
Yes, yes — you saw him once: once seen, never forgotten. Listen.

He’s listening to you, watching your every move. You hide your hand
in a black velvet glove. Hide your face in a mask. Just don’t ask.


This month my pick for FIRST PLACE is "The Legend of the Green Man." The Green Man, often depicted in visual art as a face, framed by leaves, from whose orifices vines grow and tangle, and in literary tales as a kind of Robin Hood—a figure of the forest—or, as in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a pagan deity or mentor, is a mysterious holdover from earlier times, and this poem in couplets reminds us, at one and the same time, of the immeasurable difference between us and the vegetable world and our necessary closeness to it. Here we see him hiding behind a tree trunk to which a threatening serpent clings; we are reminded that he likewise spied on "Persian archers" and "Roman pikemen," which tells us just how ancient he is. Yet like the Persians and the Romans, we do our job in life, we are glad to cull "golden leaves" or coins. But the Green Man never leaves off looking: he has us in his eyes, he sees our mistakes, he knows we are, like him, "primal and obscene," no matter how technology and the world change. He is the sinner with whom, it seems, we cannot fail to collaborate, and though he welcomes our collaboration, he is also disgusted with it. This poem is short but it carries a good deal of tension and I found myself shivering as I read it. --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


Second Place:


In Mission Trails Wilderness Park
by Fred Longworth, of PenShells


A stream bisects Oak Canyon.
I stand on one side; a derelict Ford Pinto
sprawls on the other.

It lies inverted, like the husk of a dead insect.
As rust reclaims the cab on the far side
of the rivulet, close by, beneath a laurel sumac,

the soil digests the remnants of a squirrel.
A little ways up the opposing hillside,
a coyote slows its pace. It stares at me

with caution, then turns and sniffs the air.
Against this silence, there’s a deeper
silence in the white sage and chamise.

Both coyote and interloper stand motionless.
Everything is caught in the caesura
before sunset, when lungs of chaparral

release first breath, and shadows loom
larger than the things they trail.
It’s a glimpse into a slightly shifted world,

where time-out is a parcel of the game—
the living, the dying, the cycling and recycling,
mysteriously switched to standby—

so that only after sunset gives a nod
will clay resume the path toward earth,
and earth the task of birthing clay.


SECOND PLACE goes to "In Mission Trails Wilderness Park," a poem that beautifully describes a natural scene that includes a "derelict Ford Pinto," a canyon, and a stream. "[T]he caesura / before sunset," a stunning phrase, heightens our feeling that we are waiting for something, our expectancy. All, as the poet says, is on "standby." --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


Third Place:


We Give Back What We Cannot Keep
by Jim Zola,of The Waters


Better to begin at noon with bricks instead of river rocks,
with three train crossings we call the bones of Mister Jones,
with a river that rises in locks, with a father who works
at the ice factory and brings home sculptures, nudes reduced
to acceptability, swans without wings,
with a mother whose hands are whiter than fishbone.

So we begin with departure and travel this distance
between us, as if to touch is to travel.
Or with sleep, sound, back to back. When I wake,
I am three and flying around the basement,
my shoes scuff the red cement floor, my legs
are braced. Father kneads them with his icehouse hands.

We give back our mothers and fathers, sweat fresh
on their faces, give back birds that rise from the thin
comfort of branch to shake the elms, give back the field’s past.

Outside this window, there are no fields. There are warehouses,
the clatter of train and track, and warehouse birds.
They hop on corrugated rooftops.
They sing for our leaving.


~~~~~


Honorable Mention:


Destiny’s Physics
by Guy Kettelhack, of Wild Poetry Forum


Balance will insist upon itself –
ruthlessly it varies to produce
what will conduce to the dispersal
of exactly equal weight. What had

once come early now comes late.
What was once revealed will now
be hidden. It doesn’t seem to matter
who is riding, who is ridden.


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post May 12 14, 18:13
Post #12


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for December 2013
Judged by Kelly Cherry


First Place:


A Survivor at Paddington Station
by Marilyn Francis, of The Write Idea

He was used to waiting,
and the transit lounge on Platform 1
wasn’t too bad.

The Polish girl behind the desk
was busy, busy, busy with enquiries.
But he could wait.

After all, he had his own chair to sit on.
He would wait until someone noticed him
in his too-big scarlet jacket

and black cap loose on his skull.
He had all the time and no time -
a piece of travelling debris. He slept.

Slept to attention, hands like a handful
of kindling resting on his knees, and a tide
of travellers washed around him.


This is a poem that possesses dignity. Without squirming or showing off, it delivers a clear, crisp portrait of a man waiting to ask a question of "t]he Polish girl behind the desk," who is dealing with a slew of questions from other people. He is content to wait, undemanding, perhaps somewhat meek. The man's jacket is too large for him and his black cap too small, which tells us he is probably down at the heels, poor, certainly unattended by tailors or department stories. He falls asleep, which tells us he is weary, has perhaps already been traveling for a long time, and not in a hurry. He is referred to as "debris," and now we know for sure that he is one of multitudes of travelers, no one to be singled out. As he sleeps, his hands lie on his knees like "kindling," as if they are trash branches, no longer serviceable for real work. Yet even sleeping, he seems ready to wake at any given moment. This small but crucial detail heightens our sense of his precarious life and his personal decency. Alas, no one notices him. In fact, "a tide / of travellers washed around him," this splendid image underscoring our understanding of him as "a piece of debris," discounted by others as litter, without worth. The poem is simple but does its work efficiently and leaves the sympathetic reader with something like heartache, a kind of sadness coupled with fondness. --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


Second Place:


near winter
by Dale McLain, of Wild Poetry Forum


In November the dock is forsaken,
silvered boards and spider webs,
dull little birds beneath the pines.
I hate the fucking sound of the water,
how it shrugs against the bank, lazy
and cold. In fact I hate this lousy lake,
this non-ocean and these clotted clouds

that foul the sky. Look, I’m happy,
okay? Don’t worry. I see rose hips
and flagstones where the house
once stood. The well is uncovered.
I lean over it, whisper “snow”.
It’s a dare. The fence wants its picture
taken. Time makes one of those jolts,

a little sideways move. Remember
how that makes you all wobbly?
I slide my hands in that awful water
just to make them ache.
Now the sun threatens some theatrics,
an exit for the ages. I don’t want it.
I want it to slip away like a penny,

like something no one will ever miss.
The lake is glad for nightfall,
greedy for dark upon dark, colder
now, a place to drown. Someone
comes with a lantern and I go
with the geese, on wings the grey
of battleships and rain.


I usually want to understand the whole of a poem; I am not drawn to fragments or riddles that can't be solved. "near winter" ends with three lines I can't make sense of in context, but the rest of the poem is composed with such authority and precision that I have to give it Second Place. Descriptions of the dock, the water ("how it shrugs against the bank"), the grim clouds, the "rose hips / and flagstones where the house / once stood," the well, the fence, the sun are vivid and anchoring. There are fine lines ("Now the sun threatens some theatrics" with its personification, "silvered boards and spider webs" with its sibilance, "dull little birds beneath the pines" with its alliteration). The author's adamant voice and desire to escape the scene rivets the reader. --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


Third Place:


Grand Canyon, North Rim
by Lois P. Jones, of PenShells


At the edge of a known world
mountains repeat themselves

like old people. Each ripple
a blue syllable, a language of forgetting.

A place like this, exposed
to harsh winters and long years

of drought, begs to be how it was.
I can’t but think

standing at the chasm
above the seep willow

how the ghost water raged
like bison through the bottom

of this immense gorge.
Not from flash floods and snow melt,

but a force so powerful
the ground split open, shearing

the canyon raw. What strength could carry
massive boulders miles away?

Surely no methodical erosion,
but a truth catastrophic

leaving this maw, this mouth
to gawk. My tongue so heavy now

with dust, like a potter’s wheel in the sun,
stays mute – having nothing more to say

than two hawks circling the canyon
or the wind coaxing the last leaves

from the cottonwood below.
It’s nearly dusk and the red rock face

shifts mood, deepening with itself.
What time changes leaves a shadow,

a human sundial at a precipice. A gnomon
tilted toward a true celestial north.


Couplets convey a sense of the canyon, the huge expanse, its age and history of "harsh winters" and "years / of drought." I love "how the water raged / like bison through the bottom" because we see the water raging and a still life is set in motion (the bison). The speaker is so overcome that his tongue is tied by heavy dust—like a potter's wheel in the sun," dust falling onto it. The final three lines move away from description to inform us that the changes wrought by time are marked by a "shadow" or "a human sundial at a precipice," which I take to mean human perception, and surely it is true that the perceiver is forever in shadow, "true celestial north" forever the aim. --Kelly Cherry

~~~~~


Honorable Mention:


The Epicures
by Gerry Callaghan, of The Write Idea


The old pair ordered
Pairwise the same from
The fusion food menu–
The alleged and untenable
Last Taco in Paris

Then they danced drunk,
Tripping the light stochastic,
Fish out of water,
Flopping around in the
Civilization and its discotheques

Later, they lay together,
Spent and stiffening,
Like stale breadsticks acting
Their age, but tempted anew
To the old frisson
And a saving drop of olive oil.


I also want to mention "The Epicures," with its sprightly rhythm and hilarious allusions to Last Tango in Paris and Civilization and Its Discontents. If only the last stanza could give us a third joke as good as those two—that would be brilliant. --Kelly Cherry


~~~~~


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

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RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 15th September 2019 - 11:50




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