Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 2010 Challenge Winners

John Lehman, poetry editor of Wisconsin People and Ideas (and the founder and first publisher of Rosebud), judged the poems for the September blog challenge. He selected three winners.

Firefly Summer

my fifth summer
was light rain
and heavy mosquitoes
cold sprinklers
and hot dogs on the grill

twilight brought fireflies
all the droopy-bottomed blinkers
my sticky fingers could capture
Nature’s purpose arrested
in a glowing pickle jar

when the crickets’ bedtime
signaled a new day
the lights were out
life in the jar was gone
and wonder faded to guilt

~ Judith Tullis

Of the first place poem by Judith Tullis, “Firefly Summer,” Lehman says, “I love this poem’s directness. It is the essence of summer and the end of childhood. How can someone accomplish that in three short stanzas? But this poet does. Beautifully.”

Chocó, Colombia, 2003

They like white meat, your new friends joke:
your legs are the fresh banquet bars
of biting flies, mosquitoes, ants,
and so you learn the rhythmic towel
leg-swatting that might mitigate
the map of dots and welts that throng
across your shins and ankles now,
district of angry villages, absurd
itch for friction, nail claw-sharpness,
pink profusion, seven daft demons,
you an addled magdalene.

~ Ruth Goring

Ruth Goring’s second place poem, “Stung,” gave the judge “the creepy-crawlies.” And, he said, ‘“Addled magdalene’ is a loaded term that takes the physicality of this gem to a whole different level.”

Ruth Goring is the author of Yellow Doors: Poems

An Invisible Cocoon

I dislike caterpillars.
They cling to fresh leaves, as if come
from nowhere.
Crawling or curling up,
they seldom fear my coming near.

I must confess- I envy them:
Leisurely they nibble green foliage
with an indifferent look.

I want to get rid of them,
but fear to touch their droopy bodies.
With a stick, I fling them
one after the other into the air.
Where do they land? In the bushes or on the soil?
I don’t care.
“Good bye!” I wave to the little noodles.

In the early summer, hot winds blow.
I almost forget them--
near my garden, under threads,
green and light cocoons dangle,
all wrapped inside silence.
So so they don’t bother me,
and I let them be.

On the hottest morning, the air is still.
A yellowish pouch drops and cracks.
Something trembles and unfolds.
All of a sudden, wings flutter
and take off.

I only catch a glimpse of a butterfly.
I want to call, “Wait.”
The empty crust rolls aside,
"Too late!” as if a sigh falls upon my own skin.

~ Anna Yin

Lehman liked the movement of “An Invisible Cocoon,” the third place poem, and the “payoff” at the end. He especially like the unforgettable metaphor of displaced caterpillars as “little noodles.”
Each poet retains copyright to her poem.

No one has yet submitted a winning Dorn Septet, so that category is still open. Refer to the directions given in June for more information.

The October Challenge will be posted on October 1.

© 2010 Wilda Morris