Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Rain Poem Winners

I took the picture above along the DuPage River Greenway this week. The drought finally was broken, though too late for many farm crops. A number of poets sent rain poems, so I called on David Gecic, publisher of Puddin’head Press in Chicago to judge the five finalists.

Congratulations to the winners, Joan Peronto and Deetje J. Wildes.

Here is the first place poem:


neatly folded
tucked in the book
I was reading
this morning
a message
between the pages
left for me to find
when you were gone.

a small thing
to start the rain
sighing across the lawn
silver curtains
at the window
daffodil and crocus
bending earthwards
new pools in your old garden.

~ Joan Peronto

Gecic said this poem has a haunting element which he did not find in the other poems. “I like the metaphor in this poem of the tears and the rain. It shows that the pain is removed in time ‘NEW pools in OLD garden.’ The surprise of the message in the book.”

Gecic also mentioned that “John Ashbury often uses images that portray a story outside the poem. We do not know the story but it is here. We have somehow jumped into the middle of an action and do not know what the action is. The emotion cries out.”

Gecic said the poem made him care about the character in the poem.

The second place poem is a prayer:

Send Your Showers

My lawn sparkles green
since a sprinkling system
keeps perfect rhythm
in its dance to mimic rain.

But from my sun room window
the longer view
across to the woods
is two-toned
like the first car I owned.
Beyond the green band
is sand colored stuff
that once was grass.
People I meet
repeat the refrain,
we need the rain.

O Lord,
send your showers
upon this dry land.

One day I’m amazed
as I watch a doe
and her spotted pair
venture forth from piney shade,
unaware of my gaze.
Twin fawns frolic in the sun,
so carefree it seems.
I smile and marvel
at their liveliness.
But where does the mother graze?

O Lord,
send your showers
for the sake of your creatures.

Forgetting all this
on a shopping trip
I come to a halt
as I leave the store,
surprised by pouring rain,
and my only concern
is how wet my purchases will get
before I reach my car.

O Lord,
send your showers
upon this dry and selfish soul.

~ Deetje J. Wildes

Gecic especially likes the second stanza. Although it doesn’t follow the same form as the refrains which begin, “O Lord / send your showers,” it “rolls off the tongue.”

Congratulations to the winners. And thank you to David Gecic. You are invited to visit the website of Puddin’head Press at

Here is a listing of some excellent rain poems which have been published:

* Pattiann Rogers, “The Power of Toads,” Songs of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems 1981-2001 (Milkweed Editions, 2001), pp. 171-172.
* Ellen Kort, "Rain," in The Clearing Speaks, published by The Clearing Folk School, Ellison Bay, WS, 2012.
* Sara Teasdale, "There Will Come Soft Rain," Collected Poems, Revised Edition (Simon & Schuster, 1967).
* Marge Piercy, "The Rain as Wine," Colors Passing Through Us (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), p. 78.
* Du Fu, "A Summer Outing," in Du Fu: A Life in Poetry, translated by David Young, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008).
* Kazim Ali, "Said in the Rain," The Far Mosque (Farmington, Maine: Alice James Books, 2005), p. 54.
* Jerald Wild, Artisan, 2005.
* Penelope Barnes Thompson, "After the Rain," Deconstructing the Nest and Other Poems (Shoreline Press). (See
* Kazim Ali, "Rain," The Far Mosque (Farmington, Maine: Alice James Books, 2005), pp. 31-32.
* Donna Pucciani, "The Beginning of Rain," The Other Side of Thunder (Flarestack Poetry, 2006), p. 12.
* Hettie Jones, "Global Warming," All Told (Hanging Loose Press, 2003), p. 77.
* Nancy Simpson, "April Rain," Lights in the Mountains: Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living In and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains (Winding Path Publishing, 2003). Also published at

Poets retain rights to their own poems.

© 2012