Thursday, November 27, 2014

November Poetry Challenge Winners

The November Poetry Challenge elicited a number of interesting poems. Congratulations to all who entered for their creativity. And a special congratulations to the four winners.

The judge for the November Poetry Challenge was Maureen Tolman Flannery. She gave an honorable mention to Sheila Elliot for her prose poem.


For a change, I thought I'd go east down that old road with a saint's name, so white-knuckled, I watched beams of light ice the top flanks of a dozen octagonal signs.  Night approaching.  Wipers snapping like mean little whips against the windshield's elusive steaming. For this change, I paid a price, watched the fading light descend into the blackest grey.

Change is not cheap.  It rattles in pockets like something about to break. It somersaults its way into the beggar's cup or echoes with the sound of a flat note as it lands in the open shell of the street musician's open guitar case.  "Keep the change," I tell the waiter, so noblesse oblige.  I keep those old school coins cold as the sacramental medals that once dangled beneath my ironed uniform blouse, though change does not always warm the heart.  Change can still bring you back to start, to home where slippers replace shoes and spare change is tossed into an old can and takes its place discreetly in that illusionary wealth.

~ Sheila Elliott

Third place goes to a poem the judge says is thoughtful and captures a memorable moment. It is by
Mary Cohutt.


Grandma, I’m so in love with this toy….
You can’t fall in love with things…… I said with my grown up tone
And then I saw
His lashes fall to cheek
His chin fall to chest
His toy fall from hand
I felt my 60 year guard fall……. and remembered myself
…and thought of …
A falling star wish and hopes for tomorrow
The long fall from Grace and sweetness of redemption
Cool water as it falls over moss covered rocks
The liquid gold fall of late day light
The happy foot crunch of yellowed fall leaves
Falling asleep on a sun scented pillow
…and I could feel my heart fall in love with this life….
I fell to my knees and lifted his chin
Cajoled his fallen lashes ‘till blue met blue
And I let three simple words fall from my lips
I was wrong

~ Mary Cohutt

The judge said the second place poem by Eileen Kimbrough was very clever. She liked the “on-target word play,”

Just Write Right

Will you have the right to write a will,
and the will to be right
when you write your will?

Will you do the right thing
within your rights?

Will you write about
your right to write your will?

This rite of passage falls right when
all that’s left is to write a will.

Just step to the right of must
and trust your guts,
no windy gust of musts.

I trust you’ll write
your will and your trust,
not too far to the left.

It’s right that it’s your right.
Just be sure it’s just.

And make it just right.
Write just. Write right. Just write.

~ Eileen Kimbrough

The  judge said that Lindsey Bellosa's poem, “Solace” the first place poem, “is a very moving poem, not at all bogged down by the desire to re-use or overuse a word.” I think you will agree.


Snowflakes, small and sharp as tears, float into the lake
as each small pain sharpens into future—

the sky has been pregnant with snow for days. 
I have bled for five days, less pregnant each one.

The leaves shed on the ground, so vibrant,
as I shed color too: exposed; becoming barren

as each stark tree.  Winter bares down with gray.
The sun gleams dimly on the lake, and the earth

and God turn dimly away from the situation.
Your soul, whatever it was, melts

and becomes only me. The snowflakes melt
into the lake; leaves disappear under blank snow.

There will be another like you; there will be new leaves
in spring.  But you vanish, as this season vanishes—

all like a dream, as summer seems a dream
in the dead of winter.

The snowflakes still catch the light
and I catch each sharp breath

glittering.  Life goes on, coldly,
and there is solace in that.

~ Lindsey Bellosa

All of these poems remain the property of the poets who wrote them.


Lindsey Bellosa lives in Syracuse, NY.  She has an MA in Writing from the National University of Ireland, Galway and has poems published in both Irish and American journals: most recently The Comstock Review, The Galway Review, IthacaLit, Crannog, and The MOON Magazine.  Her first chapbook, The Hunger, was published with Willet Press in 2014.

Mary Cohutt is a Leasing Consultant in Western Massachusetts. She also has a small business called "The Good Daughter" in which she takes care of household paperwork/business for the elderly. She has two children and two grandchildren. In addition to writing, she enjoys gardening and reading.

Sheila Elliott's poetry can be found in the Illinois Women's Press Association's 2014 anthology of prose and poetry.  She is a regular contributor at Oak Park (IL) Writer's Group events, including their annual public reading in November.  Her poetry and prose can be found in their anthology, Keystrokes

Eileen Kimbrough is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has produced visual arts in many media and exhibited in art galleries, museums, colleges, and gift shops throughout Illinois. She has been employed as a graphic designer, editorial and fashion illustrator, receptionist, bookkeeper and salesperson.  Eileen has sold many copies of her self-published poetry book, Painting with Words, and contributed the poems and art for Wings for the Soul, published by a non-profit. Her stories and poems were published in Rivulets. She lives in Aurora with her husband, Bob Walker, innumerable books and artistic clutter.

A bio for Maureen Tolman Flannery can be found in the previous post.

Check back early in December for the next Poetry Challenge.

© Wilda Morris