Monday, June 29, 2015

June 2015 Challenge Winner - A River Poem

Photos © Wilda Morris

Charlotte Digregorio, the judge for the June Poetry Challenge selected “Flow, River, Flow” by Carole Mertz as the winning poem. Mertz interpreted “river poem” in a unique and creative way.

Flow, River, Flow

I haven’t ridden on swift-flowing rafts,
but I’ve been swept along in waters
splayed by many a writer’s crafts.

I’ve travelled torrents in books
as varied and bright
as my rich reading nooks.

Petterson (of Out Stealing Horses) shows his boy
racing downriver on risky yellow logs, 
erupting with violent spurts of joy.

In dread I’ve watched the swollen Arno strip
gilded paint from Florentine treasures of old.
(The diary of K.K. Taylor records this river’s slip.)

And what of the Styx? I’d rather not travel
its ominous flows; but Dante and Milton
press me with knotty lines to unravel.

These rivers flow on and on. Never stopping, 
I read them again and again,
enjoying vintages of each writer’s outcropping.

This River of Words smooths my way,
gift from writers ‘round the world.
How wide its reaches? I cannot yet say.

~ Carole Mertz

Carole Mertz owns copyright to this poem.

Carole Mertz has published poems in The Write Place at the Write Time, Page & Spine, Rockford Review, Lutheran Digest, Westward Quarterly, and in various anthologies. Her reviews of poetry collections are at Arc Poetry Magazine and in World Literature Today. 

About the judge:  Charlotte Digregorio is the author of six books including, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. Her books are sold in forty-four countries, and have been featured by book clubs. She has won thirty-three poetry awards and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She speaks at national writer's conferences, and is a writer-in-residence at universities. She hosted and produced, “Poetry Beat,” a radio program on public broadcasting. She is the Second Vice President of the Haiku Society of America. She has given dozens of haiku workshops at libraries and schools, and judges national poetry contests. Her poems have been translated into six languages and exhibited on public transit, in banks, supermarkets, museums, apparel shops, botanic gardens, restaurants, and libraries. You can check her website at

Check back early in July to see the next poetry challenge.

© Wilda Morris