Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 2015 Winner: Poem Concerning Homelessness

The Seven Works of Mercy by Caravaggio (circa 1607)
In Roman Catholic tradition, the seven acts (or woks) of mercy are
to give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry and clothing to the naked,
to house the homeless (or pilgrim), bury the dead, and visit the imprisoned and the sick.

The Winning Poem

Donna Pucciani, judge for the November poetry challenge said there was the clear winner. She described the winning poem, “Home is Where the Love Is,” as follows:

The poem features powerful details but avoids sentimentality. Brevity is the strength of the poem and permits a tight focus on the scene. Allows the reader to feel the emotion, but resists the urge to tell the reader how to feel: lets the sparse but effective detail do the work. There is also a unique sense of global poverty and empathy which sets this poem apart.

I think you will agree.

Home Is Where the Love Is

She came to me
to my home of the moment
a Gelato shop  
with eyes and string
Her eyes bore into me 
Her colored string encircled my wrist
There was no going back
Because she said she was Fatima
Because she said she was from Africa
Because when I said USA she cupped her breast
with her hand and said "mother"
Because she needs 10 euro
Because I need her
Because home is where you are

~ Mary A. Nelen

Mary A. Nelen is a writer and photographer living in New York. She retains ownership of her poem.

Honorable mentions go to Bakul Banerjee, “Home Somewhere;” Mike Bayles, “Man with No Name;” and Andrew Scott, “Redemption Avenue.”

About the judge: Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry on four continents in such diverse journals as Poetry Salzburg, Shi Chao Poetry, Journal of the American Medical Association, Gradiva and The Christian Century. Her work has been translated into Italian, Chinese, Japanese and German. In addition to five Pushcart nominations, she has won awards from the Illinois Arts Council, The National Federation of State Poetry Societies and Poetry on the Lake. Her sixth and most recent collection of poems is A Light Dusting of Breath.

© Wilda Morris

 Bronze doors of the Duomo (Cathedral) of Orvieto, Italy
by Emilio Greco, 1970
depicting the Seven Works of Mercy
Photo by Wilda Morris, November 2015