Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 2017 Poetry Challenge Winners

The July Poetry Challenge was to take any one word and explore its various meanings in a poem. The Judge, Tom Roby IV, selected three winning poems from among those submitted. First place goes to Julia Rice.


You ought to keep a list. You are a tech
who organizes coinage, checks, the books.
The things that you do well could get a check.

Your mind’s attracted by a poker deck
that tempts to gamble, catches you on hooks.
The feelings are the things to keep in check.

When finished, you and friends can take a trek
to diner/bar, the place where Julia cooks.
When you have won, then you can take the check.

When you’re back home and feeling like a wreck,
you check the closet and then other nooks
and then remember that your coat’s in check.

It’s time to make a list. You say, oh heck!
Your acts are not as handsome as your looks.
The things that you accomplish get a check.
The feelings are the things to keep in check.

        ~ Julia Rice

The judge said, “‘Gaming’ is clearly the winner. It utilizes the multiple meaning of "check," while spinning out an accomplished villanelle!

Second place goes to Deetje J. Wildes.

Final Argument

He:    Hey! Let’s just get to the point.

She:  Oh, so you think I missed the point?

He:    Well, in point of fact . . .

She:  You’re always pointing out my shortcomings!

He:   That’s beside the point.

She:  A case in point —
         yesterday, in front of my friends,
         you pointed your finger at me .  .  .

He:   So, what’s your point?

She:  I was at the point of crying!

He:   Is this a game,
        where you’re counting points?

She:  You’ve made one pointed remark after another!

He:   I’m just trying to point the way.

She:  Well, I’ve reached the point of no return.

He:   Can’t you stretch a point?

She:  (point-blank)        No!

~ Deetje J. Wildes

Michael Escoubas won third place.

U.S.S. Cleveland, LPD-7

Commissioned as a Landing Platform Dock,
she was part of the Amphibious class of ships,
comfortable serving at sea or on land.
Viet Nam was no landlocked landform.

Access was easy by sea. Landing craft
emerged from Cleveland’s belly like locusts
looking to ravage the land of its crops.
The fighting there was hand-to-hand and hard.

Helicopters landed on Cleveland’s flight deck,
like monster-mosquitos, props whirring
in Viet Nam’s thick air. They brought back
young men dead or wounded from inland

fire fights. We did not understand the people
living in this land of strange names, like Da Nang,
Khe Sanh, and Saigon. Those we killed loved
their Motherland and fought to keep her.

But as I look back on the landscape of life,
I can’t help thinking that our enemy might agree
with a time-worn but noble cliché,
this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

~ Michael Escoubas

Note: You can find photos of the USS Cleveland at

The poets whose work appears here maintain copyright on their poems. Please do not copy them without permission.


Julia Rice likes to play in the field of poetry. After half a life spent teaching high school English and half a life practicing law, she picked up her poetry-writing pace. She is a member of Greenleaf Writers and Urban Ecology poets. She has had work published in Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Museletters and Calendars, Songs of St. Francis, Echolocations: Poets Map Madison, Goose River Anthology, Alive Now, Soundings Review, Stoneboat, The Ariel Anthology, and Blue Heron. Look for her life summary-poem in the upcoming Unruly Catholic Nuns.

Deetje J. Wildes makes it a point to enter poetry challenges. She enjoys making music and is an enthusiastic member of Western Wisconsin Christian Writers Guild. Her work has been published in such places as Faith Walk and Volume One.

Michael Escoubas began writing poetry for publication in August of 2013, after retiring from a 48-year-career in the printing industry. Early in life his mother said, You have a gift for words; you should do something with that gift. He writes poetry, in part, because of his mother’s encouraging words. Michael also writes poetry because he believes poetry brings people together and that poets are menders of broken things. Michael has published one chapbook, Light Comes Softly, which is available on iTunes as a free download.

All three of this month's winners have been winners of previous challenges.

Thanks to Tom Roby IV for serving as judge, and to everyone who entered the July Poetry Challenge.

Come back in August for a new challenge.

© Wilda Morris