Friday, February 26, 2010

February Poetry Challenge Winners

Two poems were chosen as winners of the February Poetry Challenge. Although both poems are free verse, they are quite different, because the chosen personas are different. In “Final Stage,” Peggy Trojan speaks for Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Ross studied the psychological process of preparing for death. She concluded that it was normal to go through “stages” of denial, anger, bargaining and depression before coming to acceptance. Trojan focuses on Kubler-Ross’s biography, especially in relationship to her father.

Final Stage

It’s Elisabeth, Father.
Yes, work is good.
I feel I am helping many.
There is fear, much sadness.
I have started work on a book.

Three sisters could not live
in the same womb after birth.
I had to go my way. Not your office.
You were fierce. A child cannot
be bent to a parent’s choosing.

Oh, I forgave you long ago.
It was cruel to kill my pet hare.
I could never again eat hasenpfeffer.
It only strengthened my resolve.
Everything happens to teach our purpose.

I still have the doll you bought me
when I was five and ill.
I remember often your songs, our walks.
I share your need for forest quiet.
I have kept our Kubler name.

Life on this earth is only one stage.
We will meet again in brighter light.
I love you too, Father.
Hush now. I will stay with you.
The butterfly will come.

-- Peggy Trojan

A different vocabulary and style of speech is used by Anna Yin, as she voices Sylvia Plath’s thoughts in the night. Yin began with “Lament” as the title, in part, because Plath has a poem by that name. Plath also titled a poem, “Insomniac,” from which Yin drew the title, “Insomnia.”


I cut an echoless love
in pale moonlight.

Ashes of stars slip
from my face.

You remain in a secret garden.
My shadow clings to the splitting wall.

The taste of blood edges
up my bleeding fingers.

Water rises on a lake
and the moon drowns.

--Anna Yin

Thanks to the others who entered this month. I enjoyed reading all the poems. Thank you to the consulting judge, Judith Infante, author of Love: a Suspect Form — Heloise and Abelard(Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2008), p. 35.