Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Challenge Winners

It was difficult to judge the November poems - there were a number of excellent submissions. The two winners are both free verse, but written in very different styles. Congratulations to Mary Cohutt and Jean Waggoner! Mary took a scientific concept with which most people are familiar and lets us view some ways it plays out through the seasons. There may not be anything in the poem we did not already know, but her images help us see gravity in new ways. Jean's poem, on the other hand, may teach many of us something as we read about two related trees.


A single plump raindrop
Gathering its friends
As it travels the curve of an umbrella
Then hangs like a tear on a lash
Before its watery free-fall

Late blooming tulips
Of red and yellow
Drop petals
One by one
Weaving a carpet of color
For daisies to come

Mini-bomb acorns
And leaves of umber and gold
Travel to land
In their singular style
Coming to rest in fragrant beds of pine

Crystals of white
In their slow silent dance
From a steel-washed sky
Blanket the ground
With a casual grace

And I....?
I wander and witness
Each step firmly fixed
For earth calls each of us to her

~ Mary Cohutt

Two Fabaceae

Asia Minor’s acacia is praised in song,
Akasya Kolulu Sabahlarlinda,
“Acacia-Perfumed Mornings.”
Taller than Bosporus roofs, bristling
and swooshing in high summer winds,
It drinks modestly of autumn rains,
thriving in earth starved of nutrients,
yet graciously hosting the bulbul’s nest
amid a sweet pea scent
so redolent of green Byzantium.

Its cousin, Southwest mesquite,
so much smaller in leaf and twig,
sequesters debris from its windy terrain,
and savors a crush of agave at its roots.
A dusty vaquero of high chaparral,
it repels avian histrionics with a forbidding
scratch of thorns and cook-fire brush,
while the flavor it imparts to barbecue
insinuates a deadly carcinogen
into biped carnivores’ meals.

Both arbors are Fabaceae,
subfamily Mimosoideae --
Fabaceae, Mimosoideae,
Mimosoideae, Fabaceae --
and here’s the rub: while
both engender beans;
one is host to the nightingale,
the other a repellent shrub.

~ Jean Waggoner