|"June is mine" ~ Carolyn Bailey Photo by Wilda Morris|
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn officially started
on September 22, a little over a week ago. I love the autumn months. I think October
is my favorite month, though May comes in a close second. Each part of the year
has its own beauties and its own challenges. What is your favorite time of
year? Can you narrow it down to one favorite month?
Last Friday evening at Nature at the Confluence in South
Beloit, Illinois, I participated in a reading of poems from a brand new book of
nature poems published by the Natural Land Institute (https://www.naturalland.org/
Carolyn Bailey got a lot of appreciative chuckles from the audience as she read
her poem about the month of June.
The Abduction of June
I’ve decided to take the month of June.
The rest of you can
have July through May,
but June is mine.
June, when birdsong
lilts the air
and the weeds pull
wind is a breath
and wet grass is warm.
You can parcel the others among you.
May, for instance,
when violets emerge
and ferns uncurl,
is quite a bit like June.
I’ll keep June, when the air is fragrant
with the scent of
peonies and roses.
Some of you might like July, hot enough
to ripen bananas
overnight, and humid enough to curl hair.
I’ll stay in June, hunting butter-colored iris
wild by the river.
August is up for grabs, when marigolds bloom
and bats nip
mosquitos at twilight.
Back in June, I’ll be watching the robin weave
her nest on the
The fall months can go to you who like leaves
colors…raking them and bagging them.
As for me, I like the green leaves of June
and the breeze that
sways the branches
without dropping a
All of you cozy-by-the-fire people can have
the winter months,
sharing of course,
with the sledders
and the skiers.
There’s plenty for
all. The winter months
go on and on and
I think it’s not too much to ask
for this one little
month, when I’m
leaving you eleven
I’m taking it anyway. It’s mine:
the reed call of
doves, soft air
like cobwebs on my
the sun bright
to bleach the
~ Carolyn Bailey
This poem is from Natural
Voices: Celebrating Nature With Opened Eyes (Rockford, IL: Natural Land
Institute, 2018), p. 3.
As Carolyn finished reading the poem, I immediately thought
it would make a wonderful prompt poem, and she graciously gave me permission to
The October Challenge:
So what is your favorite month, and how might you turn you
love for that month into a poem that others would enjoy reading and/or hearing
read? That is the challenge for October.
Your piece may be free verse or formal. If you use a form,
please identify the form when you submit your poem.
Title your poem unless it is a form that does not use
titles. Single-space and don’t use lines that are overly long (because the blog
format doesn’t accommodate long lines). Read previous poems on the blog to see
what line lengths can be accommodated.
You may submit a published poem if you retain copyright, but please include publication data. This
applies to poems published in books, journals, newspapers, or on the Internet.
The deadline is October 15. Poems
submitted after the deadline will not be considered. There is no charge to
enter, so there are no monetary rewards; however winners are published on this
blog. Please don’t stray too far from “family-friendly” language (some children
read this blog). No simultaneous submissions, please. You should know by the
end of the month whether or not your poem will be published on this blog.
Decision of the judge or judges is final.
The poet retains copyright on each poem. If a previously
unpublished poem wins and is published elsewhere later, please give credit to
this blog. I do not register copyright with the US copyright office, but by US
law, the copyright belongs to the writer unless the writer assigns it to
If the same poet wins three months in a row (which has not
happened thus far), he or she will be asked not to submit the following two
How to Submit Your Poem:
Send one poem only to
wildamorris[at]ameritech[dot]net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for
“dot”). Put “October Poetry Challenge
Submission” in the subject line of your email. Include a brief bio that can be printed with your poem if you are a
winner this month. Please put your name
and bio UNDER the poem in your email.
Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be
posted on the blog if it is a winner, so be sure that you put your name
(exactly as you would like it to appear if you do win) at the end of the poem.
Poems may be pasted into an email or sent as an attachment
(no pdf files, please). Please do not
indent the poem or center it on the page. It helps if you submit the poem in the format used on the blog
(Title and poem left-justified; title in bold (not all in capital letters);
your name at the bottom of the poem). Also, please do not use multiple spaces
instead of commas in the middle of lines. I have no problem with poets using
that technique (I sometimes do it myself). However I have difficulty getting
the blog to accept and maintain extra spaces.
Poems shorter than 40 lines are generally preferred but
longer poems will be considered.
Bailey was born in Southern California, but moved to the Midwest when she
married a man from Rockford, Illinois. Sixty years of living in the Midwest
have taught her to appreciate the gift of its seasons.
© Wilda Morris