|Apple Pie courtesy of Rodnae Productions, www.pexels.com|
The August Poetry Challenge was to write a poem about your ancestors. If you watch Finding Your Roots on television, you have probably come to understand that all of us have ancestors whose lives are fertile ground for poetry.
Curt Vevang judged the entries in the August Poetry Challenge. He picked “Great-Grandma’s Recipe" by Christy L. Schwan as the winning poem. If the temperature here today hadn't been in the 90s and the humidity almost as high, I would have baked an apple pie and photographed it. I didn't want to use the oven, so I looked for a stock photo instead. Our great-grandmothers did not have air conditioning. State Fairs have always been held during the summer, so I suspect this great-grandmother had sweat running down her face before the pie was pulled from the oven. But likely she took that for granted and did not complain.
paring knife in hand, she
cores, peels and slices apples
picked from their side orchard
stirs in sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg
no recipe needed
two table knives slashing, she
cuts lard rendered from
last year’s prize pig into flour
sprinkles water over
adding a silent prayer as she
mixes with her hands
rolls out the dough with
her father’s wedding gift
a hand-hewn rolling pin
folds and lifts the crust into
her grandmother’s well-used pie tin
piles the apples high
dots the filling with butter before she
lays on the top crust
crimps the edges just as
her mother had taught her
carves her signature slits to
let steam escape
shakes on more cinnamon sugar
places the pie with a sigh into
her wood-burning cook stove
removes her apron
changes into her best dress
for the buggy ride to the county fair
holding her first entry on her lap
~ Christy Schwan
Christy Schwan retains copyright on her poem.
Curt Vevang explained why he selected this as the winning poem: “I could taste the apple pie.” He liked the “wonderful pictures” he found in the poem, including “lard rendered from / last year’s prize pig,” “adding a silent prayer,” and “her grandmother’s well-used pie tin.” He also liked the description of the baker removing her apron, changing into “her best dress, and holding the pie on her lap as she rode the buggy to the fair. He concluded, “I'm sure Great Grandma won a blue ribbon at the county fair.”
Congratulations to Christy Schwan! Congratulations, also, to three poets whose poems received honorable mentions: Joan Leotta for “One Sabine Woman Escaped,” Peggy Trojan for “Inheritance,” and Elaine Reardon “Morning Stories.”
Christy Schwan is a native Hoosier, rock hound, wild berry picker, and wildflower seeker. She is pursuing her "encore" career as a poet/writer and lives in Wisconsin where she enjoys quiet sports; snowshoeing, kayaking, canoeing, and loon spotting.
Curt Vevang is a Chicago native and author of four poetry books, “a scant bagatelle”, “the nature of things”, “poetry as we like it” and most recently, "poetry of the engineer". He has also published two rhyming children's books illustrated by 6th grade students. All six books are available at Amazon, keyword Vevang. His poetry has been published in anthologies, poetry magazines, and various poetry websites. He has won honors from the Illinois State Poetry Society, Poets and Patrons, the Journal of Modern Poetry, the Northbrook Arts Commission, and the Poetry Society of Tennessee. His poetry won first place in the Humor category in both 2019 and 2020 poetry contests sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. He has an engineering degree from the University of Illinois.
Check back early in September for a new poetry challenge.
© Wilda Morris