From among the interesting dream poems submitted this month, the judge, Barbara Eaton, selected the following poem for second place:
Curling into a
long dusty shafts
down into dank cellars.
Leaving behind faded day.
That last cup of sunlight
pouring from fingertips.
Lulled by rattling trains,
sighs of motors.
Bringing nothing but
memory into night.
Now I will untie knots
tear off wrappings
bundles of dreams.
~ Joan McNerney
Barbara Eaton explained her choice by saying that “the images of falling asleep were tangible and at the same time fresh. I like the idea of unwrapping dreams like gifts.”
For first place, she selected the following:
The Signature of Dreams
I dreamt of
holding a book called the “Signature of Dreams”
in my hands, it was as slim a volume as a poetry collection,
its pages, heavily underlined, annotated with marginalia.
I was told not to just riffle through it, but keep it,
Read it, add more
notes. Upon awakening, I googled the title.
Nothing appeared. Could it at least be the title
of a poem? What signature was this referring to,
this Signature of Dreams?
Was it my own
stamp placed on dreams night after night,
an approval, a signing off? Was it the signature of
my mother’s dreams placed inside my fetus
as I developed in her womb?
Is this signature
like a genetic code of dots
connected by a nocturnal fountain pen, dreaming
of my son and grandson,
and unto the seventh generation?
With God signing
the bill of lading, who said through the Bible
our lives are not our own, are we not bought and paid for?
Or is this signature of dreams a chaotic cursive
smeared pennings of our struggles under sunshine,
Along with those
atoss on a moonlit pillow?
There is a signature on my birth certificate, signed by a stranger,
and one later at my death, also by a stranger,
why not one for my dreams, signed by myself?
The known unknown
signatory of the invisible pen,
with the nightly authority
to approve the changing and charged
image gallery of one’s own creation.
~ Cynthia Gallaher
The judge said, “I found the central image, a book of dreams, to be interesting and original. Well done. The longer I live, the more I realize 'our lives are not our own.' A profound observation.”
An honorable mention was awarded to Jake Cosmos Aller for his poem, “Dream Girl True Love Story.” Eaton said, “I like the improbability of the story. It's both touching and amusing.”
Congratulations to Cynthia, Joan and Jake! Each poet retains copyright of his or her own poem.
Come back on June 1 for a new challenge.
John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and retired U.S. Foreign Service officer, Before joining the U.S. State Department, Jake taught overseas for eight years, and served in the Peace Corps. He grew up in Berkeley. His poetry blog can be found at https://theworldaccordingtocosmos.com.
Barbara Eaton is a semi-retired community college instructor of English. She holds a Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Medieval Literature from the University of Maryland and is named in Who's Who in America. She has published poems in a number of literary journals.
Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet, is author of four poetry collections, many with themes, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices, and three chapbooks, including Drenched. Her nonfiction/memoir/creativity guide Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poet won a National Indie Excellence Award. Visit her Linktree account: https://linktr.ee/cynthiagallaher.
Joan McNerney’s poetry appears literary magazines such as Seven Circle, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Her work is also found in Bright Hills anthologies, Poppy Road Journals, and Poets' Espresso Reviews. She has four Best of the Net nominations.
© Wilda Morris