Sunday, October 30, 2022

October 2022 Winner - River Poem

River Scene (1840-18600

Théodore Rousseau

National Gallery of Art, London

All over the world, there are people who love rivers, especially those who live close to river banks. Some people like to fish, some to boat. Some find peace sitting on the banks of a river, just watching the water flow by. Some sit and contemplate the statement by Heraclitus that you can't step into the same river twice. Others like to sketch or paint the river scene. Some people have had the misfortune of having their homes flooded by a raging river. Some love to watch and listen to a river running over rocks or falling down a cliff, or delight in the way a major river becomes a delta as it approaches an ocean shore. Some of the variety of responses to rivers showed up in the submissions this month.

Congratulations to Preeth Ganapathy, winner of the October Poetry Challenge, and to the two poets, Christy Schwan and Hemminger who were awarded honorable mentions.

Here is the winning river poem:

Boat Safari

The long endless road—
unpeopled, holds the weight of the sky
and the scent of the mountains.

Ponds emerge unexpectedly on the sides,
green and brown,
turn blue, tinged with the colour of dawn.

The temple glows
in the calm light of its reflection
on the backwaters.

The clouds smoke up in the mist,
the music of crickets
ring through half-formed dreams.

The gossip of ten ashy woodswallows
settles on the wingspan of silence.
The lake is sprinkled
with barren leafless trees—
their tips housing families
of Indian cormorants
that spread out their black feathers
under a new-born sun.

The conversations of a lonely hill mynah
echo through the islands,
the jungle,
the water,
the wind.

The ripples peter out
and calm settles on the waters
like mist thawing
in tune with the slow-paced music
of the crocodile bark tree.

~ Preeth Ganapathy

This poem has been previously published at The Tiger Moth Review. Preeth Ganapathy retains copyright on her poem.

The judge, Marcyn Del Clements rightly guessed that this poem came from India. She commented, “There are nice nature descriptions in this one, which led us upriver, (perhaps in India? or a nearby Asian country?), gave the impression of the feel of the tour, the dreamy quality.”

Marcyn Del Clements’s comments on the Honorable Mention Poems:

"The Yellow Banks" by Thomas Hemminger:  It is sweet and simple, concrete and flowing.  An easy dialogue that came from the heart.  The rhymes contributed to its musicality.

"Kayak Contemplation” by Christy Schwan:  Here is another slow river piece, allowing time for meandering thoughts.  I like the feel of the river pulling the little boat down, without having to paddle, or struggle against the forces of wind and tide.  You are there, in the poem, so still that a dragonfly could take you as a resting pad.


Ten years now a widow, Marcyn Del Clements is grateful both her daughters are living fulfilling lives on their own.  She rattles around in a big house, tending some fifty koi and goldfish in her swimming pool converted to a swimming pond.  Since Marcy never conquered iambic pentameter, she found happiness writing Japanese short forms.  Overjoyed lately, when she discovered Haibun and Tanka Tales, she thinks she’s found her métier.

Preeth Ganapathy is a software engineer turned civil servant from Bengaluru, India. Her works have been published in several magazines such as The Tiger Moth Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Sunlight Press, Atlas+Alice, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Mothers Always Write, and elsewhere. Her microchap 'A Single Moment'- has been published by Origami Poems Project.

Thomas Hemminger is an elementary music teacher living in Dallas, Texas with his wife and son. As a music teacher, Thomas writes many songs and poems for his classroom but none of his work is yet published. His personal and professional hero is Mr. Fred Rogers, the creator and host of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Being the son of an English Language Arts teacher, Thomas grew up surrounded by prose and poetry. Furthermore, his mother’s love of verse, and her own talented pen, impressed a deep love for the art within him. Away from the classroom, Thomas enjoys spending time with his family going hiking, camping, and fishing when the North Texas weather permits.

Christy Schwan is a native Hoosier author/poet living in Wisconsin. She's a rock hound, wild berry picker, wildflower seeker, astronomy studier, and quiet sports lover of kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing and loon spotting. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Museletter, Ariel Anthology, 8142 Review, 2022 and 2023 Wisconsin Poet's Calendars, and Bramble Lit Mag.

Thank you to Marcyn Del Clements for judging the poems.

Come back in a couple of days for the November Challenge.



© Wilda Morris