Didn’t this garden grow a little topsy
scattergun open-bellied over night
and didn’t these under-freckled bells
lean and bow
bob and sway their spires
without the wind’s wild and open
and didn’t they tall and slender
their way into moon gardens
and lend their lippy blossoms to foxes
who slippered them over their paws
to mute their night raids
through poultry yards
no trace, no dew collected
though shadows crept out from under things
Up-rushed in patches of glow in the melds
digitalis’ thrushy tongues
open themselves to bees vibrating beyond their fleshed-in walls
their stove-in-the-throat narrows to sepal
how mouth like
All have light in them
and something traced over
in their reachings
making them stand their spires
and lean over felled land fire barrens
old sites of deciduous rot
Magic in them maybe
why the murre’s eggs are green
why the foxes jackal-call across the fog
taking on the shape of the heart’s ferny secrecies
and something unvisual belling awake.
Judges Comments: An immersive nature poem: where language, spastic tenses and fluid grammar burst forth from a nursery-like fairy-tale beginning to overpower the page. Very much like the foxgloves of the title, which are wont to erupt in every barren or grassy verge or neglected corner.
The New Math
Maybe there’s still time to find the cosine of x.
Granted, there were plenty of deeds leases loans wills…
all needing another signature, but under that mountain
of whipped cream, who can taste the square root of π’s flaky crust?
Maybe I inadvertently used the fundamental theorem to calculate
a grocery bill or two. And aren’t antiderivatives trafficked
on a daily basis in veneration to masters whose open flame
I’d dare not filch to light an e-cigarette of imitation?
Witting or otherwise, I’m pretty sure the logarithm and
algorithm for predicting how hard my heart can love you
haven’t yet been tested, likewise how fast your flight from
Cincinnati will get to this bedroom travelling at y miles per
second, given a hypothetical jet small enough to land neatly
between dresser and bed. I usually just Google-map it.
I have plenty of word problems without integrating
integers. Sure as Heisenberg, I’ve admired the imperfect
geometry of our home from time to time—how it floats us
on the welter of a flood we saw coming through Hubble’s
backward-facing scope—though I can never remember
the exact cubits or show my work. Far as I can see, counting
helps with sheep and contractions, to get you through contra-
diction’s rough patches. Who can resist the cold comfort in: Numbers
never lie, only people do? Who knows, maybe now that we
forgo so many candles on the cake, I’ll entangle myself in
imaginary roots of polynomials and transcendentals constant
as our old friend π. I’ll sled curved slopes of snow and reckon
small pebbles on the beach. It won’t nonplus or minus me to think
they’ll each soon be their own world of sand…then infinitesimal…
then nothing we can see…just like you and me, one day
supine on another shore where despite our best calculations
there is no variable why and time can no longer count or be
applied as a function of fear to ignore what’s here. A shore
where there is no sine that warns Swim at Your Own Risk—
only the tangent when, after a life of coming infinitely close,
Judges Comments: Math theory and wit combine into a metaphor for life, love, and a counter-argument to the Law of Diminishing Returns.
Judges Comments:Homelessness and elderly dementia were a common theme in many of the poems that were entered, but in this poem they are employed together, and with a difference. This is a poem that shows how any of us can be so heavily desensitized in our compassion by the common troubles that assail us all.
Judges Comments: A poem that employs a litany-call of death and near-death and culminates in the sort of illusion of hope we all might cling to when there is nothing else.
Hugh McMillam (UK) for A Curlew Cries
Judges Comments: Here we have a contemplation on the passing of things that are irretrievable. A poem that is fatalistic in many ways, but ultimately quite beautiful.