Poetry Editor:  Mary Margaret Carlisle

Aplomado Falcon Literary News is a publication local to Texas, and particular to the Bay Area, Houston, and Galveston.  It sends event notices (poetry readings, book signings, workshops, conventions) to a list of about one hundred local poets and writers.  

The Spring Poetry Challenge involved the Falcon's poets taking one line of Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese" to use as a title, then creating a poem that mentioned (but did not dwell upon) remorse, with the top five poem to be published here.

This competition was preliminarily judged by twenty-one entrants who narrowed the field to the required five.  The final ranking was decided by six outside judges.  Many thanks to:  Claiborne Walsh (Arkansas), Michael Schaefer (Tennessee), Maryann Hazen-Stearns (New York), Ken Jones, Daniel Rice (Texas), and Kiwi Carlisle (Missouri).  Our thanks to all who entered, and all who judged.


You Only Have to Let the Soft Animal

of your body
feel the great weight
of the blue heron
as it rises
from tall reeds
at dusk
and beats its wings
the way
I force letters
across blank pages,
to know
that imagination
impels us all
into the clear blue heaven
of meaning.

Carol K. Cotten, Galveston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  This poet visually and emotionally pleases her readers with an extraordinary sensitivity.  Her well-expressed metaphorical images convey multiple meanings.  Succinct and deliberate word choices add to the somber yet hopeful tone.  This single stanza is so very expressive.  Memorable writing, well-crafted.

Meanwhile the World Goes On

as if nothing of consequence
ever really happens.  After all,
that fragile, tiny orb plays but a bit part
in the broader scheme.
The universe is breathlessly expanding
to meet some cataclysmic fate.
Whereupon memories of picnics,
of loves won, and loves lost,
memories of grandfather's knee,
or the dove cooing me to sleep
beyond grandmother’s window,
indeed, all memories of all things
will still have less substance,
than the thinnest air of the deepest space.
And yet, when I notice the oak leaf
gently floating down the stream
I am becalmed.

Chris Coleman, Houston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  This blueprint of memory in the form of a list poem is well-expressed with keen imagery and lilting cadences.

Through the Desert Repenting
my sins, I walk resenting your harsh,
labored breathing close behind me. It
only reminds how unlike the eagle I am,
how like los pajaritos, the little birds, I am.
I am afraid.
I am angry, mi amor, at you,
more at myself for allowing your soft,
urgent words to convince me to slip
across the dark, uncaring river to this
starlit hell of rocks and sand.
I know. I know. I hear you: las luces, las luces.
I see them in the distance, too.
They are not the lights of heaven, mi amor -
not yet. But never mind. Here, mira! Look!
My arms have become wings of eagles -
or angels.
John E. Rice, Houston, TX, USA
COMMENTS:  This excellent poem awakens the journey within as the poet's beautifully expressed visual experiences are taken in.  The effect of using two languages strengthens the poem, both intellectually and emotionally.  Concrete metaphorical imagery and personification are well done.  Fine craftsmanship.            

In the Family of Things
she is Mother to all that needs
washing and folding and care.
Mountains of fresh-scented towels
are as treacherous as Everest
when she must pass through them
to her paper sanctuary.
In the family of things,
She is Daughter to all that collects
dust, corners and hearts.
Constantly sweeping away
the gathering webs until she is covered,
stifled by the past and the future,
afraid that she will not be good.
In the family of things
she wants, simply, to be Herself
aware that these words are not for the ages,
but her own words and brave.

Deseree Probasco, Conroe, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Language that is firmly grounded in the everyday takes the reader directly into the poem, leading on, gently narrating a connection between poet and past, past and future.  Through it all shines a brave and worthy heart.  Good word choices.

Meanwhile the World Goes On

As time sighs by in shrouds of gray,
Heaven weeps briolette puddles,
Shaded eyes hear faceless feet.
Hide what won't be undone,
Ache with pain - deeper than bone,
Afraid the past will seek me.
At the corner Diner I wear thin a red stool-
Stare at the night out the gritty casement in
The cracked mirror behind the worn counter.
Can’t seem to leave this place, this place
Between nowhere and - goodbye.

Jan Bernstein, League City, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  The poet's use of personification and word pictures such as "faceless feet" "the past will seek me" "deeper than bone" have a compelling effect on the senses and help describe the experience in a way the is easily understood by the reader.

This Special Edition was sponsored by Sol Magazine. 
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August 15, 2005

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