Pleased and proud to have won second place in the D&E Poetry Contest. I submitted the following, written around 2001 after a week at Common Ground on the Hill…
on the steps
the nights is passing away into dawn
the first spikes and feathers of blue light are painting the trees
slow calligraphy on the ancient bark
the towering shapes leap out in piercing contrast
cut from a page with the sharpest scissors.
the world is birthed in a swift movement
slipping into existence with a wet yelp like a newborn
to find the trees dripping with dew
the lanterns are wreathed in mist;
yellow staring eyes.
on the breaking edge of this emergence,
the sound of your voice enters my head like the wide-eyed stare of a child
calm and measured
a night bird beckoning from the darkness
tearing at the fragile fabric of my dreams with talons of ice and shadow.
the banjo rings like a church bell, painting your voice in swirling watercolors
it’s rhythm undeniable and persistent.
and as you play, I am struck by the slow fusion of player and instrument
your slender form rocking in time with the music
the boundary between your fingers and the neck is blurred into oblivion
the ship strains in her moorings,
ready to be away on the swell of the ocean current
and your fingers touch the strings
plucking from the depths of the water, things like fish with scales made of silver
I can see you sitting by the shore, spray catching in your hair
seaweed clinging to the smooth boundary of your cheek
the sound of your voice rising and falling with the waves.
and I as a water bird, wings ill suited to flight
webbed feet accustomed to the blue resistant thrum of the sea,
halting in my fluid path
bobbing in the tide, frozen by your laughter.
on the steps of the church
the night has passed away into dawn
the trees are revealed in their milky azure robes
and I have been cut
running with scissors