Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011


by Bob Sharkey

One monument is a tree stump.
A bird high in the firs had warned him to avoid that graveyard.
The firs tower over the stones of pioneer woodsmen, their wives.

Have you ever seen a mountainside covered with stumps?

Old growth trees-gnarled, moss covered-strain my neck.

Vast landscape of black basalt.  He points out two islands of green amid the lava flow.
5,300 feet.  It's so quiet.  A lone crow.
An azimuth points south:  The Sisters.  Little Brother.  The Husband.  All snow-covered.
To the north:  Belknap Crater.  Washington.  Jefferson.  Black Butte.
He's climbed South Sister.  With his wife.

The burnt slopes are the worst.
To look at.
Man or nature could have caused such destruction.
New firs are already coming up.
Hundreds of green-gloved hands waving beside the road.

The symphony receives a $5,000 contribution.
The check rubber-stamped, "THIS IS TIMBER MONEY."

This was a thunderhead.
Then an elfin poet told us about the dress.
An "exact replica" of Emily Dickinson's white one.
In a glass case.
I became aware of diverse views.
Focused on the lava beds, for example.
This became disjointed.

I've got a lot of things to look up.
They asked me to make this as clear as they are.
"Us" is him, my daughter-in-law, me, the other people at the reading.
"They?"  Let's say "they" are The Three Sisters.
Years ago, I saw them from a plane.
They are well-named.
Like ships are.

Added: 13.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


nice relevance but not to my taste xxx