Poetry contest

Poets are invited to participate in the Cape Cod Times monthly poetry contest.

Last month’s winners of the monthly Cape Cod Times Poetry Contest.


Seth García lives in Barnstable and is an MFA candidate at the University of New Mexico.

Inspiration poem: This poem was born out of a summer spent at home during the pandemic practicing acceptance and stillness. I wanted to pay deeper attention to memory, to how the mind retains what isn’t there, either because an event has passed or because a detail isn’t easily seen.

Study brush stroke and memory

By Seth Garcia

I woke up struggling to accept all the transient setup,

certain that the plums at home must still be filed in the early morning light; brush strokes

dream exit. The progress I once called results is slow.

How do we capture the ground

garnet dust mixed with mud on my hand, memory of

the heather hen in winter—the snow resting on a forgotten statue.

The way she called him once inexorable, how her laughter continued

from another room and even

in the street.

She was here with me

until a moment ago.

Detail of light in the dew. Returns to the old life

from which I once struggled to free myself.

One day, I swear, no one will be able to tell my subject

of its matter – the blood of the oil, the pearl of the star.

I continue even after I stop listening.


Orléans is the home of Ginia Pati; her poetry has been represented by WCAI, WOMR, chapbooks/anthologies and the Cape Cod Cultural Center.

Inspiration: Although 500 million years old, each perfect chamber of the nautilus is a pearly fragility, resistant to ocean depths that man has never reached. The nautilus shell near me offers wisdom every day; simply awaken and begin with one breath, in unison with all living beings…move through oceans of sorrow or joy, one breath at a time, consciously building to create one’s place in this world.

divine chambered

By Ginia Pati

Iridescent fragility every chamber of nautilus

lulled under the intensity of my fear the

trembling of my outstretched hands receiving

lifting it to the caressing stream of light

the infinite curve of its opulent hull

spiral in the secret depths of the ocean.

Slowly my fingers trace like on the lips of a lover

hovering awake at the slightest breath of life

the tiny chamber of its own original breath

suspended in only four chambers at birth

cold depths destined to live for decades

Each breath pushes its passage through the columns of water

from the indigo caverns to the dazzling sunlight above

each breath slowly builds a new chamber on top of the last

a repeating pattern predicting which one to follow

fragile deployment in a perfect Fibonacci sequence

breathtaking logarithmic spiral.

Your breath your human breath granted at birth

also brings life to every room you choose to build

passages from the darkest depths to living joys.


Brewster resident Lee Roscoe is an award-winning playwright and journalist, author of “Impossible?” and “The Mooncusser’s Tale”, as well as “Dreaming Monomoy’s Past, Walking its Present”.

Inspiration: First blizzard extinguished a few winters ago. Feeling isolated, enveloped by both time and the past, before the colonizers arrived on the (indigenous) lands and even before there were (indigenous people). Maybe just owls. And we may come back to that. A kind of enchanted and bewitching ghost dance for rebirth.

Snow storm

By Lee Roscoe

The trees lengthen, frail in the flying winds; beating against the pale snow.

Like a disease of misfortune

the gale; so strong that every black, frozen

white branch under his proclamations, torched

and crack of whiteness, with diamond and silver, rare elements,

discoveries of the brilliance itself, planetary, holding us back:

two frequencies, a sound, a light or its absence, twinned.

Dreaming of how to live and with whom in relation to what

spitting dust

Safe in shelter as the afterlife moves,

I land gently like the owl in its cloud of feathers, curled up on itself,

and autonomous. Yellow eyes turn calmly, protective

(see through a storm that was a Lear of rage hour after hour

making the world a scene of snow,

throwing himself at all the windows, obliterating the houses,

riding a white tide on the ground, moving the world we know)

I wonder where the other naked birds went in there.

Here in whitewood New England

Ancient in the tallow light before there was America

The moon floats behind my back like a flame.

The wind dries the bones of the night.


Rosemary Dunn Moeller lives in Hyannis. She writes to connect with others, to reflect on nature, and to understand the people in her world.

Inspiration: She was visiting her daughter who was about to give birth to a grandson when she found herself playing with the turntable on the dining room table her father had made six decades earlier.

Lazy Susan teetering in my life

By Rosemary Dunn Moeller

Dad carved the cutting board out of

12″ round maple hoop, riveted

small round of grooved wood, full of

ball bearings. I looked, reaching up

see above his work table. mom painted

green maple leaves, like our trees

front, on the edge. He sat and turned

on our table with condiments in the 50s at

70s. I had it in the 80s, our daughter

taken in the 00s. It wobbles more, like

earth seasons, lunar orbits. Same

ball bearings hitting metallic sounds.

He outlived my parents, maybe me.

Newly shiny, I watched mama paint the redhead

leaf veins with a three-bristle brush.


The Rogue Literary Society has published Barton Allen’s most recent collection. He lives in Harwich and Nashville.

Inspiration: “Penetralium”, my deepest sanctuary, arrived after seasons along Pleasant Bay, south of Orleans. From where I woke up, the sun rose just off or above the cliffs and shoals of Strong Island. Over the years – in the water, on boats, countless steps on sandbars, through the gritty work in the dirt of our seaside gardens, all amidst the beauty of the outdoors, and yet inside the love of troubled relationships – came words.


By Barton Allen

Waking up early in the hours, going green

Flare-up, on the edge of Pleasant Bay, just like the sun

Crests. Clair’s hips start –

No, his salty sleep. An empty, lip-stained water glass

And bright, this thirsty morning. A breath,

Crisp, as the steps of this dance begin themselves,

As rhythms with intention guide. Closer,

His skin is boned in the dark. Tides, summer,

My mooring chain. Soon the beach

I have to hang out before winter

And his fresh starter arrives. Or bulbs

Now I’m squirming in this bag that I’m cracking

Open to the passage on the patio. Strange clicks

She sends in the backyard, knockin’

Lilac trunks, forcing flowering. Changing colors

Throughout the minor day: yellow noon aloma

Bursts through the iced tea. Light flushed, suddenly,

Blues when you touch on the nuances. Those nap fears

With jobs to do, our lives not difficult,

But uncomfortable. Work the nourished regions. Me by storm

After claiming what is planted. Bulbs

Hide the puzzles, and no one

But no one can be sure. When she crushes the leaves

I tell you it is. Later, my God! Between.

Stay in my chair, nestling

Something terrible and being happy, secretly,

That the reckless beetles had begun

On the side closest to our garden.

Send a poem

Here’s how to send us your work:

Submit one single-spaced poem, 35 lines or less per month*

Poems cannot be previously published (in print or online).

The deadline for submission is January 1, 2021.

Submit by email to cctpoetry12@gmail.com.

Poems must be free of hate speech and swear words (profanity, vulgarity, obscenity).

IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL, provide your contact details: name, address, telephone number. and title of the poem; then, IN A WORD.DOC ATTACHMENT includes a poem without a name or any other personal information, so the poem can be judged anonymously.

Poets who have not previously been published in the Cape Cod Times are invited to submit a new poem each month; these poets previously published in The Times, 3 months after publication.

Poets will only be notified if their poem is accepted.

Poems will be selected by a panel of Cape Town and Island readers who are published poets and editors.