Poetry contest

The Recorder – Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest Adult Winners

Continuing in this series, here are the adult winners of the 2021 Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest hosted by Greenfield Public Library. The competition, which attracted 275 entries, was open to all residents, as well as students from Franklin County schools.

The adult winners are: first place, After All by Lynne Pledger; second place, North Hadley, by Sharon Dunn; and third place, Day 348 by Gary Greene. Their poems appear below.

The co-winners for the group of young people aged 12 to 14: Maggie Provencal and Lillianna Inman. Co-winners for the 15-18 youth group: Malia Hanes and Ehtan Chase. Their poems appeared in earlier publication.

After all

His ashes came via UPS. The little bag

was a remnant of my mother’s life

that I could hold in my hands.

The bag was warm, after sitting down

all morning on the porch in the sun.

I held it to my chest and wandered off

in the field towards the long rows

strawberries. They gave so much

berries that we had had more to sell.

Mom had left no request regarding

his remains, but would surely like

the idea of ​​enriching a cash crop.

I imagined his smile.

Once I saw a picture of a woman

in France, supposedly 120,

her deeply wrinkled tan skin.

She looked free – but strong,

like an old tree that was far away

beyond fecundity, ramification

toward the sky.

I was told that mom’s ashes could

be coarse, like gravel, and I reinforced

myself for pieces of bone. Perhaps

a tooth. But when I arrived

strawberry and open

the bag was just ashes after all.

Folding, I poured them along

the row, moving quickly then,

shaken by their whiteness

against the earth.

—Lynne Pledger

North Hadley

I pass by North Hadley

God still speaks says the red banner

on the steeple church with peeling paint.

So I listen. He drilled a hole

in the cloudy ceiling, and the shine sings

on a distant hill. His conversation

features rusty tractors, crumbled roof sheds

and bony cattle munching in a side yard.

He’s silent on the hip of the village cop

idling in his car for a speeder. He speaks

the tones of frost on the fields, of tree branches

cracked in october storm, water

whispering from the pond to its lower reaches.

The road curves its wide S, then

electrical sign:

Speed ​​limit: 30

Your speed: 28

II tobacco barn at the beginning of winter

On either side of the empty barn

high slats leaning towards the air.

I see across the fields beyond

always without snow, resembling columns of gold.

The barn breathes, I breathe.

No more long hanging tobacco leaves

and dried up, and the vacant barn

sings when the wind blows.

III Mid-December, Champs

Prisoners in fluorescent orange vests

drag snow fences through stubble fields

not far from their white bus

written in front: TRIAL COURT.

Released in the crisp air, they raise

a line of wooden staves to protect

the snowdrift country road

so that we can make our way without a hitch.

On the other side of the road, hundreds of Canada geese

to forage a vast field. All winter they fly

upon us in their ragged Vs, north, south,

east, west, honking, compass askew.

We are all lost. We make our way

through galleries, along country roads,

through dilemmas, passion,

sin or in unknown cities.

I’m the happy prisoner of the sun on my face,

wait for another chance. A long-necked bird

eyeing the kernels of corn. A woman driving,

who needs a new path from here to there.

IV At the end of winter

The men park their truck

further up West Street.

Hundreds of tin buckets

rest in each other

on the truck bed. You can see

where men have already been,

buckets tied to all the maples

behind them. They tap on a faucet

in each trunk and hang a bucket

to catch the clear sap

just starting to sink.

Oh, draw in me, leave my sap

clear, watery drop in the bucket

spring, ready for fire

from the sugar shack,

steam escaping from the chimney

in ten-foot plumes,

boiling sap

in thick amber syrup,

So sweet.

—Sharon Dunn

Day 348

December 14 will always be the day

Roald Amundsen defeated Robert F. Scott

by first reaching the South Pole

and the date on which Eugene Cernan became

the last pedestrian on the moon (so far.)

On day 348 of 1650

housekeeper Anne Greene,

unjustly presumed guilty of infanticide,

was hanged in Oxford Castle, England,

before being resurrected

to his dissection the next day,

live another nine years.

The Hot Air Balloon — remarkably! —

tested the first unmanned balloon in 1782,

while barely 158 years later,

plutonium has been isolated.

Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe,

who would lose a large part of his nose

at twenty in a drunken duel over mathematics,

was born on December 14, 1546,

and only 472 years later,

day by day,

you are dead.

I can just imagine you

first to arrive at your funeral,

radioactive with excitement,

embark on his own adventure,

float in front of the moon

with your new friend Anne

to join Tycho among the stars

and snoop around the universe.

—Gary Greene