------Results of the 2022 Robert Frost Poetry Contest!----------
"Visitation at Dinner " Linda Flaherty Haltmaier Beverly, MA
Summer Thunderstorms Robert R. Bowie jr. Monkton Maryland
"When a Black Bear Came to Truro" Sandy Longley Provincetown, MA
"The Force of my Mother" Rosa Swann Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand.
"A Serpent" Rosa Swann Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand.
"Something to be Said" James B. Nicola New York, NY
"Beauty vs Sanity" Hailey Peterson Lisbon, NH
"Loosed from the Ground..." Sandy Longley Provincetown, MA
"Pulling Back the Drapes " Joan Leotta Calabash, NC
"Volunteer Coach: A Tribute" Michael Zahn Poinciana Florida
Top Poem, for the 2022 Robert Frost Poetry Contest
"Visitation at Dinner"
By Linda Flaherty Haltmaier (Beverly, MA USA)
It has been a while
since the gash in the ground
swallowed my mother––
her brass and mahogany chariot
slipped beneath the feet of the living
and the crying,
each cradling a lily plucked in silence,
a starburst of remembrance
sanctified by the moment.
Life hurtled on,
her funeral card dropped into
the drawer of confusing objects,
cousin to the junk drawer,
where locks of baby hair, worn keychains,
and collars of pets long passed
are stashed and pushed about––
their value utterly worthless
The paradox of what is left behind.
But somehow my mother showed up
at dinner the other night
between sips of Cabernet
and knowing laughs with friends.
Slipped the bolt
from the other side
and waved me through to a place
where grace grows like phlox in May,
redolent and lush.
And as if sprinkled with
the forgetting waters of Lethe,
I felt my armored heart bend
filled with a fondness
for the person she was
and tried to be,
wondering about the origin story
of the freckled redhead
who loved to play stickball
with the boys.
How this visitation occurred is unclear,
perhaps Dickens’ undigested bit of beef
or a strange alchemy of time, distance,
and red wine––
but something softened,
rage gone slack
for a sip or two.
Stripped of my bespoke grievances,
I could see her beyond the threshold,
perhaps the way god sees us––
flawed and fallible,
worthy of love,
swinging full tilt
at both balls and strikes.
---------------------------- sampled runners-up --------------------------------------------------------
From Sandy Longley, Provincetown, MA :
When a Black Bear Came to Truro
I like to think of him swimming the Canal
unnoticed, against the current, against
credulity, legs stronger than any freestyler,
a dark shadow in salt water and then
lumbering his maleness, his aloneness
north on 6A to Ballston Beach.
“It was a black bear, all right –
sure as you were born,” said Tommy Dyer,
a fisherman on The Little Eva.
I like to think of him, scratching his back on
pitch pines, leaving scat in his wake:
grubs, apples, seeds – steam rising like a signal,
and him mumbling, squeaking, panting–
a scent of a young sow perhaps, a scent of
Wampanoag fires, of ancient deer bones,
swales of genetic memory guiding him
back home under a purple sky – part
healer, part magician that was bear.