Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Prize-winning poetry

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The 2007 Writers Collective (Adult) Poetry Contest was held in conjunction with the 2007 non-fiction contest, the winners of which were published over the previous five days. The Free Press is pleased to present for the first time the Winnipeg poems, but more, to present the poets, who it might be said strive hardest of all writers to distil "non-fiction" to its essence.

Posture

By Andrew Eastman
First Place

Proper posture is a state of mind, balancing
volumes of intellect atop a bumped and
dented skull. Providing lumbar and moral
support for the maladjusted vertebrae,
a harmless snap, crackle and pop given
by quacks who fished their licences
from cereal boxes should do the trick.
Envious of the spineless hunched
backs of those who have disobeyed
the old wives' tales told by our
mothers, we all ease a little lower
into our La-z-boys. Slouching
over more with every year, the
backbone of humanity has
begun to bend. As spectators
we sit, awaiting panacea;
knowing all along that our
mother was right: poor
posture breeds negative
attitudes, which lead
to rudeness, setting in
motion a complete
disintegration of the
moral fabric of
society.

Reunion

By Marie Powell (Mendenhall)
Second Place

air so still it breathes back
twenty years or more

to see your face so well
remembered I have
planned where we'll go what we'll
eat what I'll wear what you'll
say the way you mirror my every
desire in your hopeful eyes and all
the talk in the world

won't

bring us

back when
I was never there for you always
leaving never seeing what it cost one
more plane or train or highway ribbon trailing out
like wires in a wireless age leaving me
a world away and trying to listen
fingers drumming on the phone
breathless like that squall of seagulls rising

Nostalgia

By Gloria Moodrey
Third Place

My grandmother immigrated
at one year of age from the Ukraine
and grew up to look exotic
as though she'd come from Mongolia
with black hair, swarthy skin
and dark eyes
forming large black
Os.


Small and fierce, at sixteen
she married my grandfather
a tall blond ten years her senior
who came over as an adult
and looked perpetually surprised
his mouth forming

an O
.

Baba scolded him often
even while making soup on hot days
in the summer kitchen
with its hard packed country dirt floor.
Gida stood up for himself
in their lively arguments
replete with Ukrainian expletives
his peaceable soul finally giving in
like the hard packed country dirt roads
of his farm gave
springing your feet up with every down tread.

I raced along those hard packed roads
my Mary Janes swallowing my socks
at the heels
my mother despairing of
ever
getting me right
as I wound through my grandparents' fields
surrounded by oak, haunting me still
a Constable painting
with hayrick and a team of white horses.

Cello

By Paul Cameron Miller
Honourable Mention

The field of wonder opens
To the left hand movement slow
The middle finger
Pressure
Divoted by gut
Ebony
Defeated 'neath the hair of a rosined bow
Waiting till this vibrant world
Coaxed in an arc like gesture
Stops
Only then manipulated
In the morning's sweet expanse
The sound
A choking kettle
Pained to whistle
As they dance
These fingers
Up past the right hand bout
Toward the widest southern plain
Jumping strings to Eastern tones
The taxi cabs
The garbage men
The blanket of existence
Mutes
The breath of your departure
What is and then what isn't
Sustained in a vague vibrato
A glissando
Then to coda
Beautiful low voices prayer
Make curious the air of daylight
Lifting in my eyes
Reflected off the toaster
Pawn shop chorus of flawed chrome
Adagio on walnut floors
Skeletal bones of my home
Your copy of the key
Beneath the rug
Under the stairs
Still there

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 31, 2007

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