We received an overwhelming response to this year’s JMRL and WriterHouse Poetry Contest judged by Poet Laureate of Virginia, Henry Hart. We’d like to congratulate winner Ron Berube for his poem “A Differential Calculus of My Feelings” and runner-up Clay Moldenhauer for his poem “Make Fire.” We hope you enjoy the winning selections.
A Differential Calculus of My Feelings
By Ron Berube
Winner of the 2019 JMRL and WriterHouse Poetry Contest
Listening in the ambulance to the insistent siren,
Trying like the rabbit dying in an eagle’s claws
Just to enjoy the ride, amusing myself
By guessing where the hell we are
From my compromised position of all
That’s flashing past. The roof of our house
Needs replacing, traffic’s backed up as usual
On the bypass, there’s your office building,
Where’s your car? Clouds are massing
Gray beyond the mountains west. You’ve been
Hurting more than you’ve been saying,
I can tell, afraid to scare me by complaining,
Just as I am you. More often lately when
You think, I answer; when I sigh, you wake.
I’d thought once at our age we’d have seen
The best of what was promised, never guessed
How much distance we could cover simply
By moving closer to each other. Sometimes,
Says the eagle, I’m surprised myself.
By Clay Moldenhauer
Runner-Up in the 2019 JMRL and WriterHouse Poetry Contest
At water’s edge,
Bare feet in mud,
To empty sky.
Wonder at nothing
Ponder on nothing
Already a puzzle.
Orient to nothing
Bless whatever comes.
They too will be Gods
Snake, turtle, Crow,
Offer power and pain
But it’s up to you
To make fire.
Like the first time.