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154th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: The Enigma of Time

by Miles T. Ranter

Though there’s barely a drop in the brooks and the creeks,
   nearly dry as the open-air pools,
time’s protean arrow — today a bolero,
   tomorrow a jig — soon will cause
pears and apples to fall and leaf chaos to sprawl
   while the youth sit like jailbirds in schools.

Blue dragonflies dart above moss-covered ponds
   and on puddles the water bugs race
as speedily streaking for prey they are seeking
   near patches of soil and stones
as many an atom will, in an air stratum,
   whip round its cerulean space.

Though the days still feel warm as a dog’s underbelly,
   night by night the crickets get colder,
their chirps getting slower, their pitch getting lower,
   till their silvery trills disappear
like the darners and birds rushing off with the words
   of the whispering trees — now bolder

than tanagers, soon to be balder than buzzards.
  While the daffodil eye in the sky
turns meeker and shyer — look! — higher and higher
   the stars of Orion will rise.
Then when wood frogs and peepers become frozen sleepers,
   they’ll know they’ve no choice but to lie

under ice and to dream as they circle a star
   in a galaxy, whirling away
like a slow-spinning pail full of Newcastle ale
   or the sweep of the hands of a clock
or a sunflower’s face as it swivels to chase
   that light every life must obey.

See all the entrants to 154th Weekly Poetry Contest