Weekly Contest

Poetry contest
22 competitors

Classic poem of the day

In ethics class so many years ago
our teacher asked this question every fall:
if there were a fire in a museum
which would you save, a Rembrandt painting
or an old woman who hadn't many
years left anyhow? Restless on hard chairs
caring little for pictures or old age
we'd opt one year for life, the next for art
and always half-heartedly. Sometimes
the woman borrowed my grandmother's face
leaving her usual kitchen to wander
some drafty, half imagined museum.
One year, feeling clever, I replied
why not let the woman decide herself?
Linda, the teacher would report, eschews
the burdens of responsibility.
This fall in a real museum I stand
before a real Rembrandt, old woman,
or nearly so, myself. The colors
within this frame are darker than autumn,
darker even than winter — the browns of earth,
though earth's most radiant elements burn
through the canvas. I know now that woman
and painting and season are almost one
and all beyond saving by children.

member poem of the day

Do you know how it feels
to stand alone in a forest
in the caesura
of a gathering storm?

With a graceful pirouette
the north wind about-faces
and just as quickly
a sou' wester replaces
the breathy, dry kisses
of long afternoons in the sun.
Drawing breath from your lungs
and heat from your soles,
lowercase twisters
scatter leaves with abandon.
There's a pause,

it is electric,
then thunder above.
A first splash, the herald,
caresses your skin
and whispers of days
when you sucked the air in
and laughed until laughter ran dry;
when you danced and you sang
and timeless, you lay
entwined 'neath an indigo sky.

In that place, alone,
your lenses will fail
and your notebook fall
by the by.
Your shutter can't capture
the depths of magenta;
your pen,
the dreaming Magpie.

It's a moment,
just a moment,
before the storm breaks
and the old song
resumes its same rhyme.

Do you feel it?
Can you grab it?
A resolution, of sorts:
to wring from
each minute
a lifetime.