Earlier this November, we launched a poetry contest for young writers, ages 15-21. We had a number of excellent submissions, and we are excited to introduce the winning poem. The poets were asked to write a poem in verse of three to eight stanzas exploring the wonders of winter. They were asked to consider wonder with its positive, magical connotations (as in “That’s Wonderful!) and its negative, violent ones (as in Horatio’s exclamation in Hamlet: “It [the ghost] harrows me with fear and wonder”).
Without further ado, we bring you Rebekah Rosamilia’s winning poem for “Wither the Wandel Poetry Contest” in which Rebekah’s winter greets us as a weaving woman.
By Rebekah Rosamilia
She enters gently, hesitant;
Her feet tip-toe on dying leaves;
She slips behind her sister’s flames
And creeps below the hanging eave;
She finds her place on bare-branch seat
And pulls out knitting, close and neat.
The stitches of her detailed work
Are heavy, white, and tumble down
Over her knees, onto the floor
Like one thick woven, homely gown
That covers all in cozy sheets
Of frosty nights and rosy cheeks.
Her smile is gentle, voice is soft,
Yet storms may flash before her eyes
When stitches catch or fingers slip,
But soon they’re followed by a sigh
Of ice-brushed air and snow on barn
That Winter weaves into her yarn.
Our lovely first runner-up poem, by Sarah Welton Lair, leaves us dusted by a snowfall:
A quiet, crisp December night
A walk toward home despite the black
Alone, outside, no warmth, no light
But there’s no going back
Shivering I trudge along
Feet shuffling through the slushy slop
I softly sing an anxious song
When suddenly I stop
A delicate flake of crystal snow
Falls right in front of my chapped nose
Then spirals gracefully below
And lands in soft repose
I lift my face up to the sky
To meet a flurry stretched for yards
That seems to my inventive eye
A rain of frosty stars
Each snowflake moves in nimble dance
First chaîné turn, then pirouette
They swirl and drift as if entranced
Some spinning in duet
The road home now seems not so long
Though cold remains, I need not flee
Each snowflake in that fairy throng
Will keep me company
Soon lights appear like lanterns bright
Which speak of family, food, and rest
I reach my porch, now clothed in white
I have fulfilled my quest
Then off to bed fast as can be
Turn out the light with eager hand
For I know when I wake, I’ll see
A winter wonderland
And our second runner up, Katie Marriot, captures the advent spirit and the longing for life and spring again.
A snowflake wanders from the sky,
And lands on where my body lies
Deep beneath the cold, hard cry
And sorrowing death of yesterday.
Wind sweeps through the barren trees.
They shiver against its tempting chaff.
Too weak to stand some fall to knees,
Roots only holding them through the wrath.
Over me, soft flecks of snow lightly wend.
I hardly feel their chilly calm.
I know this cannot be the final end.
Before a sacred throne I soon will bend,
And be revived in Spring’s loving arm.
Today, Wandeling Press now begins its illustrator’s contest in which we are inviting young women illustrators to illustrate Rebekah’s winning poem by December 19. Check out the details here.