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Welcome to Garden 5121 in

Click the links below to read the winning poems for the week of January 21, 2005.

Poetry Gardens of Fame Index

First Place
Second Place
Third Place
Fourth Place


Robin Huelsman

At an Impasse en Route

A desolate road invoked in error
I stagger through the morning fog
Scrambling at thoughts too scattered to grasp
Past the wake of a day prescribed by function
Embracing futility as a fact of fate
Mysteriously distracted from the berm I was tracking
As the shadow of a structure emerged from the haze
Relinquishing the road and its condemned consecrations
Kicking through brush till reaching a fence
Overgrown with life and footed in stone
Reaching up to the trees tempting its resolve
Brushing back the branches from the rusted wrought iron
I peer inside through hands cupped in quotations
Where a house stands stately though seemingly abandoned
Blackened windows, time ravaged façade
I glanced back towards the road and my deferred inception
But this imposing digression beckons my attention
Or is it silence that spawns this souls insurrection
Gives pause to retreat for the sake of reflection
Then I thought I saw the face of a child in the window
Gazing into space as if wistfully dreaming
Then the face faded and the window went black
And a denser fog began to assemble
I turned but quickly froze in my tracks
What unbeknownst presence might lurk in this murk
What devious device
Would be assigned to its work
And at that moment the sound of voices
Their unearthly chatter faint but insidious
I raised my hands to block my brow
But all I could see was the fog before me

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Ann McGovern


At the age of seven I started to stutter,
after my father died,
and a stranger followed me into the self-service elevator.

I remember he wore a waiter's apron.
I remember kicking and screaming.
Stuttering replaced screaming.

I never spoke in school.
Never raised my hand.
No one called on me.
It was too painful to hear me try and talk.

Thinking I lacked attention, they made me
carry the flag at a school assembly.
My white blouse had a missing button.
I wanted to drop through the floor.

At 17, they sent me to Dr. Green's Hospital for Speech Disorders.
The teachers were former stutterers.
Mine took me home in his car and touched me.
My stutter got worse,
mostly on vowels and silent h's.
Answering the phone, I couldn't say, "hello."

At 20, I had a boyfriend who vowed to cure me.
Speaking slowly and tracing my hand along a table didn't help.
Buying me a parrot didn't help.

My boyfriend named the parrot Hello.
I had to greet the parrot every day. "Huh-huh-huh-lo. Huh-huh-lo."
This story would be funny if the parrot learned to stutter and say, "huh-huh-huh-lo."
But the dumb bird never said a word.

I gave it away to Helen who worked at the cleaners.
I kept on stuttering
until I fell in love with a man who believed I was precious.

He proved it at Howard Johnson's
where he bought me a ring from a vending machine
and hid it in the fried clams.

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Jos Munro

South Canterbury Bus Ride
(heading home for Christmas 2004, South Island, New Zealand)

The bus heads south through St Andrews
where you can put your left arm out
of the window and tickle the sea
with your little finger
       and at a stretch with your right arm
you can cup the tops of the mountains
with your hand

& the land rolls
               and curls
                           in between

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Dawn Richerson

Wild-Hearted Winter Queen

Chiseled wolves tracked her long through forest of her fear,
silencing icy wind with howls superior.

Feral flames flashed in hungry eyes and lit a course,
dared shifting snowdrifts to succumb to shadowy force

On arctic throne ornate rode solemn winter’s queen
not fearing pack’s pursuit, though unsettled by the scene.

Generations of progress they’d devour, erase
should she allow them to succeed in rash, reckless chase

Invisible boundary drawn by society
separated her from such savage vulgarity.

Still, seduced with sophisticated style en route
to chosen prize, fierce love, their protection resolute,

she felt a sacred bond, kinship, to no avail,
with kind who filled her dreams with unruly plaintiff wails.

So in the frozen tundra of her life, she shed
regal robe of propriety, bolted free and fed

Ravenous need, aching and unfulfilled desire
to run with wolves, driven by wild winter heart on fire.

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