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Welcome to Garden 716 in

Click the links below to read the winning poems for the week of July 16, 2004.

Poetry Gardens of Fame Index

First Place
Second Place
Third Place
Fourth Place


Jo Ann Alderman Baker

COSMIC DUST - Part one of the Journey

Across the universe cosmic dust

lingers, lost forever in time

waiting to come away with ringed eyes.

Ice blue fire spirals down an echoed

shadow looking hungrily right and left

seeking the the breath of life.

Green mitochondrial soup of respiration

trails streams of fat stars bobbing in

spun golden bowls howling for the warmth

of human hands.

When did space birth time and create chaos?

Where is my soul?

What spiral holds my heart?

From what far corner spit the dust that

blinds my eyes,

Find my lungs twisting with the stars.

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Carolyn Byrd

The Promise

You reach across the night to me
And I find that secret place
in your soul again.

I glide down the tears
Of the melting night
And as dawn comes to us
Where dawn does not come
We see with our touches.

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Okwudili Paul Nwankwo

Refuge of Sorrow

Wonders abideth in words,
But scattered like a puzzle,
Only assembled by the poets,
And ultimately atone our hustle.

When migraine pounds on my head,
Like a tinker handles a pan,
No dilly-dally, to my study I head,
And do what I know better with my pen.

Freely I associate with the kings,
Not for muse, I would have been done,
What's my name? Me treated like a prince.
When I came to, the ache had gone.

In my free world, I print my thought,
If I'm not in the mood to sing;
Wherefrom, the open minds shall be taught.
The ignoramus, I feel for them as they sink.

No cardiac therapy found in the world
Better than the one I found in words.
Alas, the man wastes in his ward.
At last, I prescribed the one that works.

A crying child finally falls asleep
When the nanny applies the lullaby.
Now, the protesters firmly agreed
And the art so intrigued a passer-by.

In my free world, I sing with the birds,
Perching with them on branches of a tree;
Neither minding what 'morrow brings nor takes.
So I reaffirmed; life with the birds is a spree.

My world abideth in words
And I freely choose my words.

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Sherrell Wigal

Cardinal Singing
July 7, 1998
"do not sit by my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep..."

This morning at dawn my father came,
red feathered, singing the cardinal song.
His death, one year gone and I am anointed again
with his attendance pulling me into the day;
His celebrations slip silently into my spirit;

There are hayfields waiving,
others turn in the sun, give up their back-throat bouquet;
Scythes wait for the rhythm of his sweep,
the grace of his stance
reflected in lanky country boys
shirtless at the afternoon roadsides;

There are grease covered hands
lathered with Lava, waiting
to dip into galvanized buckets of spring water,
come up, palms pink,
nails and cuticles smudged and dark.

Somewhere gardens wait at the top of farms
their pale red dirt, dry and anxious for the crunch of hoe,
the dip of spade into potato hills;
Onion patches and cucumber vines
whisper his presence, give up the taste of memory,
and I rejoice in the rich yellow offering of peaches;

There are tools expecting to be hung in garages
on pegboards made of plywood and nails;
to be clunked and clanked, used daily
and wiped with the rags of old white undershirts,
waiting to be borrowed and returned,
borrowed and not returned.

Old songs hang thick in the air each Saturday;
Jeannie and her light brown hair, Clementine
and Buffalo Gals come >round the mountains
on tenor voices and drift over cowboys
dropping roses on graves;
Tunes which glide and hum unexpectedly,
enter my mind with the turn of morning light.

Water and weeds, packs of plump unfiltered cigarettes;
bicycles, wagons, stilts, wheelbarrows, posthole diggers,
linoleum; doors and windows moved so pianos
and music could enter the lives of daughters
who wait to write over and over
the story of their life made lucid by his.

No ending to the celebration
passed from his life to mine;
the wisdom of wind, the promises made
in rain and echoed by thunder.
I come to his grave ready to wail
but laugh, touch grass and grain,
lift song and thanksgiving toward each shape
he conjures now to touch my life.

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