Welcome to the last one of the qualifying rounds. Next week we’ll already have the two semi-finals: one on Tuesday and one on Thursday.
If by any chance you submitted a poem and it has not been featured yet please contact me ([email protected]) and I’ll look here to see if I can find it.
Finally, thanks for everyone participating and support the competition. It has been a lot of fun so far.
1. My Tiny Heart! by Parvina M.Khojaeva
I know that time comes soon to have the highest prize,
Be never sad of what you had and never give up of new that.
Yes, it’s me, who dares say of this, no matter whom I face on twist.
While now I’m pride thou made me sharp with so much hard even surprised.
I suffered yet will not alter to what extend thou wish to see me,
By every chance that gave me fall, I doubled stand on feet that strong.
Don’t be surprised of what achieved this tiny heart
Without a tear and a cry yet feeling proud with so much hard.
That treasure met me on thy cheat, so what is measure thank or “beat”.
I did conclude, that challenge sent by Him to me to mend on him.
I praise myself as no one want to see me victor thee on best,
My wish be only failure thy, yet differs me and thou, not be.
My little world of biggest fault I thought it was when I met thou,
Don’t be surprised, I alter still to better side with rule in-hide.
So, that’s me who shares now this little world for biggest slide
Expressing value of what I had so gratingly to gratitude.
I know that harmony of harsh and pride now gets the prize through steps of blade,
To tiny heart of little girl who has now wings elating vied
In such a sky to striding sharp and singing harp with tears hide,
Thou in believe or not believe, she that’s me who’s flying up with tiny heart.
2. On the Lam-A Sestina by Babs Loyd
I used to be a lamb,
a soft and cuddly baby
sitting on my mama’s lap
until I became cross and red-
faced, howling for my whey
if I faced a block.
Now, ashamed, but admitting it, I was a block-
headed “infant terrible,” not often a lamb,
more a kid who butted heads to get her way
with older sis and brother baby.
In school I found outlets, books read
as well as beginning to swim fast laps
as well as study geography. Learned the Lapps
lived far away, farther than a block,
and what was true, or else a red
herring. Later, I began to lam-
inate covers of books for babies
so they could hold them any which way.
Once in college, art books began to weigh
heavily as I read them at a desk or on my lap
while absorbing facts while I became “Bebe”
to my beau who became my block
buster Romeo. I married what I thought was a lamb,
it turned out he had a neck of red.
In time we became vivid red
sails in the sunset heading different ways
and I had to escape, on the lam
then joined the Rat Race lapping
around the clock, around the block
holding a job and two babies.
After awhile I remarried, a man who babies
me, who’s proved to be a red
hot lover. Now I’m no longer blocked,
I’ve found my peaceful path, my true way
after years of rough and easy laps
with a man who’s both a lamb
and an accomplice on the lam, my Sweet Baby
who asks me to sit on his lap while wearing red,
holding hands on our way around the final block.
3. The Road Goes On And On by Craig Christiansen
The road goes on and on.
Dashes blur into a solid white line
The asphalt cuts into the horizon
Sun shimmering ahead.
The grooves in the shoulder
Keep me on track
Though I’ve seen no opposing traffic for miles
I obey the dashed lines.
I’m told how fast to go
And how many miles are left
Banks of painted plywood tell me where to eat
what to do, and where to go for vacation.
I venture across the dashes
And feel the thrill of adrenaline
Like I’m wildly rebelling
Somehow cheating the system.
I gently steer back to my lane
Back to safety
Back to the correct side
Within the posted limit.
My eyes flicker to the side
More plywood tells me what to eat
What movie to watch
Where to go for fun.
I carefully stay below the posted speed limit
And the road goes on and on.
Safely and securely
The road goes on and on.
4. Forecast by Deborah Taylor-French
A thunderous whirling rides the night
As a window of sky flashes through rivers of rain.
Glass panes project the wind’s shadow onto a white bedcover.
What rears over me is backlit in ashen clouds.
The edge of waking is raw as the deluge.
Alone, I lurch, abruptly stop—riveted.
Eyes unfocused, I stare as the immense eucalyptus tree grasps the full moon.
Uphill, his branches trap the luminous globe like a prize won in battle.
I fasten on the tree’s flayed skin, lashing his torso.
Solitary, both king and castle, he whispers against the blasts.
Massive limbs wheel as silver-green leaves scar the winter heavens.
His scythe-shaped-fingers beckon.
He knows the hour of his death.
I convulse, not knowing my own.
Will they be the same?
Moon, tree, person; all one world
5. Your Memories by Sumana Mukherjee
The day started breaking and you stopped breathing,
With your hand held tightly in my own,
You didn’t open your eyes to see my tears.
You had sheltered me and given me your unconditional love,
Your unflinching faith in me even when the going got a little tough ,
Is still in my heart ,
Your smile and your warmth.
Though I have grown up since that day
Two years ago,
A daughter will try fulfilling your dreams Mother!
6. Sin’s Requiem by David Gonzalez
Don’t shed a tear for the seven of us.
As we rot justly in a grimy, black cell, waiting for our true dwelling in hell.
Luxuria is now a shadow of an evil beauty that had once begotten men and women alike to fornicate, in a twisted form of love. Lust is the first to depart. At twilight we shall all be dancing a jig in hell.
Gula it’s never ending appetite now sated, has stopped its endless indulgence. Beckoning the end of famines, droughts, and vile addictions everywhere. Gluttony is the second to go. At twilight we shall all be dancing a jig in hell.
Individa filled with a deep hatred for those that hold what it cannot have. Is now appeased by what it wields. Envy is the third to follow. At twilight we shall all be dancing a jig in hell.
Avaritia now finished with its campaign for its selfish wealth and luxury. Its hoarded belongings now shared with all. Greed is the fourth in line to go. At twilight we shall all be dancing a jig in hell.
Acedia without a care of the world or itself, has now found meaning in its existence. Sloth is the fifth in line to go.
At twilight we shall all be dancing a jig in hell.
Ira its eternal anger now doused. It’s downfall heralding the end of violence and hatred. Wrath is the second to last to go. At twilight we shall all be dancing a jig in hell.
Superbia a never ending journey for fame, now cast aside by time forever to be forgotten. Pride proud of all the foul deeds it has committed, shouts before the gallows, with no hint of remorse.
“At twilight we all shall be dancing a jig in hell. But do not bid the seven of us adieu, and shed tears of joy at our departure. For before dawn we shall rejoin you all.” With a wicked smirk Pride is the last to go.
The word it has spoken resounding in our thoughts, filling them with angst, strife and fear…
Fear the hidden origin for all our sins.
7. Grasshopper by Kapil Kelkar
1. Go To Jamner, the lady is coming, I am told.
For the election rally, and I am willing to go, but where is Jamner?
2. I find Jamner, reach there and sit on the patch of earth, before me a solitary hill.
Around me endless fields, of cotton mostly,
and banana. Young boys stand in the fields, to pee,
one hand resting on waist, they remind me of
the dancer’s figurine from Mohenjo-daro.
The earth beneath my ass is empty, but for naked roots of grass. Has it been
emptied of whatever grew on it
because the lady is coming? A farm cut down so that
farmers could sit upon it to watch her speak
in the tongue alien to them and alien to herself?
Is that sweet smell in the air that of freshly-cut grass?
3. I think of this, as I sit, amongst the farmers.
The square of hankie covers my head,
taking care of benign October sun. People standing in the front
spit, and search the sky for her helicopter.
On the tree-less hill, few policemen
stand, dwarfed by pylons.
4. Bored, I take a twig and scratch a circle
around tiny clod of soil near my feet.
This is my castle and this — the moat around it.
Then a tiny beetle crawls up from under the soil,
and marches towards my fort. Halfway through,
it dives back into soil. A grasshopper climbs on my sleeve,
I flick it off, twice. Then it disappears.
5. The lady comes: in helicopter, which descends
in front of the hill. I have memories of helicopter:
from another reporting assignment, when gunmen
slithered down a rope from helicopter,
to land on a rooftop in my city,
to kill gunmen on the floors beneath.
But that memory is from another era.
6. Farmers stand to watch, I too,
and I raise my hand holding cellphone,
its camera switched on, and click the chopper.
The lady climbs on high, narrow stage.
“As white as gecko”, a comment I remember somebody making
at last year’s rally when she descended down
in another village of my state, during another election.
7. She speaks for fourteen minutes, my voice recorder
lies on the earth, recording her,
while I make notes. Farmer beside me is curious.
Then she stops, and climbs back into her helicopter,
and it soars in the sky. People wave, a child in her mother’s arms
is excited, as is the mother. Before vanishing in the sky,
the chopper circles over the people once.
8. I check my cellphone camera, in the frame I clicked,
only farmers — I have missed the chopper. Later on,
having left behind the fields of cotton and banana behind me,
I think: should have clicked that grasshopper.
8. Why Don’t You Go Back to Him? by Maiyo Simapungula
Go back to him! He still loves you!
Think of the children.. they can’t grow up without a father!
He’ll change, I know the Lord is going to move and miracles will happen!
The Lord says you must forgive, so forgive him!!
Your children won’t be normal, they say that most of these tsotsis come from broken homes!
There is something that you’re not telling us… he is such a nice guy..very decent
Are you sure there isn’t somebody else?
You are young, you need a man for.. you know.. the nights can get lonely.
How will you cope with all the bills? You need a man to support you!
All men are the same, better the dog you know than the dog you don’t!
What are you looking for out there? There is nothing!!
Do you honestly think you can find a faithful man, only for yourself??
Why leave? Sort yourself out and get someone on the side! All married women are doing it and they are much happier!!!
You really think you are something special. A woman leaving a man? That’s taboo!! You are such an embarrassment.
It couldn’t have been that bad! I never saw you with black eyes!!
Fight for your marriage, you are not praying hard enough that’s why your man treats you like this!
You are lying about your marriage being a wreck, we would have seen the signs, you just want to play!
This is not how a real African woman deals with things, you should have called the elders to come and sit with you before making such a rash decision!!
All marriages are bad! Don’t fool yourself and think there’s such a thing as a happily married
A woman’s smile, so beautiful and infectious
Persuasive yet deceptive for it masks a world of hopelessness and fear
A world of depression spiralled out of control!
Yet she clings on hoping tomorrow will be better
Years go by, the situation worsens
Dominance and violence characterise her union
Shattered dreams and a broken spirit..
And yet she smiles on…
A moment of consciousness, sanity prevails,
She asserts herself
Resolute and determined she asks “what if there is a better life?”
The desire to leave grows forcefully
Fear of living an incessantly dejected life
Over powers the fear of repression and violence
Rage against the one she loves now redirected to within
Remembering existence and freedom before the imprisonment of the heart
Pictures of peace and independence
Of big dreams and exuberance
She takes back her destiny
Reclaims her life…plans her escape,
And though she is weak and fragile
She still smiles on…
Strength comes from Yahweh
The mighty arms of the Lord give reassurance
Tomorrow indeed will be better
“..do not worry (for) life is more than food and the body more than clothes. ..the ravens.. do not sow or reap..yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
As she lays her head to rest, Christ smiles on her..
Fearful and anxious, eager about tomorrow
She closes her eyes …and smiles within.
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