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2008 Northeast Texas Poetry Contest

Sponsored by Elliott Chrysler Dodge of Mount Pleasant


Winning Student Poem Adriana Lopez's

Weather
Clouds weep from the heavens above
Their sorrow drenching the land once forgotten
The tears renew and rejuvenate the soil
But their choking companion envelopes the people
The moisture in the air smothers and clings
Bringing a haze of languid oppression
To be broken by the champion of light
The sun reaches down with rays of ardent want
His warming embrace lulling the land to sleep
Only to awaken her with a scorching kiss
The kiss of summer fades to grey, from winter?s chilling bite
Slowly draining and destroying everything once green with life
Frozen and unfeeling the land lies in deep sleep
Waiting once again for sorrowed clouds to weep



Second Place Poem by Zachary Richardson

"Stephen Austin Epiphany"
I
It’s no epic tale     
they came here     
moving west     
the frontier     
land-hungry     
profit- hungry      
glory-hungry     
cheap land     
timber cotton oil Catholic heathen souls to save     
nothing special     
Anglo-Irish wanderlust     
itchy feet     
never too many miles to roam     
their blood is in my blood     
as they say
 
II
These Dixie Texans     
of the pine wood and cotton patch     
and that sweet Southern variety of  English     
meandering like the Mississippi     
tempered by cicada-screaming heat     
this westernmost outpost of the Old South     
we feel like strangers in our own land     
no we are not like the rest of Them     
we do not love the razor-sharp prairie     
we do not sing Home On the Range like an anthem     
we do not dream of vast rolling oceans of mesquite and     
epic cattle ranches or     
mystical mustang herds     
we do not drink the holy waters of the Brazos Pecos or Colorado    
no we are aliens     
nobody knows who we are     
we do not belong here
 
III
Land of peace and paradox     
charming courthouses and town squares     
bed-and-breakfasts     
football     
low taxes     
“family values”
Spanish moss     
lots of churches 
rolling green pastures          
Southern hospitality     
sweet-smelling pine cedar oak sweetgum forests     
sweet tea     
humble muddy creeks and streams     
fried chicken     
serene meadows            
but also           
never-ending libertarian struggle for freedom and independence but denying these to certain Others     
Bible-thumping or rather Bible skull-cracking (it’s no surprise it was inevitable)     
desperately clinging to old ways while destroying them – old downtown buildings crumbling rotting
and forests and fields sacrificed paved over for Wal-Marts and shopping malls and chain restaurants it’s disgusting       
 
IV
I’ve lived here all my life and I still don’t understand it       
I’ve been here for 200 years
as a matter of fact     
and     
I still don’t get it     
we don’t get it     
we are converging with the rest of these strange people
in this strange land     
with the rest of this enigma     
that is America     
Electronic Superhighway     
highways and plastic and shopping centers and pizza and burger joints
defining us
no we are not special
we are destined yes
destined to be
mystery
 


Third Place Poem by Maria Chavez

"Northeast Texas Eden"
In the neglected land there exists a northeastern Eden.
Precious not with stones or gold, but life.
 
Oaks, Pines, and cypress, giants in the land
Waving in the wind, gently caressing the sky.
Bushes shrubs and ivy rustling down below,
Critters scurry something spooks,…
Dears in the clearing, shhh don’t move.
 
Walk through the deer trotted path and you’ll find,
Quietly settled amongst giants, mystical mirrors
Reflecting the beauty around.
Fishes, toads, and turtles, gliding inside,
Swimming, eating, and breathing, surviving in Eden.
 
Across the green lake there’s an old dusty road,
That leads to an old dusty town, A tiny, historic, old town with

buildings right and left. Brown, green, muddy colored buildings, friendly
and homey Quite, peaceful , tiny town where crickets are heard in the
dark The barber’s in the corner Mrs. Smith’s shop three doors down, I can
tell you name by name who all live in the town. By old Sally’s house there’s
a much bigger road. Black, tarry, brand new road winding away to the
west. Follow the road and you will find another type of forest. Tall, tall,
tall trees, made of glass, metal, and steel Most square, quiet and stern
not waving or gentle, one round twirling in the sky, bright lights loud
nights   No peace or tranquility. A rush and a bustle time’s in a
hurry  Everywhere strangers busy with life. From green to silver
quiet to loud,
his is the Eden complete all around.

 

Winner of the Adult Division by Ronald Bowden

     
Kiss Me


Pounding rain
Released in torrents
Thundering echoes
Silencing the quickened halls

Winds of change
Charging the daylight
Violent swirls and shadow
Beating all life into submission

Greater than I
Or are we equals?
Rain and wind, my brother and sister
Casting your crowns upon my head

You speak between the breaths of life
Uttering your secrets
Are you spirit, brother and sister?
Who is your maker?

I rose from brother rain
I am water
I move with sister wind
I am air
I speak as god of thunder
I am fire
I drink as mother earth

Kiss me with your forceful ways
Texas thunderstorm in May.

 

Poetry Judges:

Chuck Hamilton
Our Northeast Texas Poetry Contest Chair is an Associate Professor of English at Northeast Texas Community College.  Hamilton has edited and written for numerous magazines and newspapers, and is a participant in Texas Renaissance Festivals.


Jim Swann
Jim Swann is a professor of Spanish at NTCC.  He is a two-time nominee of the NTCC faculty for the prestigious Minnie Piper Award for teaching, and has been a great fan of poetry in both English and Spanish.

Anna Ingram
Anna Ingram taught English at Mount Vernon High School for sixteen years, before teaching full-time this year at Northeast Texas Community College.  Born in Arlington, Texas, she prefers the quiet landscapes of Northeast Texas. 



    
 
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