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2012 Northeast Texas Poetry Contest

Northeast Texas Poetry Contest of 2012 sponsored by Elliott Motors:
First Place, $400, Ricky Huitema

As the Morning Sun Rises
As the morning sun rises over the trees
Long shadows are cast down on me
Life is abundant all around
Horses graze in the meadows
Ignorant of all the affairs of life
A turtle rests on a log
Basking in the sun to warm its’ blood
While a crane waits in the shallows
 Hoping to catch the unwary minnow

In a meadow greened
By the abundant summer rain
The sun has been a friend
During the summer months
The grass grows violently
To prepare for the next cutting
A lone cedar stands
In the center of the field
Strong and tall
Is it has for many a year
An old fence that has seen better days
Is overtaken by trees
The rusted wire has a few more years.

Now the forest where the destruction
Of the previous year can be seen
Old trees leafless
Thick bark is cracked and falling off
Limbs crash down
With those that have went down
What once could not be moved
Has fallen over
King of the forest no more

Life moves with the seasons
The mild temperatures made
One perfect summer
Bountiful rains
All but erase the terrors
Of fire that plagued the land
The year before
The Lord has showered
His blessing once again
Over the land

Second Place, $300, Matthew Jordan

The Treasures of Northeast Texas
There comes a time of year
when Northeast Texas reveals her euphoric allure.
The treasures of the region are expressed only for a season.
Fall manifests her inner beauty across the Northeast Texas region,
like a rainbow across the woodland's canopy,
as she follows the Autumn trail.

Winter creeps his way into Texas,
searching for the mysterious treasure
at the end of Fall's rainbow.
Winter's search began to grow cold
when he reached Lake O' the Pines,
where the pine trees are all that remain.

It was not until this moment
that Winter discovered the hoax.
He discovers all the treasures
have fallen to the forest floor,
and the search froze entirely
for only a couple of days.

Spring gently arrives to the Piney Woods,
with her emerging daffodils and magical naked ladies.
She develops an early season cold
due to Winter's frozen search for the treasure.
She sneezes across all of Northeast Texas,
as yellow pollen settles on every surface.

All too soon
Summer encroaches upon Spring,
bringing his unpleasant allergies
 from the pine pollen of the Piney Woods.
He develops a relentless, humid temperature
as if enduring in a living hell.

Fall returns to Northeast Texas,
concerned for Summer's wellbeing,
and comforts him with cool, crisp mornings.
 She covers the canopy with a rainbow of fall colors
to rescue him from his devitalized condition.
The treasures of Northeast Texas have returned.

Third Place, $200, Jacob Brantley

The Valley of the Oak
The charred oak, oppressing all upon its spread with its overcast shade,
Inadvertently offering a haven to every weed lucky enough to escape Apollo's wrath.
Forgotten fence posts, disfigured and melted by Father Time himself,
Supports barbed wire whose rust stands testament to the many thunderstorms--
Whose water surrenders the only respite from summers rivaling Dante's descent.
And whose bite decorated the guardian hardwood.
This land, engineered for the hardy.
For once the tilt quells the dog day’s rein,
The frost seems to immediately clasp the land to its bosom.
A new scene of ice, snapping limbs in the valley of the oak,
Exchanges the mascot from bovine to stag.
Nights render the land brittle, grass unable to resist the crunch from those who dare tread,
the danger disguised as beauty; its cold embrace ensnares any unwary,
And lulls them into a security undeserved.
A coyote howls tribute to this law before bracing over its fallen long-eared prey.
A fierce land indeed.
But conquered by us through traditions passed down,
Even a paradise for those who know the secrets from whispers of years passed,
The secret of the seasons of waxing and waning life, the rising and falling of leaves,
Fleeting, but a breath in the story of the valley of the oak.
Perhaps a fortnight’s calm among the cycling storm,
But time earned even by those who shrink indoors from the valley's cruelty.
Growth, passing, and celebration; much is crammed into the decent days-
Days void of the unsolicited sweat or Jack Frost's breath.
Spring and autumn--one always around the bend,
Bane to its harshness, and hero to the valley of the oak.

Fourth Place, $100 Jesse Rivera

Born from Dust
Born from the dust
In a country broken
By idolatry to death it’s self
I escaped the jaws of inevitable poverty
By coming to the land of freedom
The land where in God we trust
But now
The country’s grown corrupt
The rich wage war
But it’s the poor who die
They no longer fight for freedom
They fight for oil and gold
Then make laws
To suit their malicious ways

They rewrite marriage
And bend morals
Then rejoice in their mischief
As the media differentiates
Right from wrong
And an honors student
Goes postal idolizing
A fictional villain
And babies have babies
Because they where never taught
How to wait
But rejoice in their mischief

But when a drought
Engulfs the country like a tidal wave
And fields of crops feed plagues
The rich go hungry and the poor starve
Currency loses value
And the country breaks

In their torment
They remember their creator
And they shout
“ Where is God?
Why has he abandoned us? “

So I answer
“How dare you ask
Where is God
When you’ve done all you can
“To take him out of
Your schools, court houses
And public buildings

“God has not abandoned you
You have abandoned God “

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