Poetry Society of Vermont
founded in 1947
photo by Linda Tyler
Summer Contests Awards 2016

Winner: “Hurry Up”  by Will Meyer


Hurry Up


Hurtling down the highway,

doing sixty-five,

every bug we come upon

never more alive.


Our Industrial Revolution

leaves little time for Evolution.

Do we have to go so fast,

grinding up the future, making it the past



Honorable Mention: “Thick and Thinner” by Alice Gilborn


Winner: “Dead Fawn Curled in a Pool under Old City Falls” by Sarah Snyder


Dead Fawn Curled in a Pool under Old City Falls


Maybe she didn’t know

where the river fell


and so she must have flown,

puff of her tail high and white.


Maybe we will sail

in the flutter of a leap


toward a fragile point—

leave our bodies


behind encased

and chaste.                                    


2nd- “The Scythe Tree” by Ann Day


The Scythe Tree


                        A half-mile in from Four Corner Road

                                             a beech tree stands in shadowed glade.

                        Its soft gray bark is roughly scarred

                        from black bear claws and jackknife blade.


                        The trunk has hollowed with old age,

                        the branches twist in shapeless forms.

                        The crisp leaves cling to slender twigs

                        throughout the fall and winter storms.


                        A curved and rusted blade protrudes

                        from the flank of the ancient tree.

                        The neighbors say it’s been there since

                        eighteen hundred and sixty three.


                        The story goes that a farmer’s boy,

                        while in the meadow mowing hay,

                        heard the call to take up arms,

                        and left to go to war that day.


                        He hung his scythe in the nearby beech

                        as he went off to join the strife.

                        Today that tree and scythe remain;

                        a memorial to that farm boy’s life.



3rd- “Whisper Quiet” by Michael Farrand




Whisper quiet

  Morning wisp

    Deer steps . .



Will he charge?

  Doe says 'no'

    And off they go




Honorable Mention- “Voices” by Joanne Mellon


Winner: “Consolation” by George Mathon




Tap your father’s headstone, wait

for his reply, stamp the dust of vanished

mountains from your boots. Watch

old maple trees pour their lives

into buckets of exhausted


            watch the moon and stars soft-shoe

across the sky to a song you can’t hear.


They must be making it up. So much

for an afterlife.

                         But the music must be beautiful,

something smooth and jazzy. You can tell

by their footwork and from the way

they fall down every night—

                                                get up and do it

again. You don’t need toe-taps, scatter some sand

across the floor—an easy glide, a rhythm slow

enough even you can keep in step,

not for eternity,

                          just to dance the night away.



Honorable Mention: “Illusion” by Deanna Shapiro


1st Place: “Alzheimer's”   by Janet Haywood Burnham



There is a spook

that stalks our house

measuring out with careful steps

the rocky precipitous slopes

of rugs and floorboards;

munching our napkins

wetting our corners,

and speaking with old crowds

we cannot see.

He would be clever

and slight-of-hand

puts on the suit and face

of father;

he then plays the part-

but poorly.

With skin so pink and unconcerned,

So very like a child,

He must be watched as one.

And then,

Because the ancient order of his days

Whisper in his bones;

“It’s time to go,”

he will up and slip unseen

out of the safety of the house

into a world of cacophonic clattering,

where all re dancing to a drummer

he no longer knows.


2nd Place: “Moon and Sea” by Sissy Bradford


Moon And Sea


I let slip the moorings.

The moon, pale and full, called the tides. And me.

The tide pulled. The waves rocked and the tide pulled.

I followed the moon’s path of silver moonlight.

The night silent and deep as the ocean below.


3rd Place: “Summer Fog”  by Sarah Snyder


Summer Fog


At the top of Jericho Street

where the road becomes dirt,

fog conceals the world below —


no White River, 

no hard curves of highway,

no houses beyond the Lyman farm.


When the fog burns off,

each shrouded life will

emerge undiminished.


But this moment I see

only the unveiled pool of a sky,

three deer grazing in the high


meadow, smell sweet hay,

and hear the sound of stone

on stone as I pass by.


Honorable Mention: “Counting On Sheep”  by Alice Gibbon



Winner: “George” by Janet Burnham



It’s been

more than two years

since you laid your bones

on the cellar floor,

the spark of life-extinguished-gone.

I was not with you to see it go

but found you there

with a deep quiet calm upon your face.

My sorrow does not wane.

And if you should come “round

You’d see-

I’m still feeding your deaf feral cat,

the one you fed outside your workshop door,

the one who let no one near enough to touch.

He’s still not trusting,

but sits mornings at the garden’s edge

looking in the kitchen window-waiting-waiting

for me to come out with food.

In his unending fright, he is a spirit,

as untouchable to my empty hands

as you are now.


Honorable Mention: “Modulation” by Inga Potter



Winner:” 239,000” by Sissy Bradford



You are 238,900 miles away.

There are tides. Phases. And sometimes eclipses.


There is a dark side. And a small place where

I left the lunar module and walked in your heart.


Golf ball, flag, commemorative plaque,

a gold replica of an olive branch, and

a hundred other forgotten things

were left behind.


238,900 miles,

the distance between the moon and me.




Honorable Mention: “Wedding Cake” by Steve Coteus