The Biopsy

by Cindy Hill

Perhaps it’s better not to know what lies
inside. Budding cells that bloom unbidden,
furling in red corners, pulsing, hidden,
roots twined with vines too tightly to abscise.
Perhaps it’s better to find out the answer,
with photographs and field guides, and with knives
that slice fine petals into sample slides,
click of glass that conjures necromancer
dancing through the room in obfuscation,
wrapped in jargon smoke, infused with balm,
while swinging scythe to build a bed of halm,
seducing an end to conversation.
                  In knowledge or in darkness, this we know:
                  where there is life, the rose of death will grow.

The Biopsy by Cindy Hill was the winner of the Poetry Society of Vermont 2023 Chris White Memorial Award.

My Body Remembers

by Carol Milkuhn

being young. After I shower my skin craves 
anointing, seeks lotions that stave off 
the thirst of aging—
as if I could sate something so
inevitable, unavoidable,
But still I smooth in oils,
nurture skin now parched and puckered,
for here is a legacy, a legacy 
           of times that were sunbathed, sun-kissed
from swimming in rivers and rainforest pools,
by hiking the Rockies and biking Bear Mountain,
and so, as I minister,
I retouch youth
                 in the crease of a wrinkle.

Poetry Society of Vermont Members’ Choice Spring Contest 2023, Third Place

A Window into Night

by David Kent Young

The night, each night erases day.
The light, dear light, it does not stay,
except within the realms of men,
where lamp and flame supplant earth’s way –

an artificial world akin
to life without the night’s chagrin.
Yet, never-ending light conflicts
with slumber’s darkened regimen.

So, with a simple flip of switch
nocturnal instincts find their niche
and I to bed with window there,
return to nature’s lightless pitch.

As anxious mind and body share
elixirs of the midnight air,
I hear the night through screen and pane
and ponder life beyond my lair.

Nocturnal lives abound – engrain
the mysteries of night’s refrain –
coyotes’ howls, or thunder’s roll,
the screech of owls, or blowing rain.

But still the darkness soothes my soul,
while chants of nature take their toll,
and mind and body reach their goal
to meld with night, as night consoles.
(A Rubaiyat)

The Mountain Troubadour 2024, Poetry Society of Vermont

That Wolf Moon

by D. Slayton Avery

Here’s the thing—
(About that full moon?)
a quiet one, honeyed
humming soft because of the snow
(now there’s the problem— snow!)
Not because of how it muffled the moonlight
(because remember
moonlight did not gurgle through the tree branches
didn’t babble like a brook rolling over dissonant rocks
as it might on a clear night
its light didn’t crackle and jingle as it would on a cold night)
Not to change the subject
not to harp on the problem of snow,
but it’d be good to have the language of the Inuit
to possess a toolkit of nouns
to apply to the different defining snows;
snow-nouns providing context
imparting specifics
instead of flailing with adjectives inadequate
to the task of describing that veiled Wolf Moon that withheld its howl
but suffused flake sodden clouds
with intoned cantillations
and drawled soft copper notes
endlessly echoed by the silent ringing snow.

The Mountain Troubadour 2024, Poetry Society of Vermont


by George Longenecker

Wet November snow piles on pine boughs,
branch after branch snaps under weight of snow,
power flickers then fails,
dusk is early in autumn,
we’re in the dark,
with no way to cook supper—
how many others are powerless tonight?
Gaza has electricity four hours per day,
if they’re lucky
all power controlled by Israel,
at least here we can burn firewood.
I passed a chained-up dog,
who snapped and barked—
what would you expect—
anyone who’s powerless
is going to snap back

abused child,
refugee with no country,
homeless person.
You can only keep somebody powerless
                        for so long—
take away food, water

electricity, education.
They may keep power for a while
but eventually,
people will break through
                      fences, chains, walls—
finally long after dark,
lights flicker,
power is back on.

Poetry Society of Vermont, The Mountain Troubadour 2024