Rhyme for No Reason Contest:
Winner: Debra Conner
The Dying Season
That's what you called it:
November, the month you closed
your writing cabin, packed books and poems, stowed
your porch swing and Adirondack chair, lit
the fireplace in the main house
and waited for the pond to ice white,
for winter to appear like
an unwelcome guest, the uncle without
a good manners, a stray dog in the rain.
Your cough was merely
asthma, you said at first, your yearly
quota of allergies, a pain
but nothing serious. Far away, I heard claims
made by your personal shaman, put faith
in your jokes and cheerful updates,
until my letters went unanswered, until the call came.
Judge Comments: While most of the entries went for humor, this one did not. And the narrative, the use of rhyme and meter and image all worked so well. The images are so effective -- that uncle without manners. But the rhyme scheme, with its tiny little delay and then closure (abba cddc etc) leads us so effectively toward that last slight delay, that final closure. This is a lovely poem.
Honorable Mentions: Harold Oberman; Lawrence Rhu