Scotty Davis Watson Prize
Frances J. Pearce, “Divertissement”
Judith Reese,Richard Taylor, Preston Martin
What of our outdoor cat squeezing
between the wooden rails of my 1950s
playpen knowing how joyfully I would lift
it by the tail to drop it onto the lawn?
Still it pushed through those bars and
returned to me again and again. I’ve no
recollection of this, just talk I’ve heard.
Yet I picture myself contained there as
my mother always tried to contain me.
Only one house stood between ours and
the frenzied boulevard where urban buses
rumbled downtown and to schools. Nearby,
creeks wove into rivers that formed a bay. So
why did that tenacious cat covet the imperfect
fortress of my enclosure when it had a whole
city, the entire globe, available to explore?
The initial query, posed in the first enjambed sentence of "Divertissement," pulls the reader in completely the way interesting syntax should. The rest of the poem is held together with a gratifying balance of vivid imagery and implied tension, providing a lived experience for both reader and poet.