Gerald Schwartz, West Irondequoit NY
The Writing Contest for Young and Adult Writers
Runner up in Category: Poetry Age 21+
Song of Noah John Rondeau, Hermit Mayor
of Cold River City (Population 1)
I'll keep it simple: let the sky draw itself closed,
taking with it the peaks, the stone walls, the object
of desire. Write my name in ash on the hearth
and the fire will burn all night. I have spent much
time alone, rubbing the shine from stars, raking
the clearing down to colored minerals, contained
clear, glassy grains of quartzit always allowed
me to dream of boneshine deep inside lost wishes.
There is no moon tonight and the mountains are
mostly memory, an understatement of continental
collisions and rising faith, rock outcroppings set
in spindrift armor below where winds die down
and Flowed lands become rich blue sky chocked full
with yellow-tinged clouds shared with red-shouldered
hawks, ospreys, barred owls and orchard orioles
and crossbillsto each I smile and make no reply
for my heart is free of care. I've lost seasons
to solitude, memories're like settlers in old photos,
hands crossed, faces just as stern and mouths so
full of longing. They're gone now, like summer
wings and water signs, or places safe for healing.
I've grouped everything in threes and traced
the ground beneath me with ancient dirt and order:
a silent forest of reasons, trunk upon trunk. Finally,
the skies find a new idea for weather: cold, ice
fog in the morning and trees no more than bones.
On Mountain Pond two marsh wrens take short
flight to mark my passing, females, coal-hued,
a quick gaze made sad by the yearn of their twice-
forgotten eyes. It's all true: my world remembers
August the same way darkness comes for my eyes
on nights far from Sing Pines, here in hospital, I
fight to sleep, a winding cloth of cotton flecked
with the silver fire I cling to like the windborne.
Seventy-eight degrees above zero. Nice sunshine
on the hill. I will make a batch of Eternity Tea.