by Ruby Hoy
Seventeen degrees atop
the Shenandoah Mountain,
sun shines a day past
the Winter Solstice.
we move to the light.
Spring is a promise
even the faithless
can believe in.
Second Place tie (in no particular order):
by Jerry O'Neill
I graduated from High School in 1963,
And my Uncle told me travel was just the thing for me,
So he sent me to Paris, the island, not the country,
Where I earned a Ph.D., in the fine art of gruntry.
I was sent to a hovel, they call Viet Nam,
With my new occupation. to maim and to bomb,
To destroy all in sight, to kill or be killed,
For my own preservation, I quick became skilled.
To spend every night, just a heartbeat from hell,
To see napalm flashing, and life's ending smell,
To be transformed from a man, to some jungle beast,
The metamorphosis once started, never did cease.
We were finally shipped, carried, or air-freighted back home,
To desk jobs, to factories and to filthy, hopeless ghettos,
With one thing in common, our flashback mementos,
Of unseen enemy, both here and abroad,
To have been used as pawns, in a national fraud,
With gifts from both sides, our sweet dreams of Charlie,
And quaint little rashes, from the Agent Orange folly.
A decade and change, has plodded on by,
But cold sweats rekindle, as the sun leaves the sky,
When again we sojourn down, our own nightmare alley,
Dreaming of buddies left there, and a lieutenant named Calley,
Trudging through slop, and human remains,
As an unrelenting sun, scrambled our brains
The incredible damn, dank humid heat,
The short-timers blown into large chunks of meat,
The children, the destruction, the mindless fragging,
The freeze frames won't stop, they just keep on dragging.
When we came home, there was no parade,
Just an incredibly ridiculous, national charade,
In place of confetti, we were welcomed with spit,
By mindless morons, too small to hit.
We were finally given recognition, in the form of a wall,
Where we would sit, stand or kneel, but mostly would bawl
The tears from our eyes, cleansed the stain from our souls,
And raised our dead brothers, from their unconsecrated holes
We're all better now America, no problem here,
As we daily blow our brains out, with chemicals and beer,
We weren't allowed to assimilate, when we slithered back across the foam,
We learned they just don't make wars like they used to,
'WHEN JOHNNY CAME MARCHING HOME'.
by Janet Gannon Bieschke
Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
I didn’t tell my Mother and
I didn’t tell my Priest.
But I did it.
I started with the confessional lies.
It was right after my first confession.
I wanted exciting sins
So I lied and made up good ones.
I think Father knew I must be exaggerating
But he listened and gave me my penance.
Next week would bring the sin of adultery
Who knew I couldn’t do that at ten?
I did not steal the cookies and
I did not start the egg fight in the henhouse.
You know that my brother Pat did both.
You know that I took the punishment.
I still have the finger scars from the butcher knife spanking.
I should not have put my hand back to cover my backside.
You know that Mom was sorry.
Then I did it. I switched.
I didn’t do things I should have.
I did many things I should not have.
I did not confess.
I still do not confess to the Priest.
I know, and I know that You know.
You are always with me.
Some times I hope you look away.
But I know that You do know.
And even if now sometimes Pat gets my punishment,
We both know
I did it.