July 16 08:49 AM

Gems from poetry contest winners

June 12, 2019
I am pleased to announce the Fourth Annual Yule Love it Lavender Farm Poetry Contest winners.

The contest was judged by Mary Jo Firth Gillett, and the theme was 'My relationship with nature in my own backyard.' Thank you to all who submitted for the contest.

First Place: Aline Soules, Danville, CA


A hot, humid night perfect for fireflies. I give my son a two-quart mason jar with a mesh lid that lets air flow freely. He and his friends zig-zag around the lawn, swooping to catch the beetles mid-air.

Even crowded in a jar, these tiny insects punctuate the night with luciferin shine, seeking a mate as if they were still in the air, in the grass, flitting through the trees.

When it's time to come into the house, my son stuffs lettuce in the jar, but I explain they want plant pollen and nectar. Before I can stop him, he throws in granulated sugar.

I ask him to let the fireflies go, but he insists

on putting the jar on his bedside table in that age-old desire to capture joy through possession. When he sleeps, I take the jar, not wanting the fireflies to die, not here, not now. They have only a couple of months.

Soft steady rain falls as I step outside. This late, the boys and fireflies have gone. I unscrew the lid. The beetles rise, twinkle round my head until I walk into the wet grass where they scatter,


Second Place: Vicki Wilke, Clarkston, MI


My aging deck creaks,

cradles me through births, deaths, below nests in the greenery- hopeful crooks. Sun. Shade.

Today I think of my hair, once thick, wavy, free, tucked beside me in a paper sack

against its will.

Birds call in tender song, kindly like they know what will come when softness is gathered in my hand, lifted to the breeze.

I close my eyes, imagine pale shells, nestlings

warmed in abundance. Sparrows or perhaps a mourning dove.

Third Place: Mary Merlo, Troy, MI

Flowers, Trees and Honeybees Awaken

Random bouquets of golden daffodils trumpet

emergence of season. Tulips sing spring, purple

and cream crocus cover ground. Dogwoods explode with buds promising petals of red-stained crosses.

Rioting growth contrasts fall's rust-colored blanket spread beneath bare trees about to sprout tiny leaves. Lacy veils shroud landscape to hide robin, oriole and blue jay nests ensconced in woodlands.

A rosy-breasted bird streaks like a fleeting image in slumber's dream, darts across a wooden deck where empty terra cotta pots stand ready to welcome geraniums and spikes. Squirrels dig for stashed acorns.

Light glints off iridescent blue wings of dragonfly hovering near gardener dozing in chair beneath noonday sun. Honeybee buzzes near his ear, awakens him.

Refreshed, he resumes tasks to arouse sleeping beauties.

Email Iris at

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