Community

Coupeville poets earn honors

Coupeville poet Ann Gerike took first place for her poem “On Finding a Snake in the Pasture.” - Courtesy photo
Coupeville poet Ann Gerike took first place for her poem “On Finding a Snake in the Pasture.”
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Every year the Washington Poets Association Cascade Journal holds the William Stafford Contest for poetry.

Coupeville poet Ann Gerike took first place for her poem “On Finding a Snake in the Pasture.”

Also noted as an “Accepted Poems” winner was Clinton resident Suzannah Dalzell for her poem “Puszcza.”

The association’s William Stafford Contest began in 1972, and was first judged by the renowned Northwest poet William Stafford, with Tess Gallagher as the first winner. Since then, this contest has continued to attract some of the best poets of the region, and is the Washington Poets Association’s most prestigious contest. It is open to poetry in any form.

Here is Gerike’s winning poem:

On Finding a Snake in the Pasture

Past the silent tractor, the threshing machine hulked

against a pink horizon, my eye is caught

by a flash of luminescence. A small O of snake,

shiny blue-and-black striped, lies stiff, flattened

on flattened yellow stalks.

I bend down in the twilight, follow papery

curves to the head, mouth pressed open, as if the life

had been ironed out of it.

Remembering crows and eagles, I think,

At least he didn’t suffer, which is of course

what people say about someone who crashes

like a falling rock in his garden, or is found,

a dead quiet weight, between the sheets.

That’s the way I’d like to go, they say.

I’m not so sure. Not that I’d choose

long suffering. But people who love you need time

to get used to the idea of your leaving,

so they won’t be flattened, knocked

breathless as I was all those years ago,

my pre-loss life still glittering

somewhere behind me.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Dec 20
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates