This past May, my poetry won its first awards. The news came in three e-mails that felt like beams of light during the dreary 2014 winter of illness in our home. First I heard of an honorary mention, then a third place, then a first in the North Carolina Poetry Society Annual Contests. People asked where they could read the poems, but I had to wait to share them until they were published in Pinesong, Awards 2015, the annual anthology from the NCPS. Here is the first prize winner in the Thomas H. McDill Award, Lemniscates. The title is a fancy name for the eternity symbol. The poem is about apocalypse on both an individual and collective level: the beauty that comes when old patterns break apart. My journal art from 1979 seems to fit.
“In my beginning is my end” T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
My boot rakes rain-soaked mint growing wild by the kitchen door. Scent rises, tinged with forgiveness.
In ancient Peche-Merle caves, hand prints in red ochre and cinder dance on scorched walls. Underground pools congeal and rise, soak crevice to ceiling with bright algae.
Soft now, a dream.
Shrill cries: a legion of eagles passes overhead, blocks the sun. Grey feathers float towards earth.
Everywhere, houses begin to shake and sing with voices of the dead; dishes tumble from hutch shelves. Smash. In Africa they say of breakage: spirit has been set free.
Beavers dance beneath a pink moon. Smack mud with flat tails.
The jelly-roll land writhes: a glittering emerald serpent, a belly dancer’s sequined girdle. Fearless, children ride its waves, shouting, till nightfall.
Sun returns, a kindergarten drawing, benevolent, cheeks turnip-round. Its lemon rays warm all. No more you, me, them.
Rubble becomes art,
how we live. A kind of thick bread
fragrant with herbs.
(copyright Cathy Larson Sky 2015, first printed in Pinesong Awards 2015.)