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The Tipsy Muse Hall of Light


Event V Awards for
The Tipsy Muse Poetry Contest
Spring 2002

Contest Judge:
Gail White


The topic
And the envelope please...
The winners' circle
The current Tipsy Muse Poetry Contest guidelines


The Topic

Topic #5: Up to 14 lines (any form) ascribing human behavior to animals or animal behavior to humans.

And the envelope please...
Here' the award speech from Topic #5 Judge, Gail White:

It's customary to say when judging a contest that it was hard to choose the winners from among so many good entries—and so it was. But with many re-readings, certain poems kept their heads above the others, like onions in a stew. These were the poems that were both finely crafted and amusing, and had points to make as well, beyond their verbal cleverness. So I am pleased to inform you that the WINNERS ARE (trumpet flourish):

First Prize goes to "Trout Catch", a skillful sonnet with a surprise twist at the end, as we learn who is actually trolling for whom. If you've read Leight Hunt's three sonnets on the Man and the Fish—this one belongs right up there. To me, this was the outstanding entry.

The other three awards are equal, but if there were a Second Prize it would go to the author of "Beerwolf" for having the audacity to attempt Anglo-Saxon verse, and giving us a portrait of the hung-over hero who awakens to find Grendel in his mirror. Other readers appreciated this one as well.

The remaining two awards go to "Mrs. Goose Complains", the funniest example of animals-acting-human in an all too familiar situation—I really laughed at this one. And to "Philosopy and the Food Chain", for giving us a situation unique in literature: a lizard contemplating the works of Milton.

So congratulations to you all, dear winners, and I hope it won't be long before the Muse can afford to send you your prizes. But she's been broke for a good while now, and contributions are still appreciated.

—Gail White

The Winners' Circle

The Grand Prize Winner ($100.00)
John Beaton

The Honorable Mentions ($10.00)
Nigel Holt


Grand Prize

Trout Catch
By John Beaton

They're here today. The one I mean to fool
is settled upstream of the sun-glazed drift
that forms the middle of the Mirror Pool.
I must stay hidden so he will not shift -
that flow below him hides sunk trees which line
its smooth veneer with branches. My position
is downstream of him now. He's nearly mine;
his instinct cannot match my intuition.

I've snagged a lot so far - he'll break my record.
The sun has slipped behind a cloud; I like
the breeze that's whipping up. The run is checkered
with sliding ripple patches. Time to strike.
I make my move - a splash! This isn't luck.
He takes. He casts his fly. His hook is stuck.


Honorable Mention

By Nigel Holt

The brash drums of dawn
                                       dole out the morning,
The head thrums around
                                     red Axminster tongue.
Where are the wrappings
                                     that welcomed night’s awning?
Oh! the beat of the blood
                                       behind eyes is strong!
And stripped in the sedge
                                     with scratches and lesions
that ale and adventure
                                had nicked in the night,
he shudders and shakes
                                     at the roar in his regions
and chills at the changes
                                     now frizzled by fright.

So, slowly he stands
                              and diverts his disgrace,
for morning has magicked
                                      the many his way.
He howls in his horror
                                at the familiar face,
down in the dust,
                       and now seems to say

‘Your taste for the tawdry
                                     will take and enfeoff us,
you wolf, who’ll whistle
                                 for whisky and heifers.’



Honorable Mention

Mrs. Goose Complains
By "sam"

We ought to plan our trip I said
migration time is near.
But you just read your newspaper
pretending not to hear.

You need to finish molting, Earl,
it's almost time to go.
But you just sat there on the couch
and watched your TV show.

We should be basking in the sun
like other winter Texans.
Instead we're stuck in Newfoundland
'cause you won't ask directions.



Honorable Mention

Philosophy and the Food Chain A Vignette
By "Sharon"

A green anole was contemplating Milton
and bobbing at the legs, as lizards will,
his eyes half-shut, his thoughtful head was tilting.
A thought occured to him. He grew quite still,
and came to this conclusion: Milton lied!
He knew not God, and would not know until,
the same as Sin and Death, personified,
he left this plane. He darted up the wall
and nodded to himself. Thus satisfied,
he ventured heedless off the windowsill
and caught off-guard, was eaten tail and all
(and here, lament the lizard's foolish will)
by grackle. Answering his Fate's cruel call,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.

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