Winners of the ‘Napa Valley Winery’ Ekphrastic Poetry Contest The Society November 15, 2020 Beauty, Ekphrastic, Poetry, Poetry Contests 13 Comments Thank you to everyone who participated! This was a great effort for a meaningful purpose: the recent burning down of the Chateau Boswell winery in Napa Valley. Congratulations to the winners. Bravo! —Evan Mantyk, judge. First Place ($100 Prize) Ode to Chateau Boswell by Susan Jarvis Bryant You loom in sooty gloom and tombstone grief, In dusty shades of faded yesterdays. One withered witness whispers of a thief Who snatched tomorrow’s purpose and its praise: A portent torched the sultry evening skies— ‘Twas Sirius who scorched then stole your soul. The blaze of mad dog days razed grape and vine, Left sylvan sprawl as dark as raven coal. One parched and brittle rose blooms in the eyes Of ghosts who sing of merriment and wine. They sing of ripest flesh and plumpest fruit, Of sun-dipped sips and crystal-clinking toasts: The aria of ambrosia in a flute That floats on claret clouds as twilight coasts Beyond the pyre and mourning’s sear and sting, Where dreams of Dionysus deign to dance. I taste the spill of harvest’s luscious splash. I feel the thrill of summer’s giddy glance. I see your bonhomie in feathered wing— A phoenix breathes beneath your shroud of ash. Note: Sirius is the brightest star in “Canis Major,” a dog-shaped constellation that is at its height in summer. Second Place Though Charred and Wilted as a Rose by James A. Tweedie The Silverado Trail on fire; The Chateau Boswell in its grasp, Stretched out as on a funeral pyre As flames inhale its final gasp. Though charred and wilted as a rose— Its beauty scarred and etched with pain— Within the stem, a new bud grows That, phoenix-like, will rise again. Third Place Mourning Tintern Abbey by Brian Yapko The flash of flame, the searing of the soul The wrath of Nature mocking what men build; The bricks, the rose, the dreams devoured whole… O, who can measure grief for what was killed? I think of Tintern Abbey lost to time. The ocean floor that is Titanic’s home; The dreams destroyed, the works of art sublime Entombed beneath Jerusalem and Rome. As dies the rose so must we face our fate: Our days of living are so very brief; The winds of change come hard and seldom straight— Singeing beauty, singing us to grief. To tame the world comes at a dire cost— Tears of ash which baptize what we’ve lost. Honorable Mentions Reminiscence by Sally Cook Cowled shadow-shapes in dim doorways, prescient, Observe burnt roses, ochre stalks, all bent Yet still recall how ordered living was. Sharp odors from the burning, and the buzz Of hungry bees, who search and fail, then sigh Along the grapevine, now all charred and dry, Where graceful gladioli climbed to Heaven, Like medieval ladies, in jeweled hennin; When bells chimed over shattered glass, poems rhymed. Chateau Boswell—Napa Valley (2020) by Paul A. Freeman The trees become complicit once the flames with tinder and the swirling wind are fed; an ash-and-smoke enveloped skyline frames the mountains and the hills which men have fled. The vineyards are a battleground unused to Nature’s rage, for newly in the fight they fall before a fire that’s amused how feebly we can douse its orange light. A bastion to Bacchus is no match for blazing, seething heat that cracks its stones, that chars its rose beds, burning plants like thatch, or acid stripping melted flesh from bones. Such scorched earth conflagrations are a test to see Mankind’s resilience at its best. A Relic of 2020 by Lucia Fisher I stopped to smell the roses in This double-twenty year When men thought Mars and flying cars Would finally be near But since I found no blossoms nigh I wandered off to search (And though I scrutinized the skies No hoverboards emerged) At length I caught a spot of red Like blood or new-poured wine As I drew near, the sight grew queer Then dismal in design A single rose with head bowed low Abandoned on its stem As if a plague of flow’ry ague Had seized the rest of them Or maybe some strange insects like A murder hornet swarm Attacked the blooms and sealed their dooms In angry protest storms My fanciful conjectures were Arrested by a scent And then I took a closer look At petals black and bent I stopped to smell the roses in The twenty-twenty gloom But smoke and spark have made their mark And masked the bud’s perfume Flamma: A Rhupunt by Ryan Watch A raging fire Brimming with ire Why set this pyre On the Château? Witness the clash Of smoke and ash. Behold the flash Of flames aglow. A lone rose dies; There are no cries. Under red skies Burns the Château Nothing remains But barren plains. Yet from such pains, New life will grow. What’s Lost in Flames by Talbot Hook Human ardor, human dreams— And all around us Nature teems— Reified in stock and stone, What’s lost in flames shall be regrown. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 13 Responses James Sale November 15, 2020 Congratulations to all the winners – good to read all this new excellent material. Reply Sally Cook November 15, 2020 Congratulations to all, and welcome to Lucia, Ryan, Talbot. Hope to see you here again. Reply Sally Cook November 15, 2020 Paul too — sorry for the omission. Reply Paul A. Freeman November 17, 2020 No problem. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant November 15, 2020 I’m thrilled to bits and love every single poem on this page. 🙂 Reply Paul A. Freeman November 17, 2020 The feeling’s mutual. Reply Julian D. Woodruff November 15, 2020 Thank you and congratulations to all winners. Poetry of brilliance, sincerity, and hope. Reply BRIAN YAPKO November 15, 2020 I’m humbled and grateful to be included in the company of such talented and brilliant people! Thank you and congratulations to each of you. Every one of your poems is a gem. Reply Yael November 15, 2020 Congratulations Susan, on your beautiful poem! Great job everyone; I enjoyed reading all the entries. I’m amazed at all the interesting thoughts you poets came up with in response to the above photo, which looks uninspiring to me. Reply Ryan Watch November 16, 2020 My congratulations to the winners of the Ekphrastic contest and laudations to the runners-up. I look forward to writing and participating in the next poetry contest. Reply Ryan Watch November 16, 2020 An Encomium to Poetic Victors (In Honor of the Ekphrastic Contest) From the Sun’s irradiant sphere, Which is the abode of enlightened bands, Apollo rushes down to mortal lands Causing poor Daphne to shudder in fear. Her fallen leaves that poets so revere, Are fetched and woven by the God’s deft hands. The finished wreath, made of laurel leaf strands Is crowned upon the Victor of the year. O Muses! Greet the poet-champ with glee. Sing songs of approbation and fine praise! A toast, a laud to the Victor’s poetry! For all his written efforts shall be graced . May this poem panegyrize such artistry, So that the poet’s name may not efface. Reply Paul A. Freeman November 17, 2020 Congratulations, Susan’s a worthy winner! In comparison my poem was a dog’s dinner. I won’t cry, or stomp, or shout, ‘Voter fraud!’ But make my way back to the old drawing board. Reply Cynthia Erlandson November 19, 2020 These are all very impressive! 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