Judges

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell
James Sale


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OVERALL WINNER

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Papa’s Commedia

by Nicholas Walz

That was hellish—the hulking chopper plunging
Through the top: the battered fuselage yawed,
Dipped, and dove, while like a lunging weed-eater,
The stuttering, feckless blade chawed the trees.

There’s no war, nor downed helicopter now.
Your trim garden lies well-kept and quiet.
And He unworks with care your proud-strained brow.
With gentling hand, He plucks out every let.

Oh this will be bliss! Your soldier’s soul by Christ’s
Word kissed, your lissome arms re-fleshed like His,
Your wrist aglist with shrapnel scars, while Christ,
Your God and Gardener, takes you up as His.

So rest, Christian, beneath His wings; speak cor ad cor.
And be Papa then, a million times more than before.

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POST-COLLEGE WINNER

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Satan’s Soliloquy

A Terza Rima based on Dante’s Inferno

by James A. Tweedie

Take heed, O sinner. Mock me not nor scorn
The so-called flames of Hell, for ’tis not fire
That shall consume your soul, nor devil’s horn

Adorn your once-fair brow, but self-desire
And shameless pride that will receive the curse
Of living death within the chilblained mire

Of my Inferno’s fallen universe.
“Abandon hope, all you who enter here,”
Who cross the Styx on Charon’s floating hearse

Where Death’s embrace exacts a toll most dear,
And unpaid debt for wanton sin comes due.
Yet death is not the only fate to fear,

For living hopelessness is bitter, too.
To spend eternity and be resigned
To bear the heavy weight of things that you

Once coveted and what were once defined
By worldly minds as valued, well-won pleasure,
But now in lower circles are assigned

As punishment in place of greater treasure
That Saints and Martyrs have in turn received In
Paradise with joy beyond all measure.

While those whom I have tempted and deceived—
Whose souls have been corrupted to the core,
Who still embrace the lies they have believed—

Will suffer for my fall forevermore,
As I, with triune head, devour the three
Who each betrayed the love they’d had before.

With wings stretched forth in search of liberty
I beat the air in vain—bereft, forlorn—
And bind myself for all eternity.

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UNDERGRADUATE & GRADUATE STUDENTS WINNER

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Silver Fire

by Gail Kathleen Jardine

One staggers at the height, the first vast glance
up slate-gray peaks, a citadel of stone
uncleft by human hands. Then baser dread:
not even death makes this a place to stop,
one must trudge on. So climb, don’t sink entrenched
in the damnation of despair, climb on
until it’s work that’s staggered you. But air,
at least there’s that, so much fresh air to gasp;
something brisk about walking without the cloak
of conceit, something tart in the sunlight,
is it cold or hot? Sharp, definitely:
living, life flaming itself clear of shame:
May we be guided in this long ascent
until our dust dissolves into the stars.

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HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WINNER

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Stars

by Jillian Bober

First is a place full of darkness and sin;
All souls here are caged by disordered desire.
Lamenting and screaming create a vast din—
Lucifer rules in this realm filled with mire

But though darkness tries, the light it can’t bind.
Even when you can’t see them, the stars will still shine.

Mountain looms high, it’s a treacherous way.
Every soul here seeks to be purified.
None of them now in this place want to stay,
Desiring to enter the gate that’s not wide.

Higher you tread, seeking pure light to find.
Though far out of reach, the stars will still shine.

Reach the top of the mountain, the beauty reveals
Invincible saints, who for Him are afire.
Swiftly your wounds and scars all are healed,
Encountering the face of the End of desire.

Standing this close, the light nearly blinds—
While eternity reigns, the stars will still shine.

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7 Responses

  1. James Sale

    Congratulations to all the winners – there were many fabulous poems so choosing the winners was difficult. And as a matter of fact, many of the entries were anonymised so we – Angela and myself – did not know who the entrants were! So, I am delighted to offer double congratulations to that veteran and expert poet, James A Tweedie, for his winning poem: I didn’t know it was him until the institution unlocked the key. I therefore have been one of the judges twice now awarding James a prize in less than a year. It says something remarkable about the quality of James’ work and its consistency. So great doings/writings James – especial well done!!!

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      James,

      So glad to hear the judging was blind (which I assumed it would be). It makes the honor all the greater.

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Lol, ABB, it’s been a good year so far. On the other hand, you should see the “Submission List” that I kee on my computer and take note of all the “Rejected” replies! There are, of course, a fair share of “Accepted” poems as well, but not every poem is a winner—even the good ones! It’s like throwing rocks at a chain link fence. If you keep at it long enough one of them will pass through unscathed!

      Reply
      • AB Brown

        I have been discovering this fact myself regarding submissions. Fortunately with your prolificness, I am sure that even confining one’s attention to the top 5% of your oeuvre still leaves a substantial body of work to sift through.

  2. Mia

    Well done to the winners and to the judges. No easy task for anyone.
    But very enjoyable for us reading the wonderful winning poems.
    Personally I am looking forward to another challenge from the SCP. The challenges inspire me to write. I am sure that my poetry has improved since I have been taking part. But then it did need a lot of improvement! This is why excellence is good. It raises standards. Ultimately everyone benefits. So thank you SCP as well.

    Reply

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