2012 Valentine Sonnet Winners

First Prize went to Jacob Sandler:

Old Journal

When the tired back bends, book butterflies
and writing stretches out cross parted sheets
in lines that reach toward the cresting rise,
the shore of words where language ends and meets
its binding on a half-inch beach. There caught
within the folded valley of the spine,
a fallen lash that isn't mine. I brought
this journal down to read and realign
the present with the long departed past,
but here a piece of you recalls our lives
entwined, ossified, fractured, now recast
by a fallen crescent of dead cells that drives
the memory of a time together spent
and your absence, which I do not lament.

Second Prize went to Nathan Burley-Friedman:

Love Sonnet ('tis just is)

Just is a love as just – a love, our love,
our heart, our home – if heart is just a heart?
My heart in love is such; a turtle dove
aloft, a–lift, a–search while we're apart.
A kiss should be, if just, your kiss unkissed,
untouched, unsought, a wish, unjust, of mine.
One kiss in turn a thrill, turns out abyss –
abyss, if just, should be a bliss – I pine.
My fire, though near a flame, is ne'er the same.
A ring, your sacred jewel, so just, so mere?
Your word: a trick, a rhyme, a trance, a game.
Is love so just, so cruel as so appears?
The slipper fits the foot, a black suede glove
'tis just, unjust, tsk tsk 'tis hate, 'tis love!

Third Prize went to Kelly Larkin Conway:

Character Development

"Of course he didn't say what he meant,"
snarked my literature degree while
my small town diner waitress went
three rounds more about "who's gonna get the child?!"

My lit degree's making itself useful these
days. Economy's not so great but
denouement is making a comeback. "He's
not paying her a dime, Bea. Order up."

Outside it rains pathetic fallacy.
I consider explaining show vs. tell
but it'd only work to characterize me:
part of her alliterate clientele.

"Back again?" she smiles, "More coffee sweetheart?"
I nod. I try not to fall apart.

Honourable Mention went to Tiffany Morris:

Fresh Air

Howling impatient lovesick chants,
our hearts aglow and whisky-warm,
each word was a petal, forced to dance,
in the ozone wind of a thunderstorm.
The star chart ink stained our skin,
and scattered constellations like words,
we traded whisky-laced songs for gin,
our hearts beat with the flight of birds.
Walking through silent city streets
our breath trailed long memories of love,
sickness, bones, the sadness of our bedsheets,
(we counted the million-year echoes thereof).
We preserved ourselves in pressed-page dust
hidden safely from moths, rain and rust.

Honourable Mention went to Seth Earle:

Vindicated Exclamations of Beauty

Advanced machines! How to communicate?
Old poets, they knew only of love refined,
But today know nothing of love's design.
Expression today is but love's lost mate.
Fare thee well to metaphor, clear the slate.
Can one forget a thing and love its sign?
Toss away all meaning and lose the rhyme?
Mired in ineptitude, our coming fate.

Yet still when beauty be viewed on high,
Seen by thine eye and felt deep in thy heart,
Break the pedestal, renew again, try.
Rediscover language, and bodies, cry:
"I will not be condemned to die with art!"
Do hail her, for the truth be told no lie.

Congratulations to all of our winners!