2014 Poetry Contest Winners

There was a great deal of participation in the second annual Big Cypress National Preserve poetry contest! There were over 50 entries, which made the selection process challenging, but very enjoyable.

The winners were selected by the employees of Big Cypress, based on relevance to the Preserve and artistic merit.

The first, second and third place finishers are below:



"Anhinga," by Amir Hussain

Out from the clouds, a monsoon is erupting.
She nests in the treetops. Still for now,
her dark-plumes flicker against the leaves.

She lingers for more than a minute.
Then suddenly, she flies into the shadows cast
by something larger. Lands on a floating leaf.

I imagine how a painter would take up a brush
and draw her outline with precise grace. Light and shadow.
Gentle flower, caressed by wind, opening its wings.

Where the fronds split into hairlike strands,
she dives beneath the surface with a great kick,
then moves past the visible layers.

The one who paints her—
perhaps now looks off beyond the portrait, to wait.
Palms sink down into water.

Nearby, on the wet sand, a poet singing:
“Anhinga, Anhinga, I was loved once
among those fronds that sway so gently.”



"Home," by Alison Nissen

Her legs are long.
She stands in the muddy waters,
Rooted and sure footed,
Arms stretched wide,
Bands of light touch her fingertips.
She reaches for more.
Her body twists,
Braced for the wild wind,
Tangled but strong.
She is adorned.
Her hair decorated,
Green and yellow.
It whips left and right.
She breathes life.
She holds life.
She gives life,
To spiders and lizards and birds.
They play under her leaves, hide beneath her stems, weave between her branches.
She is home.



"Nature's Sanctuary," by Jory Westberry

Dawn’s moisture shellacs
fragile targets in the deep prairie grasses
with glints of crystalline color, ever-changing
as solar power intensifies and
they are invisible to all but the arachnid.

Pileated woodpecker stabs his beak violently
against the tree, jarring the reverie.
You’d think he’d choose the rotten, spongy wood
of an ancient cypress nearby, a tiered condominium
for the winged creatures of the swamp
and the scurriers of the ground.

The limpkin family steps out and around obstacles
in their quest for land snails to feed their fuzzy youngsters.
Decorously, the adults remove the snail,
holding it for the tiny beaks to peck
and feel the accomplishment
of foraging for themselves.

Lettuce lakes wear miniature corsages
sturdy enough to support the slender feet of the heron
and clever enough to hide the ripples of the jouncing green frog.
Stymied again, the otter, good-naturedly makes a leap
for another hillock, like the entire mishap was planned.

In the stillness, invisible breezes strum only the tops
of the giant timbers, cascading drops below.
Primordial aromas drift past, reminders
that we, the visitors, are indeed, intruders.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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