2014 Poetry Contest Winners

Thank you to all who participated in the third annual Big Cypress National Preserve poetry contest! As always, the talent of the poets who entered poetry made the selection process challenging one.

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:



Unnamed Roads of Waterworld (or: Big Cypress Gold)
by Mark J. Fletcher

The unnamed Roads of Waterworld create a wetlands maze
of winding mangrove tunnels where wet prairies go for days
and days upon their grassy swampy sunny sidewalk ways
until a Big cool Cypress dome, a rest stop, gives you shade.
The bird and reptile residents will tolerate a human guest.
A fish may jump into your boat and you might see a nest.
So remember we are visitors and they don’t bother us
“Observe, Experience, Connect” but don’t betray their trust.
When leaving Water-wonder-world,
take memories--
all you can hold;
but leave behind
so all can find
Preserved, Big Cypress gold!



Ghost Orchids
by G.E. Schwartz

From one tree to another
we counted their faces
all in attendance
a whole congregation
blanched like a portrait
into a sheet
held up to the light,
their leaves like flakes of skin,
a color shifting between
pink and yellow, and
then their roots growing
like coral among
shadows and leaf-litter.
And we knew
just touching their petals
might bruise them
back into darkness.

But there they appear
in this place of fossils
living for a million years--
given presences, faces!
Appearing on days of
bright sun and parsed shade
full of birds in Big Cypress
where everything in sight is alive
And this entire choir
in an instant of timelessness
choruses a tune
my daughter might sing
that she calls her angel song
it’s composed
of the single word “ghost”
over and over and over.



This Place
by Angela Montesano

This place.
Crickets strum,
Eyes observe from a stretch,
White ibis tout,
You begin to love this place.
Ancient Cypress stands Her ground.
Dewy echoes chirp,
You become one with this place.
Barred owls bark,
Tawny panthers awaken,
Stars emerge,
Distant galaxies are born,
This place.
This wild incredible place.

Last updated: May 12, 2015

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