2018 Fall Contest, Traditional Form – Rondeau, 3rd Place Winner

Still Burning
by Charlotte Abernathy

While forests burn, I yearn for light,
air finally free of smoke’s choking blight.
Each day I wake with tentative fear,
draw night’s curtain from the lingering smear
still dimming my despairing sight.

I grieve for trees, for wild creatures’ plight,
pray for victims and brave souls who fight
against flames raging fast and near
while forests bum.

Nothing is untouched, nothing is right
when life is extinguished by fire’s swift might
blasting green to black ash each year.
I long for rain to rinse my world clear,
for faith to make my dread take flight
while forests burn.

Judge’s comments
“Still Burning,” in third place, considers a topic all of us in Oregon could lean into this summer, but does so with a deft touch, using the form to advance the poem.
—Angela Decker

Charlotte Abernathy began writing poetry after a successful 30-year career as a visual artist. The skills she developed as a painter (focus, attention, interpretation) have helped her poems earn many awards in local and regional competitions. She is active in the Rogue Valley chapter of OPA and in 2016 was Contest Chair for NFSPS (National Federation of State Poetry Societies). She participates regularly in readings and in two crit-groups, and has compiled several chapbooks of her work.

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