Featured OPA Contest Winner: Penny Hetherington

Snow on Western Hemlock Forest

A corps de ballet, wearing
Yesterday’s snowfall, branches
Sway, curving down,
Fingers dripping icy water
Under bright mid-day sun,
Heads tilted on drooping
Necks; they dance more
Slowly in dawn mist and
With abandon in moonlight.


Penny Hetherington: One late April day driving past a Western Hemlock grove on Mount Hood, I wrote this poem while my husband drove. On a sunny mid-morning, fresh snow was melting.Western Hemlocks have always reminded me of ballet dancers with tips drooping on ends of delicate branches. The snow intensified shape and the dripping water gave motion.


Penny Hetherington wrote technical documents about computers for over 20 years. She wrote her first poem for a friend’s 1997 memorial service with poems following steadily since. She has been learning about poetry by participating with Fishtrap, Concord, and OPA. Listening to our distinguished Oregon poets read and attending excellent workshop sessions have provided knowledge and enthusiasm. Poetry has become central. Penny occasionally sends a poem to a cousin or friend where they seem well received. She has sent a few to publishers and usually receives kind and encouraging rejection letters.

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