Third place, poetry: 'Fire and Ice'
Judge's comment: There is a lot of emotion and passion in this poem; this helps readers connect, because the poet must trust us to share these powerful feelings with us! At the same time, there is a bit of mystery presented in the poem's contradictions -- from the "fire that almost doesn't want to be found" to the "icebergs in the path of the Titanic." I like that the poem ends with a question, so that the mystery lingers.
Close the drapes
but leave the windows open
to let the cold seep in
because I don't mind it.
Let me feel the icy shards of darkness
searching for the fire in the storm
that almost doesn't want to be found.
Let me feel you, but not contract you;
your tune ever so sweet,
melody pouring out of your strings,
getting to me, but not infecting me.
Let me breathe the inevitable power
Of the night:
parties at two,
writing at four,
driving at six
to chase the first signs of light.
through my skin,
the light diminishes,
I was fine until I met you.
You were the queen
and I was your princess,
begging to be free
from your icy palace
when I wanted my own
in the evergreen forest
where I can light the match
Not harming, but healing;
lighting the way for the green around me:
blossoming their delicate petals
and beaming like freckles
in the mirror
of the clearest pond
I've ever seen glimmer.
Until you froze it.
And extinguished my flame.
And the world weighs heavy on my shoulders
because I'm not allowed to find balance.
Because they force me to keep silent,
as if they are afraid.
But they don't have to be
icebergs in the path of the titanic.
And so I've been wondering,
when will I feel that flame again?