1983 Poetry Contest
First Place Winner
We picked the ready apples yesterday.
I held one in the chalice of my hand,
warm from the vital tree,
sun and summer tanned,
holding within its jeweled heart
the way of spring
and the rebus of the resurrection.
Now, molten hillsides pour
an offering in the sacrificial cup.
See, where the clouds rise up,
how they puff and soar
like wings of cherubim above the Mercy Seat.
Soon, rain purls over branch and dying flower,
on brittle leaf and curled,
and winged things that live for just an hour,
down the drear ashes and aloes afternoon,
over the ancient blood-stains of the world.
Winds cut four-cornered down a golden corridor,
and spent coins scatter on the year’s threshing floor.
Then, snow,
leaves from Heaven’s folio,
far, far from the Day Star nearing,
clean as the scoured heart,
pure as the silver souls, oh Lord,
of those who love Thy Appearing.


1983 Poetry Contest
Second Place Winner
While earth’s face glistens with the night’s long rain,
Still cleansing water hangs upon the air
With heaviness of sweat: the drops of pain
That wet the laboring woman’s brow and hair.
The wind blew where it listed leaving none
Of winter’s natural stains. There is a dearth
Of waking birds returned to greet the sun,
All frighted to wing by the groaning earth.
A ruddy streamlet courses from the cave
To flow unstaunched beyond the footpaths worn
Among the dripping, budded trees, to lave
The world without the garden—weed and thorn.
No one has witnessed in the waning gloom
The risen Lord delivered from the tomb.

To Any Who Have Watched for a Son’s Returning

1983 Poetry Contest
Third Place Winner
He watched his son gather all the goods
that were his lot,
anxious to be gone from tending flocks,
the dullness of the fields.
He stood by the olive tree gate long
after the caravan disappeared
where the road climbs the hills
on the far side of the valley,
into infinity.
Through changing seasons he spent the light
in a great chair, facing the far country,
and that speck of road on the horizon.
Mocking friends: “He will not come.”
Whispering servants: “The old man
has lost his senses.”
A chiding son: “You should not have let him go.”
A grieving wife: “You need rest and sleep.”
She covered his drooping shoulders,
his callused knees, when east winds blew chill, until that day …
A form familiar, even at infinity,
in shreds, alone, stumbling over pebbles.
“When he was a great way off,
His father saw him,
and had compassion, and ran,
and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

Having Risen

1983 Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
First Place Winner
shades of green
greet me in my garden.
He who planted Eden
chose them one by one,
including some only bees can see.
I will know His hands
(if I should see them),
not just from the wounds,
but from the callous places.
Who sends the rain and seeds,
and leaf and tree,
sends me.
Mary was right the first time, too,
that morning
having arrived at the open tomb.
He is The Gardener.