Thursday, October 26, 2017

The PersonalLordSaviorJesusChrist Poetry Contest 2017 - The Results Are In!

Chris Rice Cooper 

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“And the Winners Are . . .”

ChristPoetry Contest 2017 is the first poetry contest sponsored by the www.chrisricecooper.
Right - The Entombment by Moretto de Besco
 The CRC Blog received a total of 63 entrants from Albania, Australia, France, India, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Paraguay, and the United States.
Poets submitted from Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Above Left - Agony in the Garden by Andrew Mantegna.

Poet Helen Losse https://helenl.
word judged the contest determining the Top Three Place Winners ($300, $200, and $100); Three Honorable Mentions $25 each); and four poems noted for Excellence.  All received a Certificate of Poetry. 
Below are the winning poem titles, the status each poem placed in the contest, the poet’s name, contact information, the place the poet resides in, and the poem. Above Right - Helen Losse

First Place “Promises Had Been Made” 
by Sarah Sarai

 New York, New York

Promises Had Been Made

       On “The Entombment” by Moretto de Besco

The women hide nothing.
She, captured in
a collaborative creator.

Her envelopment has no meaning
       to a dead man
       whose death won’t
       even end death.
Promises had been made.

Would that be me in her arms?
Not me here on
       a bench in the gallery’s center
       squaring off
with loneliness and imagination,
       both being among art’s disciples.

But some me – with a body
       almost human as his.
       I know much of everything
       but not enough.

Another Mary,
       head lowering to his arm –
       his conjuration of a once life
               – touching but for
the confident artist’s oils of
       celestial buoyancy.

The men are concerned in their way,
       eyes averted from mine.
       I’m no Mary.
Loyal middle-management, they deny
the present’s threat of pain,
       the present’s carry-through.

He is translucent in her arms,
       an embodied splay of
       too much beauty to be real.

Second Place “Another Pieta”
by Atar Hadari
United Kingdom

Another Pieta

She is looking out over his shoulder
Eyes wide awake to what’s in store
And the babe is no longer a baby,
He sprawls across her arms, her chair

His eyes too are now itinerant,
He has a look like he has known
Too many tables set like this,
Sees a last one with twelve plates down.

But they sit there in a huddle,
The radiant mother and longed for child,
Both now more darkness in their eyes than wonder,
Both now in wait for the lion on the prowl

That slouches toward Bethlehem,
Trailing a crowd with prayer-shawls,
Tourists desperate to believe in anything,
Addicts who have seen it all

But want the blood to spurt
Out of a tiny child holding a ball
Before they watch the cracks
Run to the ceiling as the cake crumbles,

His maid mother weeping with abandon,
The streets run with blood entirely pure,
The Temple empty finally of tourists
When the last family meal has done.

Where is the baby, where is his mother?
The lion’s on the loose, stay in her lap, don’t run.
A man with a cup is looking to anoint an heir,
Whatever you do, play dumb.

Third Place “View from Gethsemane”
by Marletta Nichols Hemphill
Erie, Colorado

View from Gethsemane

The olive trees stand throughout the land.

Abundant white blossoms
Ensure a harvest of plenty.
Plump, ripe, dark fruit
Gladly give of their bounty—
Drops of nourishing oil;
No thought given to the stress
Of yielding to the oil press.

The Savior’s knee bends; life blood He lends.
Abundant life blossoms,
Promising a harvest of plenty.
Fresh, clean, light fruit
Gladly give from the bounty—
Drops of life-giving oil;
Ever mindful of His stress
In yielding to the oil press.

From the mount He ascends, again He will stand.

Eternal life blossoms,
Reaping a harvest of plenty
Pure, whole, perfect fruit
Gladly rejoice in the bounty—
Drops of everlasting oil;
Forever grateful for the stress
Of the long-forgotten oil press.

Honorable Mention #1 “Atonement:  Mystery and Reality”
by James Langley
Washington, DC 20016-2716
Left Victory Over the Grave by Bernhard Plockhorst

Atonement: Mystery and Reality
Long heralded, the coming of a Savior,
Now an open secret for humankind,
Revealing the grace and heart of God’s mind
To offer the repentant heaven’s favor.

It is not in us to undo wrong,
The wrong which stains and warps the soul,
Corrupts God’s image and scorns life’s goal,
That drains life’s joy, and steals our song.

How vain the boast of mastering evil,
How empty the hope of cures man-made,
The debt is deeper than any has repaid---
Apart from One who battled the devil,

And won---at infinite cost, for us mortals,
Salvation of which the angels only dream,
Reversing the ages’ dark, disastrous scene,
So opened for man high heaven’s portals.

It was for me---the bitter tree,
For all, He suffered in our place,
Yet through time no tongue can tell or thought
The travail of His soul that sets us free.

Atonement rests on grace alone,
Beyond all logic, a mystery baffling reason,
But reason gives way to a glorious season
For love, all loves surpassing, to atone.

So man must plead for mercy divine,
No claim of worthiness to bring,
All human goodness does hollow ring,
Where God’s love alone restores God’s design.

Received by humble trust, a gift,
For faith itself, to willing hearts, is offered,
By the God whose conquering love is proffered,
That heals our self-righteous and ruinous rift.

To the Father, Son, and Spirit, all praise!
Our shame and unpayable debt redeemed,
Forgiven, made whole, set free, life-streamed,
To strive for God’s will in all our ways.

Still, sinners all we remain, yet more,
For now our sin is against the Holy Cross---
Its light, and unfailing love, and loss,
As though the Christ need die as before.

If heaven marks where we are impure,
Can any stand?  But grace is there,
To lift the fallen, whose cry is a prayer---
On divine grace our hope and peace are sure.

Honorable Mention #2 “Conversation with my lord on a terrace in California”
by Michelle Reed
Kentwood, Michigan

Conversation with my lord on a terrace in California”

The mist is so thick in this valley, my lord
like lace, shall I weave it? Like Avila
told her virgins, to see you at last through their blushing
of white toothed hills, claws clasping their cloud of unknowing
shall I crawl, my lord, like Rome’s saints for lapsing
if you’re here with me already, my lord?
I can’t see through the mystic Aquinas’s vision beatific
in this terraced terra more like Dante’s Purgatorio, shall I
be the hero in my own solemn comedy, my lord, shall I
see the uplift of the clouds muffle my own crucifixion scene,
while someone somewhere looks on, gently draws smoke
from his cigar and puffs, sad eyes seeing us all? My lord?

Honorable Mention #3 “My Shepherd”
by Sherill Morris
Metamora, Illinois 61548

My Shepherd

I hang, precariously, over the edge -
Convinced that just beyond this tangle
Of briars, that mercilessly rip through my soul,
Lie the green pastures, the still waters,
The world of tranquility - the world without wolves.
He calls my name; I do not care to hear.
I thrash through thorns; my cries obscuring His voice.
But then I feel the determined, solid crook of His staff
Around my struggling soul: insistent; persistent.
He draws me firmly from the precipice
Toward His sheltering arms,
Engulfs me with His tender presence,
And carries me safely home.

Poem Of Excellence “Clay for the Potter”
by Belinda Stedman
St. Pauls, North Carolina.

Clay for the Potter
Upon the potter’s wheel I stand,
A piece of clay in the master’s hand.
Lines and cracks there may be,
But without them there,
I wouldn’t be me.
So, examine these places within my clay,
And listen well to what they say.
I’ve walked in valleys,
And felt their pain,
Yet, through each one there was gain.
I’m still here upon his wheel,
A piece of clay for him to build.
Shape me, mold me,
Make me strong,
Place inside me a brand new song.
It’s your holy presence that I seek,
Come before me,
Make me meek.
Draw me in,
Please, hold me tight,
Never lose me from your sight.
It’s you I trust Lord,
With my whole being.
For I walk by faith,
And not by seeing.
So, upon your wheel I firmly stand,
A piece of clay in your great hands.

Poem of Excellence “I Broke My Bust of Jesus”
by Susan Sundwall
Valatie, New York

I Broke My Bust of Jesus

I broke my bust of Jesus
‘cuz I don’t believe no more.
I picked it up and laughed at it
then smashed it to the floor.

“It’s just a silly myth,” they said.
“How stupid can you be?
To think someone would hang for you
upon a cursed tree.”

You can’t imagine how it felt
To finally give it up;
leave hypocrites and thumpers,
the wafer and the cup.

A carpenter from long ago
He couldn’t have a clue.
And would have been much better off
to stick with wood and glue.

I got the broom, I got the pan
to give the floor a sweep,
then suddenly I felt the urge
to bend my head and weep.

The broken bits around my feet
were hard to recognize,
but somewhere in the rotten mess
I saw a pair of eyes.

The eyes implored, “I love you,”
and were somehow piercing mine,
the dirty windows of my soul
were cleansed in salty brine.

What madness had come over me?
What stupefying lie,
had crept into my very soul,
my savior to decry?

I scooped the broken pieces up,
my own eyes rose to Heaven,
convicted then,  I knew my doubts
in His love were forgiven.

Poem of Excellence “Little Political Sense”
by Lindsey Martin-Bowen
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Little Political Sense

Zebar says you have little political sense.
He grumbled with other Sanhedrin scribes
in the Temple. Its pillars tremble when you whirl in,
overturn tables, upset cages, and let loose doves—
they spread winds and flock to altars. You squint at them
and your heart breaks open. Its two halves become dove wings
spread out in a sacrifice. And you don’t adhere
to politics when you heal a blind man on the Sabbath.
His hands quiver as his eyes fill with water.

I, too, have little political sense
when I watch the Humane University dismiss
a spinster librarian who served there fifteen years.
The supervisor drove her mad—harped at her
like a magpie pecking eggs in a dove’s next. She can’t
remember which day is which. She blinks dovelike
eyes. “They’re trying to fire me,” she repeats, clutches
her walking papers. Her void voice spooks me. I squeeze
her fingers and later try to reason with her supervisor.
But my words rebounds from the speech she draws
with Roman numerals. “Not doing her job,” she argues,
her eyelids taut as steel. Her teeth glow like iridescent glass.
I shake my head. “Not so,” I try to say, but she’s gone on
to Roman Numeral II. I nearly choke on her Channel No. 5
and chew my lower lip. Her numerals stand like the pillars
in the Sanhedrin Temple, where you once preached love
of God and man. They will not bend. So I check out
of the library and brush the dust from my sandals.
And you exit the Temple, lug wood beams on your back.

Poem of Excellence “The Wrath of the Waltz”
by Annette Marie Griffin
San Antonio, Texas

*Poet chose not to print the poem.