Berks Encore partnered with the Reading Public Library for this year’s Senior Poetry Contest. A record 90 poems were entered into this year’s contest.
The Berks Encore Senior Poetry Contest was initiated in 2000 by world traveler and poet Harold “Bill” DeLong. A poet himself, Harold began the contest on his 80th birthday in an effort to share his love of poetry with Berks County older adults. Unfortunately Harold passed away at his home in New York City in the spring of 2011. Since Harold’s death, his friend Andrey Aleksandrov has continued to provide the funding for the contest prizes in Harold’s memory. Berks Encore partnered with the Reading Public Library System for this year’s contest.
The 2015 contest received a record number of entries reflecting the county’s tremendous population of talented senior poets. Congratulations to all the winners as well as to all those who entered the contest!
First Place: Ollie Koelher, “Sharing”
The old man sitting in a booth with his wife
steadies his shaky hands to cut a piece of cheesecake in half
He studies it like a diamond cutter ready to cleave a precious gem
Tension in his face, holding the place with his left hand,
he makes the perfect equal cut from the front point to the back.
Using the extra plate the waitress brought, he serves his wife.
Slowly unrolling the napkin she places the knife, fork, and spoon,
tucks the white starched napkin under her chin,
and reaches across to the middle of the table
where their eyes and hands meet.
Second Place: James Bostic, “Dragon Skies,”
In shimmering hazes all gone by
In summer’s glimmerings I could spy
In reckless might,
In feckless youth I watched them fly
In the thermal sky
To wheel and soar
And come to light
Upon the cattails’ growing height.
Now all the landscape’s gone awry,
For shop marts rise where ponds would lie—
Where are those lacey wings so slight
That plied the air like dancing kites?
Of shimmering hazes all gone by
My memory keeps the dragon-
Third Place, Ginny Rathman, “The Wind Is Brewing Up Trouble”
The wind is brewing up trouble in the canopies of the trees.
Lines are crossed by the newly created trespassers, causing peaceful neighbors to come to blows.
Tree limbs becoming swords, lashing, slashing and parrying they spar.
The instigating wind quickly tiring of its game, quietly wisps away.
Leaves wave their surrender, a truce agreed by all.
Exhausted trees lay down their limbs, becoming peaceful neighbors again.