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WOMEN'S POETRY COMPETITION: RUNNER-UP KATIE HALE

Posted on December 23 2019

'The way the syntax twists and turns like a river constantly expanding makes ‘A 17th Century Guide to Beauty in Virgina’ by Katie Hale elusive yet beautiful as a poem of address.' - Malika Booker, 2019 Women's Poetry Competition Judge.

 

 

A 17th Century Guide to Beauty in Virginia

 
Come,
in the owl-time, in the shy fox-hour, coyotes

 
still courting the moon, the silver creek
of the Milky Way glinting

 
above the Rappahannock River
in a fist of flung shillings –

 
come, dip your face
to the dew, each drop its own

 
loose change, waiting
to be slipped into the charity box of dawn.

 
Spend them liberally, soaking your cheeks
in the tears of your not-yet-country –

 
till, with a great stirring of snuff-dark breath
the sightless eyes of the household

 
blink awake, and the sun begins again
its daily scouring of the soil beneath tobacco leaves.

 
All day the plants will stake their hard
aromas to your brow, your unwashed palms.

 
All day you will catch your tongue
lamenting, reimbursing their murmuring aubade.

 

 

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