Princemere Poetry Prize

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. 
- W.B. Yeats



2008 PRINCEMERE Prize winner
M.B. Powell


Slack Water


|| . . . ic æfre ne mæg 

þære modceare || minre gerestan . . . .


My heart shall never

suddenly sail into slack water . . . .

—“The Wife’s Lament,” trans. M. Alexander


Should I ever say     (after a caesura, mine,

as a consequence of     the cutting off, yours),

       I will never be able

to rest from my heartache,

please don’t believe     my lamentation:

don’t see my life     as some sorrowful passage,

one cold, unchanging     current in charge,

or imagine me     in the midst of the tempest,

seasick in the hapless     Sea Venture’s hold.

All stiff tides turn     and storms abate.

See?  There I stand     on the sunny deck

of a different ship,     a dive boat

idling in the waters     off the Azores.

The tide dissolving     to zero speed,

no silt rising     from a roiling seabed,

soon I’ll be slipping     into slack water.





M.B. Powell of Olympia, Washington, won the $250 Princemere Poetry Prize for "Slack Water."  $50 runners-up were Claire Keyes of Marblehead, Massachusetts ("Lines for the Girl in the Blue Jacket") and Allegra Disraeli of Rio Grande City, Texas ("Old Man of Paper").  $25 honorable mentions went to Stephen Swartz of Schenectady, New York ("I Never Got Even One Secret") and Nedra Rogers of Lawrence, Kansas ("I Buy the Dress").