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2013 Rengay Contest Results (with judge's comments)



Rengay (Judge:  Ebba Story)


First Place 




John Thompson, Santa Rosa, CA

Renée Owen, Sebastopol, CA


petals tightly closed

I dream the poppy’s dream

until this fog lifts                     John



heartbeat of this tiny finch      Renée


on the border

of becoming a weed

forget-me-nots                         John


after chemo

marigolds glow on her

Butsudan altar                          Renée


just when everything’s wrong with this world

cherry blossoms                       John


moon or flower—

my thoughts drift

into wisps of white                   Renée



“Moonflowers” especially appealed to me given its feeling of intimacy and gentle subjectivity. Each link offers an immediate closeness to private pain and suffering, to freedom and grace.  “Moonflowers” captures the alternating voices of the two poets and deepens it with a feeling of intrinsic wholeness.  Each link flows easily into the next with the last link echoing back to the first.  For me, the overall ethos holds this rengay together even more than the theme of “flowers.” So beautifully done!


Second Place


Recess Bell


Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA

Garry Gay, Santa Rosa, CA


great expectations—

a Muslim transfer student

raises her hand                                    Michael


     the scarlet letter

     passed between friends                  Garry


a secret garden

outside the window—

unfinished quiz                                   Michael


the only crayon

not broken

the color purple                                   Garry


     a boy’s homework

     gone with the wind                    Michael


call of the wild

the children all waiting

for the recess bell                                Garry



“Recess Bell” is a delightful venture into childhood.  Each link incorporates the title of a classic piece of literature and by “incorporate” I truly mean the words in the chosen title are intrinsic to the meaning of the verse.  Too, the details of this classroom experience are wonderfully authentic.  I’ve been there,  and through this vivid rengay, I’m there again.


Third Place


Coming to Light


Seren Fargo, Bellingham, WA

Sheila Sondik, Bellingham, WA


camouflaged moth—

I turn down

the party invitation                          Seren


an early snowfall shrouds

what remains of my garden               Sheila


moonlit snow

I feel the need

to whisper                                         Seren



brings peals of laughter

playing telephone                              Sheila


finding out he hurt her too

the mixed emotions of gossip            Seren


spring cleaning—

my stash

of stale chocolate                               Sheila



The theme of “Coming to Light” is very satisfyingly revealed.  I appreciated the friendly dance, the spin between the poets.  Each verse answers a possibility in the preceding link while guiding the rengay into new territory. And, the choice of words makes my ears happy.  For example:  down, shroud, snow, phone, motion…  How beautifully the sounds cascade through this rengay. 


Honorable Mention  (not ranked)


Autumn Deepens


Michael Sheffield, Kenwood, CA

Susan Antolin, Walnut Creek, CA



I ponder the virtue

of thyme or sage                      Michael


     a 2-for-1 deal

     on canned pumpkin             Susan


glint of light

the sound of steel

on the honing stone                 Michael



     before the guests arrive

     red wine                              Susan


cooking steam

drips from the window sill      Michael


     new food stains

     on an old cookbook

     autumn deepens                  Susan



Starlings Rush


Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA

Terry Ann Carter, Victoria, BC, Canada



starlings rush

from the coast madrone           Michael


       sun through clouds

       the pine’s overhang          Terry Ann


clear blue sky—

a boy loses his balance

on the driftwood spruce          Michael


our paddles at rest

in the cedar-dappled cove—

gathering mist                          Terry Ann


       a little rain

       in the bonsai cypress        Michael


storm warning—

swirling arbutus leaves

in the seaside café                   Terry Ann






Barbara Snow, Eugene, OR

Marianna Monaco, Eugene, OR


first dream

riding the bell rope

from cling to clang                                 Barbara


the streetcar’s ups and downs

through fogbound hills                           Mariann

winter birds—


little cat feet bearing

a faint tinkle                                           Barbara


bellflowers in the wind

listening for the sound

that isn’t there                                         Marianna


entering the clock shop

at the stroke of twelve                            Barbara


stage lights—

glint of finger cymbals

amid the drum beats                               Marianna