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As always, judging poetry is a difficult task. This contest was especially challenging for several reasons.  First, we received hundreds of poems, from all around the world.  Second, some of them were very, very good, so that making a choice was really hard.

We finally decided to award two first prizes in both categories.  Tied for first prize in the Adult Category are Maura MacDonald with “Demeter” and F. J. Bergmann with “Demeter in the Agora”.  Tied for first place in the Under-18 Category are Lana Frankle with “Memories of Persephone” and Kelly Weber with “Demeter”.

We also wish to honor the honorable mentions. In the Adult Category: Gaea Denker-Lehrmann, Jeffrey Powell and Sarah Tuttle.  In the Under-18 Category we selected Carter Denison (whose poem reminded us of the poetry of Ogden Nash), Abby Fields, Brett Peterson, and Mary Thomas.

We also wish to say that we enjoyed reading all the entries. In nearly every poem we found a spark of creativity – a love of language, an appreciation of the mythology that has enriched our civilization so much, and a striving for excellence that will make the future a better place for us all.  We thank everyone for their participation.

Please scroll down and read the fine poems of the winners and the honorable mentions.  And please come back for future contests!

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: line_R100_G0_B0_background_R206_G148_B116The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of novels set in Bronze Age Greece. 

 

There’s no need to read our books to enter the contests, but if you like mythology, or historical fiction, or exciting stories, we think you’ll enjoy them!

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Click on the covers below to visit the titles at Amazon.  If you like your books electronically, you can start reading today!  And, if you’re not sure, download a sample first. Your purchase helps support future contests.

 

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First Prize - Adult

F. J. Bergmann

First Prize Winner Adult Category

“Demeter in the Agora”

 

veiled

as if I were human

I move through a low rumble

of conversation pierced

with cries of laughter

and indignation

 

merchants calling out

the nutritious virtues

of sacks swelling with grain

and speckled beans

ready to be prepared

and woven into the flesh

of men and beasts

 

my work is goodness

flowers to feed the heart

and fruits to delight the tongue

with the sweetness of berries

the soft cheeks of peaches

melons like firm breasts

 

but to this day

when I see a pomegranate

lying split on a counter

like a ruby geode

spilling its red crystals

I think six

only six seeds

* * *

Maura MacDonald

First Prize Winner Adult Category

“Demeter”

 

No mother wants to see her child
courting death—
covering her gleaming locks
in dull black dye,
until the only bits of color left
are red splashes of nails
and the odd surprise of

shining silver studs.

No mother wants to see her child
spending days in a darkened room
and nights out,

who knows where.

I never wanted to see her
lost to someone else.

I knew she wanted to be a princess,

back when she wore pink ribbons in her hair,

but running off with the prince of death

is taking things too far.

And I can’t help it if it gets a little colder
all the time she’s gone.

 

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First Prize - Under 18

 

Lana Frankle

First Prize Winner Under-18 Category

“Memories of Persephone”

 

In the dead of winter, fir trees tingle with life,

And tulip bulbs lie dormant beneath the snow.

Somewhere in the coldness of Demeter’s aching soul,

Is the vivid image of those bright eyes and youthful smile.

What is roused inside her nurtures the evergreen

And caresses the hellebores.

There is something to be said,

For the treasure chest within one’s mind.

 

A mere speck upon an icy, barren, rugged, and dark landscape:

I shut my eyes, and the bright, white imprint

Of the light therapy lamp

Has burned itself into my retinas,

So that even after it’s gone

It remains, a banner beneath my weary eyelids

Where it mingles with the imprint of

Last year’s shining sun.

* * *

Kelly Weber

First Prize Winner in the Under-18 Category

“Demeter”

An unfurling of my fingers-

And golden peaches dangling in leaf powers of liquid light

Suspended as stars in a velvet-foam sky the color of the clouds before hail

With apples ripe as desire, cherries turned incandescent under quicksilver rain

Grow out like dragon teeth from clay-wet hills to spread vineyard hands

Teased by mortal caresses under a sun made of trickster fire

As fields bright as snowfire and golden as forbidden ram’s fleece

Fill with summer-rich heat moistened by the sweat of gods

Playing games among the clouds with the fragile dewdrop lives below.

I was a tree with many branches, each end suckled by a human

While my one root twisted into the maiden-shape of youth with new moon hair.

Mysterious femininity, the blood-bond of mother to daughter with immortal-bred eyes

Clone murmurs and smiles as we sat under eaves of barley, alone with family secrets-

Until the jagged fading echo of a scream and the hope-thin flowers twirling to the ground

As the last sigh of innocence breathed away on the wind, rippling death-shocked grass.

Watched the world become white-blind as the ground russetted, still scarred by the crack

As my ice-blasted demands sent winged feet into tunnels of corpse-crystal

Slimed by passing souls dragged by the lead-chain of a three-headed hound

Leashed by a man as reluctant a prisoner to his job as the gravestone refugees

Trapped eternally in droning dimness, searching for some redemptive spark.

Persephone- returned by fleet-footed messenger.  Betrayed by six desperate seeds.

Six cycles of the moon, six cycles of Poseidon’s tide in the Underworld with Hades

And maybe a man she was willing to eat pomegranate seeds for after all

Underneath a stone-face of sadness, some heat forgotten by us all.

And so, I close my fingers,
Watch the world curl up and wither to a leaf flake in my hand, blown away as crisp dust

On wind edged with icicle rose petals, scalping an earth shrunken to a pale kernel

In a wasteland winter barren of mercy for tiny buds of flesh huddled on its surface.

But when I look up from it, I smile-
Because I know beyond the brown-edged frost, spring is coming again soon.

Gaea Denker-Lehrman

Honorable Mention Adult

Time again for the girl to leave,
Packing her bags and looking over one bare shoulder
At her mother who, long-suffering, promises to wait.
And wait she does, even as the shivers set in
And the empty corn stalks shrivel and shrink.

Barefoot, Demeter paces the earth.
Each step of her firm soles
Pushes the earth a little more on its axis.
A whole planet's weight
Rests upon a mother's patience.

One bare foot after the other, pushing, pushing.
Twigs snapping and pressing into frozen mud
Until the day the ground softens
And Demeter knows
The world has come around again.

* * *

Jeffrey Powell
Honorable Mention Adult
“Demeter Deep and Ample”

 

She wears the seeds like sequins.

The land’s embroidered rows

Spread out like patterns on a quilt

The earth between her toes

Responsive to the call for rain

As bright the day sun glows

 

Her home is not Olympus.

She dwells in man’s domain

Where toil and tread keep families fed

And life depends on grain

The day sun cloaked by thunderheads

Now fall fat drops of rain

 

The seasons are her chariot.

The countryside her course

She wheels an equatorial turn

And spurs her haughty horse

Who gallops towards the day sun

With unrelenting force

 

Her countenance is rigid.

She wears nor smile nor frown

She nurses from her fertile breasts

The furrows on the ground

The rich black earth is moist with milk

And rain enriches everything around.

* * *

Sarah Tuttle

Honorable Mention Adult

“Because You, Demeter, Grieve”

 

Winter’s first snow falls as a barren mix of

ash from your mourning torch

and tears from your cheeks,

salting the earth with a cold, grey slush.

 

Somewhere, pomegranates hang heavy from trees and

shiftless daughters laugh with fruit-stained lips

in a sun-warmed field.

Mother, that place is not here.

* * *

Carter Denison

Honorable Mention Under-18

“Ode to Demeter”

Demeter the great goddess of farming.
so beautiful and charming.
she got mad one day
And took all the food away.

* * *

Abby Fields

Honorable Mention Under-18

“She Is Here”

 

She is here, next to us always

As the ivory chill of winter melts into moss on brilliantly green trees

As the cold burning in our noses is replaced by sweet scents of flowers and rain

As streams trickle out from under the ice

She is there

 

Teaching the birds to sing; the squirrels to scurry

And as the sun turns harsh and hot

As the showers change to storms with great lightning forks piercing the sky like knives

 

As the wind makes the grass sing and the water welcomes us in with a warm embrace

As the sun sets in a medley of burning tangerines, and effulgent pinks

She is there

 

Waking the plants, beckoning to the flowers

And as the green falls into deep Reds, Oranges, brilliant Yellows, and Siennas

As the breezes turn cool and the sun grows weary

As the smell of a new world, a clean, welcome world wafts into us, overwhelming in its comfort

As the skies shift from vivid blue to a serene, peaceful gray

She is there

 

Teaching children to play with the Earth they came from

And as the trees shed their leafy coats

As the night prolongs and our houses open up to us

As white replaces the brown ground and the sun goes to sleep

As the world hides under blankets of crisp, luminescent snow, and bleak skies

She is here, next to us always.

 

Never stopping or pausing, taking no time for hesitation, she works

And we, we are cruel

We walk on, past, around her art, looking but not seeing

We destroy what she has spent her life making

She weeps for her land, and for us

And one day someone hears her and tells me to tell you

To stop, think, and make her smile

* * *

Brett Peterson

Honorable Mention Under-18

“Goddess of the Harvest”

 

Oh, holy goddess of the harvest

Why must you inflict upon the human race this excruciating season called winter?

It is not the fault of mankind that your beautiful daughter has been imprisoned in the house of Hades

The almighty god of thunder is he who pledged Persephone's hand in marriage to the lord of death

is it truly just to punish Man?

* * *

Mary Thomas

Honorable Mention Under-18

 

Mournful Demeter

Your daughter taken below

The whole world suffers

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Visit the winning poems of other Odes to Olympians contests!

Winning Odes to Zeus

Winning Odes to Hera

Winning Odes to Poseidon

Winning Odes to Hermes

Winning Odes to Athena

Winning Odes to Apollo

Winning Odes to Artemis

Winning Odes to Ares

Winning Odes to Aphrodite

Winning Odes to Hephaestus

Go here to visit the most current contest.

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Concerned that you don't know enough about the Olympians to write poems about them? You can explore these websites:

Parada's Greek Mythology Link: A tremendously detailed resource

Theoi Greek Mythology: Exploring Classical mythology in Literature and Art

Timeless Myths: Greek myths and others as well

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Several have wondered: who are we and why do we do this?  What exactly is this “Tapestry of Bronze?”

First, our names are Victoria Grossack & Alice Underwood.  We sponsor this contest because we want to encourage excellence and creativity.  We’re using the same method used by the Greeks back in Classical Athens: competition.  Instead of olive wreaths, we offer money and certificates for prizes.  We especially want to encourage the under-18 because we want to support educators and students in our own small way.  The idea occurred to us – most appropriately! – when we were visiting the ruins of ancient Olympia in Greece.

Second, the Tapestry of Bronze is a series of interlocking novels.  They are set in the Bronze Age of Greece – several generations before the Trojan War.  This was known to many as the “Golden Age of Heroes,” but to us they seem to be made of bronze and not gold.  Our series is a tapestry, because the books tie together, but one book may focus on one character while another focuses on another.  Each book can be enjoyed separately, or the books can be enjoyed together. 

As we state above, it is NOT necessary to purchase or to read our novels in order to enter the contests.  But we think most people who like mythology, historical fiction, or simply a good read will enjoy reading them.  So, click on a title below to visit it at Amazon.  If you like your books electronically, you can start reading today!  Or, if you want to think about it, download a sample and take a look at each book’s first part.  Your purchase helps support future contests.

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Return to Home for Tapestry of Bronze

Do you wish to contact us?  Write to us at “tapestryofbronze” at “yahoo.com”

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You also may be interested in visiting other parts of our website:

 

Our Books (in English)

      Jocasta

      Children of Tantalus

      The Road to Thebes

      Arrows of Artemis

      Antigone & Creon

 

βλία στα ελληνκα - Our Books (in Greek)

 

Odes to Olympians Contest Current:

 

Winners of Past Contests: Zeus  Hera  Poseidon Demeter  Hermes  Athena Apollo  Artemis Ares Aphrodite Hephaestus

 

 

Pronunciation Guide

 

Maps (Thebes, Pisa/Olympia, Eastern Mediterranean)

 

The Stories Behind the Stories

 

Acknowledgements, Thanks, Bibliography and Links

 

About the Authors

 

The Highbury Murders

 

Victoria's Writing Classes

 

 

 

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“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

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“Five quills”

 

 

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“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released

 

 

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)

“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

“Five quills”

 

 

RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)

“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released

 

 

 

 

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)

“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

“Five quills”

 

 

RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)

“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released