The Ontario Poetry Society
- Presents The 2009 Ted Plantos Memorial Award Winner -

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Members' Poetry


Ted Plantos






Mel Sarnese

Congratulations to Mel Sarnese, in recognition of being selected
the 2009 recipient of The Ted Plantos Memorial Award.

"There is a descriptive quality here wherein the poet captures the moment in vividly realized lyrical detail. If not always strikingly original, these poems are always compelling enough to grab the reader's attention and give it a little shake."

John B. Lee, Poet Laureate of Brantford

Some of Mel's Poetry

early awakenings

my eyes meet the dark
sun-hiding still
pin-drop stars
decide which to choose
what tip to shine
I wiggle my naked toes
look for the moon
absent now
in a blanket sky
the cat in her cat ways
kneads while she waits
their morning shouts
pierce the earth
dew still sticking to my night

old professor man from Manchester

are you there
what have you been up to
heard you have wedded again-
thrice married
to the same black-laced gals
all chocolate-haired

you are old now-
head - a cap of salt

probably stay home more
tending to bronchitis and such
stoop on your back
hugging your lungs tight
until only squealing sounds
are heard

you have a shopper now
to buy your morning oats
you can have a lay-in
on Saturday mornings
or read The Guardian
from front to back
instead of rushing
to 'Marks and Sparks'
for their chilled bachelor meals
you have an in-house cook
does she cook fish

do you still eat Stollen
have you offered it
to your many raven-haired wives
at Christmas and New Years Day
stale crumbs now
was it tasty at its peak
when it was moist
with the plump of young raisins
milk from the breasts of almonds-
fragrant with scent of cardamom
freshness of new love

I remember the lonely loaf
sitting in your sad ice box-
my stomach churning

from hunger
from need

I still think about your fridge
how it echoed of stinginess

empty barrels in your eyes-
cold and grey. The tale
of the undrunk bottle of champagne
you had in your solitude
after the midnight hour struck

has she heard your cries
in the night

summer-play in my garden

spring curves to summer
to painted toe-nails
water hoses that hover
over beds of cultivated lettuce
I dream of calming winds breezing in
straightening my wrinkled mood
bleaching grey thoughts

I'll place flowering pots high. Fiery reds
wild chicory along veranda posts
to announce the time has come
for fluttering hummingbirds
parading their new colours

trumpets will blow in robin's-egg skies
morning starlings- barefooted legs- will prance
with tiger-lilies
powder-puffed holly-hocks

word innocent
golden, sun-filled, honeyed
lacking in crime and control
will stay for a while

it is when the tall elm-multifoliate-
is honoured
each leaf- baptized
in summer showers

air- sweet, cloudless, full of wonder
when books are savoured
on green-striped swings
each sway - a turned page

and when harp strings snap
like a cable on a catamaran
window shutters tremble

inlets sour
I will think of the towering poplar

He who assigns it
He who guards my garden

keeps the hinges free from rust
I will think of the brief cherry blossoming-
how they fill me
from outside my kitchen door-
sun-floods caressing my shoulders

blue dresses again

so much has been written
about blue dresses
worn at the whitest
of balls
their cornflower threads
calm skies
all familiar themes
do tears bleed blue
in sorrow
their indigo scents inhaled
while bulging droplets cascade
to stagnant pools
staining the dress

Vinas de Chile

I dance a salsita with los muchachos
fully-clothed, I finagle my way
through the dance floor
pretend to be one of them
my hair- waist-length and chocolate
hits me hip to hip
reminds me
in dream-like sequence
I try not to cheapen memory
with false tales
I try to be true
to the core of the greens
the aquas
the hawk
the fig tree, pines and oleanders
I agonize over flying words
red rashes-
I wear like a necklace
I did not know my pages
would bloom like exotic flowers
ferment like fine Chilean wine
to be savoured
beneath the Andes umbrella

Rules and Guidelines for Submissions

Ted Plantos Dedication Page