Congratulations to Barbara Jennes, first place winner in the Rhyming Poetry category of the 89th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning poem, "Lessons of a Cruel Tide"
Lessons of a Cruel Tide
Collectors flood the beach at dawn,
when low tide hauls away the seas
and strews the sands with curios
beloved by seashell devotees
who cast aside the fractured hulls—
the broken, barnacled, or bleak—
for only perfect specimens
evince the quality they seek.
I am a lover of the wrecks—
the rejects, callously defaced
by wind-whipped waves and currents fierce,
unleashed to torment fragile waste.
The shells I prize have fared the worst,
but in their damage, beauty’s bared—
internal shapes, once mystery,
are brought to light, revealed, declared.
I am a battered seashell, too—
endurer of a host of blows;
each wound, once healed, becomes a rift
that silken tissue overgrows.
It takes a hurt to hone a blade
although its ore is rent apart;
a wretched blow will amplify
the splendor of a tender heart.
And like the seashells I collect
I favor fellow souls instilled
with lessons of a cruel tide
and scars that speak of grace fulfilled.