Natural Day of Prayer by Cynthia Hallen

Because it is May, and the sun
Yawns over the mountain —
The birds turn into accountants —
Grass dews under the Day

Because it is Thine, and the trees
Grow next to the hedges —
The way connects to the edges
Of sky — And life is mine

Because it is Spring, and the air
Dawns out of the canyon —
The east reviews golden banners —
Nature’s prayer bids us sing.

7 May 2009, Provo, Utah
Cynthia Hallen is a poet and professor living in Utah. Her full bio is available here.

*Competition entry*


Mallard Psalm by Cynthia Hallen

Mysterious March morning storm —
Not lonesome — desiccate, but warm.
A male duck lying in the leaves —
Not living — emerald, one grieves.
A branch serves as a sextant stave —
Piled stones on leaves appoint a grave —
Prompt hyacinths on higher hill
Could contemplate the silenced bill —

Nearby his counterpart — awake —
Who waits — not wallows — for his sake —
In curly willow’s winding shade —
Sits fallow on the spilling grade.
To shudder at the wounded wings —
To stutter from unuttered strings
Of empathy is requisite.
To murmur — spring is dedicate.

26 March 2012, BYU Botany Pond, Provo, Utah
Cynthia L. Hallen is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at BYU. Among other varied and impressive things, she is building an Emily Dickinson Lexicon, a comprehensive dictionary of words in ED’s poems, to help readers, scholars, and international translators better understand the works and words of Dickinson, who explored the realms of nature and religion with exceptional reverence, intelligence, honesty, and spirituality. In addition to scholarly research, Cynthia has a modest but consistent record of awards and publications in creative writing, mainly poems and essays.

*Competition entry*