Campbell Corner Poetry Prize

Distinguished Entries 2001

Monica Ferrell: Fragments

Fragments (Found in a Jar, c. 2500 B.C.)


The king is in the temple, praying
for the good harvest.
And the priests have barricaded him
into this solitude.

They want him to be pure
as marble,
so that he can neither see, nor hear
nor touch.

All isolation is arranged,
Nowhere in this world is there evidence
of silence.
                              I do not trust them.
They could make an enemy
out of an apple tree.

Cat. 96A

Nothing without world: this is what
I have learned. Not a vision,
not an instant, not even a geometic

All denial of world is the repudiation
of beauty: the belief that what is painted in gold
on one side, has an underside
painted in sin.

This can not be. Listen to the lesson
of the birds, how they flee us
not out of impurity
but danger—
                              Not beauty.
Only the urge to hold on,
rob time of it, shoot it still.


White is the first color of all things.
Moon-white, the stars.
Sea beaten into foam.
Ash at the bottom of pure fire.

Opalescent: the white of stones,
hidden lodes.
Color of secrets: white eyes
looming out of the earth.

Bones. White teeth we turn
on the flesh of others,
and the white our own flesh makes
to make more of itself:

A single egg riding on her liquid train
overcome by the salt-wave surging.