Thursday, August 20, 2009

Netwest Contest First Place Winner

Janet Benway's poem, Childhood of an Environmentalist, is our first place winner in the Netwest Environmental Contest. Theme for this contest was showing a love for the environment in which we live, the land where we live, the earth.

Childhood of an Environmentalist

Raised in a playworld of cowboys and Indians,
he did not understand
my act of slipping the fish
back into the stream.

He appealed to parents; there were reprimands--
at ten, I had done wrong to someone younger.
Yet I saw the fish gasp
flapping her tail relentlessly against the walls
of a tin can filled with water.
And when the fish reached her natural element,
I thought I heard--above the little-boy tears--
a song of joy.

Years later, he's a hunter,
killing deer and birds for sport.
Years later, I'm a poet with Earth's wonders to report.
Two lives diverged from a common source
of family and town.
While he still kills, the fish is free,
and I must write that down.

Janet Benway is happily transplanted from Connecticut, where she was an editor and college English teacher. Now she sometimes teaches creative writing in the Creekside program at Brevard College. Her poetry has been published in magazines such as Lucidity, Bereavement, and Long River Run.


  1. I love this! Can't wait to read more of Janet's work.

  2. Congratulations to Janet Benway. Loved this poem, I could totally relate. I look forward to reading more of her poetry.

  3. Janet's work is always profound. Her heart and sincerity naturally flows into her work. She's truly one of North Carolina's best poets.


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