July's Poetry Contest Winner: If the Sky Speaks of Anything

Posted by Cybil on July 3, 2017


Every month, Goodreads and the ¡POETRY! group host a poetry contest. It's a great way to discover and support the work of emerging poets. Join the ¡POETRY! group where you can vote to select the winning poem each month from among the finalists. Aspiring poets can also submit a poem for consideration.

Congratulations to Amanda Arbuckle, who is our July winner with this poem:

If the Sky Speaks of Anything

by Amanda Arbuckle

If the sky speaks of anything
It speaks of rain
An anxious whispering of the wind
The dark clouded brow of sky
A chance raindrop before its time
Surely, these are auguries if anything is.

Thunder reverberates overhead
Through the backyard
Through my soul
My actions are a tumult of hurry
Feed the dogs
Bring them in
Stow the lawn chair cushions inside a weather-proof bin
Watch for the wind
Preparations before the rain.

I did not know for sure it would rain
It was a guess, a conjecture
Instinct told me more than the weatherman could
And when it came, there was no mistaking it
That glorious onslaught against the window panes
Rain like the patter of children's feet
Like soldiers' drums
Like lovers' voices, rising and falling through the dark.
Thunder like a parent's voice, low and reproving
Welcoming even if it heralded lightening.

I was glad.
Sometimes, there is something oddly comforting in a storm
But then again, I watched from the inside, not from within the torrent
Perhaps it is no different than letting yourself fall into a reverie
Letting it take full control
Castles crumble to dust
And are rebuilt in a day
Dragons are faced
Villains confronted
Friends lost and gained
And even a thunderstorm can be braved.

Imagination, such a fascinating place to visit
I wouldn't live there though
I'd never completely abandon this world for that other
Or venture out now into that storm

What storm?
Gone.
As brief as a memory of a dream
Bells from the neighboring church
Fill the newfound silence
The sun glistens on newly bedecked leaves
Strung with raindrops as with pearl necklaces.

When it is my time to leave the world behind
I want to exit as this rain has
Quietly
Leaving splendor and beauty behind
Perhaps regretfully
But knowing each thing has its place and time.

Sun and rain cannot exist long together
One must acquiesce, eventually
They are not enemies though
Rivals perhaps
But there is no bitterness between them
The sun and rain are perhaps not so unlike life and death
Life submits to death
Death gives way to life
Can there be life without death
Or death without life?
Can one truly live if one never dies?

Though it's sunny here
It's raining somewhere
And the sun speaks promises of another life


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Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)

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message 1: by Martine (new)

Martine Macmillan Congratulations! Beautiful! I love your similes building up power from 'children's feet' to the ominous 'soldier's drums' to the full force of 'thunder'. Then the final image of sun and rain/life and death. I love this! Well done!


message 2: by Marc (new)

Marc Benitez not.. that bad.
here's mine...:
The rain
..pit pit patter pit.. pit pit pat pit... good ..it's gone


message 3: by Len (new)

Len Evans Jr Congrats on an awesome poem... it was beautifully written and so wonderfully evocative of experiencing the rain, thunder and lightening.


message 4: by javadiva (new)

javadiva That is one of the most amazing poems. I love rain and stormy weather so much! Amazing how Amanda captured it in words.


message 5: by Superbambi (new)

Superbambi This is beautiful! I'm glad there's poetry here every now and again.


message 6: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Congratulations on your win and a beautiful poem.


message 7: by Pratiksha (new)

Pratiksha Haldar A wonderful poem, thank you Ms. Arbuckle, it was a delight!


message 8: by Jasi (new)

Jasi Amanda truly found amazing words to describe rain and story weather! Reading it was a pleasure!


message 9: by Zeeshan (new)

Zeeshan Mahmood Martine wrote: "Congratulations! Beautiful! I love your similes building up power from 'children's feet' to the ominous 'soldier's drums' to the full force of 'thunder'. Then the final image of sun and rain/life a..."

That's what I also found beautiful in it. A beautiful poem!


message 10: by Nicole (new)

Nicole So beautiful <3


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia O'brien Amanda ... Congratulations! I was proud to be in the running w/ such terrific contestants ... Thanks for your fine work!!


message 12: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn Stevelos Thank you Amanda. Just lovely. I especially like this stanza:

What storm?
Gone.
As brief as a memory of a dream
Bells from the neighboring church
Fill the newfound silence
The sun glistens on newly bedecked leaves
Strung with raindrops as with pearl necklaces.

Congratulations!!


message 13: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn Stevelos Zeeshan wrote: "Martine wrote: "Congratulations! Beautiful! I love your similes building up power from 'children's feet' to the ominous 'soldier's drums' to the full force of 'thunder'. Then the final image of sun..."

Agree. Love the similes.


message 14: by Marc (last edited Jul 06, 2017 02:38PM) (new)

Marc Davidson What a beautiful poem
Full of splendor and regret
Imagination and reality

But these four lines:
When it is my time to leave the world behind
I want to exit as this rain has
Quietly
Leaving splendor and beauty behind


top them all. This is my new motto for my life and death. I thank you for the inspiration.


message 15: by Al (new)

Al Diaz Beautiful poem. I felt I was there walking with you and seeing it all. The transformation of the present to your dimension is the true power of your verses. Thank you.


message 16: by Boyd (new)

Boyd Congratulations. I really loved reading this poem. It's very thought-provoking and appeals to the senses quite nicely.


message 17: by Judy (new)

Judy Wonderful poem, especially the "when it is my time" stanza. Beautiful. Thank you.


message 18: by John (new)

John Lovely poem, especially nostalgic for me being a lover of summer storms. Congratulations.


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Russell Such fine writing. Congratulations! Well deserved.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Job well done! Way to go!


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Congratulations Beautifully expressed!


message 22: by Maryfrances (new)

Maryfrances Nicely done, and congratulations.


message 23: by Bill (new)

Bill Well done. You take a common experience, refresh it, and make it universal in part by avoiding cliche and easy resolution. The poem deserves all the praise it has received.


message 24: by Ada (new)

Ada Congratulations! You are a poet,


message 25: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Spammer Congratulations! Wonderful piece!


message 26: by Donna (new)

Donna Quinlan Wonderful vivid insightful poem! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Congratulations!


message 27: by Mary (new)

Mary Bone Congratulations! I enjoyed it!


message 28: by Alejandra (new)

Alejandra It's the first time I consciously read a poem, and I loved it!
Congratulations <3


message 29: by Anna (last edited Jul 07, 2017 01:20PM) (new)

Anna Amazingly beautiful poem. I copied and pasted this poem to reread after I've long forgotten this Goodreads newsletter. You are very talented, Ms Arbuckle! Well done and congratulations on winning this!


message 30: by Hannatu (new)

Hannatu The rain is a popular poet's muse. I've written one about it too. This one was good.


message 31: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Beautiful poem! The last three stanzas in particular stood out to me.


message 32: by Dr Ann (new)

Dr Ann Lawless wow


message 33: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Wow...this is so beautiful.... It describes my feelings almost exactly during a thunderstorm (except for the dogs, because I don't have dogs)! In fact, I even wrote a poem maybe last year about a thunderstorm and the yellow sky and the comforting yet exhilarating nature of it and how, then again, I'm watching it from inside. Maybe this feeling is just a universal thing :) My ceramics teacher also loves thunderstorms.


message 34: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Anna wrote: "Amazingly beautiful poem. I copied and pasted this poem to reread after I've long forgotten this Goodreads newsletter. You are very talented, Ms Arbuckle! Well done and congratulations on winning t..."

Me too! I'm putting it in a slideshow of good poems that I want to remember :)


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan Raineri This is a hauntingly beautiful poem, Amanda!


message 36: by Sue (new)

Sue Martin-Crowell Congratulations. Amanda! Very pretty, a descriptive poem!


message 37: by Megan (new)

Megan Stypinski Congratulations! This is beautiful. I love the imagery.


message 38: by June (new)

June Pecchia So good to encounter this poem this morning. Going to memorial for a gentle man this afternoon, and wanting to grasp the idea of "gone" and "passed away".
I also love this part:

When it is my time to leave the world behind
I want to exit as this rain has
Quietly
Leaving splendor and beauty behind

… except, though not a devoted believer, I cannot accept that our friend Steve has left us all and it all behind.


message 39: by June (last edited Jul 08, 2017 08:36AM) (new)

June Pecchia OH. Thanks be.
Just now I've read this differently, and it feels right: Steve has left behind —for we who remain — the world of splendor and beauty that quietly nourishes after the rain.


message 40: by Ela (new)

Ela Congratulations! Lovely poem!


message 41: by JD (new)

JD Sutter This is an absolutely beautiful piece of poetry. It brought me to tears! Vivid and evocative imagery with beautiful similes and heartfelt emotion. Very well done!

Side note: I read it aloud and it really makes it come alive.


message 42: by Gene (new)

Gene Brode I truly loved this poem. I didn't realize GR has a monthly poetry contest. Congratulations on winning this month Amanda!


message 43: by Esmeralda (new)

Esmeralda Plangesis Congratulations Amanda-what a beautiful poem!


message 44: by Laura (new)

Laura Really, really liked this poem. 😊 Living where we have almost daily afternoon storms, I can especially relate to this. Nice work!


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Way to go. Congratulations on this winning poem. Job well done.


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