August's Poetry Contest Winner: Flight Path

Posted by Cybil on July 28, 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 Elisabeth, who is our August winner with this poem:

Flight Path

by Elisabeth

During one especially phobic year
I freaked on the Logan-LaGuardia route,
my savior an unlikely former cop,
cascading black curls and smoke on her breath,
distracting me as you would a child.

If not for her I might have premiered
on the ten o’clock news, tied to a seat
shouting nonsense about a metal tube
staying afloat on invisible air.

That was long before the towers fell,
images seared with a strange déjá vu
from the scenes I’d previewed in my head
each time we tipped down for final descent.

When the babies came I swallowed my fear,
holding my nose and choking it down,
donning a mask of composed self-control
to contain the germs a mother can spread.

We traveled the world and I grit my teeth,
carried snacks and crayons in ziploc bags,
counted pages in airline magazines,
exhaled at the chimes of ten thousand feet.

Now they no longer need a chaperone
so I drop them off at departure curbs,
repeating three words as a talisman,
pretending my love could hold up the sky.

On the highway home I play the old songs,
distracting myself as I would a child
but my heart doesn’t slow to its regular pace
until, checking my phone for the twentieth time,
I know we’ve all come back down to earth.


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Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)

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message 1: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Love it. Seriously, beautiful.


message 2: by Briefcase (new)

Briefcase GOOD


message 3: by Caroline (last edited Jul 28, 2017 11:28PM) (new)

Caroline Congratulations Elisabeth. A fantastic poem.
"A metal tube staying afloat on invisible air". What a wonderful way to describe flying, which I hate. A fellow sufferer!


message 4: by Athirah (new)

Athirah How do you enter these?


message 5: by Raiann (new)

Raiann Athirah wrote: "How do you enter these?"

If you read the first paragraph on this article there is a link where you can submit your own poems.


message 6: by Athirah (new)

Athirah Raiann wrote: "Athirah wrote: "How do you enter these?"

If you read the first paragraph on this article there is a link where you can submit your own poems."


Thank you


message 7: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Thank you for the kind comments! I'm so honored to have my poem, "Flight Path," published here and grateful to the judges, participants, and incredible finalists!
-Elisabeth Bassin


message 8: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Wonderful poem! Goodreads always picks the best poems, and have made even a non-poetry lover enjoy (me)! This one resonates with the heart!


message 9: by Katie (new)

Katie This is beautiful!


message 10: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Very affecting. As someone with plane anxiety and two young girls, I read this with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I can relate to all of it and love the clever writing.


message 11: by Katie (new)

Katie I especially love:
"to contain the germs a mother can spread."
and
"pretending my love could hold up the sky."
Perfect...


message 12: by Faye (new)

Faye A beautiful insightful poem Elizabeth


message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy Athirah wrote: "How do you enter these?"

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 14: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Congratulations, Elisabeth. A stunning poem :)


message 15: by Christa (new)

Christa "Pretending my love could hold up the sky" hits the mark beautifully and perfectly. We can't keep them safe. Well done!


message 16: by Ela (new)

Ela Beautiful! Congratulations!


message 17: by Sally (new)

Sally This poem resonates with me on so many levels; as a flying phobic, as a mother, and as a lover of beautifully crafted sentences. Every verse offers poignant images: "donning a mask of composed self-control to contain the germs a mother can spread" and "exhaled at the chimes of ten thousand feet" and "pretending my love could hold up the sky" and "but my heart doesn’t slow to its regular pace
until, checking my phone for the twentieth time, I know we’ve all come back down to earth". Just exquisite. Congratulations Elizabeth.


message 18: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne Higgins Leach Lovely


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan Raineri wonderful...you're not alone in this! you took me there...great work


message 20: by Margaret (new)

Margaret West An interesting poem that says a lot about the fear of flying.


message 21: by Nisar (new)

Nisar Masoom "On the highway home I play the old songs,
distracting myself as I would a child
but my heart doesn’t slow to its regular pace
until, checking my phone for the twentieth time,
I know we’ve all come back down to earth. "

Beautifully written.


message 22: by David (new)

David Murrow This is really, really good. Thanks


message 23: by Dana (new)

Dana Berzinjy Congratulations!


message 24: by Bill (new)

Bill Really nice poem.You show how in many ways we remain children even if we pretend otherwise. The words and lines carry the right rhythm or cadence for your subject. You avoid cliches and pretentious language. It seems like you worked the poem carefully to come up with lines like the opening two and the concluding lines. The stanzas each look polished and crafted. You should submit this to a large audience journal like Atlantic Monthly, Sun Magazine, New Yorker, and so on.


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Congratulations, Elizabeth! Your poem helped me understand your anxiety about flying. I've loved flying from the very first time I felt that sudden burst of speed and the sudden weightlessness as the jet lifted off; marveling at being suspended in the clouds, the big picture below, the curvature of the earth in the distance, thrilled me then and still does. But your poem put me in your shoes for a few moments, and I felt what you must feel, and now I see. Great job, thank you!


message 26: by Poppy (new)

Poppy Sally wrote: "This poem resonates with me on so many levels; as a flying phobic, as a mother, and as a lover of beautifully crafted sentences. Every verse offers poignant images: "donning a mask of composed self..."

Perhaps only a reader who shares your fearofflying will appreciate the hidden anguish you describe. I am one - one who loves travel more than I fear flight - or so I tell myself over and over and over again. You described me very well. Thank you.


message 27: by Joy (new)

Joy Beautifully written. Fresh language used to create images that puts the reader right in your shoes.


message 28: by Tricia (new)

Tricia McCallum Dear Elisabeth -

Your win here is so richly deserved.

I love your use of detail, especially this: "... counted pages in airline magazines."

So well done. I send my warmest congratulations.

Tricia McCallum


message 29: by Jon(athan) (new)

Jon(athan) Nakapalau Beautiful...you have a fine way of framing images.


message 30: by Geraldine (new)

Geraldine Cantrell Congratulations!


message 31: by John (last edited Aug 05, 2017 06:18PM) (new)

John Heartfelt...the essence of good poetry. Well done.


message 32: by Michele (new)

Michele Exceptional poem, beautifully crafted and so very vividly 'real' . Congratulatons, Elisabeth! Much deserved.


message 33: by Sunil (new)

Sunil Congrats!


message 34: by Luz Divina (new)

Luz Divina Felicidades Elisabeth!!!! sabía que ganarías ;) Un poema preciosoooooo!!!!


message 35: by Kate (new)

Kate Robinson Vivid imagery, evocative situations.


message 36: by Raashida (new)

Raashida Khan Stunning Elizabeth. Beautifully written and touching


message 37: by Carla (new)

Carla Withac Congratulations!


message 38: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Marcotte Lovely! Congratulations :)


message 39: by S.E. (new)

S.E. Ingraham Congratulations, Elizabeth! Wonderful poem.

I hope we continue this practice of having the winning poem announced like this and printed afterwards. (Unless I'm tardy to the party and this has happened before, in which case, I apologize...)

SEI


message 40: by Nicola (new)

Nicola An wow the ending gives me goosebumps! Congratulations!


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