July 2018 IBPC poll


Dear Babiluians,

Our shortlist of 7 poems follows this message, each poem nominated by a reader, each vying for one of the 3 openings we have for the July 2018 IBPC competition, C. Wade Bentley our esteemed judge as I write.

Our poll gadget follows the poems. Vote for one poem only.

The poll will close Thursday, July 5 at 10pm. 

The 3 top vote-getting poems will represent Babilu. 

Voting is open to you, who is reading this, to all and anyone who would like to read the poems and vote. If you are not now signed in, please click the link in the upper right hand corner of this page. If you have not registered yet, click that same link.

Your participation is much appreciated. Thank you.


I climbed to Rydal Cave on Hallows Eve,
passing herdwicks as they snorted on the fellside.
A rush of pipistrelles and the scrape of boots on gravel 
disturbed the silence. I narrowed my dawn eyes, 
smiled at my wariness and feigned composure.

Ghost fish schooled in the clear cave pool. I stared 
at the glide of cold life emerging to meet first light,
felt their loneliness and understood isolation.

“It’s cold this hour, my dear”,
said a voice from the back of the mine,
“but not so cold as this green slate. Come into my house,
my timid boy, and feel the wet rock, explore
the strata of my home, layered by ancient seas
when the moon was young. Touch my chilled bed, my love”.

I stood motionless, examined the blackness then dared
to walk, aware of a rising stream of anger. I slowly crossed 
seven stepping stones and cried out, 
“I’m coming to cool my hands on your slate, or warm
them on your breath, my friend”.

“Then come”, sighed the darkness.

The cave attached its gloom. 
Deeper into the murk I walked, skirting the walls
and black heights, moving carefully over the slick floor
to where the air was heavy and dank.

“Where are you” ? I called, and probed the rocks, 
flaying my arms through a fit of petulance when icy drops, 
dripping from the roof tapped my head and nose. Yet still her voice 
refused to answer, refused to answer as Rydal stirred.

How many times I pleaded with darkness
I can not say, and I don't know when her lure snagged me,
but I descended from Loughrigg Fell and Rydal Cave,
unanswered, abandoned to the nightmares
of childhood, a youth with all my fears.

Sixty winters have thawed since then, and still
I call to her, dream of her, and remember her invitation.
Every time I pass the cave entrance, a fire in me returns
to that lonely day with the fish, when the shadows
spoke. Perhaps this was the cavewight’s intent.

You can hear the locals speak of an old man 
with a wracked cast, who walks the path every day, 
a hermit type who whispers to the cave. They call him
the Waif of the Grotto, the fool who is fit for the grave.



Yes! the time has come

for the luster of my auburn
fur to have faded

one hair at a time.
Looking beyond the mirror
I accept the fairness of my scalp.



Wind whispering in the pines,
dandelions and a four-leaf clover;
silver summer evenings
when the heat is over;
a pair of swallows on their way to nest, 
I love them best.

And your hand in mine,
with the burnished wedding-ring,
us two alone
enjoying the breeze,
I cannot imagine anything more fine. 
My world is at ease.


The day that man allows true love to appear, those things which are well made
will fall into confusion and will overturn everything we believe to be right and true
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

I never wander far from the smoky streets of home where fog drifts
and settles, smothers windows and clings to panes. Voyeur-mist, 
I can see through it to a luscious life. The women are not whores

as I suggested, just not interested in me. I write them as cerebral,
art and literature is their pursuit. I write myself as a character-poet,
a failed Don who lusts after these willowy untouchables, yet I 

would settle for a dishy-siren with a tail. A water nymph of courtly
fable does know how to finally shut up and seduce good men into
leaving home. I could marry a girl like that. She will adore me.

Bespectacled, respectable me. I am a little weird, I admit with
my penchant for Montecristoes and the taste for an expensive Roe.
It would be simpler if she is human with the proper appendages.

I shall run an advert. Yanks here know all about Craig’s List.
Social Media I think they call it, I am in a hurry to catch up.
Some group, the Beach Men or some such, a jingle on my

Faceblog page, I dare say I can do this thing. Do you like
peaches or mangoes, I shall ask. Getting soaked in the brine?
Do you adore salty nectar on the rim of a glass? Do you walk

the beach as I do? I have no fashion sense but I can learn. I shall
supply you with embroidery thread. You can make our commitment
to barefoot trysts a permanent endeavor. Dear Girl, I want nothing 

more than for you to share my love of Wagner. It matters not 
if you do not sew or darn. I am well versed in domestic pursuits
and can brew a mean Tequila Sunrise and spin lemon curd as well. 

I am a romantic but can be pragmatic, even earnest. I am a good catch.
You see, I am a crusty old thing, a bachelor after all. I do have pity
for crabs, lobsters, all crustaceans really. They, despite their hard exterior

have a beating heart, the love of a sea garden. All they want 
is companionship and possibly solitude. Have I mentioned I go for therapy? 
I have odd neurotic habits. I fear doorknobs and rejection. 

If you are a siren will this be the love that dare not speak its name?
I yearn for a normal life not just as a cup with a broken handle 
but as a couple. See how clever I can be? I should mention I have great

hair. The bald spot is being made redundant. Little Darling, will you comb
the beach of life with me? I have the desire for a rich, contented future.
I want a happy end for us both. One that doesn’t result in a bitter

stew, a late-life divorce, the black kettle singing merrily
on the stove and you and I, potted, circling round one another
warily, butter slightly chilled and waiting on the table.  


The slant of sun spills 
on the gold and crimson cape, 
while bull urine and dust 
paint your patent leather shoes.

Hemingway’s sport; stutter steps 
towards the bleeding hump, dropped 
by banderillas. Bull eyes glare at your 
fancy form, buttocks tight for the pass. 

His dim hope, the hook of horn, 
to gore the groin, toss your ragtag 
body high, silencing the white 
handkerchief’s call for death.


My brief thief you steal the intervals between seconds
of peril when no one is looking.  We huddle in silence 
so as not to attract the attention of our mortal enemies.
Their claws capable of rending flayed flesh from bones. 
From our faces. We huddle in fear. But to survive locked
inside your own skull is no way to live. Better to die.
Stellar devastation awaits; exploding across the sky.
Consciousness of aliens, consciousness of the Universe.
The ticking of seconds. The unheard intervals between.


Shut up
I'm not interested
in you. I'm real,
the world of
rock and fire
where muscle
powers my passage.
I'm going
over the oceans
that God constructed.
Shut up
with your mealing
about your
lonely mind,
how it buzzes
with faces
and voices you don't 
hear. I'm not
worried about
where the dead go
I don't listen to
the echo of
"will there be

July 2018 IBPC poll
  1. Vote for 1 poem:9 votes
    1. The Boy and Rydal Cave
    2. Ghostly Absence
    3. Happiness
    4. J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
    5. The Pass
    6. Sterling Platitudes
    7. The War of the Possession of the World


  • Posts: 672

    R.T. Castlebury is now the judge, for his 2nd stint
    Thanked by 1Gracy
  • Posts: 672
    No randomizing needed this month. 

    Our entries are:

    Gracy's Happiness
    JJ's The Boy and Rydal Cave
    Laurie's J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right

    Congratulations, terrific writing
    IBPC Babilu Poll 1807.jpg
    559 x 423 - 33K
  • Posts: 0
    Not as many votes this time, Rus. I'm surprised my simple little poem got voted at all. 
    Good luck to all !!
    Best, Gracy 
  • Posts: 672
    Holidays can be a tough time for turn out, plus it's been mentioned at different boards, that summer participation at workshops is lower than other seasons.

    Yours is such a perfect seasonal poem, and would have been appreciated by all those vacationers experiencing just what your poem addresses. Congratulations. The ease and happiness of your poem is wonderful.
    Thanked by 1Gracy
  • Posts: 0
    Greatest selections ever!! I hope they all win, place and show?
    Thanked by 1Gracy
  • Posts: 0
    oh dear, well I missed out on the voting, though I agree, all of these poems are one of the best group of selections and so congratulations to all and to those moving forward, the best of luck! Such creativity ~
    Thanked by 1Gracy
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