SMPLE's Poetry Winner: Metamorphosis

"And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and excellent intentions that at the end of their journey their daughter sprang to her feet first and stretched her young body." So goes the Muir translation of Kafka's most famous story, the last line dangling hope on the page. Because despite monstrous changes, this girl might be fine, and without horror, she could never believe it. Franz's Metamorphosis dreams for better things in a city that punishes you for staying in bed an hour later than you're meant to. Her brother has paid for a breather by being shunned - first by his boss, then his family. As a beetle or cockroach or whatever you want to read into the word 'vermin', he scurries from an angry dad and lobbed apples, hurt and forgotten, watching the people he loves forced to work without him. Eventually, it's okay. This man dies and his sister transforms. Everyone does. Light finally enters a smothered household. The beauty of change against our will is that you might be sad about it, but those feelings won't last for long either.

Have you noticed that SMPLE has been shifting too? We're not about to crawl on the ceiling or flip work the bird; hell, sometimes we just dream of server costs. No, we've been reaching out for your work - your writing, art, images. Whatever you think the world is ready for. And our first paid poetry competition has closed. The theme? Metamorphosis, of course. There seemed no better topic to match our new challenges for the SMPLE community.

We're running many more like it - both now and in the months and years ahead. Stay tuned. Stay hungry. From flash fiction to essays and photography prompts, there'll be something to try or share, winning admiration from tens of thousands of our monthly readers as well as (whisper) the chance to work with us in the future if we really, really like your stuff.

Anyway, onto the announcement.  We were pretty impressed with the quality of submissions, but this one clinched it.

And the winner is . . .

Elise Gehosky - 'When I realized'

We adored the child's eye in this piece. Moreover, the images, sounds and seamless time skips envelop us like dust in the air. From steaming smiles to walking sunlight, Elise's language is playful and innovative. We felt pure suspension - of wanting and accepting, of two ages and a fissure, of a clock's hands poised while we figure out that our own are powerless. Nice one. Elise wins $100 and a push on our site and socials! See what other paid projects are still live here.

Oh, and read the poem in full (with a few honourable mentions below):

When I realized

Marbles scattered 
In the garden,
Waiting for us to 
Find them.
They fall from the sky,
Onto the earth,
Like glass.

My fingertips touch
The glass and draw
A heart from the steam
A smile 
from the steam.

My feet leave footprints along
Hard wood, creaking floors.
The hiss of the water
spikett, and soft slippers sliding.

Bright flowered drapes and 
Polly pockets are sprawled across
The floor,
with the plastic orange airplane.

The fire is on. Glowing as 
we lay tucked in.
The clock tells us its 3 am
And I eat the three glass cubes
from my cup

A mirror now hangs
on the door
Empty mirror.
faded silk hands from 
The wall 
and my
finger prints 
my smiley face 
my heart  

Light sparkling down on the kitchen floor
when the light turns to dust;
The sunlight walks into a
Dark hallway.

We were once in this spotlight
Cooking homemade spaghetti sauce 
the light shines on nothing 
But the table.
It happens just for 
things to switch 
for things to hover above me.
Just before these things to 
Fall to the ground. 

Making me see doubles 
One, a younger me
Flowers in my hair,
Honey light on my face 
And shining over the kitchen,
Painting smiles on the wall.

And me now
Standing in a room of 
Stale air
Boxes on the floor
Cracked paint.

It's not that the lightbulb burns
It's that it doesn't burn for
but me 

How comforting it is to
Live in this moment of 
The now
The right before
The moment before
I realized,

that we grow older 
And we are along for the ride
Trying to use our hands 
To stop it but
We see reflections
like a circling
Glass door,
The garden
it's sparkling marbles

but the clock
needs wound 
and all the marbles have been 

Runners up . . .

TJ Edwards - 'Slightly Crooked'

Some excellent verbs and wobbly composition give this poem an edge that sharpens our perspective on ourselves.

Lara Taylor - 'Things I saw on the drive home' 

Linen clouds, wild eyes and a nailed heart call someone back home, even as they wish everything would slow right down. 

The Runners-ups win $10 each. Want to participate? Check out our current live projects!  

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