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Daphne Nichols

Honorable Mention 2009 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100
Best Rhyming Poem 2009 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $150

About this Christian Poet:
Daphne Nichols is a pianist who is currently completing her Bachelor of Music at Salem College under pedagogue Barbara Lister-Sink. She was born and raised in Downeast Maine, but completed her high school diploma at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts, where she studied at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division. She attended the Northwestern University School of Music for two years, but ultimately transferred to Salem College so she could learn to release the muscle tension in her playing. Poetry is a mysterious and beloved "second art" that she indulges when she can.

About this Poem:
This poem is a response to the overwhelming experience of my sister becoming a Christian. The fundamental change that takes a person from nonbelief to belief thrilled and fascinated me. This poem is both my imagining of her experience and the exclamation of a Christian onlooker. In such moments, we are simultaneously overjoyed and taken aback by both God's might and his mercy.

The Answer

The arrow sang through satin sky
to wrest a girl from grasping night.
A breath, a rush: no rusting lie
lives here. Her lungs eat cleaner light.
Half dead, we shock. Our spoken dart
sparked fire, charmed a wider will;
yet still, we stare. What dangerous art:
our dreaming drew this daffodil.

She found a hunt beneath her skin
that moaned for sky and shuttered scorn.
The night sent stars, but their glass grin
grew cold, and wore no bloody thorns,
no eyes. She listened. What strange air
was shifting organs, marking tombs?
When death collapsed, her need fell bare
and filled her body's ravaged room.

We do not stand, but bow. In this,
the stillest stone became a sail.
We wake, we walk; we watch her kiss
the sun. We hold a trembling tale.

Copyright ©2009 by Daphne Nichols