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Richard B. Mowry

First Prize in Category 2: 2009 Christian Publishers Poetry Prize $300

About this Christian Poet:
Richard B. Mowry was born and raised in St. Marys PA, and later graduated from both Grove City College (1956) and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (1959). Subsequent to his education he served nearly 40 years as a Presbyterian pastor in the Pittsburgh area. With his wife, Barbara, he has two children and six grandchildren. Upon retirement the Mowrys moved to The Villages in central Florida where he rekindled his passion for writing poetry.

Because so much modern poetry is written in free verse Mr. Mowry feels called to a puristic loyalty to traditional rhyme and meter reflecting the style of Robert Frost. His poems usually center on nature or rural settings, always with a multi-level philosophical or spiritual point of view.

His hobbies include tennis, piano, reading and traveling. Most of all however, Richard Mowry is drawn to poetry, which he says is not a chore so much as a drive for self-expression. His latest book of poetry; Times and Seasons of His Handiwork has been accepted as an entry for the 2010 Pulitzer in the category of original verse.

The Bonfire

The storm encased the woods in ice and forest floors were limbed
when trees disguised as armored knights crossed swords in winter wind
to splinter sores with bleeding sap… we saw their wounds but waited
till one spring night to cremate limbs the combat amputated
then gathered antlers shed from trees, and piled the bones to burn…
a match was like a tiny wand that took one touch to turn
the dark into a magic light that licked the limbs to chars
exploding sparks to decorate the sullen sky with stars.

Beyond the circle of the light and midnight's mystic mask
where fallen saplings slept like logs the owl was sounding taps.
All else was silent save the bonfire cackling like a witch
digesting wasted woodland with a hyper-active twitch.
Akin to night is mystic life where curious minds will prowl
like probing through the darkness by the intellectual owl,
and was his woodland hunting haunt beyond the ring of light
enticing us to help explore the mysteries of the night?

I see God's mind in facts we find, but answers found in history
are also lights that shine to show a greater mask of mystery,
like fuel to flame pushed back the black expanding midday arc
while wider learning light becomes a wider rink of dark.
Do transpiration and osmosis explain why maples grow?
Do microscopes and telescopes enable us to know
all mysteries of the universe, or does that tiny spark
that blooms into a bonfire bring a wider ring of dark?

The cave man saw those very stars, he heard the Thor of thunder,
Neanderthal and scientist both watched the world with wonder,
for every answer sparked a question to make a man so smart
he built a bigger bonfire with a wider ring of dark.

Primordial man as protozoa came oozing through the sod
then learned to light his feeble fires to probe the mind of God…
enlarging light with telescopes to let his mind embark
and see the sun and sister stars still circled by the dark.

Copyright ©2009 by Richard B. Mowry