Archive for November, 2017


Her curly hair, now pine and oak forests,
has a rosy glow in the morning light.
And those cliffs under her eyes, weary
and like violet half-moons,
are still adorably mortal.

Mussed, her shores are livid after storms.
But always a high-born, she welcomes the men
who paint their faces blue.
Men who bump their pea-pod boats
against her sides, and wrap garlands
around her mighty oaks
while she marvels at how those trees
just yesterday were sprouts.

Later, much later, after Gaul
and Hun and Roman bang their swords,
saints will claim her. She’ll hardly care.
She was giant, so much more than a man-god,
a millennium before their Christ was born.

Red wine flowed in veins then
stronger than any blood.
And gods had horns and balls,
were apt to take a fancy to a pretty woman.

History is something she hates.
No past. No present. No future—
time just a jumble of tenses,
like the boulders,
at the foot of her alps.

But sometimes, changing back to a woman,
darkly-darkly she will go
padding through the night.

And coming to a glen, she will let her sorrow go—

give it wing, and breath, and let it find its voice
in the sharp cry and snap of a mouse
taken by an owl.

* In my re-imagining of the myth, Zeus changes Europa into the continent of Europe.


-John Barrale


John Barrale is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, November 2017.

John Barrale has been published in numerous online and print publications. Most recently, his work has appeared in Unrorean, East Meets West—American Writers Review, Icon, Narrative Northeast, Pidgeonholes, Sensations Magazine, and Molotov CocktailShakespeare’s Moths a collection of his early poems was published by White Chicken Press in 2012.

Along with five other “Gang of Five” members, he hosts a free monthly poetry reading series called “The Red Wheelbarrow” at The William Carlos Williams Center in Rutherford, New Jersey.  In 2012, he joined the volunteer staff of “The Rutherford Red Wheel Barrow” poetry anthologies as one of its two managing editors.

John is currently working hard at being retired, spending most of his time writing, reading, and hiking in the U.S. and Canadian national parks. “Dolce de fare niente” (How sweet to do nothing) is his mantra.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

You can still submit to the Poem of the Month Contest for future months, and to the Cosmographia Chapbook Contest.


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