Proudly Presenting Perspectives Poetry Contest Winners…

When one begins something new, there’s no way to know how successful it might be or how it will end. In the case of the Perspectives Poetry Contest, “it” has exceeded my highest expectations and ended with a stunningly beautiful winning poem by Gwyndolyn Parker, and with inspiring second and third place poems by Lindsay Schaefer and Donna Fleetwood.

As a writer myself, I understand the courage it takes to open your innermost private thoughts to the scrutiny of others. Many thanks to all of you who submitted your work for consideration: (In the order they were received) Gloria Domina, Valerie Kovacs King, Cindy Schneider, Natasha Serrano, Carol Minski, David Drescher, Carrie Ward, Robin Zmoda.

My goal for the contest was to encourage people, especially those who do not write professionally, to tap in to their creativity, let their thoughts flow, and be willing to share the product of that process. The outcome was an amazing display of talent.

Special gratitude goes to our three judges, Bathsheba Monk, Kae Tienstra, and Carolyn Potser. So many wonderful poems were submitted that they really had their work cut out for them: The final round of voting, based on a points and grid system, found several of the top tier poems separated from each other by a margin of only a half percent.

It is with great pleasure that I present to you the top three winning poems…

First Place: Shaping My Life by Gwyndolyn Parker of Douglasville, Georgia

Gwyndolyn Parker

Gwyndolyn Parker

Gwyndolyn is retired from Dun and Bradstreet where she served as Director, Supplier Diversity & Socio-Economic Business Solutions. Before moving to Georgia, Gwydolyn was very active in her Lehigh Valley, PA, community, serving on the City of Allentown, Human Relations Commissions, as well as the Board of Directors of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches and Hispanic American League of Artists.

Her passion for fairness, justice, and diversity has inspired her worldwide travels and her authorship of six self-published books.

Shaping My Life

 There are some women,

Who have shaped my life

 Nina Simone

With her songs

Maya Angelou

With her poetry

Faith Ringgold

With her art

Barbara Jordan

With her political stance

Shirley Chisholm

With her run for president

Oprah Winfrey’s

Climb to the top

Harriet Tubman’s

Fight for our freedom

Sojourner Truth’s

Ain’t I A woman?

These women

Have shaped my thoughts

Prepared my way

With their life

The way they lived it

The way they saw it

I want to change something

By being in it

I want to know

My thoughts also made a difference

My feet left prints

My stones made ripples in the ocean of life

I want to know that the world

Has been forever altered

Because I lived

I know the world

Will not remember

Me like a

Nina or a Maya

But if



Remembers something I said

Or something I wrote

It will be enough

For me to rest my head

Knowing I too made a difference

By being in it

                                     Gwyndolyn Parker


Second Place: Once a Dancer, Always a Dancer by Lindsay Schaefer of Bethlehem, PA

Lindsay Schaefer
Lindsay Schaefer

Lindsay Schaefer is the artistic director of Artists in Unity, a multi-disciplinary arts company, and creator of Movement for You, a way-of-life practice that is a fusion of Yoga, Pilates and dance. Lindsay’s career has taken her throughout the US as a performer, choreographer, and teacher in the world of dance and movement practices. Her creative spirit led her to form Artists in Unity five years ago after moving from NYC to the Lehigh Valley. In her “spare” time, she is a wife and a mother to two children ages nine and seven.



 Once a Dancer, Always a Dancer

The Dance-

It slips away

Then runs back

As if…..

It never left


Once a dancer

I say

Always a dancer


Our bodies may change

Our ability to do everything may change

But, our hearts and deep love

For the dance

Never changes

We are always one with the Dance


A beautiful image

I carry

Of dancers

At 60, 70, 80

Maybe 90

White loose fabric blowing in the breeze

With hair long and free as the neck releases

The body twirls

As if

I am

Visiting years past

But, present today


The maturity

Grounds the body

Places me in my pure reality

The confidence

Eases the body

Into lightness and flow

My movement


The body has aged

Beautifully, I may say


I still see the dance

I still feel the dance


For I am still the dance

I am Always a Dancer

                      Lindsay Schaefer


Third Place: Beloved Babies by Donna Fleetwood of Mechanicsburg, PA

Donna Fleetwood

Donna Fleetwood

Donna Fleetwood is a full time Real Estate agent in the greater Harrisburg market. She also coaches other Real Estate agents and writes a professional blog, “Sell with Meaning”. Donna enjoys the meditative quality of reading and writing poetry, and has attended writing workshops in New Mexico and Utah. She often incorporates her poetry into visual journaling, layering paint and words. In addition to her business and creative pursuits, Donna serves on the executive committee of an international non-profit and works diligently in behalf of their constituents in Rwanda and Central America.

                                                                 Beloved Babies

                                                                    Rwanda was a slaughterhouse.

                                                                     Woke up this morning thinking

                                                                    About that blood soaked school

                                                               Of death and torture

                                                                Graduating class, April 1994.

                                                              Anitha tells of her cousin,

                                                              Delicate heel sliced with machete.

                                                             She falls, no place to hide.

                                                             Tall tree lasts a week,

                                                                Chopped down piece by piece.

                                                             Turn your head now,

                                                             “Don’t tell me more!”

                                                               In the land of safety, these things don’t happen.

                                                               In the land of plenty, this is not our human experience.

                                                             Only savages do that.

                                                              Flash forward July 2012.

                                                             Bloody theater Aurora, Colorado.

                                                            Orange headed clown with gun and grin,

                                                             Once known as Beloved Baby, soft and pink,

                                                             Now he goes by darker names.

                                                         From outside in

                                                           We blame object-

                                                            Gun, Parent, Media, Government.

                                                         We still can’t see inside

                                                           Where fetid madness starts.

                                                                The heart of darkness is not a place

                                                                 With borders and directions.

                                                            No geography really.

                                                              That map walks around on two legs.