Thursday, September 27, 2007

From classical to free verse, sonnets to haiku

When we announced our poetry contest months ago, we thought we might receive a hundred or so entries. Imagine our surprise when the Aug. 1 entry deadline rolled around and we had more than 500 poems to judge.

Not only did the sheer number of entries catch us off guard, but the remarkable sincerity of the verse and free-form prose we received caused our judges to insist on an “Honorable Mention” category so that we could share more than just the top winners with our readers.

Also, after an initial review of the entries, the judges asked Managing Editor Sandi Soendker for permission to create a separate division for entries from youngsters. Soendker agreed, so be sure to watch upcoming editions of Land Line Magazine to find out who won top honors in our 18 and younger division.

While there were common themes in most of the entries – long hours and short pay, homesickness and lonely spouses waiting for trucking loved ones to return home – there was also a wide variety of personal expression.

Some included a touch of humor and some were bittersweet. Some said the glass is half empty and some praised their good fortune that it is half full. All of them were heartfelt.

Be sure to read your November issue of Land Line Magazine to find out who won the top nod from the judges. In the meantime, here are a couple of the poems that earned “Honorable Mention” status.

Watch the “Land Line Media Blog” in the coming days and we’ll share additional poetry contest entries as we drum roll toward the top winners in our November magazine.

“Truckers’ Prayer”
By Larry Palmer

Well, I was born and raised to be half-crazed,
to live life as a trucker and travel the highways.
Now there ain’t noth’n known that can slow me down,
not the lights of a city or the wealth of a town.
Gold couldn’t hold me and luck wouldn’t stay,
I’m on a highway that seems to go just one way.

There ain’t no detours, there’s no turning back.
There’s just one destination and who knows where that’s at?
Some tried to warn me when it all first began,
but I clutched, then I shifted, and spun the wheel in my hands.
It’s been my destiny since day number one,
to spend the rest of my life just making one more run.

But I was born and raised to do it,
so I’ll keep hang’n in there, I’m work’n my way through it.
There’s no job too big or a hill too tall,
I take pride in my work and I’m always on call.
I can work all day and drive all night,
burning the midnight oil til the predawn light.

Some say I’m crazy, others have no doubt.
But I’m just an American, day in and day out.
So lord, when I make my last run and collect that final pay,
and join those other drivers that drive your golden highways.
I ask but one thing Lord and I know I ask in vain,
but Lord, I hope the bears up there ain’t allowed to fly airplanes!

Give ’em rubber ticket pads and pencils without lead.
Take away those cruisers and put ’em on mopeds.
Let us truckers rule the road on those highways in the skies.
Give us all big diesel power and watch us truckers fly,
cause we were born and raised to drive golden highways!

– Larry Palmer of Lewiston, ID, drove truck until he was injured and could no longer drive.


“Greek to Me”
By Richard Hobvrg

You’ve been a trucker for years, he said.
I’ve been at the university.
I can’t seem to get it through my head
what you say on the old CB.

Bedbug haulers and cannon-ballers
seat covers that look real good.
I’d like to know all about these terms,
so tell me if you would.

They talk about greasy Jifflox and tattle-tale clocks,
K wobbles that just can’t work,
conventional Petes and Bostrom seats.
I tell ya it makes my eardrums hurt.

Runnin’ the rack on a 440 cat,
hammer down and runnin’ late,
about cheater bars and Peter cars
and what did Jacob break?

Possum-belly vans and hot glad-hands,
runnin’ easy with swingin’ meat,
iced down loads and super-slab roads
and smokey puttin’ on the heat.

A new cornbinder with a come-along
and a double sticker four by four
wound up tight with a big porchlight
just blew off my back door.

You truckers got a language all your own
when I listen to the CB on my way home.
I know it’s truckers talkin’ on the old CB
but it sounds like Greek to me!

– Richard Hobvrg of Cheyenne, WY, has been an owner-operator and flatbed driver for 37 years.