The fourth of four poems, written by this pedometer geek, was also accepted into the new city anthology for 2019. It is as follows:
On the road between two towns,
Huron and Vermilion,
A ridge covered with white stones,
some pristine and new.
It’s a chosen place,
near where a body washed ashore.
Almon Ruggles found it,
whether surveying or walking,
a body, clothed
in a navy blue double-breasted jacket.
The man had done his duty,
Ruggles knew his,
Got a coffin,
buried the stranger,
marked the grave.
The waves and currents chose the place.
Oak Bluff Cemetery, it’s called today,
near Cranberry Creek.
Up the stairs, through the gate.
His epitaph is short:
The 2019 44839: Poems From a Zip Code is the third collection of poems. This anthology was an outgrowth from Huron, Ohio’s Poet Laureate program. Poets who live and/or work within the zip code had the opportunity to submit up to four poems. These poems were judged by a panel of five judges. The judges were made up of community members, some former Poets Laureate, and the current director of the Huron Public Library. Taking off all identifying marks of who wrote what poem made for fair, neutral judging.
There were cash prizes for the top three poems from those who qualified. Former and current Poets Laureate and the staff of the publisher, Drinian Press, LLC, were not eligible for prizes; however, their poems undergo the same scrutiny of the judging rubrics and anonymity. The judges only know the names of the poems of those who won. They do not the name of the poet until the book comes out during National Poetry Month.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, closure of the library, and social distancing, the event, which was to be held on April 7, was cancelled. Sometime in the near future, a poetry event will be held, and hopefully, the poets will be there reading their top scoring poem.
Here are the covers of the three anthologies. All cover photos are by Rob Smith and Drinian Press, LLC.
As an aside, Almon Ruggles was an early settler to the area; he was an early surveyor of the Firelands. Not only did he discover the body of the sailor, who is believed to be a crew member who fought alongside Commodore Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie, but he gave the man a Christian burial. Almon Ruggles is also buried in this cemetery.