Be Careful In A Dream

NANCY BYRD TURNER (1880-1971), in whose honor the prize Bill Glose won is given, was an editor of The Atlantic, and the author of fifteen books. According to her Wikipedia entry, she “joined the MacDowell art colony in 1925 and remained there until 1944.” Her involvement with our society began when she returned to her native Virginia after her retirement. Here’s her own first prize poem from 1956, which was awarded in the Princess Anne category.


One night when storm was crying
Out on the bleak hillside
She thought she heard his footstep,
And flung the dark door wide.

The wind had roughed his bright hair,
And rain was in his eyes.
She called his name thrice over —
(In dreams it is not wise).

And then she saw a thornbush
Had torn his shabby coat,
And ran to fetch a needle,
A quick sob in her throat.

The thread slipped by the needle
And missed, again, again:
Turning, she saw the doorway
Was blank with night and rain.

Ah, witless love, to bother
About a foolish seam —
Hearts have to be so careful,
So careful in a dream!

A.D. Casterbridge,
contest category alias of Nancy Byrd Turner, 1956

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