Dr. Robert Moore, a professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello who writes under the pen name “Red Hawk,”was selected as one of the 10 finalists in the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize, awarded annually by Rattle literary journal. There were 15,000 entries.
Red Hawk’s poem, Old Age Requires the Greatest Courage, is now being considered for the “Reader’s Choice” Award, voted on among the 10 finalists, by the subscribers to Rattle magazine. Rattle is one of the foremost literary journals in the country and is published in Studio City, Calif. Each of the poets in that issue was asked to write an “artist’s statement” which was also published.
Red Hawk’s statement reads, “By the Grace and Mercy of Our Creator, poems are given. My task is to remain open and vulnerable, to not interfere with incoming energy, to receive with Gratitude. By that same Grace and Mercy, sometimes I am given a poem which requires revision and allows me to (more actively) participate in the creation. Old age is the present condition; the great trap of old age is succumbing to the urge to lie down and rest. Thus, courage is required to go on in the face of one’s inevitable weakening and doom. Everything is grist for the poet’s work.”
Moore joined the UAM faculty in 1997. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois State University and a Ph.D., from the University of Cincinnati.
Old Age Requires the Greatest Courage
The greatest courage is not needed for war,
but for ordinary people growing old.
Like soldiers, the aged are never very far
from death: many are called,
all are chosen. A soldier faces danger
then retreats, but for the old, going back
is not possible; they may hunger
for youth but pray for the luck
of a quick death. When one by one
the body’s systems fail, they must be brave
and face annihilation of the flesh and bone,
the Soul clinging like a shipwrecked sailor, to love;
finally, love is all we are given
to navigate between exhaustion and heaven.