Poetry: Indie Poetry Please Winners October 2022

Thank you for the growing response to the “Indie Poetry Please” contest, running weekly on my Instagram account @ornaross.poetry

How does it Work?

Each week, on Friday, we prompt a theme arising from my own poem of the week, released the previous Monday.
In October 2022, the themes were “Waves”, “Then” and “Calling”. I like to keep the themes and prompts open, and am always delightfully surprised at the interpretations.

Our three winners this month were
Name: WordHead @bootstrapproductions

Name @mala_naidoo
Website: https://www.malanaidoo.com/

Name: @mjj.poetry

Like to Enter?

Entry is free and couldn’t be easier.

1. Follow @ornaross.poetry on Instagram and check out the poetry prompt. If you need an example, scroll back two posts to read Orna’s own poem on the theme.
2. Post your poem in the comments. One poem per comment, please.
3. Post the poem on your own Instagram account also, as a post or story, with words that say something like: “I just entered this #poem in this week’s #IndiePoetryPlease contest from @ornaross.poetry ”
4. The judges are Orna Ross and Karen Lotter. We read every poem and Orna gives feedback when she can.
5. If you’re the winner we will DM you for your email address to send your prizes.


The winning poems feature here on my blog, in my monthly poetry newsletter and on my Instagram account, reaching tens of thousands of poetry lovers.

The winner also receives:

  • my most recent poetry ebook
  • my Alliance of Independent Authors guide to publishing a book of poetry, fiction or non-fiction, Creative Self-Publishing

If you have any difficulty with your submission, write to Sarah at: info@ornaross.com — subject line: “Indie Poetry Please!”

Winners: October 2022


WordHead @bootstrapproductions


we drift farther
from each other
caught up
in the currents of
we flail
in the waves
but fail
to reach the
shores of
better days




then we knew a different way
all for one and one for all
celebrating customs and cultures
then, as one under life’s sky

then we frolicked outdoors
‘til radiant stars ignited the heavens
with laughter in our carefree days
then, there was untold joy

then we knew the neighborhood
one family breaking bread
doors unlocked and a warm plate
then, for a ragged wanderer

then we cared for the frail
grieved as one when one passed
uncontrolled emotions healed
our pain




I see the phone light up
in the passenger seat.
I watch it ring
until she gives up on her end.
Her smiling, foreign face.
A black screen.

Green puddles of watercolor-paint
ripple on the asphalt
near the traffic light’s gleam:
drops of dirty rain
called to become pools
in the potholes
without question.

A skein of geese comes calling
from the covert vault —
angels singing
“Woe to you in this final hour.”

I read the passing signs
as one would read poems
so desperate for sleep.

Hiring. On Sale. Slow Down. Need Help?

I look for wisdom in the license plates
like a ghost in Alexandria —
plates on black Mercedes
that whir past me in the night.
So many called
to steer a certain way.
So many called
to drive at such a speed.
They spray their trail
‘gainst my windows
like televangelists
playing with holy water.

I park the car in an empty field
beside the graveyard.
Tombstones with names
that some mother must have called…
some teacher must have called…
some lover must have called…

But what were they all called to?

Send us your Poem

Are you inspired to write a poem? Head on over to my Instagram and take a look at this week’s prompt.