Edgar Allan Philpott


Near Ponchartrain Lake on September fifth

a child was treated to her ninth birthday gift.

A clutch of green snapping-turtle eggs

was hatching as she squatted on Cajun-brown legs

the length of a rotting cedar-tree log

where she sat beside a google-eyed frog.

Shells like ovoid river pebbles cracked

while the girl chewed gum and slurped and snacked

on stale buttered popcorn from a striped greasy bag,

her birthday gift from the Ponchartrain Hag.

Shell shards fell as small green heads poked

at their new-found world where a fire was stoked.

Old hag's pot was roiling as she gathered the bunch

for boiled-turtle soup with child for lunch.

Edgar Allan Philpott
Lost In, Louisiana

Photo by Ted Parrott/Montage by Albert L. Baker
Edgar Allan Philpott, 74, author of "The Boondoggler's Bible," entered this year's Senior Poets Laureate contest as an itinerant jazz musician temporarily residing in New Orleans. The true identity of the tricky bard came out--that none of this was factual--when one of the poet's entries won the state's SPL title. "I am Edgar Allan Philpott," the contest's co-founder Wanda Sue Parrott confessed. "We needed entries from Louisiana, so I acted on a whim under one of my aliases, never expecting to win. Since no one else from Louisiana entered, I won unopposed." In the 17-year history of the SPL contest, she has never entered before. "I always say poetry should be fun," she says. "Edgar Allan proves it is."