The city of Palmdale’s Public Art Committee has selected “What Beauty Holds Us Captive Here,” a poem by Lancaster resident Mary Denning, as the winning entry in the inaugural “Walk on Words” poetry contest.

Denning’s poem, which reflects her thoughts of living in the Antelope Valley, was selected from a pool of 58 entries to be the first cast in concrete at Poncitlán Square as part of the city’s public art program. Entrants were asked to submit original compositions that were no more than 12 lines long, including title, with a maximum of 35 characters per line, including spaces.

“I am very honored and grateful for this,” Denning said. “I feel very fortunate to live here in the Antelope Valley. There’s so much beauty here. I look at the sunrises and sunsets and all that beauty. We didn’t have that when we lived in Northridge.”

An Antelope Valley resident for a decade, Denning began delving into the arts after she retired. “I first wrote a children’s book and did the illustrations,” she said. “I also did some oil painting and then joined the AV Writer’s Association and started writing poems. I write a new poem every week.”

Below is Denning’s winning entry:

What Beauty Holds Us Captive Here

Might the ancient Antelope know

Or ask the smart Black Crows

Windy echoes from long ago

or ghostly herds of deer that flow

But stopped to graze and disappear

Kitanemukes of old revered

Snowcapped mountains so near

And Joshua trees and cacti rare

Where golden poppies fare

And mix with Blue Lupine to pair

They said a rainbow led us here.

Honorable mention winners in the contest included Vince Pirozzi, Linda Hamilton, Elena Pimental, Rosemarie Giron, Kenneth Wheat, Salma Fawzi, Stephanie Estanislao all of Palmdale; Dave Ostman of Littlerock; and Carol Hill of Lancaster.

Palmdale created its Public Art Committee earlier this year to explore ways to better engage residents in the arts and provide avenues for those creative expressions.

For information on the Public Art Committee, call (661) 267-5611.