Poetry Centre

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  • First Place (Open): 'Appetit, for Persephone' by Katie Byford

    Bet is to be wedded than to brynne
    he said I was a peach

    couldn’t see him didn’t know the crocus
    pollen on my toes would be a dowry

    black earth gulped my legs my shoulders
    covered my head my footprints with itself

    the taste of aquifers stone forests
    mantle I am dead I reasoned  

    through dusted lashes knelt
    somewhere head bowed      informed I am 

    to be comfort for a mud king
    with strange pets 

    I gripped a grass blade still
    bright with my own kissed breath 

    there was a wed-ing of sorts
    my stomach and other parts     surveyed 

    to fathom my capacity
    hung from my feet to siphon sunlight 

    blood pressed for foxglove poisons
    panned for gold molecules 

    then began the drinking     a feast of carrion
    the maltworm king crowed his huge  

    knowledge of human weakness how fitting you are mine
    he cracked       for the price of your hunger 

    how fitting he the corpse lord mistook silence
    for surrender and half-sober stirs 

    face down on his throne mound bound
    under my foot my heel in grey cheekflesh  

    and at my word forfeits all but
    everything of his      even the dogs

    by Katie Byford

  • Second Place (Open): 'How to avoid clichés' by Vanessa Lampert

    Listen to the others, then say words linked
    for other reasons. Practice makes enough.
    Clichés ride on thermals like strains of the song
    you’ve got to search for the hero inside yourself.
    Learn to duck and leave. In your mind’s ear
    go to the hospice where your dad stayed
    for respite care then curtains, not curtains,
    he died. Don’t say angels, every last one
    of those people, peaceful, don’t say
    the birds sang their hearts out, lovely garden,
    fragrant pink roses or he had new pyjamas
    buttoned all the way like a little boy.
    Say you watched a plane fly over and imagined it
    packed with divorced guinea pig enthusiasts
    heading somewhere wet. Say they wore gaiters
    and read badly written blockbusters,
    with stabbings they won't have seen coming.
    Say there was a doctor in a green jumper
    so thin you could see her bra and she was crouching
    beside your dad’s bed. Say she was pregnant
    but you couldn’t tell until she stood up,
    which happened after she had recited a list
    of possible happinesses for your dad
    in a soft voice, whilst slowly stroking his arm.
    Say his pyjama sleeve was rolled up
    past the elbow and the palm of his hand
    was upturned, reminding you of a clean ashtray
    or Christ. Say she stroked upwards, asking
    would you like to play scrabble? then down,
    or do the Sudoku together? Fancy a baguette
    with ham, and a sliced tomato?
    Wagner’s ring cycle on headphones?
    Or maybe you’d like a whisky with ice? Don’t say
    if your own children turn out half as kind
    as the people who work in hospices,
    yours will have been a life well-lived, job done
    or that you miss your dad more than ever
    all these years on. Say he chose a whisky
    and some pork scratchings. Say the pregnant doctor
    poured a treble. Don’t call the ice rocks.

    by Vanessa Lampert

  • Special Commendation (Open): 'Wakeboarding, in Hamamatsu' by Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana

    'Wakeboarding, in Hamamatsu' by Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana

    by Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana