First Prize Poem

2017 Open Poetry Competition

2017 WINNING POEMS.

!st prize 'Boat' by A.K.S. Shaw
2nd prize 'Under Water' by Susan Rogerson*
3rd prize 'Windfalls' Complaint' by Terence Jones
Consolation prizes 'The Bat Corridor' by Marion Adams
'13 Things in my Pitcairn Sewing Basket
by Denise Bennett
'National Trust' by Keith Chandler
'Paperchase' by Maureen Cullen
'Wartime Farewell' by David Griffiths*
'Great Aunt Letitia' by Trudie Hodge*
'Empathy' by Carolyn King
'At Last, a Break in he Rain' by A.F.Paterson
'In the MRI Scanner by Derek Sellen
' Syringomyelia' by Jill Thomas*

* Society Members.

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FIRST PRIZE - 'BOAT' by Keith Shaw - Somerset

Look at it: this wheedling gull,
descending in concentric circles
through a cold grey Winter sky.
Black head cocked, its sharp claws anchored in
the soft pulp of my rotting upturned hull,
it then anoints me with a stream of piss and shit.
It hasn't always been like this.

Think of all the skill it took to fashion planks
of virgin teak, resisting fortune's sudden twist,
into the seamless satin body of a rowing boat,
my solid stern and rudder, fine upstanding prow.
See me here this sun-kissed Summer day
bobbing up and down amongst the bright buoys
on an open sea, or in some sheltered bay.

Or here with aging Jake, a hunchback,
ferrying his winkles, whelks, a stock of lobster pots,
a catch of cod, across the sullen murmuring sound.
When he died it knocked the bottom out of me; I lost
all confidence, all sense of pride. My hull began to sweat.
I foundered. Carefree dog days disappeared
like flotsam on a godless tide.

And now, below the sagging sailcloth
of this cold grey sky, another bitter Winter's taking hold.
Lying warped, abandoned, rotting bottom up,
upon this mud-grey seaweed-stranded catafalque,
I feel beneath my broken hull the ocean's slow
seductive undermining tow. From stem to stern
at Neptune's beck, to his embrace my bones return.

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