Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Poetry Competition for Adults, listed below. Once again, the quality of the entries was very high and gave our judges a challenging task. Thanks to all who entered.
North Hill Terry Dyson
At first blink of light
vague haze of pink
I dream of you all as stripling oaks
branches squabbling fisticuffs
scratching low at my windowpane.
Only real sound so far my heart
drifting home to its shell
of your wartime spiel
spat and disorder before I was born.
Time scatters as swallows
tumble and hefted ewes blare
to a drumming
exchange of war
rippling gun fire fracturing air.
Did I hear your voice – just then?
A man preparing to leave
tea slurped slosh of sugar
clank of alloy spoon
brush of bags dragged along the floor.
Sunlight splinters through, and just
when I think you’ve gone
you’re back turning
to raise a perfect “V”
grinning irregular teeth.
Porlock Weir Jan Martin
Where the land falls
into brown sea,
and stones rattle under the surf
like rounds of applause,
there’s a history
that’s invisible and alive
in scorching wind,
or gray stillness tracked
by unbearably sweet birdsong
and the crack of guns.
There’s a haunted wood and
a hidden chapel that draws us up,
and dense silence settling like fog
softens our outlines
and soothes our horizons
into dreams of another life,
where our stories can embrace
all the rocks and crags
of our faces, and the wind
from a far future blows quiet songs.
In a Storm on Ferny Ball Richard Westcott
Bright beech branches bend in the wind –
fragments flying. I turn from the west,
rain on my back, clothes stuck close.
Was that the protesting movement of trees
or something different – a reminder
of someone shuffling then sliding
through the loosened-up, torn-apart hedge?
Crooked and trunk-twisted, bent like a tree
the vision continues to vanish –
washed away in the rain, as if wishing
to be somewhere else. No shelter or company
anywhere here, just sharp surgings,
straight-ahead rain – the prevails of a gale,
such as she would know only too well.
Struck on the neck by a stick in the wind
I spin round, feeling a summons
to face all these forces. Part deafened,
face streaming, I find my thoughts
scattered like leaves. Nothing is
tamed. Here this is wildness where
the loosened is freed and freed are caught.
Who would be out in a place like this
on a day such as this, unless fleeing
from home and from others, with a wish
to be elsewhere? She’s slipping past green trunks
of bent-over beech, whose branches are waving
at a dwindling figure now blown away
by this westerly, and storm-distorted senses.