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Ragged Raven's Annual International Poetry Competition

We will not be running the competition this year

Some of the poems in our Anthologies are by invited contributors, others are selected from entries to our annual competition. Details of the competition are given below. To enter please read the rules below and then either print and complete the Entry form to send with your poems or send a stamped addressed envelope (or self addressed envelope with IRC if overseas) for a form to Ragged Raven Press, 1 Lodge Farm, Snitterfield, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0LR England.

Results of the 13th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Results of the 12th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Results of the 11th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Results of the 10th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Results of the 9th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Results of the 8th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Results of the 7th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

Winners of previous competitions

13th Annual Competition

First prize - £300

Four runners-up prizes of £50

A selection of entries will be included in an anthology scheduled for publication in March 2011.

Closing date: October 31st, 2010

 

Conditions of entry and rules:

* The competition is open to anyone aged 18 and over. Non-UK entries are welcome but all entries must be in the English language.

* Poems may be of any length and on any subject.

* Each poem must be given a title.

* Poems must be typed or neatly written on A4 paper. Only one side of the paper should be used.

* Poems will be judged anonymously and the name of the poet must not appear on the manuscript. Poems must be accompanied by an entry form. One entry form covers multiple entries. Photocopies of the entry form will be accepted.

* Poems must be the original work of the author.

* Poems must not have been previously published or be accepted for future publication elsewhere. They should not have won prizes in other competitions.

* Entries cannot be returned under any circumstances.

* Entrants requiring a copy of the list of winners must enclose a stamped addressed envelope marked "results". No correspondence or telephone calls will be accepted.

* The decision of the judges is final.

* Copyright of each poem remains with the author. Authors will grant Ragged Raven Press permission to publish the poems in the 2011 anthology and will receive one free copy if their poems are included.

* The author of the winning poem  will also grant Ragged Raven Press permission to publish the poem on its website.

* Winners and authors of poems selected for the anthology will be personally notified before December 15th, 2010.

Submission of an entry to the competition will be deemed to imply unqualified acceptance of the competition's rules and conditions.

Entry fee:

£3.00 per poem    £10 for four poems

Free entry for one poem with the purchase of any Ragged Raven Poetry book 

Cheques, postal orders and international money orders (sterling only) should be made payable to Ragged Raven Press. To pay the entry fee by credit card  please click below and indicate that payment has been made in this way on your entry form.

 To pay entry fee for four poems (£10) by credit card:

Send your entries together with the Entry form and appropriate entry fee to:

Ragged Raven Press International Poetry Competition, 1 Lodge Farm, Snitterfield, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0LR to arrive no later than October 31st, 2010.

Any three Past Ragged Raven anthologies - £10 (UK only)
To buy three online, select and pay for two and then email raggedravenpress@aol.com to inform us of your free third choice.

Anthologies can be ordered individually at the following  prices:

Old songs getting younger - £5     

Smile the weird joy - £5        

Red Hot Fiesta - £5        

Promise of rest - £5        

Saturday Night Desperate - £5

Writing on Water - £5

The White Car - £5

When pigs chew stones - £5

The Machineries of Love - £5

Losing the edge - £5

The world is made of glass - £5

Any three of the above Ragged Raven anthologies - £10 (UK only)
To buy three online, select and pay for two and then email raggedravenpress@aol.com to inform us of your free third choice.

UK POSTAGE AND PACKING FREE

2011 anthology - £5

Collections:

the cook's wedding - John Robinson (£6.99)

People from bones - Bron Bateman and Kelly Pilgrim (£6.50)

Vanishing Point - Tony Petch (£6.50)

Seven League Stilettos - Jane Kinninmont (£7.00)

Kung Fu Lullabies - Chris Kinsey (£7.00)

The Invention of Butterfly - Christopher James (£7.00)

The mile-long piano - Andy Fletcher (£7.00)

Occupation - Angela France (£7.00)

Cure for a crooked smile - Chris Kinsey (£7.00)

Centuries of skin - Joanna Ezekiel (£7.00)

UK POSTAGE AND PACKING FREE

 

Winners of previous competitions

1.1998 (Anthology - Old songs getting younger, published 1999)

    First - Gordon Simms, Tinkers' Lane

    Runners up - Joan Board, The Third Parting

                        David Parrott, ROY G BIV

 

2. 1999 (Anthology - Smile the weird joy, published 2000)

    First - John Crick, Miss Brown and Peggy

    Runners-up - Elizabeth Gowing, Concert piece

                       Gordon Simms, But

 

3. 2000 (Anthology - Red Hot Fiesta, published March 2001)

    First - Simon Stratton, A Theoretical  Concept in the Study of Gravitation

    Runners-up - Terry Stothard, shall we die here?

                         Edward Picot, Ellipsis

 

4. 2001 (Anthology - The promise of rest,  March 2002)

    First - Mike Parker, Elizabethan Gentlemen on the Thames 1599

    Runners-up - Margaret Eddershaw, All at sea

                         Jocelyn Simms, Mischanter

 

5. 2002 (Anthology - Saturday Night Desperate,  March 2003)

    First - Jamie Walsh, chess/nightrain

    Runners-up - Jim Carruth,  Kalashnikov's mower

                         Janet R. Hewson, Continuance

                         Anthony Coleman, Messier

                         Terence Brick, The Lute-Maker of Bruges

 

6.  2003 (Anthology - Dress of nettles,  March 2004)

   First - David H. W. Grubb, Ruined Farm

    Runners-up - Clare Kirwan,  Birdsong

                         Terence Brick, Suibhne at the Hospice)

                         David Swann, Cornwall

                         Pat Borthwick, Bought Cakes

 

Ruined Farm
David H. W. Grubb

Raw morning light, the orchard strung with frosted web,
December dawn stealing between barn ruins,
a collapsed caravan and the hunched house,
the two brothers still bivouacked in dreams.
Soon, slowly, getting up to no words, searching for
chicken eggs, the business of breakfast to kick start
existence. Newspaper flopping onto the mat. Radio belching
bad music. Post when it comes adverts and bills and every season
or so a letter from New Zealand. The sister who got away,
the one who had words and songs and their mother's stories.
Somewhere hidden still her jigsaw puzzles. In the envelope
sometimes a golden leaf or a photograph of children.
Now the sun like an owl in the low sky. Two pigs,
three sheep and some hedges to be cut down and the bugger
of a tractor that requires more work.
Parson came here once; said their mother would
be ashamed. Gave him tea which he left in the cup
but gobbed the cake.
In the orchard one of them can still see mother
gathering plums in her apron. To make jam. To
make bread. To make the breakfast feast.
Upstairs his room, old man made mad by cider.
His room left like a place of sores. But hers,
mother's room, still to be dusted and kept right.
The sun sitting there year after year. Letters from
New Zealand left on the pillow. Both men quiet
at the door kept open. Some sort of faith. Some
sort of song not heard anywhere else, rare as a
robin in August.

 

Results of the Seventh Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

7.  2004 (Anthology - Writing on Water,  March 2005)

   First - Michael McGill, Winona Forever

    Runners-up - Margaret Eddershaw,  Outback Cook

                         Alan Franks, The Mirror on the Corner

                         Andrew Detheridge, Franky & Cator

                         Christine Coleman, First Born

 

Winona Forever
by Michael McGill

I.

Johnny’s chest was a home from home.
Sometimes he’d ask, What’s  your favourite place?
and I’d say, Your chest!
Your chest is my favourite place

And it felt nice there for a while.
In a kinder light, or on a higher plain,
I knew I’d arrived on safer terrain;
this urban landscape of skin I bathed in. 

Some days I’d project films onto Johnny
and watch each muscle distort the frame,
watch each breath make the characters
move in weird directions, their bodies 

changing shape with Johnny’s.
And sometimes I’d laugh quietly
as the credits rolled all the way up
his spine and disappeared into his scalp.

Gradually, I began to explore
Johnny in more detail. Consider it
an analysis of sorts: a study
in human and animal scar tissue.

I followed the veins in his arm
like a map, white flesh sliding
across the track marks. And I crawled
all over his body like rocks,

textures, pathways; Johnny’s body
was a narrative filled with
subplots, subtext, intrigue.
Sometimes I’d crawl around

inside his mouth. Like a pig
on a rape rack I was locked
in the frame of Johnny’s smile;
his teeth all uniform, brittle, all metal.

But deep down Johnny was a blueballer,
a prick tease – and our journey broke
into splinters when I reached the jet
black ink of Johnny’s tattoo.

And so a bloodless battle began
and this bond was ours to sever;
on his left arm it read
                                    Winona Forever.

II.

After that, we drove in the dark
for a long time, taking turns
in the driving seat or the passenger’s
recline. Winona was silent 

although we remained…
haunted. Both of us knew that
the answer lay in finding
this chemical girl, this alibi.

It was a colourless journey
at first, through discontinued
production, through career slumps
in the suburbs and so forth.

But there would be moments
when I’d look at Johnny, put my hand
through his hair and say, Oh, bliss,
I could kiss sweet days like this…

In the car there were whispers:
Please come soon, Winona. Please
come home.
100,000 asthmatics
in the back seat breathing shallow

lest the coma bug should catch,
chanting, Please come soon, Winona.
Please come home
. Ghosts behind electric
windows, whispering for Winona.

Together Johnny and I would steal.
By that time we’d steal anything
we could get our hands on: bricks,
pregnant mannequins, flowers,

misquotes from sitcoms. My friend,
we stole each other’s breath
on colder Winter evenings. We bled
each other dry the fun way.

And we lived underwater for a long time,
the stolen air between our bodies going
back and forth; like Zapruder filming
smiles for Dallas as Kennedy’s head

walloped back and forth, his brains
scooped up like ice cream in Jackie’s
hands. A dead man’s head and the frozen
air between us, back and forth.

Overground, this wasn’t the path
of true love so much as the litter-
strewn field by its side. And Johnny
would stand right there and piss

in the greasy river; piss words
so clear, words so clever;
for those words always,
                                    Winona Forever.

III. 

Johnny started to panic towards
the end of our journey. We’ll never
find her
, he said, his face
all crippled like instant nostalgia,

We’ll never find Winona. Instead,
he offered me a kiss, a pill; a wet,
sizzling film still. Oh, my virtual
fool, my special scar! We were

young fools then; we were notes
from a documentary, sipping gazpacho
in amongst the skyscrapers, or standing
still behind venetian blinds, 

naked, looking through West Coast
glass at ocean waves lapping; gliding
painlessly, but recklessly, towards
Los Angelean anaesthesia.

And by then Winona was wandering
around on CCTV, posing as Amy Randone
or hanging out with JT, and Johnny
and I became spectators in a courtroom

drama. Outside, there were audiences,
all listening, passive, all watching.
I turned to look at the tattoo
on Johnny’s arm and instead

there were only skin cells, cleansed
and clear. I asked him,
What was Winona but another
shaved layer of skin?

Another removed tattoo. A girl glimpsed
only through flickering pixels; trapped
in images stored for a magazine world,
images left floating like dead websites;

a girl as torn and tagged
as the stolen couture on her arm;
a girl all glued together with xanax,
oxycodin, liquid demerol, liquid

diazepam, morphine sulphate, percoset,
valium – all for Winona
Ryder: a girl who rarely flutters
her eyelashes these days. 

IV.

Johnny and I dissolved not long after
and a darker life beckoned, one spent
sleeping in airports and dreaming
of flight, dreaming of planes

cutting high through these skyscraper
dawns, dreaming of teenager days reading
The Catcher in the Rye or watching
old movies in the barn. Scarred 

by the answers circumstance gave me,
from candid to brutal, I traced the invisible
steps towards the confession houses
and wept, at last, for Winona.

Once in a theatre, Johnny leapt
from the balcony and threw

himself onto the stage, hollering
and signalling for me

to join him. But I stood behind
the barrier, knowing that youth
had just leapt away from me
for good. And I think of him sometimes

and the laughter we stole
in a two year frame. I think
of Johnny and, like wildfire,
he is still dancing.

And so for the hearts that still
beat holy, and the dream horses they
ride together, there is no goodbye,
                                    Winona forever.  

 

Results of the eighth Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

8.  2005 (Anthology - The White Car,  March 2006)

   First - Dana Littlepage Smith, On The Exhumation of The Body of Emmett Till

    Runners-up - Sheena Odle,  Washed Up

                         Gwen Seabourne, The pitch of girls' voices

                         John Godfrey, The White Car

                         Kate Rayner, What Persists

 

On The Exhumation of The Body of Emmett Till
Dana Littlepage Smith

Somebody asked me if I was sad today.
Sad?
To see a cotton gin tied around my son
when once I heard an angel sing?

Was I sad? To feel barbed wire knit the neck
of a living thing
fished from the Tallahatchie

my thoughts dry as the gills of a catfish
thrown high in a Huckleberry tree
until my Lord

swooped down to take me
from Chicago to Mississippi.
Was I sad? I felt earth heave

on its axis after a jury of white men
took sixty seven minutes--
"it might have taken less without the soda break--"

to knit the devil a pair of wings.
You ask me was I--
In 1955 I died with history.

I made them leave that casket open
for all the world to see
how sometimes nothin's

left, not even
a bye bye baby,
just a child's initialed ring.

 

Results of the ninth Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

9.  2006 (Anthology - When pigs chew stones,  March 2007)

   First - Patricia Wooldridge, When Pigs Chew Stones

    Runners-up - Angela Readman,  The Glass Bottomed Boat

                         Michael J Woods, The Prospect of Change

                         Dawn Schuck, Body Image

                         Angela France, Ties that Bind

 

When Pigs Chew Stones
Patricia Wooldridge

The pigs chew
on a field of stones,

dribble pebbles
behind the shore,

their pursed mouths
full of clink.

Dun light folds over
a bowl of sky,

my feet
pock, pock,
the beach,

trailing me.

Ten weeks
since my father died and already
gaps -

how did he choose my name?

In the garden,
the hover fly between us,

what was he thinking?

The pigs and I
riddling sea,

the sky
full of holes.

 

Results of the tenth Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

10.  2007 (Anthology - The Machineries of Love,  March 2008)

   First - John Terry, The Machineries of Love

    Runners-up - Judy Kendall,  Facing it

                         Paul Kingsnorth, It is ours, but it is not ours to stop

                         Michael Swan, Staging Post

                        John Godfrey, Verse Wars

 

The Machineries of Love  
John Terry

            Visitors to their house would ask:
What use is it? What does it do?
She never said why or how her husband
worked. She knew

            that explanations bred more questions;
would not squander carefully rationed
strength to meet blank stares, or deflect
comments that lessened 

            him. They thought their incomprehension
normal; therefore (of course) he was not.
After her operation she’d sat from choice
on a thrown-out 

            armchair in the garage, warmly wrapped
in her shawl of drugs, applauding each new part
he created to feed the machine’s slow growth.
Was still there; heart 

            leaping at his whispered: Watch!
as crafted metal began to move in ways
she’d never imagined; or dreamt were possible.
Could never say 

            why it made her cry, or how such joy
could come from light just beyond eyeshot.
If he’d been a gardener he might have given
flowers in pots, 

            vases of cut blooms in every room;
but nothing she’d like better, or love
more than this machine which had no purpose
but to exist for her, and move 

            in an interesting way; the only gift
his skill could give; and when at last, unable
to leave the house, she missed the bright
tumble 

            of its movements, he re-erected it indoors
where she could always see it; locked the garage
and spent his time with her; finding strength
to support her courage. 

            Long afterwards, convinced that something
of her lived on within spindles and trains of gears,
he built new parts; began to extend the machine,
make it large enough to hide the tears 

            which still caught him. He ripped up floors
and tore out joists, making room for iron frames
that would guide and support his great design.
Walls came 

            down brick by brick to allow access.
Simpler in the end to let the growing mechanism
support the house it was devouring; always hungry
to become… 

II

High as a church, the Great Machine
naked and complex as uncased clockwork,
dominates Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. 

            Driven by a voice he still can hear
            the artist works alone, fettling castings
            until their gritted dust impregnates
            a workbench already grained with oil.

Overhead, crowds fill the walkways
where moving parts of sculpted metal
(that fingers ache to touch) twist and dance,
radiant with reflected light, like angels
whose movements illustrate perfection.

They queued until midday to get this far:
well worth the wait – but it’s far too much
for one visit –
            each level of the Great Machine
displays a different motion of balanced steel
that thrills the eye as music does the ear. 

Critics, who wandered these walkways for a week,
still argue how their feelings of all-enfolding joy
could be built into spindles, shafts and trains of gears.

            The artist works behind a plate glass wall
            where visitors can stare and leave their smear
            of hands, mist of eager breath. 

            The glass is polished every day,
            inside and out, but cleaners never go
            where lathe and drill spit coils of biting swarf;
            where iron, rough cast in sand, is stacked in heaps
            and steel bars crowd in corners of the wall. 

His workshop’s called The Studio now; but not
by him, who conceived and built this masterpiece
which draws so many people every day
to crowd his plate-glass wall like moths 

            - the final exhibit and none too soon:
a long day for kids forbidden to run
and parents, arms weighed down with toddlers,
abandon dreams of cushioned settees
and settle on the vast floor. 

            The artist works, unheeding. For her alone
            new sections of the Great Machine
            take shape upon his bench.  


Results of the eleventh Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

11.  2008 (Anthology -Losing the edge)

First - Angela Readman, The Scent of Mrs DiMaggio's Bedroom

Runners-up - 
Louise Wilford,  Shredding
David Mark Williams, The Book of Sheep
David Underdown, Thin Ice
David Grubb, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Necessity


The Scent of Mrs DiMaggio's Bedroom  
Angela Readman

January

I came home to find you naked
as a hotel room: a bouquet of tissues
on the night stand, and your lips
poised as complimentary mints on the pillow.
You lay on the bed as something displayed,
in the velvet folds of a Tiffany jewellery box.
Suddenly my hands felt so empty of gifts,
here, in a room swept of all traces of us.
I placed down my old hunting cap,
and inhaled your scent stolen from deer.

February

The bedroom starts to remind me
of the back seat of your car, a crinkling pink
of unpaid tickets under your thighs, soda cans,
and plastic forks rattling on the floor as if shed
by miniature devils on the hoof.

None of this phases you, peering at your reflection
trapped in the small fallen moon of your compact,
snapping it shut to take a snack and make a win of sloth.
You give a small cheer as you toss a cheese wrapper
into the cup of a brassiere lolling on the floor.

I move the chewed fat of what’s left of a steak
on a plate from my pillow, make beef of  my dreams.
Touch you, like peeling a boiled egg, with one eye
on the smuggled black pearls of your teeth marks in the flesh. 

March

Some days you douse out the aroma of sex
in Chanel, by the bucket, pour a capful under a faucet
careful an alchemist making womb water
that gives birth to movie stars.
I come home to hear the bath run
into a channel that drowns the woman I love.

April

You hover in your tracks
to pick a moth from my tomato soup,
blow it dry with a cool breeze from your mouth
before giving your air borne kiss to the wind.

The same hand that pounds my chest,
and beats, beats till a door opens up.

May

Too many bottles and potions on the dresser,
glass that gabbles when I walk in the door.
My half blown apology cracks to sand on my tongue.

Next to what you made a sickbed,
more white flowers, a frailty of nature
that makes me nervous as your top lip
too much like a petal before it falls.

June

I used to cull insects, before not to dulled my senses.
My rogue hand outwitted air, found its deftness
in taking them out mid swoop.

But in the company of your fur stole
on the arm, its hum of face cream and rouge,
I catch the wasp in a vase, notice
just sucking a sting from my thumb
reminds me of you, when I empty it outside.

July

But suddenly Zabars, a malingering brine.
You inspect stuff in jars that seems to stare out,
tangled and strange as pickled deeds.
You play the fish bones, slices slick as cured souls,
stop bugging me for Ma’s Tiramisu recipe,
ask Lena how to gefilter a fish.

August  

If they dared ask, they would, what it’s like
sleeping with Marilyn, and I would reply
with a smile, or a punch in the face. 

A scattered room, each dress you dismissed
draped on the bed, still swollen
and waiting for your return. Later,
you tip toe in and curl up next to them,
let me kiss a mouth full of the ghost of champagne.

I find my answer to the unspoken question as you close your eyes.
Sleeping with you, more and more, like sharing that room with Babe Ruth,
getting to know the suitcase he left behind.

September

Livid with lilies, a smell so sweet
it clutches something in my head and stays
there curled tight, makes me look
through the pantry for ageing meat;
I catch myself and turn on the TV.

It’s come to watching too many westerns.

In the dead hours, the writhe of your dressing gown
when you walked to the bathroom
made me recall a gun fighter’s hand,
tap tap tapping as his other drinks tea. 

It was another day, another dress.
Some flunkie said you’re dressed to kill.
And all night I wonder, Who?


Results of the 12th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

12.  2009 (Anthology - The world is made of glass)

First - K.V. Skene, And blessed are

Runners-up - 
Clare Kirwan,  The world is made of glass
David Mark Williams, The Day of the Slow Driver
Stephen Dempsey, Shoreline
Jane Blank, Bathers

K V SKENE

...so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.
W B Yeats

And blessed are

the poor in spirit

and a grandfather who speaks a language for which
he makes no excuses,
who navigates a neighbourhood in which
he lives by heart,
who knows what it's like to be alien, to strike out
at the first hint of recession/redundancy/
cut-backs/lay-offs as his children
get on their bikes, catch the bus, turn up
at the job centre, work site
trusting the world to be flat, that their god will provide
government initiatives, a lottery win, an ass to kiss...

they that mourn

because happiness was always about a dream-come-true
before the dear-departed, her walking bones
and grandmother's god is still with us
although occasionally all the red wine
turns to vinegar. Look out the blind windows
and see her reflection: her hollow eye,
sunken cheek, greying hair and read her habitual obituaries
in any newspaper. Understand as a child understands
(without inquiring into the nature of nothing)
and smile as her grandchildren smile when tears are done -
less to reward than comfort.

the meek

who survive a multitude of sins - even in a city
where east is French, west is flat, north is Precambrian
and south is Lake Ontario (and you have to admire
my sense of direction). They are the mothers
(their names are legion) who scrub the toilets, mop the floors,
clean up other people's laundry/dishes/dirt... Even when
the front garden's tarmaced over, even when the streetlights
blow out, even when the pushers and pimps and their whores
move in and weekend junkies cruise the kerb, even when
they can (and sometimes do) disappear like that Cheshire cat
leaving only a grin behind.

those who hunger and thirst after righteousness

In all cities, in all centuries, mothers and fathers
usually manage to leave one light on. Occasionally
true wisdom drops in unheralded and, for a few,
enlightenment unfolds. All too soon someone will insist
you make a decision, a statement, a commitment,
a mistake and some places
make promises they can't keep. Now you only need
to do it right: pay the mortgage, paint the house,
renovate the kitchen, light scented candles,
place fresh flowers on the table
and there must be no hidden meaning. No agenda.

the merciful

As a parent you know what it's like to have fallen
from perfection. And you know
it's your own fault. You understand
the cringe of disintegration, the tragi-comedy,
the what-the-hell
and invoke the rituals that protect; light birthday candles,
carve pumpkins, build bonfires, roast turkeys,
open the champagne at midnight no matter what
or where. In every state, province, city, town, village
all histories are real, all borders are real
and not real.

the pure in heart

(and mind) who acknowledge an old god
that gives little evidence of his/her/its existence
or intent and never intervenes in our secular stampede
towards a place we don't want to be: sunless, soundless,
sleepless, soulless, hopeless... Listen children,
the grass is not greener over there, the night
is not calmer, dawn is not brighter
and there is no more beautiful god to carry into the wilderness
who won't eventually leave you to laugh or cry alone
but living is easy - just remember the magic words
and always wash your hands afterwards.

the peacemakers

Big brothers are smarter, stronger,
so grateful for all disasters averted
they blur the difference
between remembering/forgetting/forgiving/
moving forward/standing
still. Their gods are angry
and not easy to answer - guns are stockpiled
and tanks and harriers and chinooks
hover over all rhetoric. Now
they watch CNN as the bombs fall
upon our children and our children's children and...

those who are persecuted for righteousness sake

or for the sake of all we have ever lost by accident,
absentmindedness or on purpose - misplaced mittens,
striped scarves, that Christmas tuque with the red pompom,
gym shoes, homework, keys, wallet, glasses,
virginity and the future we discarded (as a snake
sheds its skin) leaving the closed-closet smell
of family secrets. How the past hangs over us -
a grim, impassioned angel
recording each small sin as it occurs - as if unexculpated,
as if sisters should know how to live
and let each other be.

Results of the 13th Ragged Raven Press Poetry Competition

13.  2010 (Anthology - as yet untitled, to be published  March 2011)

First - Samuel Tongue, Cynefin

Runners-up - 
Jason Watts,  How You Prepare to Go to Church
Julia Stothard, Viewpoint
David Mark Williams, The Year of my First Wedding
Roger James, Can't be told

SAMUEL TONGUE

Cynefin

We shall share stories,
tracing out the lines, the fine hair-like roots
running through the core of our days,

longings that keep us bound
to this place, these people,
the proper names for things.

The Welsh have a word for it;
cynefin – understood and taken as true –
a hint, a guess to describe

that deep binding, the pull that means
sharp-toothed run-down hill farms
must be sold off with their flocks

as this is the one place where they
can roam free to graze, birth,
and to drop as broken ragbags of bone and brown wool

kept within the mountain’s heaved boundaries
of grey rock and green stream,
shattered chapel and stone,

by a drag in the bones,
a scent on the wind
remembered as home.

 

 

 
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