2012 Competition: Commended Poems

Rosalind Hudis

Rupture

 

There are days she stares

at the kettle, but can’t retrieve

ts connection to water. Or days

when the dry bristles of her brush

remind her of a cactus that flowered

every ten years, if she cared for it,

but how that brush could sooth,

re-wake her face, is lost.

 

There are days the phone rings,

but she can’t re-map the way

her hands could bridge a room

to open or close the tap of speech.

Sometimes, she’s forty years

back in a war-time booth,

upright among the broken

knuckles of the street,

 

scrapping with her boyfriend,

the moment when

the glass sides shower out

and, all around her, tenements

flower into a once in a lifetime

spasm of absurd heat.

She watches bloodied women

pour out, still in their aprons.

 

One carries a baby with no head,

swaddled in its shawl,

while the city settles

in ashes across her hair.

 

Rosalind Hudis lives in West Wales and is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at Trinity St David, Lampeter. Rack Press will publish a pamphlet of her work in January 2013.


 

Suzanna Fitzpatrick

Lamb 001

 

It’s time.  Nudged by some internal clock

the first ewe shifts, distracted suddenly;

eyes on the middle distance, focussing

on something coming nearer.  She avoids

 

the others, huddles up against a wall,

paws at the straw to make herself a nest

but can’t get comfortable; lies down, gets up,

lies down again.  She lifts her nose

 

as if the sky has just occurred to her;

top lip curling in an effortful sneer,

stargazing.  Below her tail, a globe

of amber liquid grows like a balloon

 

with life’s imperative: two hooves, a head,

eyes tightly sealed against the rapid slide

from womb to straw.  Her birth trance snapped, she turns

and licks him; murmuring, oblivious

 

of the flock, which gathers as if magnetised

into a semicircle; each head bowed

in concentration, waiting for that first

uncertain, commanding bleat.

 

Suzanna Fitzpatrick combines freelance editing with writing, singing, and sheep midwifery at her local city farm.  Her poems have been published in various magazines. 


 

 

Wes Lee

Ginnel

 

A memory of silverfish

is this all that’s left

 

scattering in the dark,

over home & hearth.  

 

The other houses had cockroaches,

we had silverfish, translucent, greyish silverfish,

 

the other houses had bedbugs,

left on their lights

 

so they wouldn’t bite, so my mother said.

A proud woman my mother:

 

Joined the hokey cokey line 

on Blackpool sands, 

 

at Southport dipped 

a low fandango.

 

In the ginnel

the wind listened to us.

 

The sun, baked the cobbles,

waiting

 

for what we had to say. Provoking us

into opening our mouths.

 

Time moves too quick;

a net with holes,

 

each time you come down on it,

you miss.

 

Wes Lee lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She was the 2010 recipient of The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award. Most recently she was runner up in The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award 2012, in Ireland.


 

Julie Collar

The Stampede

 

Queenie and Violet, like butter wouldn’t melt –

ribbons correct,

petticoats starched to within an inch –

 

lie smooth, like snakes

warming themselves in the morning sun

on the flat roof over the kitchens.

 

No one can see them,

let alone what Queenie’s hiding

clenched in a fist under her belly,

 

not Ma at the window below,

hand clamped over the O of her mouth,

not Dad in the cellar changing the barrels.

 

No one will know who it was,

what evil little bugger it was

panicked the cattle on their way to the market

 

and now they’re all over the shop,

 

eyes rolling, hides crusty with dust and dung.

The women come rushing out, swearing,

scooping up kiddies –

 

and all the while, the wiry Scotchmen

run down the street, their dogs yapping

as the men breath curses, vowels

 

clotting thick as phlegm in the sharp London air.

All of it – the beasts, the men, like a tide,

like a bleedin’ invasion;

 

the stream of backs and horns reflected,

black and gold,

in the windows of the Home & Colonial

 

and in the middle the coal man,

head down, one hundredweight

of best anthracite on his back.

 

Julie Collar received an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in 2009. She had poems short-listed in the Bridport Prize in 2009 and 2011 and commended in the National Poetry Prize in 2009.