Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Elmet Poetry Prize

I've just heard that I'm a runner up in the Elmet Poetry Prize.

A good news day

Especially since when I heard about the competition and its theme, elements, I thought, I'll have a go at writing for that. At the beginning of July I had been caught during a walk back from the pub by the sight of the clouds in a pond in the field we were crossing. Although a fairly normal reflection, it hooked into me and I couldn't shake it and knew the only way to let it go was to write about it. The poetry comp was the obvious channel.

I'm not one for entering competitions, mainly because my poems are not normally long enough. I have this theory that only poems of 25 lines plus win competitions. So I was going to have to make this poem 25 lines or more for it to be a contender.

Does this sound trivial? It's not meant to. The length is about sustaining an idea.

Nice too 'cos I get £50 for it. Always welcome.

Anyway, the rest is history.

Although not quite, since I'm going to the reading/prize giving in Mytholmroyd in W Yorkshire. It'll be interesting to hear the winners and Jackie Kay , who judged the competition, will hopefully be reading some of her work - always a pleasure. As long as I don't spend the evening beating myself up for not seeing this protrusion or that gap in my poem that could have improved it ...

But this is what won it (not the maths prize - it is only 20 lines long not 25!)


The Three of Us

The pitted stream smudges a version
of grey clouds hammering against anvils.
Its glass distorted by the air between.
Wind made visible by water. Held briefly.

Your grey eye stipples mine. In it I can see my face,
the colour of my iris. Flecked. Looming. Our love,
lying with us, defines our separateness.
Absence makes each heart.

The artist blinded by the portrait, no longer sees
its sitter, paints a mirror of themselves
in the body of another. If I painted you,
would it be child or adult staring back?

The division, thin as life and death. Take two
parents: one living, one dead. I’m daughter
to both. Separated only by physical distance.
They’re two sides of the same pebble. A skimmer.

Beached. A thousand greys bleach
under rain, the sky’s eyes. Heron stalks
the sunset. A second wades out of sight.
Our skin as slight as a feather.

1 comment:

Sophie Nicholls said...

Hi Sarah. Lovely to meet you on Saturday evening and to hear your beautiful poem. Best wishes.