Open 2014: Poetry Winners


Here are the winning entries for the open poetry competition, judged by James Nash.

To see a full list of the results, click here.

First Prize: Forgiveness by Tracy Davidson

I wince every time a nail is driven in,
even though I'm the one wielding the hammer.

I try to ignore the cries of the women
pleading for mercy, for the pain to stop.

I avert my eyes from the fear reflected
in those of the condemned, bite back the pity.

This one's different. I sense no fear in him,
feel no resistance when I seize his wrists.

His eyes call to me. There's a calmness in them,
an acceptance of his fate, and…forgiveness.

His gaze never wavers as I complete my task,
an unfamiliar lump constricting my throat.

I cannot explain the wetness on my cheeks
as he is hauled up, the cross fixed in place.

Nor can I explain the wave of love that flows
through me as he dies and the earth cracks beneath my feet.

Second Prize: Birthday Cake for Arthur by Caroline Bennett

You chose this wife,
this life,
this crazy cake
flawed full of anxious love.
Too long in the heat she burns,
Sloping sides and breadknife scars,
the baker's baffled woe.

You measure carefully.
The cake you make has fingersprung gold even depths,
Each slice loyal.
You add crackle and light
to please my clapping child.

Each year I make my cake
with the wrong ingredients,
and love.
Which is all I have.
You eat it anyway.
You chose this wife,
this life,
this crazy cake.

Third Prize: Dawn's Black Rock Hens by Sue Moules

I see you with your morning tea
sitting in your garden
the hens pecking
in their stop-start way,
jerky steps as they discover cucumber,
soft watery taste of summer.

Across the bay the sea glints
with promise of another fine day,
too hot for hens
who'll snuggle into their coop,
or scoop out a form under the bushes
until afternoon eases into cool.

Tonight, home from work
you'll sit here again,
watch their silky movements
zig-zagging the garden
shadows of hens
scratching the dust

as you look out over the sunset sea,
finish your glass of wine,
then lead them into the coop,
lock out the fox
who lurks in his redness
on the edge of the picture.
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Author: Kevin Machin Date: January 11, 2015 9:11 pm
Categories: Results Tags: poetry, winners
Responses: 0 – open Article: 3579 – published
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We are proud to be associated with the Highlands & Islands Short Story Association.