2015 Poetry Competition Winning Poems (Open Section)

Here are the winning poems (first three places) in the Open Section.

Return to 2015 Competition Winners

1st

Dawn Chorus by Sue Kauth

Early. The sky clear.
I steady the cup, encourage you to drink,
and search for something in your empty eyes.
Yesterday you called me mother, today
I may be nurse - or no one.

Through the open window, the song of a blackbird
celebrating spring. Your hands fall limp and still.
We sit, silent against a backdrop of kitchen sounds
and the blackbird.

‘A kettle of hawks,’ you say suddenly
and I’m back, walking that day
wrapped in a blanket of birdsong
with a red sun rising behind the hills.

‘A bellowing of bullfinches,’ I try,
‘a bobbin of robins.’
Do I have your attention?
I wait, then say
‘a troubling of goldfinches, a gulp of swallows’.

The blackbird sings, breakfast dishes clatter.
Nothing.
Then, on a sudden shaft of sunlight,
comes something now so rare:
your smile.

Top

2nd

On R S Thomas by Sue Chadd

You were always depicted
a grim man, humourless,
pursuing your God and your poetry
with the same fervour.

At first you were approachable;
through Iago Prytherch you spoke
of fierce windswept mountain slopes,
of the sheep, the struggle, the pride.

We liked that.

Then you damned machinery as devils
to be cast out. As you did with Elsi's
first and only labour-saving device,
a Hoover: too noisy.

As you aged the fever heightened.
You loved it bleak, cold, wind-raked.
Began to rail against the English
seducing a country;

began to despair of the Welsh,
so easily seduced. For who wouldn't
exchange a draughty damp cottage,
for 'one o' those new bungalows'.

I can forgive all your gloomy
predictions, all your ire, all passion spent,
for one poem; Marriage,
tender and sweet as summer grass.

And so you were taken ill,
taken back to Bangor, to the hospital,
glared uncompromising out to the hills,
turned your head away.

But when death came for you,
buzzards circled on the high moors;
on the edge of vision, your shadow moved
towards her, a place unknown.

Top

3rd

Last Train by Richard Hughes

Poem to be added when available.