Innovation in Poetry

 

Huge congratulations to the winners of our poetry contest, listed below along with the comments of our publisher and poet Matthew Smith. Our first place winner, H. David, wins £500. All three poems follow.

 

 

First Place

 

Giant by H. David

 

'The disquieting work of a deep-running imagination.'

 

 

Second Place

 

Mississippi/Minnesota by Deborah Kelly

 

'The language makes the heat and the history of the Mississippi tangible.'

 

 

Third Place

 

Signs by Adelina Molina

 

'A convincing snapshot of a lifetime's search for meaning.'

 

 

 

 

 

Giant

 

by H. David

 

He was dead when they found him, the sisters

coming ashore weak-legged, salt-bitten

sea-slanted from their long voyage

 

he had, they saw, been a great thing

even his weedy sides, sand-starred

came up above them like a forest edge

 

was this, they asked, what we had planned to kill

how beautiful he is, how large the shade

he casts across slack bladderwrack,

 

sweat-damp scooped rock, smooth as a bending knee

quick squits of fish, anemones, black glass turned milky

by the mouthing sea. How fine, to make such things

 

how fine it would be, to be just as big.

And the day heaved a little, and the gulls came off him,

and hung in the air like gloves

 

how empty it is here, they said.

Even the dead, they said, lie still, lie sweetly.

And his flesh was sweet. They lit a fire.

 

Flies flickered up against pale flames,

fell down. The hills beyond the sand lay long and green.

They ate him and they grew, his bones their bones

 

sea wind lapped, fat and ashy, at their back.

Walking inland, they held each other’s hands

immense as air, they left him open, lying there.

 

 

 

 

Mississippi/Minnesota

 

by Deborah Kelly

 

Our toes, little larvae in river mud,

a river bull-nosed as catfish,

dull as its carp,

thick in its spasms.

 

On its over-hung shore,

heat gelled on our child-skin,

onto neck, into sacrum,

our pallor of paraffin.

 

We played that heat

was weightless,

beside-the-point

as gnats up our noses,

 

and imagined Deep-South

at the other end, the Gulf

and its bayous,

hypoxic and loaded.

 

River. Snake that bucks

between teeth of a hound,

I fear you.

 

Somewhere, a branch and a rope,

a swing and a noose.

Mississippi, I loathe you.

 

 

 

 

Signs

 

by Adelina Molina

 

The man on the train sketches

my face

I go home

spend hours searching the mirror

for beauty

 

I look for signs

in clouds

in numbers

find 11:11 blinking on my phone screen

try to swallow the sky

 

6:21am

I receive an email

unknown man, drunk

professes his love

to someone else

 

the man I am falling for

doesn’t tell me

about the shadows

hiding in his chest

his sorrow bitter on his tongue

 

3:44pm

I am learning to speak in words

Instead of verses

Instead of moans

Instead of his hands

in my tangle of curls

I am still learning

His hands on my waist

I am still learning

His hands on the small of my back

 

I am still learning that everything I touch

doesn’t break

 

I look in the mirror and say

Te amo

The silence isn’t deafening


Wundor Poetry Contest 2018

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