The Waltraud Field Open Poetry Competition 2018
It is our pleasure to announce winners of this year's poetry competition. They are as follows:
1st Prize: "Mother of Pearl" by Angela Topping
2nd Prize: "Out of Place" by John Baylis Post
3rd Prize: "Preserve Me From..." by Anthony Watts.
Scroll down to read the winning poems:
Mother of Pearl by Angela Topping
See how the button's outward face
plays with light as I turn it, iridescent
as silk is. A slowly opening eye,
edges easy on the fingertips.
Turn it over. The shank is cracked
where the hole was bored, marred
by a sliver of red, like a thread of jam.
Layers of pearl are chipped away.
Ringed like the inside of trees,
the marks of the machine that made it.
My mother prized such buttons,
threaded them together
a strange bracelet to fit a baby wrist.
She labelled them 'real pearl buttons'
in her schoolgirl-neat blue biro.
Such are the small parts of her I still have.
Buttons from her blouses, fastened
by her quick fingers as she dressed,
where I rested my small dark head
lullabied by the rise and fall of breath.
Out of Place by John Baylis Post
'...seven mourners, and a minister who did not know her name.'
Perhaps, through the cheap red-lined box,
she can hear them: five, strangers, off-key;
they saw her death in the newspaper. Plus
a shuffling pair from social services; one of them
plays Abide with Me - forte, largo, who knows
what's appropriate? There's sweat on the keys.
An unfaithed father, shabby, gabbling for ash-cash,
daydreams that the keyboard is a cathedral organ,
and garbles the little they could tell him about her.
They don't know she was the piano-tuner's wife
in a small town that isn't in their atlases,
and anyway the borders kept changing.
Fortissimo, flying glass. A vase of roses
on the shelf, improbably undisturbed; below,
a crow, Audubon-pristine, dead on the rug.
Her last glance. She felt blood in her eyes.
She played to the end of the minuet, on, and elsewhere
for sixty years, no longer seeing the music.
Preserve me from.... by Anthony Watts
poems that look straight past me and address
someone lurking out of sight
poems like Alexander that stand in my light
poems with umpteen lines that neither rhyme nor scan
yet profess to be a 'sonnet'
poems with bees in their bonnet
poems that catwalk in front of me, flaunting
the latest high street fashion
poems that pride themselves on being
devoid of wit or passion
poems as meagre as a wartime ration
poems that claim the intellectual high ground
and look down their noses
poems that strike poses
poems that climb on a soap box and shout
poems that fail to offer a single clue
as to what they're about
poems that come to my door looking undernourished
poems that lay a skinny hand on my shoulder
(do I look like a wedding guest?)
But bring me poems with certain
wonders to impart
poems that invite me in for a beer
and a heart to heart