The Enfield Poets
International Poetry Competition
2015

Anne-Marie Fyfe

Judge: Anne-Marie Fyfe

1st Prize
Liz Cashden – ‘Agnes Richter’s Jacket’
(See below)

2nd Prize
Helen Overell – ‘Troupe’
(See below)

3rd Prize
Judy O’Kane – ‘Lemon’
(See below)

Highly Commended
Clive Eastwood – ‘Carving’
Catherine Edmunds – ‘A Man Goes Out’
Jacquelyn Shreeves-Lee – ‘Back Door’

Commended
Caroline Maldonado – ‘A Memory of Flight’
Mark Huband – ‘The Craftsman’
Matt Bryden – Clark Kent Revisits the Family Farm.

 

Poets

Judge, Anne-Marie Fyfe, with winning and commended poets.

 

 

First Prize:

Agnes Richter’s Jacket 1890
by Liz Cashdan

When she’s calm, she takes me on her lap,
smooths out my creases. She has pieced together
strips of asylum uniforms, made them her own.
They give her needle and thread and the work begins.

Often indecipherable. I hear nurses trying to work out
her meanings but I understand her arabesques.
I know how she has stitched herself into my fabric.
She sings, croons in a low voice while she works.

“Ich bin, Ich habe,” she writes with her needle.
In places she embroiders “Kinder, Bruder, Schwester.”
Everywhere, inside and out, 583, her laundry number.
She has made me herself, her comforter.

Second Prize: 

Troupe (For VS)
By Helen Overell

And, on a beach in Spain,
you watch a trio hone skills
exact as the angle of a wrist,
handclasp, foothold, the pivot
and strength of a leap, the grace
and poise of sprung resolution;
and the young man, exuberant,
breaks away, steps out onto
the strand in a blur of green,
blue, red – a catch of skittles
plucked from the sky, twirled,
spun into an arc about his head
bright as the scrolled tattoos
on his arms, his face, his back;
and the older one re-aligns
breath with bone, the woman
gathers dance to ease of still,
both sit on the sand, warmed
by the sun, lulled by the sea,
glad to rest – his distant gaze,
her deep dark eyes, from a place
far off beyond reach of time;
and then the routine begins
over again, until the three
think as one, each foot, hand,
step, grip belongs to them all,
no drum rolls, just the moves
they live by, their daily bread.

Third Prize: 

Lemon
by Judy O’Kane

It lies there, an indent
in the duvet, as innocent
and entitled as an infant,
as likely to roll off

the edge. Pick a name out
of the bag, you said,
draw it, make it
your object, so

I raced up and down Main Street
past closing time,
past John B,
his hand up, his shoulder frozen

in a permanent salute.
The man in the corner shop
took a fancy to the idea
of an Ode to the Lemon.

Compare it to a cow, he said,
one you can milk forty times
a day, (paging Dr. Freud). I didn’t
catch your name, he yelled as I back out

of the shop. As soon as it is drawn, an outline
traced on a white sheet,
stalk removed, it’s a hand grenade:
impotent.

When I look at it later
the sketch has evolved:
it’s a John Dory now,
the lemon-spotted

rind has become speckled
fish skin, like age-spots
on sun-tanned hands.
I wonder

how it would be,
just as a lemon,
itself, except
moreso.

Can you see them implode,
the windows of the Arms
if the grenade
trips

back into life? I check it
one last time, turn
the key and leave it
to its own devices.

 

 

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