Monday, May 26, 2014

Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry, 2014

Congratulations to Sadhbh Sheeran, who for the third year running has won the Senior Poetry Prize (pictured).  Here are two of her winning poems, the first of which she read at the Voices of Poetry evening yesterday (a report follows soon).

The Blight of Sunday Mass

Back of his neck, ploughed as his tattie field,
Burnt ochre by the sun, restricted by the
Sunday shirt.
Ridges of leather. Furrow of valleys.

The sweet smell in warm summer weather,
Soap. All muck scrubbed off skin
With hard, bristle brush.
Prayer for potato. Hope for harvest.

His eyes face the pulpit, his crown bare,
Scalp healthy brown, dark pigment spots,
Could be cancer?
A farmer of prataís. A prataí of a man.

One man as all men, pew upon pew.
The furrowed fields, the sweet smell,
Potato prayers, potential cancers.
Farmers of a crop, a crop of farmers.

Big men, strong men, god-fearing souls,
Consumed by the fear for the fataí.

Crab Fishing
In memory of Grandalot

On the end of the pier
Sits a sandstone seat,
Three simple stones
With two on top.
Lichen stains the lot.

I lay out flat,
Almost t’ocean,
With baited, weighted, line,
He held my ankles,
Fingers whole way round,
As line and I hung off the ground.

We caught green soft ones
And baby brown shells, with
Barnacle and seaweed tail.
A pair of red eating crabs,
Fresh from war, missing
Two legs and a claw.

He held a red
Behind its legs
While I admired its eyes.
I took a green,
Just like he had
Behind its legs.

And then one scuttled over the edge.

So we put them back.
We’d lost the lead,
They’d eaten the bone.
He took my hand
And I the dogs bowl,
We walked home.

On the end of the pier
Sits a sandstone seat
Which no tide or tempest turn.
From here he watches,
While the moon men 

Fish for crabs.

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